Poor Country, Rich Country

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Poor Country, Rich Country

by Ari Armstrong

Following are a few contrasts between poor, developing, and rich countries. These are generalizations, so of course they admit exceptions. Still, I thought they were pithy. I'll consider this a work in progress, so if I think of additional points, or of somebody else sends along good suggestions, I'll add them. -- Ari Armstrong, January 19, 2005

In a poor country, many people lack jobs, or they are too weak to work hard because they lack adequate nutrition and medical care. In a developing country, people work as hard as they can and scrape to get by. In a rich country, people come home from well-paying, generally pleasant jobs and then pay to physically exert themselves at gyms.

In a poor country, people get sick from drinking the water. In a developing country, people can afford to put the toxin chlorine in their water to kill the germs. In a rich country, people can afford to take the chlorine out of the water before they drink it.

In a poor country, people try to eat as much fat as they can. In a developing country, people are able to eat as much fat as they want. In a rich country, people pay extra to eat less fat, fake fat, and special kinds of fat.

In a poor country, the poorest people in society often die from disease, starvation, or crime. In a developing country, the poorest people in society can, with good education, rise to the middle class and afford the basics of life. In a rich country, the poorest people in society often own an automobile, live in a comfortable house or apartment, and watch cable television on color sets.

In a poor country, children feel lucky if they can work. In a developing country, children are happy if they can attend school rather than work. In a rich country, children often complain about school because they can't even imagine an impoverished life.

In a poor country, people sometimes let animals scavenge for food. In a developing country, people meet the basic needs of their pets. In a rich country, people take their pets to schools and psychotherapists, put them on diets, and buy them Christmas presents.

In a poor country, socialists make people poorer and don't bother to try to justify their policies. In a developing country, socialists claim their policies will make people richer, even as free markets are accomplishing that goal. In a rich country, the socialists admit their policies will make people poorer, and proclaim that to be a virtue, even as they enjoy the wealth generated by economic liberty.

In a poor country, people are often restrained because of their genetics or place of birth. In a developing country, many people are able to profoundly improve their lives. In a rich country, people generally are able to determine the course of their own lives and pursue values mostly free from political impositions.

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