De meetbaarheid van hoop

SEATTLE – De levens van de armste mensen in de wereld zijn de afgelopen vijftien jaar sneller verbeterd dan ooit tevoren, maar ik ben optimistisch dat we het de komende vijftien jaar nog beter zullen doen. De menselijke kennis neemt immers toe. We kunnen dit concreet zien in de ontwikkeling en de dalende kosten van nieuwe medicijnen als die tegen HIV, en in de productie van nieuwe zaden die arme boeren in staat stellen meer gewassen te oogsten. Als zulke instrumenten eenmaal zijn uitgevonden, verdwijnen ze nooit meer – ze verbeteren alleen maar.

Sceptici wijzen erop dat we het lastig vinden de nieuwe gereedschappen bij de mensen terecht te laten komen die ze echt nodig hebben. Dit is het punt waarop verbetering van de doelmatigheid van overheden en filantropische instellingen een groot verschil maakt. Dat proces – het formuleren van heldere doelstellingen, het kiezen voor de juiste aanpak, en het beoordelen van de resultaten om feedback te verkrijgen en de aanpak voortdurend te verfijnen – helpt ons de middelen en diensten aan iedereen ter beschikking te stellen die er baat bij heeft.

Innovatie om de problemen bij de distributie van verbeteringen op te ruimen is van cruciaal belang. Net als bij de introductie van de stoommachine lang geleden is vooruitgang niet “gedoemd zeldzaam en sporadisch” te zijn. We kunnen er in feite voor zorgen dat het de gewoonste zaak van de wereld wordt.

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