Every day three Australians die or suffer needlessly waiting for a transplant because we have poor organ donation rates. However, organ shortages are a universal problem. It has been estimated more than a million people are awaiting kidney transplants in the world.
The prime reason I learned German in high school was because it was compulsory. The second reason was the opportunity to break down the communication barrier with over 80 million people. It was only after I travelled to Germany after high school that I realised hundreds of millions of foreign students learn English for the same reason. Ever since, I’ve wondered about the value of those years of German classes, other than boosting my high school marks. Obviously there are monetary benefits through better employment opportunities. However, there are also monetary opportunity costs – how much would one earn had they taken up chemistry instead, or simply spent the time working? Learning a language also presents a myriad of intangible and some perhaps unexpected benefits, and costs. So what is the overall value of learning a second language?
If you needed $2,000 in a week, would you have enough savings? This scenario could easily become reality. For example, an emergency ambulance or a family’s flights, say for a funeral, could cost more.
In the mid-2000’s Spain embarked on a solar power revolution: 2008 alone saw solar-energy capacity increase by 400%, accounting for half of the world’s new solar-power installations[i]. Yet five years on, many of Spain’s solar-energy companies are on the verge of bankruptcy as revenues and demand plummet. What happened to cause such a rapid fall from grace in the industry once dubbed ‘renewable-energy’s Cinderella’[ii]?