I recently watched this thought-provoking video presentation by doctor and global development expert Hans Rosling, in which he challenges Westerners’ preconceived ideas about the so-called Developing World.
His research is based on solid statistics, mostly drawn from United Nations data, and it is also a pleasure to watch because he makes the statistics accessible through an informative, as well as entertaining, presentation of the facts.
I certainly find this topic so interesting. Coming from America, and growing up with the world view which I think is common among Americans, that America is essentially the best country in the world, with the best standard of living, with its residents enjoying great health, long life, obviously low infant and child mortality rates, etc, and all the things that other nations aspire to. However, I think many of our ideas of America as a first world, developed nation should be re-evaluated, and we should take an honest look at the flaws present. Also, it might be helpful to take a more humble view of our place in the world, and to learn from our world-neighbors who have accomplished a great deal in improving the lives of their citizens. Finally, something I also take away from information such as that presented by Hans Rosling is that rather than divide the world in to the haves and have-nots, or ‘us’ and ‘them’ categories, I think it is time we saw ourselves as being among equals, rather than just seeing ourselves as ‘more advanced’ and ‘better’ than other nations. Each country and culture has strengths and weaknesses, but as long as we have an attitude of superiority, we can’t have real cultural exchange and understanding. And by looking at the developmental problems that exist in countries all over the world in an honest and factual way, rather than being guided by outdated views and faulty preconceived notions, we have a much better chance of improving things.
Okay, that’s enough from me for now. I’ll let Hans Rosling show you more, since he’s the expert. Prepare to have your ideas challenged!
Here’s another one, just for good measure. Its just as interesting and entertaining, with a great twist at the end.