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September 10, 2005

The Human Development Index.

Slugger O’Toole has noted something interesting in the recent UNDP Human Development Report.

When all factors were taken into account Ireland rose two places to eighth in the Human Development Index, leapfrogging the US, Japan, Belgium and the Netherlands but falling behind Luxembourg and Switzerland.

As the New Economist points out, there’s some major problems with the numbers used to reach that conclusion. (GDP v GNP for those who want the details.)

There’s a simpler way of looking at it however. The UN, in its wisdom, is stating that the second best place in the world to live is one where it pisses with rain each and every day, a pint costs a fortune,  you can’t smoke a fag while you have one  and each and every pub is infested with indiginous musicians screaming tiddly-i-o in a distinctive high tenor while banging the native drums, a sound to which the local nubile females are forced to stamp their feet.

While it also does have the best breakfast cuisine on the planet the UN and I obviously have different ideas about what makes a decent and livable land.

September 10, 2005 in United Nations | Permalink

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Comments

"The UN, in its wisdom, is stating that the second best place in the world to live is"

not Ireland, as the passage you quoted clearly states. Ireland is the second richest, but it's the overall HDI which measures which country is 'best' in terms of human development, and according to that the second 'best' is Iceland.

Tim adds: Indeed, my error, which means that a place where the beer is even more expensive, you can’t go outside three months of the year and the cuisine is based on rotten sharks is second best? Doesn’t improve my feelings about the merits of the valuation system.

Posted by: Jim | Sep 10, 2005 11:51:09 AM

But look at the rates of business taxation...

Posted by: Rob Read | Sep 10, 2005 12:55:38 PM

I don't know why you're surprised that beer is expensive in a high-income country. Or that the food is bad - seems to me there's something of a negative correlation between national income and quality of national cuisine. Scandinavian cuisine hasn't exactly conquered the world, and as for American fast food, well that's not even cooking.

Posted by: Jim | Sep 10, 2005 4:14:15 PM

I don't know why you're surprised that beer is expensive in a high-income country.

It's a bit of a chicken and egg thing, eh? Which came first: the high beer prices (and cost of living in general) or the high incomes?

DK

Posted by: Devil's Kitchen | Sep 10, 2005 5:13:16 PM

Is this a serious comment on the matter? Let's assume for the moment that it is.

I believe you are correct in questioning the use of GDP as opposed to GNP, however, I find the comment that "each and every pub is infested with indiginous musicians screaming tiddly-i-o in a distinctive high tenor while banging the native drums, a sound to which the local nubile females are forced to stamp their feet" both ridiculous and condescending.

Given the history between the U.K. and Ireland such use of the words indiginous and native, run the risk of coming across as pejorative. One might disagree, saying that relations between the two countries have moved on and that the above passage need only seem condescending to those still bearing grudges, but I feel that despite the inspiring progress that has been made in recent times, such a negative sentiment may be conveyed to the casual passer-by and have an adverse effect on the esteem in which your writings may be held.
I certainly would agree that Ireland is far from faultless, but take offense at your "simpler way of looking at it" and believe Ireland deserves a little more credit in your analysis, "simpler" though it may be, than a positive comment on its breakfast cuisine.

Apologies if the passage in question was your strained attempt at descriptive writing, one should allow some leeway for those putting in the effort.

Posted by: Kgburke | Aug 8, 2007 10:28:00 PM

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