Thursday, February 12, 2009

Selfish Americans and Profligate Developed Nations

While we are frequently reminded of the enormous percentage of the world’s wealth and energy sucked up by the USA and the developed nations, equally shameful imbalances go unmentioned. Generous, responsible Americans will want to know what they can do to correct this.

The United States, Canada, and Europe use far more than their share of advanced education. Students over fifteen in the developed world receive 5 days of education for every one that the average Chinese child receives, and those in India receive only a half day. This leads to further imbalances, as Americans use 50 to 100 times as many books as Indonesians and Namibians over the course of a lifetime.

There is also a pixel imbalance in the world. Not only do Europeans use more than 6 times the number of computer pixels than Africans, the Israelis are worse (darn them!), soaking up ten times the number. Similar stories of pixel deprivation in poorer countries, constrasted with pixel waste in the West, occur with digital cameras. Not content to overuse their own natural abundance of pixels, Europeans, and especially North Americans, think nothing of taking pictures while visiting even the poorest of countries.

And don’t even get me started on American flags. We in the US use such an enormous percentage of these that it beggars description.

What you can do.
Cut classes. Read fewer books. Learn less. If we can rein in our voracious appetite for such consumables, there will be more left over for the rest of the world. It only makes sense.

Take fewer pictures, especially while traveling abroad. Even better, take pictures of yourself and everything around you and email them to a city in India or Zimbabwe.

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