1995. Failure of policy recommendations – no common sense

From Bill Easterly

“The UN is not alone in producing action plans that nobody notices. The World Bank promotes itself as the “Knowledge Bank” for action recommendations. Yet a recent World Bank study found that 31 percent of the World Bank’s “knowledge products” full of such recommendations have never been downloaded, and 87 percent were never cited.”

Why are the policy recommendations of the Policy Institutions not more used? Because they are not useful?

Society needs ideas but the ideas that come from the Institutions are mostly riffs on current policies, or criticisms of current policies. But very little with recommendations for what to do differently.  The ideas remain within the current paradigm supporting those doing well in the current paradigm, climate and marginalized population treated as ignorable externals Some forward looking ideas fail common sense. For example, dealing with a housing crisis by proposing more housing that uses more energy to build and to run, and end up creating middle class priced housing as middle class jobs are disappearing. Or job creation that provides cheaper skilled worker to existing oligopolies thereby keeping the machine of wealth concentration running full time and full tilt. The point is that proposals that pass the common sense test for future directions are very hard to come up with. Much of society knows this, but the Institutions grind out proposals that are not adequate to the now widely shared view of what’s wrong. So the proposals are useless and unused. Society runs without leadership adequate to the situation.

A local wine and cheese shop that does tastings was visited by public health. “You can’t dry wine classes with a towel, you need a $4000 machine that will dry them to 197 degrees.” A friend wants to redo the windows in his house. Finds there are really only two suppliers. Why cant he find a local shop? Because windows have to pass tests for energy compliance that require expensive testing equipment. Guess which companies can afford the Equipment? All local window manufactures are long closed.

Yesterday I drove through Redding and the Carr fire area. Suburbs surrounded by dry brush. The houses are built on prime farmland and the hills, where the houses should be, grow brush.

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