Thursday, July 05, 2007

Philippine Economy: Can Numbers Lie?

Feeling a tad depressed because we can't make heads-or-tails about how the economy is or how insanely crazy Filipino politicians sometime act?

Kudos to Placeholder who has posted Hans Rosling's TEDTalks video!

Who the heck is Hans Rosling and why should we listen to the guy?

His TED Profile:

Rosling developed the breakthrough software behind his visualizations through his nonprofit Gapminder, founded with his son and daughter-in-law. The free software — which can be loaded with any data — was purchased by Google in March 2007. (Rosling met the Google founders at TED.)

Rosling began his wide-ranging career as a physician, spending many years in rural Africa tracking a rare paralytic disease (which he named konzo) and discovering its cause: hunger and badly processed cassava. He co-founded Médecins sans Frontièrs (Doctors without Borders) Sweden, wrote a textbook on global health, and as a professor at the Karolinska Institut in Stockholm initiated key international research collaborations. He’s also personally argued with many heads of state, including Fidel Castro.
In a snippet what did he say about the Philippines?

"The Philippines today has almost the same economy as the United States during the First World War. But we have to bring the United States forward quite awhile to find the same health of the United States as we have in the Philippines... About 1957."

Current health-care is equal to what the US enjoyed in 1957. Current Economy is at par with the US circa (or thereabouts), 1915. That's about a hundred years behind, economically and half-a-century back in health-conditions for the Philippines vis-a-vis the US.

What does this mean? Hans Rosling is saying that for the developing world, "Social Progress is ahead of economic progress." and what else do the number tell us?

that the world isn't as bad as we think it is. it ain't good but it ain't bad either.

Can we do better? Certainly.