Wednesday, October 22, 2008

[Long Range Thinking] The dilemma

Hypothesis: People make the best decisions they can. When deciding, their short-term interests (the ones that have an immediate impact on them) usually outweigh their long-term interests.

I suspect that one's reasonably uncontroversial.

I wonder if you could say this, though: People make the best decisions they can. Under extreme circumstances people could be persuaded to think about their best interests in terms of things that will happen in their lifetime. They might possibly think about it terms of their children, and maybe maybe in terms of their grandchildren.

People who voluntarily think at the century or millenia level - like Jim Hansen or Professor Vaclav Smil - are extremely rare. What makes them different?

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