As citizens of the world, we face a number of daunting challenges. For starters, there are approximately 800 million people living at the starvation level, 2.5 billion people who suffer from illness because they have no access to sanitation, 1.1 billion people who still have no clean drinking water, and countless others who have been affected by dramatic climate changes.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where resources, funds, and political will to solve many of these problems are severely limited. Deciding just which problem to address first can be quite tricky. To solve this dilemma the author believes that if we rationally set hierarchical priorities it will be easier to focus our immediate attention on the most serious of global needs.
Weighing the costs versus the benefits for international action on any one issue is a difficult task, and attempting to impose a common cost-benefit framework so that one issue can be compared with another is an ambitious exercise, often leading to disagreement.
There is no question that the Copenhagen Consensus has already started an important global debate on the idea of economic prioritizing of resources, and it is a debate which will most likely continue for many years ahead.