Dmitriy T.M. sent in a video where Hans Rosling illustrates changes in wealth and life expectancy in 200 countries over the past 200 years, all in four minutes. Pretty neat!
Pretty neat indeed! You very rarely hear that various 'non-Western' countries, aside from Japan and perhaps China, are progressing at all, though it's clear that most countries are indeed becoming healthier and richer.
I wish he'd given more explanation of why some countries would randomly bounce away from one of the axes then bounce back, but I guess that would take more than 4 minutes.
This runs completely contrary to what is generally perceived.
1) That not so long ago everyone was a sick and poor as "poor Africa"
2) That even though not all countries caught up, they are still better off than 200 years ago...
3) That China made a huge leap in public health under the communist regime...
I'm wondering what that little green country that bounces so far past the $40,000 axis is...I'm guessing the U.A.E or Saudi Arabia.
That is pretty neat. When can I get the app for my iPhone? ;-P
This presupposes that life expectancy and wealth are a consequence of industrialization and technology, and that endless growth is possible and desirable within a finite system. I'd like to see a trajectory of the earth's health over this same time period.
I can see the trajectory leading towards everyone having similar life expectancies... but unless we arrive at some sort of Utopian Socialism, I don't think we'll see everyone in the upper-right. More likely, nations will be distributed along the top line, left-to-right. It seems reasonable that we can eliminate the barriers to long life, but we're not likely to eliminate major variations in wealth.
Will the distribution change over time? Sure... Poor African nations may take the lead, and rich 'Western' nations may decline...
Average life expectancy is not any way to judge overall health. Many societies are not getting healthier at all, though their bubble will keep ascending the graph. While almost all forms of chronic disease (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, etc) are on the rise, we are getting better at preventing babies from dying, and keeping the elderly alive well past their time (laying in a hospital bed, on heavy drugs). Antibiotics have also played a big part in increasing the average life expectancy, but they ultimately do nothing to increase our overall vitality, though they can save us from acute fatal illness. If they were only used in acute fatal illnesses, we would be much more vital, but instead they're handed out like candy, ultimately weakening our own innate defenses and sapping our bodies of vitality. Health isn't the ability to live a long time, its vitality; having energy, creativity, optimism, comfort. How do we supplement most of those things today? Prozac, painkillers, amphetamines.. The effects of these drugs could really paint a positive picture, statistically, about our health, but they ultimately are proof that we are losing a grip on our health in almost every way.
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