Pico Iyer: Where is home?

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Last year, the latest reports from United Nations about international migration proved something surprising about the world today: more people are living outside their home countries than ever in human history. As many as nearly 250 million people – that’s a quarter of a billion – do not, or do no longer, live in countries they were once born or raised. Many factors contribute to such phenomenon. When a country’s economic situation is in dismal condition, a huge diaspora will ensue. If a country is plagued by wars or other civilian conflicts, millions of people will seek a safer place to survive, no matter what challenges they endure. Some choose to leave just because ‘they want to leave’; looking out for a better, more tranquil life, or somewhere that really supports their souls, dreams, and/or ambitions.

No matter what the reasons are, these people are increasingly identifying themselves as ‘global citizens’. They share a belief in the source of their origins, or ancestors; but in the end, with waves of globalization penetrating all aspects of life, migration is now an inevitable issue. There will be more and more people moving out of their countries, forming new communities, new mindsets, new cultures, and for sure, reshaping the world over and over. Earth has never been colorful like that before.

Pico Iyer, himself a full-blooded Indian, but raised in UK, working in US, and spending some time in a rural village in Japan, and also a travel author, shares his insight as one of 250 million international migrants, in this empowering TED talk about travel, moving out, and self-identity.

 

Esther Duflo: Social experiments to fight poverty

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Here’s one big question: what has happened to poverty? While optimists talk about flourishing economic growth and proudly declare that this disease will end sooner or later, realists, or the skeptics, point out worsening inequality in nearly all parts of the world as the main consequence of globalization. Despite an ever increasing abundance of various materials amid a burgeoning world population now 7.2 billion strong, 40% among them still earn 2 US$ a day or even less – threshold of what constitutes as ‘economic poverty’ in developing world.

Hundred billions of dollars, the countless of it, have been spent by industrialized countries for decades to help lift these people from the satanic cycle that has plagued them for generations – for little effects. Food production has now enabled surpluses, but people go hungry. Latest marvels in medical technology have shown their potential to heal a great many diseases, but millions of people remain untreated for diseases that are easily recoverable. Children still drop out of school and are entrapped in labor exploitation. What is happening here?

Esther Duflo, a development economist, believes that the root of this problem lies in rampant mismanagement of available resources. The TED talk below offers a detailed explanation, and also solutions as well as examples, on how to handle these mistakes.