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How to Spend $75 Billion to Fix the World

Given that we have very limited funds, we need to prioritize: they generated ideas and then ranked the best ways to spend $75 billion more over the next four years and dramatically help hundreds of millions of the world's poorest people.

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How to Spend $75 Billion To Make The World A Better Place

When it comes to aid spending, political decision-makers often act as if the pool of resources is infinite, and that we should tackle all the world’s problems, right now.  Tough choices inevitably must be made – but there are few transparent, practical ways for such spending to be prioritized. 

If we can’t solve all the world’s problems today, what should we do first? How can aid spending most effectively improve the lives of the world’s poorest and most afflicted people?

These topics are tackled by How to Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place, featuring the insights of Bjorn Lomborg and dozens of eminent economists. The book presents cutting-edge research to evaluate the costs and benefits of the smartest solutions to twelve global problems, if $75 billion were spent over four years.  For example:

  • The highest ranked solution – meaning that it yields the most benefit for the least cost – is to spend $3 billion over four years, on a bundle of micronutrients and medicines to reduce under-nutrition and improve education in preschool-aged children.
  • For about $100 per child, this bundle could reduce chronic under-nutrition by 36 percent in developing countries. More than 100 million children could start their lives without stunted growth or malnourishment.    
  • Because these children will lead healthier, more productive lives as adults – a virtuous cycle of dramatic development – each dollar spent addressing chronic under-nutrition has a $30 payoff in economic terms. Ultimately, when all the benefits are translated into economic terms, every dollar spent on malnutrition will likely do $63 worth of global good.
  • Other top-ranked solutions include expanding malaria treatment (generating $35 in benefits for every dollar spent), immunization for children, and deworming.  

Politicians, philanthropists, NGOs, humanitarian agencies, journalists – and anyone who cares deeply about changing the world – will benefit from this enlightening and informative book. 

Providing insight into the Copenhagen Consensus 2012 process and findings, 


This is a stimulating intellectual game with important real-world consequences. Lomborg asks all of us to stop talking grandly and vaguely about solving global problems and instead to rank them - based not only on the potential harm they can cause but also on our ability to turn things around. To govern is to choose and this pithy book forces us to choose.”

- Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek columnist and author of The Future of Freedom

The world's staggering problems won't be solved by singing pop songs, denouncing villains, or adopting the proper moral tone, but by figuring out which policies have the best chance of doing the most good. If the world is going to become a better place, it will be because of the kinds of thinking on display in this courageous and fascinating book.”

- Steven Pinker, Professor, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate

This book helps you make up your own mind, prioritize, and make your own choice. Just in time.”

-  Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi, and author of Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands

Bjorn Lomborg and his economist colleagues have produced a fascinating and unexpected consensus, which can start a debate about global priorities: Should we prioritize a costly and uncertain attempt to reduce effects of global warming in a hundred years’ time while millions are dying for lack of mosquito nets or condoms?”

- Matt Ridley, author of Nature via Nurture

This small volume reflects an admirable undertaking, gracefully explained for those interested in guarding the future“  

- Publishers Weekly

Lomborg's Copenhagen Consensus Center has posed a challenging question: If we had an additional $50 billion to spend on mitigating global problems, how should we spend it? To suggest answers, the center convened a panel of eight distinguished economists to evaluate proposals by over two dozen specialists on problems ranging from AIDS and malnutrition to water shortage, civil war, climate change, and migration, among others. Their collective recommendation: focus on AIDS prevention, the provision of micronutrients to poor children, trade liberalization, and the control of malaria. Their choices were determined by the expected payoff, largely but not wholly in economic terms, that each of these programs could generate relative to its cost. Some issues, such as civil war, could not be evaluated in general terms and so were not ranked. The motivating principle of the exercise was that resources are limited, political leaders must make choices, and those choices should be governed by where the most good can be done for humanity -- especially for those who are so poor that they cannot look beyond where their next meal is coming from."

- Foreign Affairs

Great book title and a thought-provoking exercise, whether or not one agrees with the worldview and methods of economists.“  

- Future Survey