OK, after struggling for, literally, many moments to come up with a good new year’s resolution I’ve found the right one for me to follow during our year of 2008 10,000+ MPH ride through the cosmos.
I don’t just think this is good advice for me, it’s good advice for everybody. The world is a very complex, interconnected place and I’m increasingly inclined to think that over-reaction has fueled more problems than more passive responses.
I’m not advocating for total passiveness of course – more I’m suggesting that we should “shelve” the complicated and expensive problems we probably cannot solve, instead devoting the blood and treasure to those we can solve. We should be proactive tackling the low-hanging-fruit problems that are cheap and easy – these are third world infrastructure, global health, some aspects of global poverty, and increasingly our tolerance to risk here in the developing world. This last one is very much part of the don’t panic mantra. Most people worry *so much* about very unlikely scenarios that they allocate our collective resources very ineffectively (by supporting overregulation, higher taxes, lawsuits, etc). For example we should tolerate much greater risk in terms of air travel (where only a handful of people die each year) in order to get better seatbelt use, which would save thousands every year. Concerns over pesticides in our vegetables are absurdly overblown by people who don’t understand science, while we largely ignore very significant health issues like Malaria and Rotoviral disease that kill millions each year. Even if you only consider US risks, we worry about the wrong things (preventable hurricane deaths caused by global warming = 0.0 annually) rather than the truly dangerous yet partly preventable things (automobiles and gun deaths = 50,000+ annually )
More about this later, but I say Happy New Year and ….