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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Question: What's your advice to the next administration?

Sachs:    I think the most important thing for the next administration is to have a Department for International Sustainable Development, so we start taking seriously the fight against poverty and the fight for environmental sustainability.  Let’s be clear, we have a government that makes wars and it does not fight poverty and this is a disaster for American security.  Within that…  within increased funding, as we promised to do 0.7% of our GNP, which is what we’ve promised, compared to one-fourth of that which we actually give right now and half of the one-fourth that we give is really for the war zones.  If we had more funding devoted it to the fight against hunger, the fight against disease, the fight against poverty, a voluntary national service would play a role in that to be sure especially to help students and those after school to see the world like the Peace Corp has enabled and to contribute to solutions.  There could be a tendency to believe that this is by itself enough and it would not be enough.  We’ve got to get much more serious about this.  There are large scale financing needs that go well beyond individual action even national service programs, but national service can play a very significant role in showing the best of America and in educating a new generation of Americans about realities abroad, and helping the rest of the world to understand that America is not just about dropping bombs out of airplanes, but it’s actually about solving problems. 


What's your advice to the n...

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