The deeper meaning of Hans Rosling and Gapminder

Over at the NYTimes.com is a good editorial by David Brooks on the meaning of the work of Hans Rosling and Gapminder. For Brooks, the meaning is that the world is becoming more middle class. Given that Brooks is a small “c” conservative by American standards, this conclusion is not surprising. I also don’t think it is wrong.

What I think would be wrong, however, would be to just read one meaning in the work. I think there are many conclusions one can draw from it. To me, the main one is that the Gaps between rich and poor people in the world is diminishing and overall people are benefiting from human progress.

Don’t believe me? Start with this video

And then go search for Gapminder videos on YouTube or TED.com and draw your own conclusions. I’d be very interested to hear what you think.

The world has still a great many inequalities and too much suffering. But the gaps are closing, and progress is increasing. Be hopeful.

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2 responses to “The deeper meaning of Hans Rosling and Gapminder

  1. That’s an interesting article Bernie. I especially like the part where it talks about how American society has defined itself by being a global leader in prosperity and that as the global middle class rises there will be a need for a redefinition of ourselves.

    • smartpeopleiknow

      I wonder if America will or will want to lead in this way. In some ways, it always has. The American dream isn’t so much about being wealthy as it is about being well off, which in many ways is a middle class aspiration. At least it would have been (and likely still is) for new arrivals to America. However for people who have been there along time, middle class aspirations may be seen as settling or even declining. I don’t know if American culture can manage that right now.

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