So many problems in the world today stem from lack of education and the poverty associated with that. In A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens called it "ignorance and want"; the Ghost of Christmas Future unveiled it as the looming doom of civilization.

Look at the ever-increasing level of violence in so many nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America --- where some children never get a chance to learn to read and write, and others are only exposed to the most limited slivers of human knowledge. See the sweatshops, the disease, the shortened lives. Imagine the misery.

Maybe the best way (perhaps the only way?) to break multi-generation cycles of hatred and destruction between tribes is to subsidize learning. Relatively tiny gifts (of the order of $100 per kid per year?) could help families keep their children in school longer.

After a decade or two of start-up costs, a program that promoted education would likely more than pay for itself through greater productivity and reduced war. An editorial writer in the New York Times suggests "... every extra year of school in very poor countries can raise earnings by an average of 10 to 20 percent ..." (1 July 2002, "The World's Unschooled"). That's a fabulous rate of return on investment.

Of course, rather than talk about this, or try to persuade others to implement this, I really should just start contributing a bit more towards doing this ...

(see also My Business (30 May 1999))

TopicEconomics - TopicSociety - 2002-07-09

(correlates: EvolvedDeceivers, SinceFire, TheWidows, ...)