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Old 02-01-2014, 10:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Saving the World with $100 billion.

This was my first assignment for my Global Health class:

Quote:
Over 840 million people throughout the world do not have adequate food (Nations, 2013), although it is 49 million inside of the United States alone (DeParle, 2009). One hundred billion dollars, spread across the billions of people living outside of the United States could make significant improvements for the individuals affected, but just addressing food, that would work out to $119.04 per person, or 32.6 cents per day. Perhaps that would provide one meal per person per day, although the money could also be used to provide vaccinations, running water, or education. However, it would also be $2,040.81 per hungry person in the United States for one year, $5.59 daily! Therefore, my plan would be to try to find the most economical method of ending domestic hunger, conservatively invest whatever might remain, and provide food for as long as possible.
I estimated that one hundred billion dollars would be sufficient to end domestic hunger in the United States for one, maybe two years. That is it. What long-term effect would that have? Why were they hungry in the first place? Did we do anything to prevent them from being hungry once we run out of money?

 
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Maybe looking at the cause of the hunger would be the most efficient.

Imagine if $100b was spent on infrastructure like the New Deal or the interstate system in the 50's. The jobs created from projects would not only feed the poor by giving them jobs, but also provide much needed improvements to our infrastructure.

What would $100b do in domestic projects?
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Old 02-02-2014, 01:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You really could have completed the assignment in one word: Malthus.

You could also have a good discussion about whether that would actually save the world, or hasten its destruction.
 
Old 02-02-2014, 01:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
You really could have completed the assignment in one word: Malthus.

You could also have a good discussion about whether that would actually save the world, or hasten its destruction.
I had not heard of him. I wonder how well it would go over if I wrote "I will spend my money depriving the poor of their food, therefore ending domestic hunger!"

Saving the world or ending it, either way, you do not have a problem anymore!

[I do not like that idea at all]
 
Old 02-02-2014, 02:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The world doesn't want to be saved
 
Old 02-02-2014, 03:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xist View Post
I had not heard of him. I wonder how well it would go over if I wrote "I will spend my money depriving the poor of their food, therefore ending domestic hunger!"

Saving the world or ending it, either way, you do not have a problem anymore!

[I do not like that idea at all]
Be careful of anything which mentions Malthus - his followers (he was a teacher at a school for future British Empire bureaucrats) who actually did put his theories into action allowing tens of thounsands of Indians to die in a famine in the 1800s because they thought it was better not to help.

Well actually they wanted to avoid the costs involved and this enabled them to do so with some kind of "moral" support.
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Old 02-02-2014, 03:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It is so obvious! Why didn't I think of this sooner?!

Fifty-nine million people go hungry every year in the United States. Why aren't they getting enough food? We could assemble a team and make assumptions and generalizations. We can consult experts and conduct research, but meanwhile, they are still going hungry.

How many of these individuals simply do not have sufficient work? We could find the answer, but undoubtedly some of them are in this situation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 10.4 million unemployed Americans (Employment Situation Summary), and there must be some correlation. Therefore, I would feed the hungry for one month, and during that time, hold interviews for people willing to assemble aerodynamic modifications for automobiles, therefore creating jobs, allowing people to support, and therefore feed, themselves.
 
Old 02-02-2014, 03:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I had not heard of him. I wonder how well it would go over if I wrote "I will spend my money depriving the poor of their food, therefore ending domestic hunger!"
Doesn't work that way. It's just simple math applied to the real world. There is only so much that can be done to increase food production, but people left to themselves always produce more kids than the previous generation, so at some point population outstrips food supply.

And if you work hard at increasing food supply, say by mechanized agriculture dependent on fossil-fuel derived fertilizers & pesticides (not to mention long-distance transportation & refrigeration), the whole system becomes increasingly unstable. One major drought or an interruption of fuel supplies, and the whole house of cards could come tumbling down. Not exactly whhat I thing of as saving the world.

Quote:
Fifty-nine million people go hungry every year in the United States. Why aren't they getting enough food?
Who says so? First, provide supporting evidence for the claim.

On the other hand, per the US Center for Disease Control, 69.2% of American adults are overweight, 35.9% are obese: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm

Now if you figure that 59 million is about 20% of the population, that leaves only 10% who are neither overweight nor hungry, which seems distinctly odd. But it does appear to present a couple of ways of solving both problems, if you could come up with a practical way of implementing them.

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Old 02-02-2014, 03:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
Doesn't work that way. It's just simple math applied to the real world. There is only so much that can be done to increase food production, but people left to themselves always produce more kids than the previous generation, so at some point population outstrips food supply.

And if you work hard at increasing food supply, say by mechanized agriculture dependent on fossil-fuel derived fertilizers & pesticides (not to mention long-distance transportation & refrigeration), the whole system becomes increasingly unstable. One major drought or an interruption of fuel supplies, and the whole house of cards could come tumbling down. Not exactly whhat I thing of as saving the world.
You made the claims, prove them. We've been here before.
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Old 02-02-2014, 04:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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