If you could solve ONE global problem, what would it be?

chagla

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Resources? Not an issue. You have authority, money, power, or whatever you need. You can eradicate just ONE global problem/issue. What would that be and why this particular one?
 

JayMysteri0

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Resources? Not an issue. You have authority, money, power, or whatever you need. You can eradicate just ONE global problem/issue. What would that be and why this particular one?
Hunger if possible. Reduce ONE issue that often leads to conflict.

It wouldn't solve land issues or religion/socio political ones, since NO amount of resources can or will be allowed to address those.

But it would be a major start to addressing other issues. I only see it as a trap though if you can truly only solve one problem. After all what's the point of addressing hunger if the climate will go to shit, or saving the climate only to have more people dying from hunger? I would like to hope we could multi task.

Perhaps the old "If you could ask a genie for 3 wishes" approach. Solve the problem of why we could only solve ONE global problem? ;)
 

Alli

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That’s a tough question. Hunger was the first thing that crossed my mind as well. But then I immediately thought of housing.

Other countries don’t have the same problems, or in the same quantities as the US does.

To truly solve a global issue, I would have to go with climate, even though there are so many people who refuse to see this as a global issue.
 

Scepticalscribe

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Great thread.

Given such a "magic wand", I would ensure the (world wide) provision of female education.

I have worked in international "capacity building" missions (for the EU), - (usually in the fields of police, judiciary, prosecutors, rule of law, my brief was political analyst and political advice) and international election observation (and democratisation).

Everything I have read (and worked on) and my experience suggests that once women are educated, this usually also comes to mean a degree of female economic autonomy, with much of their incomes re-invested or spent on their families (sons and daughters, both, the better the education of the mother, the better the "life chances" of her children - above all, for her daughters) and their communities.

And, as a part of that, with access to safe, reliable and affordable birth control, smaller - and planned - families, - families which are started later, for, every additional year at school for a girl means fewer child marriages, delayed age of first pregnancy, less child (and maternal) mortality, which means less demand on the Earth's resources.

(And here, I am thinking - among others - of Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank who pioneered the provision of microcredit, mainly to women).

Unequal outcomes are reduced, or become less pronounced, and economies (over time) are - tend to be better off, develop more evenly, while distribution of resources is somewhat fairer (it is not a coincidence that, in Europe, the granting of female suffrage coincided with political parties - including those of the left - taking an increased interest in welfare issues, schools, housing, health), and the squandering of resources less extreme.

In the world of aid work, or development work, the one act which brings about serious, long term positive change (although the effects are not often seen for decades) is access to education for women.

And this is why - whereas I had assumed that they were merely prejudiced, or imprisoned by rigidly held retrograde, or traditional, attitudes - some (theological and other) elites are so vehemently opposed to the provision of female education.
 
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Lostngone

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I’m going to ask for two changes sorry to be greedy. However they go hand-in-hand. First I would change the Catholic churches view on birth control and second teach everyone in the world how to use it(birth control not the Catholic Church).

I think that would go a long ways in fixing things like hunger and overpopulation in some parts of the world.
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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Equality, mushing everybody towards a middle class. That would solve a lot of other issues in the process. I would enact some kind of policy where the obscene amount of wealth enjoyed by the few right now couldn't be achieved without lifting many others up in the process, top to bottom.
 

Thomas Veil

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^ This.

However, my vote would be for the abolition of authoritarianism. IMHO the other problems will be easier to solve if we can get all the dictators and would-be dictators—Putin, Bolsanaro, Trump, Xi Jinping, and whoever the hell is running NK right now—out of the way, along with their nationalist fan clubs.
 

chagla

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Great responses. I'm going to pick hunger. Was thinking of diseases but I think hunger needs to be tackled. It's just a primal need of every human being. I know a lot of people in USA go hungry every day, but if you tell that to someone in 3rd world country, they simply would not believe it. So it is a problem everywhere and it makes me feel sad.
 

Alli

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I've changed my mind. I'd make religion go away. You get laughed at for believing in goats cause - proof. But it's ok to believe in an omnipotent being without proof? And only your omnipotent being counts.
 

Scepticalscribe

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I've changed my mind. I'd make religion go away. You get laughed at for believing in goats cause - proof. But it's ok to believe in an omnipotent being without proof? And only your omnipotent being counts.
Shut down Facebook permanently (maybe they can buy Fox News first so I get a bonus).

Two excellent suggestions.

And, while they wouldn't be my No 1, they'd be in my top five of global problems.

Re world hunger, there tends to be less of that (barring the effects and impact of natural disasters) in countries where women enjoy some degree of economic autonomy (which often comes back to having had access to education).
 

lizkat

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Re world hunger, there tends to be less of that (barring the effects and impact of natural disasters) in countries where women enjoy some degree of economic autonomy (which often comes back to having had access to education).

Education does usually open doors for women, unless a country has a low minimum age for marriage and also limits female education to the years before a girl is married off. But even in the USA, cultural and religious constraints can reduce an educated woman's autonomy and so reduce her access to not only employment but also to social safety nets if her husband takes exception. The latter is still a problem sometimes in rural areas of the USA, where family farms are struggling and blue collar jobs have evaporated, but the husband refuses to let his wife work outside the home or to apply for food stamps or other social services, even if the family qualifies.

In conservatively governed states, the social service agencies sometimes compound this problem by consciously not making an effort to see that people who do qualify for benefits know of them and know how to apply for them, or they attempt to shame people who do use the available benefits.

A couple of excerpts from Michael Lewis' book The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy:

An Arizona congressman proposed that the card used by people receiving food-stamp benefits be made prison orange, conferring not just nutrition but shame. In 2016, after several counties in North Carolina suffered severe flooding, the state tried to distribute federal disaster-relief food-benefit cards on the day of the presidential election, to give poor people a choice between eating and voting.​
Concannon (head of Oregon's nutritional assistance program, being interviewed by Lewis] had explained to a Kansas executive who oversaw that state's food-stamp program how he had made it easier for people in Oregon who were going hungry to access their program: “He said, 'Jeez, if we did that we’d have more people coming in the door.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but isn’t that the idea?’"​
 

SuperMatt

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Education does usually open doors for women, unless a country has a low minimum age for marriage and also limits female education to the years before a girl is married off. But even in the USA, cultural and religious constraints can reduce an educated woman's autonomy and so reduce her access to not only employment but also to social safety nets if her husband takes exception. The latter is still a problem sometimes in rural areas of the USA, where family farms are struggling and blue collar jobs have evaporated, but the husband refuses to let his wife work outside the home or to apply for food stamps or other social services, even if the family qualifies.

In conservatively governed states, the social service agencies sometimes compound this problem by consciously not making an effort to see that people who do qualify for benefits know of them and know how to apply for them, or they attempt to shame people who do use the available benefits.

A couple of excerpts from Michael Lewis' book The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy:

An Arizona congressman proposed that the card used by people receiving food-stamp benefits be made prison orange, conferring not just nutrition but shame. In 2016, after several counties in North Carolina suffered severe flooding, the state tried to distribute federal disaster-relief food-benefit cards on the day of the presidential election, to give poor people a choice between eating and voting.​
Concannon (head of Oregon's nutritional assistance program, being interviewed by Lewis] had explained to a Kansas executive who oversaw that state's food-stamp program how he had made it easier for people in Oregon who were going hungry to access their program: “He said, 'Jeez, if we did that we’d have more people coming in the door.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but isn’t that the idea?’"​

The higher the percentage of evangelical Christians in an area, the worse the poor are treated. Jesus must be looking down and shaking his head.
 

lizkat

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The doctrines of every major religion prescribe helping the the poor get through this life, so I don't get it why in the USA, so many white evangelical Christians take their conservative politics to the pulpit and thus end up pitching to parishioners to support a state government that takes a hard-ass approach on even nutritional assistance to the poor.

One wonders if they have ever gone hungry themselves. I don't mean hungry like skipping breakfast and ending up at work in a meeting that runs until 2pm, and so having lunch behind a growling stomach. I mean no damn food in the house for the family and no money to the end of the month because of having paid rent and utilities... and it's only the 15th.

So yeah, what's up with these folks? Maybe they have got confused about "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's" and their thoughts on that now run to "ok but Caesar ain't getting my dough and running it on out to a bunch of layabouts". If that's their issue, then their pastor is remiss in his own duties: it's not up to his parishioners to judge the hungry, but to help feed them.
 

Scepticalscribe

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Education does usually open doors for women, unless a country has a low minimum age for marriage and also limits female education to the years before a girl is married off. But even in the USA, cultural and religious constraints can reduce an educated woman's autonomy and so reduce her access to not only employment but also to social safety nets if her husband takes exception. The latter is still a problem sometimes in rural areas of the USA, where family farms are struggling and blue collar jobs have evaporated, but the husband refuses to let his wife work outside the home or to apply for food stamps or other social services, even if the family qualifies.

In conservatively governed states, the social service agencies sometimes compound this problem by consciously not making an effort to see that people who do qualify for benefits know of them and know how to apply for them, or they attempt to shame people who do use the available benefits.

A couple of excerpts from Michael Lewis' book The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy:

An Arizona congressman proposed that the card used by people receiving food-stamp benefits be made prison orange, conferring not just nutrition but shame. In 2016, after several counties in North Carolina suffered severe flooding, the state tried to distribute federal disaster-relief food-benefit cards on the day of the presidential election, to give poor people a choice between eating and voting.​
Concannon (head of Oregon's nutritional assistance program, being interviewed by Lewis] had explained to a Kansas executive who oversaw that state's food-stamp program how he had made it easier for people in Oregon who were going hungry to access their program: “He said, 'Jeez, if we did that we’d have more people coming in the door.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but isn’t that the idea?’"​

What you write sounds like a time warp; that is the way things were - 50, 60, 70 years ago, and more, but not now, mainly thanks to female education and the EU's CAP.

That is not the way rural life is in western Europe, not now, and there, I suppose, that CAP (the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, which gives income support to agriculture and keeps prices both stable and guaranteed) has transformed the quality of life in rural parts of the continent.

The patterns you describe - women prevented from working - or from having access to social security - or from having physical or social mobility - sound like something from half a century ago, or more.

These days, in western Europe, many farmers (especially small farmers) work part-time on their farms and may also work elsewhere, perhaps in a factory, or in some other occupation, in a part-time capacity, for their holdings may not justify a full time job - while their wives - if they are married - will often work in a nearby town - as secretaries, nurses, teachers, - having mobility, a steady salary, decent education, and economic independence.

However, in every country I can think of, rural areas, (especially rural areas that are poor) historically, have been extraordinarily repressive of women.

That is one of the main reasons that you see a flight from the land by women.

In many of the poorer, more traditional parts of Europe, (the west of Ireland, southern Italy, Montenegro, parts of Lithuania and Poland, among others) areas of rural deprivation are depopulated, full of elderly bachelors, or elderly widowers, mainly because women have fled to the cities - for employment, economic independence, access to education, a better life, once completing secondary school; not only did they want better opportunities than their mothers had had, above all, they did not want to repeat the experience of living the lives - stifling, suffocated, limited, controlled, - they had seen their mothers suffer and endure.

I suppose that I always get a bit of a shock reading stuff about the US - a country I grew up thinking of as a sort of "shining light", and example, a role model, someplace to emulate, - that shows how retrograde and regressive it is socially, in some ways, and how resistant to social and cultural change (let alone economic, political and legal change) it still is, in parts.
 
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Renzatic

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Apple fanboy

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End to war. Hunger and thirst to be eradicated. Global warming. Plastic and pollution. For the world to share its resources better.

Or how about all those diseases we have cures for to be given to third world countries? For what I pay for a coffee, some kid in Africa is suffering from Polio.

BTW I never pay for coffee. Just a jar of instant for when some tradesperson is here!
 
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