Saturday, January 16, 2010


Gapminding Haiti

I hesitate to post this, because there are still lots of people in dire straits in Haiti and I don't wish to distract anyone from providing what help they can.  If you are reading this in mid-January 2010, please make sure you are satisfied you have made what you consider adequate donation(s) to Red Cross, Doctors without borders, Action against hunger, and so on, and have time to spare to read this instead of boosting CNN et al.'s viewership watching their coverage.

Haiti is a small country, shares an island with another country, and doesn't appear to have other resources than its overpopulation, sunshine, and surrounding waters.  The Haitians speak French, and so do I. Yet I haven't known a lot of Haitians, probably because they are only a few million and they don't all have passports and globe-trot annually during their paid vacations, and may even not all have annual paid vacations nor passports.

The first Haitians I remember knowing were a couple of kids I met in a summer session in a boarding school in Switzerland (hello Georges! hello Fritz!) when I was a teenager. I met another member of the elite (I presume) a few years later. Hardly a cross-section. Be that as it may, I think one must wonder about the differences between Haiti and Singapore, for instance, countries in similar circumstances in some ways but not in others. Tell me what you think of  a gapminder query.

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