In this TED video, Hans Rosling explains why ending poverty – over the coming decades – is crucial to stop population growth. Only by raising the living standards of the poorest, in an environmentally-friendly way, will population growth stop at 9 billion people in 2050. Instead of using digital media to demonstrate his point, he uses an analog technology available at IKEA with a few props. He uses one IKEA box to represent one billion people. In 1960, the industrialized world comprised of one billion people (blue box) aspiring to buy a car. In contrast, the developing world with two billion people (green box) sought to find food for the day and aspired to buy a pair of shoes. In 2010, the number of people have increased and their aspirations have changed but the tragedy is that the poorest of the poor as still struggling to get a pair of shoes while the richest group want to travel the world.
Hans Rosling uses Gapminder in his presentation to show the data of children per woman compared to child survival over time. In particular, if child survival is increased to 90%, then population growth can be stopped and it has become the new indicator to strive for.
In Thailand, we have the entire continuum of people from those in the aspiring for shoes, bikes, cars, and airplane. With its roughly 60 million people in the country, we don’t even get to represent the entire population in Thailand using one IKEA box. However, it is interesting to consider the implications of poverty and population growth on Thailand and the world.