Thursday, July 15, 2004

This year's UN Development Programme country rankings are out (the rankings begin on page 139 of the report) and, after a decade of pro-business public-spending slashing on the part of our beef-faced Mr. Martin Jr., our snowy thirteen provinces and territories are slotted in right before the Dutch at No. 4. Down four spots, that is, in about the same number of years. The human development index number assigned us (.943) is, mind you, only a few points south of world champion Norway, but by the same token we're an even smaller margin ahead of our intellectually backwards neighbour to the South.

The bottom nineteen nations (and 32 of the bottom 36) are all in Africa (the tragic basket-cases that are Haiti, East Timor and Yemen combine with the military-spending-mad Pakistan to round out the list). Which doesn't, of course, surprise. What is interesting is the advancement of a 'world average' HDI number of .729, or somewhere between the scores of numbers 101: Iran, and 102: the Occupied Palestinian Territories. That, on average, the good folks of our little sphere are living lives roughly equivalent to those 'enjoyed' by legless Nablus olive farmers is a sobering thought.

...More uplifting, perhaps, may be this

...Also, this

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