Jiva Technology

How the other half lives.

At a time when shouting at each other across social media is a favourite pastime for many, its hard to see things through other people’s eyes. Its not that easy and feels like an intrusion to ask how people live. Which is why I like this feature from my favourite Institute of Facts, the Gapminder Foundation. It provides some insight into what life looks like for people around the world, how they live and what they I’ve on.

Its worth five minutes of anyones’ time: Gapminder Dollar Street

The institute also have books and videos on, “how not to be ignorant about the world” which is no bad thing when misconceptions seem to drive a lot of what’s bad in our world today. For those who don’t know the Gapminder Foundation, it was founded by an inspirational statistician (yes, there are some), called Hans Rosling. He died in 2017, but his work lives on. Which is a good thing in itself. One of the things that Rosling frequently talked about is our in built desire to think of things in a binary way: good and bad, have’s and have not’s. But its clear that it clouds our judgement and leads to the sort of division (and shouting) that we see today. As Rosling pointed out, whilst many people think of rich and poor, three quarters of the worlds’ population are neither; they live in middle income countries. So even the phrases we use, such as, “how the other half lives” can be intensely misleading. We need to think in averages and gradations. Something that comes easy to few people. Which is why the Gapminder Foundation is such a great concept, because its a place to continually go back to and remind ourselves that the world is in a better place than most of us realise and that those who say otherwise may well have other reasons for saying so.


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