Monday, October 15, 2007

Hans Rosling: New Insights On Poverty

Two really insightful and entertaining talks by Hans Rosling on poverty and development in countries. The first shows off the tool Gapminder for looking at UN development statistics. The second has additional insights on poverty. And if you make it to the end of the second, there is an something that you just won't believe.

I love this quote:
I have a neighbor who knows 200 types of wine. He knows everything. He knows the name of the grape, the temperature, and everything. I only know two types of wine: red and white. But my neighbor only knows two types of countries: industrialized and developing and I know 200.
And I find his comparison of Sweden in its past with developing countries in 2007 to be quite perceptive. What is Sierra Leone like today? Well in terms of GDP and infant mortality it is similar to Sweden in 1830.

1830 Great-great Grandmother - Sierra Leone
1863 Great Grandmother - Mozambique
1891 Grandmother - Ghana
1923 Mother - Egypt
1948 Hans - Mexico
1974 Daughter - Chile
2004 Granddaughter - Singapore


Audacious Epigone said...

Have you read Gregory Clark's A Farewell to Alms? If not, you might check it out. It offers an answer to why the contemporary Sierra Leone/19th Century Sweden comparison doesn't work.

Fat Knowledge said...

I haven't read it yet. Looks interesting, will have to put it on the list.

But, why can't we expect that Africa goes through the same process that Europe did? Even if it genetic, why won't those that are rich/with the good genes/have the good habits procreate more than those that don't?

And does this thesis explain why China has been so successful lately?

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