Carnival of the Capitalists

This week's Carnival of the Capitalists is up at Clay Whittaker's blog.

I was intrigued by Professor Bainbridge's entry on the topic of acknowledging the scarcity of resources to fund public policy projects. He points to the "Copenhagen Consensus" - a project undertaken by Bjorn Lomborg and nine other economists for the purpose of determining the most efficient uses of limited means.

Part of me can empathize with this goal. Intuitively, it appears that spending a marginal dollar on, say, the African AIDS epidemic is literally throwing away money. The networks effects of transmission and the high rates of prevalence have made the problem nearly impossible to 'solve'. Money would be better spent elsewhere.

Yet, another part of me sees coming to such a "consensus" as an impossible task. Deciding what to spend money on is more a question of values than anything else, and those values are determined subjectively.

Will the Copenhagen Consensus be determining efficacy or values?

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THe problem that struck me

THe problem that struck me about the Cophenhagen Consensus project is that it seems to recapitulate the idea of "expert planning" that got us into so much environmental and economic trouble in the 60s and 70s. Its centralizing a group of experts to determine "scientifically" where the greatest marginal benefit is for environmental action.

Can that really be done, the way Lomborg et al. are attempting?

"Lomborg and nine other

"Lomborg and nine other economists"

You cam skip the "other": Lomborg is not an economist.