MacArthur today announced it will launch a new round of its 100&Change competition for a single $100 million grant to help solve one of the world’s most critical social challenges.
I was awed by this until I reflected that it is less than our town is spending to renovate a K-8 school for 440 town-resident children.
Readers: What should they fund if they want to change the world?
My proposal: The typical American can’t afford to live in the U.S. without taxpayer-funded welfare, e.g., subsidized housing and/or subsidized health care/insurance (the income limits for these means-tested welfare programs are typically higher than median household income). The issues around health care cannot be dented for $100 million (due to the cruel anti-science bias of the Trumpenfuhrer, the NIH Budget for 2019 is only $39 billion). But homebuilding is decentralized and done by a lot of contractors with minimal capital and scale. These smaller contractors cannot afford to do any R&D. Therefore the $100 million should be spent to try to figure out how to build housing at a lower cost.
- my non-profit ideas from 2007
- “Why America’s New Apartment Buildings All Look the Same” (Businessweek), about an innovation that has cut costs for building multi-family housing (it rests on the regulatory miracle of classifying wood that burns rapidly as “noncombustible”)