Invest in Babies!

Page 339 of Sue Gerhardt’s The Selfish Society

Robert Caldwell in the USA calculated that for every dollar spent on prevention [of depression and related problems] in early infancy, nineteen dollars were saved in public expenditure further down the line.

– which is an interesting and, if accurate, startling statistic. The big problem, however, with the prospect of such investiture, is that it requires long term thinking. Which is something that most governments and, let’s be frank, most people, aren’t very good at. In fact, since governments are formed of people, the latter implies the former. So how do we get people (and therefore governments, who are often voted in by people – or even if not, tend to require at least some degree of public approval for their survival) to think more long term?

This is a tricky one. To think long term, you need to think long term, which is the epitome of circular thinking, but in order to get short term thinkers (most people, I reckon (although most of them probably wouldn’t admit it)) to at least act as if they are thinking long term, you would have to convince them of the short term benefits… of acting as if they are thinking long term, that is.


I think I’ll have a slice of cake…


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