This is one of those things I should wait a few days to update because I'll probably realize it's not as funny as I think it is, or at least that it's not going to translate well into a story, but here I go anyway because I haven't updated on this blog for a long time.
This is from my international policy class. We were talking about whether a country should stop trade or sanction a country if its industry is harming the environment. We talked about the scenarios of the country harming its own environment (say, an island's water supply) vs. a country harming the global environment (arguments that there is no truly isolated part of "the environment" aside). We got to the example of what if a country kills a lot of dolphins as it catches tuna. It was a heated debate! Then, E--, who has limited-but-pointed contributions to the class, and has a deep voice with a lovely accent (he's from Uganda) said after a reprieve in the debate during which several people were actively trying to not hate several other people:
What is so great about dolphins?
And the professor (kind of nerd-gone-cute, somewhat frenetic, high-voiced) quickly said:
That's a good question! Does anybody know?
And after giving only a moment's silence, before anyone could collect their thoughts on the topic, he answered his own question (in a Boston accent that was a reference to something no one knew):
Because they're wicked smaht! E-- here might be okay with eating a dolphin sandwhich, but most people are just as likely to eat tuna that was caught along with live humans!
I think most of this debate on global public goods got lost in the debate on morals. The one person that was staunchly in the camp of under no circumsances do you meddle in another country's workings lost credibility when she reveals she didn't believe greenhouse gases caused climate change. I think you have to believe there really is an issue that a country can contribute to globally before you can decide what policy choices would be "right" in dealing with it! We probably should have changed the topics from dolphins and global warming, and in fact we did: to fishing rights, and it became much, much more boring.