Gayblack Canadian Man

Foreign Policy Analysis
Are Poor Countries Doomed?

Are Poor Countries Doomed?

Good morning, Hank, it’s Tuesday. So worldwide,
more than 6 million children died in 2013, which is horrible and unjust and unacceptable.
But it’s also the lowest that number has been in quite a while, even though the world population
has like steadily increased. Like, Hank, when do you think the last time was that the world
saw fewer than 6.3 million children die in a year: 1975, when the population of the world
was 4 billion? 1900 when it was 1.6 billion? No, in 1900 probably more than 8 million children
died. Earth has not seen a year with so few child deaths in hundreds of years–maybe a
thousand years! So, Hank, I’m a big fan of the Gates Foundation,
the organization set up by Bill and Melinda Gates that is–favorite mission statement
ever– devoted to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy and productive
life. And Bill and Melinda just released this fascinating letter highlighting three myths
about development–and yes, I can call them Bill and Melinda. Perhaps you’re not familiar
with the rule of twitter following (which I just made up) whereby you can call anyone
you follow on twitter by their first name. See also my acquaintances Barack, Beyonce,
and Ellen. Right, but anyway, Bill and Melinda’s three myths: First, it is not true that poor countries
will forever be poor. Hank, I hear this all the time, especially about Africa, that despite
their rich natural resources, “those countries” are just “doomed” to stay poor. Well yeah,
no. I mean, for one thing, seven of the ten fastest growing economies of the last five
years are in Africa. To quote Bill, “You should look skeptically at anyone who treats an entire
continent as an undifferentiated mass of poverty and disease.” It is not fair that Bill Gates
gets to be both a billionaire and a good writer. Okay, it’s time to put aside personal jealousy
and return to statistics. Adjusted for inflation, Botswana’s income per person in 1960 was $383-it
is now $12,000: $48,000 for a family of four. Now that’s an extreme example, but this is
happening around the world–in the last fifty years, income per person in India has quadrupled;
in Brazil, it has nearly quintupled. The second myth is that foreign aid is a waste.
Okay, quick quiz–guess what percentage of your countries budget is spent on foreign
aid. The answer is three percent–if you’re Norwegian. In the United States it’s less
than one percent. And even with that small investment, we’ve seen tremendous results:
twenty five years ago, there were 350,000 new cases of polio a year. Today, thanks to
the aid-funded polio eradication initiative, there are fewer than 400. Malaria, and measles,
and TB have all declined dramatically, and healthier kids go to school more, and then
they work more when they grow up than they would if they were chronically ill or disabled. And the last myth is that saving lives leads
to overpopulation. I hear this all the time and it’s just not true! Population growth
declines as infant mortality declines. All over the world. It is that simple. To quote
Melinda, “We make the future sustainable when we invest in the poor, not when we insist
upon their suffering.” BOOM! The “boom” isn’t part of the quote, that is-that was my addition. In short, Hank, these investments are showing
phenomenal returns, and the greatest risk we face is abandoning our success because
we wrongly think of it as failure. I’m gonna say it again: fewer children died in 2013
than in any year on record. And all this means, just to be clear, a better world not only
for those living in poverty but also for the rest of us. I know this is counter to a lot
of what you hear on the news, but wealthier countries benefit when poor countries become
less poor. For one thing, there are more people on the earth with the education and wellbeing
to make wonderful things, from paintings to smartphone apps. But there are also more people
to buy the stuff that we make, whether that’s artificial lips or, for example, my novel
The Fault in Our Stars. Hank, the Brazilian edition of TFIOS is called A Culpa E Das Estrelas–(he
said, butchering the Portuguese). Even though I can’t say the title of the book, it’s sold
hundreds of copies in Brazil–it’s more popular there than in Germany or the UK. A country
once deemed incurably poor now has, by some measures, a healthier book publishing landscape
than many countries in Europe. And it’s not just Brazilians who benefit from Brazil’s
phenomenal growth–it’s also young adult novelists in Indianapolis. So thanks to everyone in Brazil who’s bought
my book and thanks to the Gates foundation for decreasing world suck and busting those
myths. There’s a link to Bill and Melinda’s letter in the dooblydoo; it really is worth
reading. Hank, I will see you on Friday.

100 comments on “Are Poor Countries Doomed?

  1. John Green, I would like to thank you for writing 19 Katherines and Counting. One of the best books I've ever read.

  2. if Bill and Melinda are so altruistic, why is the foundation investing in american prisons? hardly a strategy of giving.

  3. Woah. Upon John saying that He wrote The Fault in our Stars, I now realize who he is and just how famous he is. Here I was thinking he was just some random YouTube dude… yeah no. Holy Crap.

  4. I am brazilian and read your book! I am so glad with the thank you and see the world is getting better with the poor.
    Funfact: in christmas, all I saw in the bookstores was "A culpa é das estrelas" to sell and evebody was buying it and want more books from the author John Green. Congrats!

  5. Botswana is probably the strongest sub-Saharan country. If it had a coastline, it would be in much better shape

  6. I was skeptical of the Botswana statistic, so I looked it up on a website that's friends to any statistician studying Development – CIA World Factbook. Botswana as of 2013 has a GDP/Capita of $16,400 (adjusted for purchasing power parity) which is just incredible. 

    Although, man does it have a high Gini Index (3rd highest in the world at 63) which makes me wonder if the GDP/Capita (PPP) hasn't been massively skewed in the average being taken (which is something you have to look out for studying development and globalisation) 

  7. Countries that are impoverished will not always be that way. Look at the UAE. Before oil was discovered there, they were like Egypt or Syria. Now they are one of the richest countries in the world. Also, if many of the Middle eastern and African states would stop fighting each other, their economies might be boosted.

  8. Question is can the earth's resources sustain a scenario where everyone is spending and living like a 1st world country?

  9. After watching your youtube video I have determined that I want to watch your movie "The Fault In Our Stars" with my girlfriend. After watching like the last 20 of your youtube video's I determined that I will not watch it "for free" online and will gladly watch it in a Theater. Thank you for opening up another door of my conscience mind. Have a great day.

  10. Wow, I don't know how to feel about the fact that "so few" children died, I am glad the number is decreasing, but there is still a long way to go. I am also glad we Norwegians share our wealth, but there are so many examples that the money go to waste and to the wrong people. I don't know if all of these statements are true, but I sure do hope so! Nice video! 🙂

  11. Does foreign aid count for the amount of money we spend on drones killing children in Muslim countries?

  12. After getting hooked on crash course world history, I first discovered that you were a novelist when I happened upon one of your novels in my university library. I'm excited to read it!

  13. I’m Brazilian but I live in Texas. When I moved from Brazil to the United States in 2003, Brazil was a very poor place. Im so glad to hear that things are getting so much better. Nearly all of my very extended and large family still lives there and I’m thrilled to hear that things are getting better. The Brazilian news just doesn’t show the good and progressive things anymore.

    Nerd-fighters rule

  14. Congress spends 737 billion dollars on defense every year.
    It would need 30 billion dollars a year to eliminate world hunger COMPLETELY.

  15. His repeated fact about Africa having the most and fastest growing economies is bullshit…Yeah, if you have nothing and someone gives you a dollar your income just skyrocketed, but if you make $30 an hour and you get the same dollar, it only shows a 3% income increase….

  16. One of the biggest challenges to overcoming poverty in developing countries is political stability. Africa's geography necessitates investments in infrastructure in order for it's wealth of mineral resources to reach international markets. The problem is that potential infrastructure will be expensive, meaning that as long as Africa's plethora of ethnic and religious groups continue to fire RPGs at each other, foreign investment will be a long ways away. Likewise political corruption and kleptocratic rule tend to be equally hostile to development in their own right.

  17. Ok, John,i'll call you by your name, sadly your name is very common
     so there are lots of johns out there that may think that i'm refering to them
    Being John Smith  one of the most common names in both the US and the UK
    Oh, John, by the way, the name for TFIOS in Spanish is "Bajo la Misma Estrella" which seems to me like a terrible ttranslation, but less weird to pronounce than "Buscando a Alaska"

    Sorry for any mistake i may have made when writing on your language, i'm a native spanish speaker (and writer)

  18. Bill Gates isn't all that great of a writer. Exhibit A:
    John you're way better than him… don't you worry 🙂

  19. Argentina is the exception, per-capita income has decreased in a 100 years, 1914 income was more than 2014 income, you should talk about Argentina's case is really complex and interesting John.
    Good video BTW!

  20. I feel like this is an advertisement for Bill and Melinda Gates…and some stuff about poor people. 

  21. Everyone has the same goals, we just have different ways of achieving them.
    Some people believe in freedom, compassion, charity, and love.
    Some people believe in government coercion and throwing people in jail for disagreeing.
    The ends do not justify the means. Government has no place in charity, because that means it's not charity anymore, it is theft.

  22. I'd heard of the book the faults in our stars written by John Green but I'd never seen him before or read it. I was watching this vid unknowingly that this guy is actually John Green until he mentioned "my book, the faults in our stars", at which point I was like whaaaaat?!? anyways, what i'm trying to say is i think its so cool that this dude is interested in these kinds of topics on his youtube channel, which I am also passionate about (I've read Bill and Melinda Gates' open letter and also completely agreed with their points!)
    Also, i just went on upworthy and coincidentally it recommended me watching another one of the vids on this channel…so because of all of these eerie coincidences, I think I need to subscribe to this channel 🙂

  23. The biggest problem I see, especially in older generations is they think we should never help other country's ever. They want everything to stay here inside our own country for only us to benefit from but it does nothing for the advancement of the world.

  24. Honduras is doomed as our polititians just keep stealing money, so most talented people are just tired and leave the country as fast as they can.

  25. John, I am incredibly inspired by your dedication to educating others about issues like these. We need more people like you!

    all the best

  26. You're book is incredibly popular in india too , though majority of your readers being the XX chromosome..
    I read some of it and instantly fell in love with the dark humor.

  27. South Korea was the poorest country in the world. In fact poorer than most of Africa and even North Korea. Look @ where they are now.

  28. What if we first helped make a better infrastructure in 3rd world countries so they could support medical facilities for themselves? It seems like contentiously shipping over vaccines and food is like pumping up an air mattress with a hole in it. Helping countries with infrastructure like proper farms, education, and facilities could be more beneficial. 

  29. We need to have a war that'll get rid of all the countries that are so crowded that you almost can't even walk on the sidewalk in it's so crowded.

  30. people in poor countries need to keep dying so we won't have an overpopulated planet?! first of all i'd take an overpopulated planet over one populated with selfish idiots any day, second you and your life style probably do more damage to the planet than 20 people (mostly farmers) in a poor country..this selfish mentality will not get anyone anywhere !! no part of the world can ever have stable living standards as long as others are living in (and dying of) poverty and disease!! it's just never gonna happen sorry :-/ 
    ok john if it's not fair that bill gates gets to be a billionaire and a good writer, is it fair that you get to hang out with him and be a good writer, a good speaker,and semi-famous with a cool mind, a cool job and the coolest brother in the world?! 

  31. Thank you for this. There is far too much misinformation about poverty and development. The foreign aid stuff is a lot more complex than does or doesn't work though do to factors like corruption religion and instability. That said there is a lot more to do and dispelling myths will help.

  32. I think your brain is doomed and so are rich countries which are turning into poor due to socialism and immigration.

  33. 2:27 using a 1 country study to say whether or not a drop in child mortality leads to over-population or not. Nice study…

  34. Well, aid isn't a waste depending on your viewpoint. For example, some developmental economists like William Easterly and Dambisa Moyo think that aid increases corruption and overflows an economy with foreign money. I don't agree with them, and have statistics as to why, but I just think it's not in the interest of truth to act like the jury is completely out on that one when it is still hotly debated. 

  35. I'm from Cambodia. And guess what, John? I think I might be the one and only Cambodian, who followed vblogbrothers and planned to read all your books. 

  36. In a incredible selfish reason, I think the rich countries lose profits and prestige when poor countries start to do well. Look at south korea. If USA never helped them, then samsung won't be such a big thing and Apple will dominate the market. Now there's china and they're gonna produce another samsung, and with the scary growth rate of sierra leone, they're gonna make another samsung too. That doesn't sound very good for all the apple shareholders.  

  37. But what about income inequality(like in India)? And doesn't foreign aid increase dependency and decrease self-sufficiency in some cases?

  38. "in fact, decreasing infant mortality has consistently slowed population growth all over the world."


    I am all for decreasing mortality rates but that statement does not make any sense lol. I get what you are trying to say but that statement is wrong. It would be more accurate to say 'over population is not something to worry about for hundreds of years if not longer'

  39. Brazil could technically be already considered a first world country. It already is the 5th economy in the world, or something like that.

  40. 7/10 fastest growing economies are in Africa because they start with almost nothing. When the Europeans left they didn't put people in charge, held elections or anything at all. Those countries started with nothing so basicly everything they do is considered "growth"

  41. "7 of the 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa", well, yea, but because they are already at rock bottom so anywhere up is gonna pull them a long ways relative to their economy. Also, even if those countries maintained 10% growth rates per year for 200 years they wouldn't be as developed as the U.S.

  42. For your good information, Brazil was prosperous from the monarchy was there in the 19th century. Why was it overthrown in 1889? Because Dom Pedro II has decided to abolish slavery. Can anyone justify that? In anti monarchist revolutions, it is always decent monarchs like Charles I, Louis XVI, Nicholas II, Alfonso XIII, or Vittorio Emanuele III who suffer.

  43. I'm from Somalia. White people need to stop stealing fish from our seas (we happen to have the largest coast line in Africa), the reason there are so many Somali pirates is to take back our main source of food and income which is fishing. So white people take our fish, then make the pirates look like monsters be dehumanizing them.

  44. "Fewer children died in 2013 than in any year on record".  According to Unicef data, this has been true for every year after 1970.  This coincides nicely with the introduction of modified crops introduced by Norman Borlaug and company.  Additionally, the percentage of people living on less than $1 a day has seen a similar decline.  This bodes well for developing nations, but in my opinion it will lead to catastrophic consequences.  More people making it to adulthood and more people making more money means more people consuming more resources.  Living on a planet that is almost unarguably tapped for resources as it is it seems unfathomable to imagine 7-10 billion people living even an eastern European standard of living.  The ecological impacts would likely be disastrous if the current global situation is any indication.

  45. Also when poor countries get richer they might want a higher minimum wage which is good for their poor, but also for our poor since with higher wages elsewhere we are relative to them less expensive, so companies might be less inclined to leave us for them. This might slow down their growth, but probably our companies will be replaced by entrepreneurs from their middle class/elite.

  46. America is a poor country. The government owes more money than any other nation. Oh, there aren't too many people. There are too many governments

  47. There is also one fact that there are to much humans for our system to sustain. We divide same as our cells but when our cells divide without control we call it a tumor because it starts to effect whole organisam because organisam can't sustain those new cells. We must think rationaly this world today isn't looking foward to make better life for common people , politics and personal wealth still control globe wich reduces chance of growing population.

  48. Maybe people in Europe just have better taste in books. BOOM. Just kidding. I love all of your books John.

  49. Wait John Green wrote The Fault in Our Stars? Well I guess that's another point to his coolness factor.

  50. Poverty in Africa is both innate and inherent. A lot of self determination is needed to overcome it, at country levels. Since 1990 there has been consistent growth of African economies largely due to adoption of free market economic systems. A shift from primary production to secondary and tertiary production has not fully taken place, and that is the problem.

  51. Hi Vlogbrothers

    Ugh: overly generalized, unnecessarily comedic, and to much jumping from
    left to right doesn't convey the message other than, a opposing opinion
    is fraught with ignorance.

    Thank you, not.

    The United States didn't develop into a nation from either charity or foreign aid. The same goes for Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, including the Caribbean states excluding Haiti.

    The European nations also didn't develop from charity or foreign aid. The same for nations of North Africa, the Middle east, and most of Asia.

    The nations that where colonized prior by the Europeans seem to be the nations also have the receive the most of foreign aid and donations.

    How many of these problem nations also are exporters of natural resources? Whether its agriculture, minerals, oil, or even consumer products? Who is getting the money?

    Its normal that nations develop by trade considering the track record of past nations, like in the Americas and Europe. The problem with these developing nations is development of technology is being outsourced to developed nations and the return of the sale of exports is only going to a few.

    How far am I off?

  52. John you problay not gonna read this because my English sucks and this video was posted 2 years ago but i am very glad that i can now more of my on country in a video of someone that is not Brazilian, that is because in Brazil we most time thinks that everthing is going wrong or not been take serious enough, basic worst than any were else and this tough puts my and probably most of people a little dawn every day, and think that nothing we do will make difference and your words give me hope and a Hope that is much stronger because is given for simple showing of the truth and for that i thanks you. Your videos always make day. Greetings from Brasil

  53. 'When infant mortality goes down, so does overpopulation. It is that simple.' No, it isn't.
    Helping countries develop certainly does lower the future population, but it's not nearly as simple as John is saying it is here. When infant mortality goes down, there's a population burst, then births slowly go down in the following years, because of the medical infrastructure that makes it easier to access condoms and birth control.
    The sooner we develop poor countries, the sooner that population jump happens, and the less births there will be because of it. So, yes, we should help developing countries as fast as possible. But it's not simple.

  54. While western countries did vaccinate much of Africa from polio, they first used it and its people for human testing of the possible vaccines, so that wasn’t great

  55. But Indian growth in wage rates and employment compensation is still proportional to national economic inflation so not exactly wealthier and the enormous growth in population isn't helping either

  56. I know this video is 5 years old, but I’m so glad that this video exists. My life feels like it’s falling all to shit (it may not be, but it feels that way all the time), but hearing that bad things were happening less 5 years ago than they had in the previous 100 years or so made me feel much better and I’m so happy. I’m also a lil drunk, but imma keep living and that’s been a hard decision today so good on you nerdfighteria:)

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