Saturday, May 14, 2011

Developing Nations or Developed Nations? The Pros and Cons



The other day, I read a blog post by Matt Flannery, the founder and CEO of Kiva.org, titled Developed or Developing - Which Would You Rather? The post highlighted some of the thoughts that I have had after living two years in a "developing" country. This is my iteration of that post...


Many of us in the US and in other developed, Western nations tend to live with a slight air of ethnocentrism about us. Even those with the best intentions, motivated by philanthropic desires, accept the implicit assumption that everything is "better" in the developed world. However, though I am infinitely grateful to live in the United States of America and my heart is full of gratitude for all the many things that we have been blessed with here, I think that it is important to recognize the pros and cons of living in a developed country as well as some of the advantages of life in a "developing" country. Below is my perspective on some of those. Obviously, these are both my personal opinions and broad generalizations. As such, they are certainly open to debate. Please let me know if you disagree with these suggestion or if you have anything to add...


Developed Countries


Pros
  • Easy access to information via books and the internet.
  • Quality educational opportunities
  • Improved access to health services
  • Availability of balanced diet options
  • Credit, banking, and other financial services readily available
  • More economic opportunities
  • Increased variety of entertainment options
  • Wide array of consumer choices
  • Freedom to travel i.e. road conditions, flight prices, public transportation and other reduced transportation costs makes mobility much easier
  • Stronger emphasis placed on values of tolerance, equality, and diversity.
  • A general feeling of care and stewardship for the environment 
Cons
  • Lack of strong sense of community
  • Often overly busy, rigidly structured schedules and by consequence, lives.
  • Higher levels of stress and perfectionism
  • Lack of friendliness to strangers
  • Insatiable desires and a general lack of gratitude and appreciation i.e. we take the above mentioned "pros" for granted.
  • A more dogmatic and defensive approach to personal beliefs and opinions
  • People are often overly sensitive/easily offended
Developing Countries

Pros

  • More time and less diversions which helps to facilitate more enjoyment of the simple pleasures in life
  • Stronger sense of community, neighborly predilection, and tighter geographic social networks
  • More prominent cultural emphasis placed on the family--both immediate and extended
  • A more apparent cultural ethos of hospitality
  • A greater sense of open mindedness i.e. more apparent desire and humility to listen and learn from others
  • It is generally acceptable to be more blunt and candid in dialogue and discussion--less topics are "taboo" (of course this can also be a bad thing too)
Cons
  • Basically, the opposite of all of the pros of living in a more developed country.
Obviously, these are both broad generalization and my personal oppinions. As such, they are certainly open to debate. Please let me know if you disagree with these suggestion or if you have anything to add...