Re: What is the world's biggest challenge?
David Dollar has served as the World Bank's China Director and is currently the U.S. Treasury Department's Economic and Financial Emissary to China.
Before this assignment, Mr. Dollar worked as Director for the development research department of the World Bank, overseeing the Bank’s research on the investment climate and growth. He co-authored the recent World Bank reports Globalization, Growth, and Poverty and Assessing Aid. His earlier work focused on aid and growth, and the determinants of the success and failure of reform programs supported by structural adjustment lending. He has been a key World Bank spokesperson on investment climate, globalization, and the effectiveness of aid.
He has a PhD in economics from New York University and a B.A. in Chinese history and language from Dartmouth College.
David Dollar: I think the two big challenges for the world are the global environment, and also global inequality. So you've got a lot of developing countries like China and India that are doing well and reducing poverty; but there are a lot of parts of the developing world that are just not participating in globalization, getting left further and further behind. So I think global environment and global inequality are the big issues. I think the human species definitely has the potential to solve these problems. For the environment, the key will be technological change. And getting the technological change depends primarily on incentives. So if we want to control greenhouse gas emissions, I think we need some kind of global ceiling on the emissions, and then I think some kind of system of tradable permits to get the most efficient way of meeting those global targets. So I think it is very easy for an economist to design a system that would radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And then I predict that lots of private companies all over the world will invent new technologies, you know, more efficient solar power, new ways of doing things. technological advance that it really brought the human race to where it is, so the potential is there to address all the big global environmental issues through technological change. Now the reason why I put the adjective cautious and there are days when I feel more pessimistic is it really will take political cooperation . . . Probably political is too shallow a word. It would talk a real commitment from a lot of people in the world to recognize that this is a problem. And it may not have its big effects for 20 or 30 years in the case of global warming; but we don't get on the right track now, 20 or 30 years from now we're going to have a very significant problem. Kind of mobilizing people now to care, and to get their governments to sign up to some kind of global agreement that seems very difficult. So sometimes I'm pessimistic because it appears to take a crisis to galvanize people. And in some global issues, by the time we get to the crisis, it's gonna be a little bit late for taking action. So I think the potential is there, but there are times when I feel a little bit pessimistic about whether people are gonna be mobilized to do these things.
Recorded on: 7/3/07
Global inequality and global warming need to be addressed, Dollar says.
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A new study, led by psychologist Jean Twenge, points to the screen as the problem.
- In a new study, adolescents and young adults are experiencing increased rates of depression and suicide attempts.
- The data cover the years 2005–2017, tracking perfectly with the introduction of the iPhone and widespread dissemination of smartphones.
- Interestingly, the highest increase in depressive incidents was among individuals in the top income bracket.
Big tech is making its opening moves into the health care scene, but its focus on tech-savvy millennials may miss the mark.
- Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google have been busy investing in health care companies, developing new apps, and hiring health professionals for new business ventures.
- Their current focus appears to be on tech-savvy millennials, but the bulk of health care expenditures goes to the elderly.
- Big tech should look to integrating its most promising health care devise, the smartphone, more thoroughly into health care.
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