This blogpost is part 3 of a series of short videoclips with Hans Rosling, founder of gapminder and TEDster. On behalf of futurechallenges.org, Ole Wintermann and I went to Stockholm to interview Hans in May 2010. For me it was one of the most funniest and most inspriring interviews I have ever done … and I am truly looking forward to include Hans Rosling again in our next edition of we-magazine which will focus on Africa.
“The main misconception is that the world still is as I went to school.”Rosling was interviewed by the Shaping Ideas 2020 project by Ericsson.
The West really has to integrate into the rest of the world. It will just be about one tenth of the world.”
Asked about the shift in power in the world until 2020 he says that is too short a perspective: “Twenty-twenty is tomorrow!” Some of his grandchildren will live past the year 2100, so for him it does not make sense to only have a vision for the next ten years:“We are not yet serious about solving global issues because we have too short a perspective.”And he offers a compelling vision for Sweden to become a popular tourist destination: “Western Europe has a lot to offer the world for hundred of years to come.”
What would you say are our main future challenges? 1) The remaining poverty among two billion of our fellow human beings, 2) enormous pressure on the environment, and 3) remains the threat of war.“So far it has always resulted in a war when someone catched up with the most powerful nation. […] Let’s see if we can succeed this time without the Pearl Harbor.”
Hans Rosling also makes clear that child mortality has been dramatically decreasing in many countries: “This means that the population issue has been largely solved.”“There will be an additional increase of two billion people until 2050 and then we are done […] This is a minor problem for the environment. The major problem is that four billion people live miserable lives. To increase their standard of living up to what is decent, like Sweden in 1950, when we had washing machines, showers, and relatively good houses. […] That is a ten-fold bigger challenge than the number of people!”
We have to make a huge technological leap to increase standards of living: “We can’t do that with existing coal technology. But we are not investing in that seriously!” The OECD countries are spending 4-5 times more on agricultural subsidies as they are putting into green technologies.“But we are not serious yet! They are just trying to win the next election, they are not trying to solve the problem! […] The Indian and the Chinese scholars, the politicians, the media persons…I met, they are serious. They know how to count. They calculate for 25 or 50 years. Because they know where they want to move their countries, their companies, their societies. Whereas in West Europe and North America the vision is for four years, the next election or corporate quarter.
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