New World Bank Initiative to Tackle Human Relationships

April 1, 2016 BY Dan Ariely

WASHINGTON, DC, USA, March 30, 2016

After decades of attempting to tackle some of the world’s most challenging problems, such as poverty, conflict, and economic mismanagement, the World Bank announced today that it will now tackle the principal cause of human misery.

Under the leadership of the Bank’s president Jim Yong Kim and the Bank’s new Global INsights Initiative (GINI), the World Bank’s analytics have become more penetrating and its operational agenda far more daring.

“We are excited by the opportunity to address the root cause of the world’s greatest conflicts,” said Kim, the bank’s president. “People, and how they just can’t get along.”

Fractured relationships have been increasing monotonically for several decades. The frequency of marital fights, rising divorce rates, and the substantial increase in short term relationships – facilitated by apps such as Tinder – make this initiative a necessary next step for the Bank and the world, claims Varun Gauri, who is the lead for the new task force.

“Within five years,” said Gauri, “The team will provide a definitive answer to why couples fight so much.”

This five-year initiative will include educating the public in various topics pertaining to effective relationships, piloting different family structure arrangements, and conducting randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of new marriage contracts. Among the many topics that the task force is expected to study are: Teen dating decisions (i.e. who to date, who not to date, how to roll your eyes at your parents advice), timing marriages, correct strategies for marital fights (i.e. how to argue effectively, things to fight about, how to make sure the couch is comfortable after those fights), money management in the home, techniques for effective and productive makeup sex, and how to properly raise children.

There will be a social accountability component in which individuals dissatisfied with their marriages will be able to call the World Bank. There will also be a worldwide dating app on the World Bank website.

“It is not as if men are really from Mars and women from Venus,” said Kim. “But let’s just say that when men try to meet women halfway, on Earth, they usually get lost and don’t stop to ask for directions.”

The initiative is being supported by a $38.2 million grant from the Hallmark Corporation a $7 million grant from the Gates foundation, and a $20.7 million grant from the Swedish government.

“Everyone who’s ever been in a relationship agrees that this is a very good use of resources,” added Gauri. “They say money can’t buy you love, but it can help us figure out why it’s so hard to make relationship work.”

The World Bank plans to complete this initiative by the year 2021.