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World poverty rate reduced by growths in China and India

  1. May 15, 2007 #1
    Most people have been hearing about the rapidly growing economies of China and India.
    The developments in China has lifted about 300 million people out of extreme poverty in the last two decades. Perhaps developments in India will do the same meaning a world reduction in poverty in the next two decades. Considering forty percent of the world's population lives in these regions, a reduction in poverty in this region is significant globally.
    One keeps hearing about the lack of democracy in China. But whatever government, improving the lives of such great numbers of peoples is an achievement.
    A slow process but one would like to be optimistic. How they develop will affect everyone environmentally. One hopes that they are able to develop in a more humane way, respecting life and the environment. For these countries can be a model for the rest of the developing world.

    Last edited: May 15, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2007 #2
    A bit off topic but along the same line of thinking, people in the poverty stricken countries do not have the same concept as we do of what it takes to make them happy.

  4. Jul 26, 2007 #3
    Living in poverty can be hell. Imagine being forced to live without electricity for refrigeration and air conditioning in the summer (and it can be very hot in the summer), without having enough food to eat, without running water (for drinking and showering), without a toilet or toilet papers, without a car or even without having a home (being homeless). This is what poverty is like.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2007
  5. Jul 26, 2007 #4
    About the stuffed animal. Its not the possession that brought her happiness in my opinion. Go buy her 5 more stuffed animals and ask her if she's 5 times happier, or even at ALL happier.
    Its not the acquisition of items, but the achievment of having SOMETHING that either outwardly or inwardly increases one's personal feeling of worth.
    She has one now, so she's no longer one of the group that DOESN'T have one. She moved up.
    I think that applies to nearly everyone, regardless of class or society or country. Most people like things that increase their feeling of self-worth. Those things bring instant gratification, but cannot usually be repeated, but can be reinforced.

    I feel like that article is tryign to "relate" to us in a very non-intellectual way. Are they trying to make us feel like its a PRIVELAGE to own stuffed animals and not to take them for granted? Well try giving one to a impoverished 40yr old man who is having trouble feeding himself and his spouse. You think that stuffed animal is going to bring him happiness? No. It doesn't increase his self-worth. What about buying him a car? Yeah, probably. He can use it.

    I can't use stuffed animals, therefor of COURSE theyre not going to bring me happiness for the sheer fact that I didn't have one prior.

    I do think it would be beneficial to perhaps have a poll of the poorer areas and find out what people actually WANT not what they THINK they want. To do so youd have to give out different items and measure reactions, or just observe closely with an analytical intelligent mind.
    First you have to meet their needs for survival. Then you have to increase their feeling of self worth, even if its something as simple as holding reading/writing classes for the illiterate.
  6. Jul 26, 2007 #5


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    To illustrate the sharp contrast in the meaning of poverty between people in the developed world and those not in it, consider the case of India, where afternoon temperatures in the coldest winter months routinely hit the 80s (F) and summertime low temperatures are mostly in the 90s (with highs between 110 and 120F). About 80% of Indians are considered to live above the poverty line despite the fact that less than 2% of all households can afford air conditioning.
  7. Jul 26, 2007 #6


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  8. Jul 26, 2007 #7


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    Air conditioning is a prime example of technological avances providing increases in living conditions that quickly become considered necessities despite the fact that 50 years ago, no one, not even the richest of the rich, had it.
  9. Aug 3, 2007 #8
    People didn't mind not having "air conditioning" as much 50 years ago as they weren't as stressed out - as so many seem today. It boils down to, "How MUCH does one need to feel comfortable, adequately fed, happy, and safe?" And, at what level of dissatisfaction, or poverty, do conditions rise in regions that they pose sizable risks to the rest of the world?
  10. Aug 4, 2007 #9


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    Sixty years ago was WWII. Seventy was the great depression. People weren't as stressed-out? You really believe that?
  11. Aug 4, 2007 #10
    There's a thought experiment I've been mulling about on technology, happiness, and freedom, for a while now. I think it's about time I shared it:

    To start, thinking about things like Abortion, Seat Belts, or other 'inventions' that have summarily come into controversy about whether they should or should not be legal/regulated/mandatory. And I find it interesting to ask what does this mean for those living prior to said invention. Were women then incapable of having reproductive rights before the invention of abortion/birth control? Were people more free before they had seat belts, because they weren't forced to wear them in cars?

    The specifics are irrelevant, the abstract thought is whether or not technology has the ability to create freedom. The application is the same to happiness. Are we happier since the invention of teddy bears? etc. Can technology create happiness.

    I have no evidence or statistics, but my suspicion would be that for the entirety of human existence, aggregate happiness has been more or less equal. Assuming it's measurable at all. Otherwise we would have to conclude that people thousands of years ago were horribly horribly depressed. What about chimpanzee's? Their most complicated tool is a rock. Talk about animal rights, get them some morpheme! They're in pain! :biggrin:

    On to freedom as well. If freedom is good and technology allows more freedom, then we should by all means divert our entire effort towards the development and production of technology. Nothing else matters. Our freedom and happiness depend on it.

    This to me seems an absurd conclusion, is my logic faulty? If not, the premises should be thrown out. Technology can not create freedom or happiness. So what does?

    As a final note, the book "The Happiness Paradox" cites a psychology experiment with Jams. Two stalls were set up, one really big with lots of different flavors, one smaller with only 6 (i think) flavors. They had people taste test and buy jams and were given questionnaires and all the usual stuff. The conclusion they found was that the larger display had more people come to it, but because of the larger variety of choice, people bought less often and reported being less satisfied with their choice. The smaller display had fewer people come to it, but people were more likely to buy Jams and reported being more satisfied with their product than at the larger display. I'm not sure what kind of controls/etc were used, it's been a while so this is all from memory.

    What makes us happy/free? I think it should be something outside my technology model, something not dependent on progress. And that necessarily means that it is subjective. I read somewhere, and I can't remember where, that fundamentalism in the US has a strong history. The recent resurgence is just one of many. And that if you look back historically there is a correlation between fundamentalism and poor economic conditions. The authors conclusion was that when life does not deliver the expected benefits, people fill the gap. I think there's definitely something to this, expected benefits.

    And finally, the book The Rebel Sell (excellent book) spends a great amount of time talking about Social competition and what it calls a Hobbesian Arms Race. It's too deep for me to summarize here, it's absolutely excellent though, I highly recommend. The best thing is that it suggests practical, easy solutions to diminish the problems this causes. (such as small modifications to the tax code)

    And that's all. Hope I didn't ramble too much. Btw I think this is still totally on-topic. It's just more abstract instead of regionalized to China/India.
  12. Aug 4, 2007 #11
    AAMOI Scientific American did a league table of the happiest countries, but as interesting as the article is I've never been able to find it. If someone has acces to their archive and could find at least an edited version of it I'd be grateful. They did a fairly scientific study of 1000 people in each country, and based their questioning on many areas, such as politics, health, wealth etc.

    Rather oddly the English came 3rd and Ireland top IIRC.
  13. Aug 4, 2007 #12


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    Not this, I imagine.

    As far back as I can recall, the Scandinavian countries always came out near the top. The suicide rates in Denmark are hard to reconcile with the high happiness index, though!
  14. Aug 4, 2007 #13
    Seems like they have a lot of happiness inequality there. :rolleyes:
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