Thursday, 15 November 2012

Day 135: 6 Billion wasted on US Elections

The 2012 elections in the US reached 6 billion dollars, which is the highest amount ever. Most of this money goes to media and communication. And also consider -- that voter turnout was only around 50%. That's a lot of money, to convince only half the population.

If we look back at Day 17: Starvation is Murder, where we had a look at priority spending in the world and looked at how much money would be needed to achieve universal access to basic social services in developing countries -- we can see that this 6 Billion could have covered basic education for all.

What about, instead of spending all this money on campaigning, which is basically advertising -- you go and spend money and so something real like provide all developing countries with basic access to education -- that would be real nice campaigning stunt.

What does this tell us about Human Nature?

In economics we have thing called 'opportunity cost' which was also discussed in Day 46: The Economic Problem:

"Within that, opportunity cost specifically, refers to the next best alternative one forgoes for the option which was chosen. So if you have $50 and you want both a jacket and a shirt – and you decide to spend the money towards the jacket – the opportunity cost is the shirt as the next best thing you could have gotten. A cost for economists is what you had to ‘give up’ to ‘get it’. "

This tells us something about our values, and what we are willing to forgo in order to get what we want. This is just one example of how we are willing to invest massive amounts into an election -- but will not use this same money towards creating a world that is Better for All.

Economics is often called the 'science of scarcity' -- and likes to emphasise the problem of having limited resources to achieve certain things. Yet, we are living in a world where we care fuck-all about scarcity and being able to do 'only so much' -- instead of doing something real, like making sure that everyone has universal access to basic requirements -- some parts of the population hog up all the resources at the expense of many. If scarcity is such a problem, then why are we not acting according to this problem -- and use our resources effectively and responsibly?

How many more natural disasters do we need to experience? How many more disturbing news stories to we have to read EVERY DAY? Before we realise that ENOUGH is ENOUGH.

If you agree that enough is enough -- check out, and inform yourself on how we can make this world a better place for all.
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