Category Archives: Caribbean

World Population Shifts, 1950 to 2050

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The World Bank Dataviz blog (through the Economist) has produced yet another prediction graphic that has immediately become one of my favorites-

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At the top is a percentage change forecast of population from present day up until 2050 by world region. Africa’s population change is spiking with its high fertility rates and decreasing child mortality rates, surpassing Asia with the population giants of India and China in rate of change. Europe, by this time, is expected to see negative population growth, as some northern European nations are already experiencing.

“The world in 1950 looked very different from how it does now. Europe was home to 22% of the world’s 2.5 billion people. Germany, Britain, Italy and France all counted among the 12 most populous countries. But strong economic growth in Asia coupled with high fertility rates in Africa have contributed to a big regional shift in the global population.”

Below the rate of change graph is a remarkable chart of the most populous nation within the 50 year intervals, color-coded by region. As would be assumed with the knowledge of the above graph, the blue of European nations quickly disappears as it is replaced by the yellow of Asia in the current year. Then the yellow is subsequently replaced by more of the red of Africa by 2050.

The world is changing. Rapidly. And it is important for people to understand where the trends of population are heading, for these trends predict where substantial development and social change is to take place. It would be best for the world to be a step ahead with these developments, as opposed to needing to shamefully catch up.

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The World’s Children and their Valuables

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Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti traversed the globe to capture young children standing behind their most prized possessions. The goal of the collection is of course to accent the differences in the quantity and quality of toys found among regions of varying culture and wealth. The first photo, featuring Chiwa from Malawi, is undoubtedly my favorite. I have a soft spot for toy dinosaurs.

Here’s the original link.

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Chiwa – Mchinji, Malawi

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Stella – Montecchio, Italy

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Pavel – Kiev, Ukraine

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Arafa & Aisha – Bububu, Zanzibar

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Cun Zi Yi – Chongqing, China

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Bethsaida – Port au Prince, Haiti

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Orly-Brownsville,Texas, USA

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Botlhe – Maun, Botswana

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Watcharapom – Bangkok, Thailand

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Alessia – Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy

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Norden – Massa, Morocco

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Julia – Tirana, Albania

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Keynor – Cahuita, Costa Rica

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Shaira – Mumbai, India

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Tangawizi – Keekorok, Kenya

Advice on Food Crises in Haiti

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Subsequent to the devastating earthquake in 2010, Haiti had five additional disastrous events in 2012 that drastically reduced its ability to grow and distribute food. These disasters, which included a severe drought, rising global food prices, hurricane Isaac, hurricane Sandy, and extreme flooding, “generated a loss of more than $250m, excluding the huge damage inflicted on infrastructure and livestock.” In 2011, “8% of Haitians (about 800,000 people) were living with chronic malnutrition; now, that number has leapt to 1.52 million.”

A guardian article from the development blog proposes advice on how to heal these reoccurring food crises. The biggest suggestion here is to start a seed bank in Haiti. The idea is that investing at the grassroots level would be a relatively easy and fairly non-interventionist way to make growing easier. Another idea is to get the Haitian government more involved with water-based infrastructure that would aid agriculture, for although Haiti has plenty of water resources, they currently aren’t being managed efficiently. This means full support of farmers on the part of the government, which would prove they value the agricultural community and its tribute to the national economy.

If food prices remain high, only real change to the current situation will save Haiti’s food problems. This means local and foreign government realization and activity. Otherwise inaction will prove to “destabilise the already tense political situation and throw [Haitians] all into yet another emergency, with programmes that simply cannot provide long-term solutions.”

Jamaica’s Second Debt-Swap

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Jamaica has announced this morning that they have plans to partake in another debt swap, in hopes of combatting their current economic crisis. A general rule for indebted nations is to keep debt payments under 25% of GDP, lest a country barely affords the interest payment let alone the debt itself. Jamaica’s debt is currently 140% of its GDP. Therefore to try and lower its current rates Jamaica has announced that it will (for the second time in three years) swap their debt to a lower-cost deal. It has been noticed that the nation’s funds are already stretched too thin, when roughly “55% of government spending goes towards paying the nation’s debt, while 25% goes on wages. That leaves just 20% for everything else – including education, security and health.”

Another reason for the urgency of the swap is so that the country does not fall through on a negotiation with the IMF, wherein Jamaica would get a loan provided they use the loan to reduce their debt. The island has had significant trouble with a decrease in tourists, as the “global financial crisis has cut visitor numbers severely.” With a main staple of their economy dwindling, it’s hard for private investors to see hope for real growth anytime soon.

President Woodrow Wilson said in 1913 that Caribbean and Latin American states “deserve nothing but the administration and applause of the world, [for] they have had harder bargains driven with them in the matter of loans than any other peoples in the world.” It’s curious that 100 years later, Jamaica remains chained by debt. It also certainly suggests something about debt and primary commodity traps.

Trinidad and Tobago withhold Statistics

Trinidad and Tobago’s National Security Minister banned the released information on murder rates and statistics in the nation a few days ago, in fears that the released figures will actually cause an increase in the number of violent crimes. He is worried about what he calls a “domino effect,” in where when high crimes rates are made available to the public, people may perceive these crimes as acceptable, low-risk, or so common that they are a norm. A lot of violence in Trinidad and Tobago is drug and gang related, and Jack Warner (Security Minister) believes that the release this may, “inflame additional crime,” when dealing with gangs especially. Do public homicide rates actually increase the crime in a country under the domino effect? Most likely not. Are some nations conscious of their crime statistics on the international level, and how they can be disadvantageous to the country’s tourist rates, economy, and legitimacy on input of international issues? Definitely.