The Economics of Violence by Bjørn Lomborg – Project Syndicate

images (89)Our world is in a state of turbulence from which we can either correct the thinking that has created our problems, or face the collapse of our civilization. The fate of what it means to be a human being lies in how we respond to this crucial moment.

==Boundaries of Order (LvMI) (Butler Shaffer)

t is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.

==Giordano Bruno

The sense of civility that helps give meaning to a “civilization” is in full retreat. Our institutionalized social behavior has reverted to its reactive, reptilian origins; our thinking has become dominated by the political imperative that all of life is to be subjected to the exercise of collective power. Indeed, the formal systems through which we have organized and identified ourselves could be described as being in an ever-escalating war with life itself. As the creators of sophisticated technologies, we have made ourselves increasingly machine-like; robotic servants of institutional systems we have been conditioned to revere, whose purposes we neither understand nor control, and of which we are afraid to ask questions. Our corporate-state world plunders, enslaves, controls and destroys us, all in the name of advancing our liberty and material well-being. Most of us are dominated by an unfocused fear of uncertainty, a longing for the security of emptiness. 

==The Wizards of Ozymandias (Butler Shaffer)

Civilizations begin, flourish, decline, and disappear—or linger on as stagnant pools left by once life-giving streams. —Will Durant

There are still good people in the world. In fact the vast majority, but sometimes it is tempting to doubt this comforting assumption, for evil masquerades so very adeptly. The kind face may be a horror in private. An apparently gentle heart can be a murderer of thousands. So much is hidden and when it is revealed, the good, the moral and deeply ethical person is so repelled that truths are buried deep within impregnable falsehoods for self-protection of the mind and soul. Man (generic) indeed can be a nasty animal and for those of us who seek a more righteous path it is very, very dangerous to underestimate this. Particularly so, when the power centers of the world are like magnates to the parasitic and the sociopathic.  

Hands in bloodCOPENHAGEN – What is the biggest source of violence in our world? With the brutal conflicts in Syria, Ukraine, and elsewhere constantly in the news, many people would probably say war. But that turns out to be spectacularly wrong.

Getting it right matters if we are to find cost-effective solutions to this and other global problems. Obviously, everyone would like to stop wars and violence, just as we would like to end poverty, hunger, and global warming, while providing education to all. But, given limited resources, the international community can only do so much. We have to prioritize, which is what an economic analysis of costs and benefits can do.

The international community is working on new development goals for the next 15 years, and the Copenhagen Consensus has asked some of the world’s leading economists to give their assessment of the smartest targets they can choose. Is reducing violence a goal worthy of resources that would otherwise be spent on, say, reducing hunger? And, if so, which forms of violence should be targeted?

A study by James Fearon of Stanford University and Anke Hoeffler of Oxford University’s Center for the Study of African Economies argues that societal violence – homicides and especially violence against women and children – is a much bigger problem than civil wars. Nine people are killed in interpersonal violence for every battlefield death in a civil war, and one child is killed for every two combatants who die.

In 2008, there were 418,000 homicides around the world, with far too many countries recording a murder rate of more than 10 per 100,000, which the World Health Organization regards as an epidemic. A single homicide in America costs the individual and society $9.1 million. If we scale this by national income across the world, this single category of violent crime costs 1.7% of global GDP.

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via The Economics of Violence by Bjørn Lomborg – Project Syndicate.