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We're capable of empathizing and sympathizing, but only with single individuals, and not with very large numbers of people and collectives. Now, these kinds of limitations have quite striking consequences today. First of all, they result in our 'failure to aid.' In 2008, only five countries (Sweden, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands) had reached the modest goal that the United Nations set decades ago of aid amounting to 0.7% of a country's GNP.
"Festival of Dangerous Ideas" (Sydney Opera House) video link: http://vimeo.com/7515623 -- at the 19:20 mark