Well, it is looking more and more like they’re going to do away with full time positions where I work so they won’t have to provide us with health care. If that happens, I am in deep trouble. I honestly don’t know how I’ll make it. And I’m hearing that same story from more and more of my friends. It feels like we Americans are on the threshold of a brand new way of living, and it may take decades for it all to settle into a routine that can be characterized in any formal way.
But I refuse to panic, because I’ve traveled. I have seen what people do to survive, and I know that I’ve yet to tap in to even one percent of my survival skills. I may feel like I’m falling, but I have a LONG way to fall before I get to where most of the planet is. I’m still in fantastic shape, relatively speaking. And I think the fact that most Americans do not travel internationally is what makes them so closed minded and nervous about their future. A global perspective will demonstrate to you that human beings can survive under the harshest of circumstances. We are a hardy breed. And even the poorest American is so much better off than the vast majority of the world that it kind of makes me blush that we complain at all.
Here are some statistics from the Global Issues website that will certainly make you think.
- Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
- Based on enrollment data, about 72 million children of primary school age in the developing world were not in school in 2005; 57 per cent of them were girls. And these are regarded as optimistic numbers.
- Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
- Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.
- Access to piped water into the household averages about 85% for the wealthiest 20% of the population, compared with 25% for the poorest 20%.
- There are 2.2 billion children in the world. 1 billion of them live in poverty.
- In 2005, the wealthiest 20% of the world accounted for 76.6% of total private consumption. The poorest fifth just 1.5%.
- Approximately 790 million people in the developing world are still chronically undernourished, almost two-thirds of whom reside in Asia and the Pacific.
It’s a brutal world in which we live. No matter how far I may fall, I know that I can always look over my shoulder and see billions of people who are worse off than I am. And if you have the leisure time and the ability to sit and read this blog, you are in the same position that I am. This position does not make me proud, but it does give me perspective. And as more and more things start to unravel, I’m grateful for that perspective.