[extropy-chat] gm biodiesel 'em

Jack Parkinson isthatyoujack at icqmail.com
Sat Oct 29 05:38:52 UTC 2005

> > Anyway, the UN would disagree with you about decreasing hunger, as would
> > just about any NGO you might like to consult on this topic...
> Jack I just googled on globesity and found a number of references
> that claim that obesity is becoming a greater health threat to
> developing countries than hunger.  Producing more food will
> not solve the problem of some starving while others in the
> same country strangling their arteries with flab.
> spike
> From one of the references:
> "Globesity" is a term coined by the World Health Organization to describe
> the growing phenomenon of expanding waistlines around the globe. No longer
> limited to rich countries, Barry M. Goggins of The Babson Staff Letter
> that obesity, (generally defined as 30 to 40 pounds overweight,) "appears
> be surpassing famine and malnutrition as a problem in countries striving
> economic development."
Yes! I see - thanks for the refs. It would be wonderful if one problem
cancelled the other, but this is unfortunately not the case.

Interesting one of your refs was about China - This one has to be at least
partly a beat up! I've been working in South east China for the past three
years and have travelled widely. It's true that locally we have 9 McDonalds,
plus any number of KFC's and Pizza Huts scattered around the city here - but
away from the biggest population centres western fast food is non-existent -
and the vast majority of Chinese have never stepped inside a McDonalds or
KFC - treating an adult to his/her first-ever McDonalds is one of the
strange commonplaces of my life here..  I recently toured a university with
50,000 students - wandered a crowded campus all day and didn't see a single
even moderately fat person!

Skinny, malnourished kids, (multi-generationally malnourished with mothers
and fathers around five feet tall in many cases) start just 30 minutes away
from the city centre here. Teenagers and adults with the typical bow-legged
gait of those malnourished in early childhood are a lot more common than
even moderately stoutly built physiques. There are over 6 million people in
this city and they are skinny, skinny, skinny! I recently had to go  to
local 'large women's sizes to buy dresses for an eleven year old (moderately
slim!) Australian girl!

And, even in the rich areas, obesity is extremely rare - it will attract
pointing and amazement. I'm starting to see a few podgy smaller kids now,
but that is partly because a fat child here is a badge of good parenting!
It's all subjective I know, but its hard to discount the evidence of your
own eyes - and the astonishment of Chinese who visit a western country for
the first time and see all those fat people... Before China I spent a year
in India - there the gap is wider and the contrasts more stark... But it was
always the hungry guys who made me feel sorriest!

The most important point (I think) is that the obese, at least potentially,
have the means to take some control of their problem. By and large the
malnourished do not.

To my mind, a successful extropian future is partly dependent on making a
transition from economics of scarcity to economics of plenty - just having a
more radical juxtaposition of haves and have-nots is never going to do this.
Jack Parkinson

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list