It’s not developed versus developing

One thing that naturally affects what kind of abundance we’ll experience in future is: how many people will have to share what we have? This has led to much fear and many generalizations over the rapidly growing poor parts of the world.

There are many oversimplifications in this thinking. One important observation on this comes from the former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government:

We are today at the point where the average woman on the globe is having only one female child. We’re still committed by the momentum of population growth to see population increase another 50%. But within the developing world there are huge differences, where some countries, not in a coercive way, but with culturally sensitivities, have empowered women, and given them the ability, made available control over reproductive choices. Other countries have done absolutely nothing or even opposed, and you see fascinating patterns.

When India was partitioned… originally, Bangladesh had about 5 million more people than Pakistan. They have had three decades of culturally sensitive, information rich, resource rich empowerment of women. Pakistan’s done nothing. By the middle of this century, Pakistan will have 60 million more people than Bangladesh.

So it’s not first world, third world; it’s not developed, developing. It’s the governments within the developing world, and in many countries in the developing world, their models that act better than we do.

That’s Lord Robert May, transcribed from a Lowy Institute video. (Quote is from 3:26 – 5:24)