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Pay Now to Save the World Later?

Planet Money recently interviewed Elinor Ostrom, this year’s Nobel prize winner and an expert in the tragedy of the commons about global warming. Ostrom believes the solution to climate change will come not from government initiatives but from people in communities around the world. “I think we are stupid to sit around and wait and wait and wait,” she says. To test her idea, the Planet Money crew played a game designed by German zoologist Manfred Milinski to determine whether people will spend money now to save the planet later. The good news: in gameplay, the NPR employees saved the planet. The bad news: only 50% of the six-person test groups that Milinski tested managed the same feat. Milinski doesn’t hold out much hope that the world’s six-plus billion people will come through on their own. [%comments]