Unexpected news about poor countries

Yet another clip from John Green, this one referencing the 2014 annual letter from the Gates Foundation exploding some myths about developing countries. Interesting stuff, delivered in Green’s usual enthusiastic style and in under four minutes:

Link: http://youtu.be/K8UlTygCYjo

One of the points made is that as countries get richer, they also become better customers for what we make. In fact, I recall thinking mumble decades ago that foreign aid might be more popular if it were called “market development.”

As a YouTube commenter suggests, there’s the problem that as countries become richer they use more resources, and of course emit more pollution (China being the standard example). True enough; reality is never simple. Personally, I’d rather think of that as a technical challenge than a reason to hope poor countries stay poor. (Incidentally, the aforementioned Gates letter does briefly touch on this point.)

I do have a few quibbles with the Gates letter. For one thing, it says “life span” when it would be more accurate to say “life expectancy.” For another, it talks about per capita spending on foreign aid as if everybody paid the same rather than an amount dependent on income. (It’s a small number in any case.)

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