I firmly believe that if some hypothetical country in the future had a perfect system of government, one that maximizes everyone's happiness in some reasonable way and simultaneously does not cause any minorities to suffer (including individuals), that is based on firm mathematical foundations, and even includes an easily understood proof of the system's perfection in its constitution, you could still convince the people of the country to change their system by playing to their greed. I believe that a small group of greedy people living in the country could put together a slick package outlining the benifits of some subtle changes, most likely emphasizing some kind of short term gains, and convince the country as a whole to change their perfect system even if it were strictly prohibited in their constitution. That's how confident I am about humanity as a whole. Also, I want my fast car and my posh house to retire early in.
I simply find it tasteless that every news report about an earthquake or tidal wave or hurricane cites the extent of the damage in dollars. X people died, Y houses were destroyed, totalling Z dollars. Let me be clear: Z dollars will move from one set of people's pockets to some other (probably intersecting) set of people's pockets. These news reports make it sound like the people are going to pay the earthquake / tidal wave / hurricane Z dollars in extortion money that is never going to be seen again.
It sickens me to read about all the different plans for dealing with a potential asteroid strike if one is ever actually found. All the articles, movies, etc. I have seen take the approach of choosing one idea that they think is best, then send it out into space, and then what do they do? THEY WAIT AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS. Why do they wait? Because WAITING "COSTS" LESS "MONEY". Sweet mother of pearl, if I were in the position of deciding what to do if an asteroid were approaching, I would send out one new space probe every other month under the assumption that ALL PREVIOUS PROBES ARE GOING TO FAIL.
Only when one of the probes actually verifiably blows that thing out of our path will I stop sending more probes. If it takes 10 years or so for a single probe to reach the asteroid, this lets me try 200 times to save humanity instead of 4 or 5. Sure, maybe I waste 150 probes, but how much is really wasted? Some relatively small chunks of metal. People who dare to even HINT at assigning a "COST" in "DOLLARS" to such an endeavour should be put in the Hall of Most Idiotic Morons. What is "COST" when it comes to issues of global scale? What we call "COST" is really just us shuffling some bits of paper from one part of our planet to another part. Or these days we're just shifting around some electrons. It's not like we're paying a bunch of space alien contractors to come get rid of the asteroid for us in some kind of inter-planetary commerce.
ALL THE MONEY STAYS ON THE PLANET!!! IDIOTS.
Or they might be more clever and say there is a cost in the amount of time it takes to perform the task, but this is already bounded by the number of years that it will take the asteroid to reach Earth, and that number is going to be small by historic proportions. Besides, even if we could have been developing other technologies during the time we took, what if we fail? All the new goodies we made would have been for naught. So any new goodies made during that time should be saving-humanity-type goodies anyway.