Saturday, February 17, 2018

Is the United States a "developed country"?

Whenever the United States performs poorly on an index measuring human well-being, people tend to pull up charts comparing us to various European countries to show how sad our stats are.

If this is useful, that's fine. But I'm not sure it's an entirely fair comparison. 

Is the United States a "developed country" the way many European nations are? 

I wonder this because places like France and Britain (and Belgium and the Netherlands and Germany and Portugal and Spain and I'm running out of breath) used to have colonies all around the world that they looted and exploited--and then eventually left under the face of mounting local pressure. 

The United States did its own share of overseas colonial adventuring, but also dehumanized and enslaved and oppressed and exploited millions of people right here in our own borders. And I'm not convinced that we've addressed that legacy thoroughly enough to become a "developed country." 

I suspect that if you lumped together statistics from France or Britain or Belgium and their former colonies, the United States would look more average. 

Maybe at the end of the day, we need to stop thinking about how we're doing as a "developed country" and start asking when we're gonna live in a better developed world. 


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