How today’s bad decisions are harming the next generation
.

No matter how hard we try, humans are generally short-sighted.

If we need to make a decision and the negative consequences are far into the future, we are often guilty of missing the big picture. The evidence is both personal and global: we love to procrastinate; we eat unhealthy food; we damage the environment, and we take on too much debt.
 

Key takeaways: 

  • 1 in 3 children between the ages of 6 and 15 are currently out of school in Northern Nigeria.

  • Nigeria’s brain drain problem could have a negative impact on GDP, even after accounting for remittances.

  • 65% of the money Nigeria will borrow in 2022 will be spent on the petrol subsidy—debt that future generations will have to pay.

​​​​​​
A study from the University of California, using images of the brain, concluded that when you think of your future self, your brain acts as if you are thinking of a different person—someone you don’t know that well. This type of thinking has a dramatic impact on intertemporal (present vs future) decision-making. 

Obviously, your present self will win most of the time.

Even our leaders suffer from this. Politicians are elected for four years (a maximum of eight) and are likely to make decisions that work for the country during that period. Benefits that come far into the future have a muted impact on their political success and therefore have less weighting—even if they are more crucial than shorter-term gains.

Ironically, a major role of government is to solve this present vs future decision dilemma.

For example, one of the reasons that pensions exist is to help us save. Simply put, not all humans would save enough for retirement if pensions didn’t exist (even

This story is only available to Premium subscribers Subscribe or sign in to finish reading

Not ready to subscribe? Register to read a selection of free stories

Tokunbo Afikuyomi, Jr.

Tokunbo Afikuyomi, Jr.

Read Latest

Why are regulators struggling to approve the Seplat-Mobil deal?

PREMIUM - 12 AUG 2022

25/24: What do Nigerian governors see as the way forward for the country?

PREMIUM - 11 AUG 2022

Are Nigerians better off with a pension plan?

PREMIUM - 10 AUG 2022

Will higher interest rates encourage Nigerians to save more?

PREMIUM - 09 AUG 2022

Download our mobile app for a more immersive reading experience

Scan QR code
mobile download