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Jong Chan Park

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Do Western and Eastern countries define “developed country” in a same way? If not, how they differ?

Also, since there are many different backgrounds of TEDsters, let's share each country's perspective on developed country.

In my case, I'm from South Korea, and we think developed country as a perfect idealistic world, where all aspects, such as economics, environment, culture, military power, crime rate, etc are all the best. Such country doesn't exist, but we tend to compare us with USA when we talk about military power, Norway in case of environment, France in case of fashion, Japan in case of robot technology and so on. We always pursue the best in the world in each aspect of component of advanced country. This approach to see advanced country has made us to work really hard, but also given us a huge burden in Korean's mind.

In Korea, people need to define what an advanced country is, in my opinion.

What about your country? I am curious to know how your view is different from mine.

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    Jul 12 2013: As a senior Japanese person, the definition of developed countries in 'today's 21st century' means only industrialization of societies. And this notion of developed seems quite biased looked only from the West. The civilization flourished around China has been giving Korea, Japan and other Asian countries great cultural impact even today; their philosophy, languages (written), arts and numerous knowledge. Although politically we have many things disagreeable, yet Asians have lots in common in our already 'developed' cultures. Fifteen centuries ago, China as well as Korea were the developed countries, whereas Japan was a developing country in social and cultural textures.
  • Jul 3 2013: I don't think a country will ever be fully developed... unless some unfortunate event occurs where the whole country is destroyed and unhabited (e.g. Japan completely submerges in water.... well i bet they'll probably find a way to live underwater still..)

    I remember in my AP euro class the last discussion we had was the sucess of Western Civilization. My teacher said that from a long long long term historical outlook, the emergence of western civilization was kind of an accicent. the argument was will this short term sucess of western civilizaiton last or will it resume back to the normal course of global trends. This was the last day of my high school senior year so it was longgg longggg ago, I don't quite remember the reasoning behind this theory but it kinda stuck in my head for a while...

    I know this is kind of far stretching your quesiton but from my own interpretation, I get a sense that every country has their turn in history to thrive and become great but it is never long lasting... Therefore, a developed country cannot exist unless it is at the end of it's course. However.. I would like to think of every country as a developing country. I know we put a lot of standards on things such as living standards, hungry, unemployment, housing, etc. but I would like to think of the comparison from the past to the present as a better way of perceiving how well a country is developing.

    I was born in a city called TianJin in China. It's not big and grand like BJ, HK, or SH BUTTTTT we are known for being funny and happy. why? because we are easily satisfied people :] we appreciate the little things in life... like really cheap street food and our best form of entertainment is to sit infront of our house in a little wooden stool and gossip with our neighbors. Now, I live in the US and I work in a big bigg company making more money than I deserve... but my happiness level is the same as when I lived in Tianjin. so to me, Tianjin China and IL US are equally developed
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      Jul 4 2013: I really like your perspective. Thanks for your reply, Lisa.

      Comparison from the past to the present in a country is indeed a better way to understand what development is going on in a country, so it gives a trajectory of where a country is heading.

      I wonder whether there is an absolute relation between development and happiness. As you might understand, there are other factors to determine how happy we are, so I think we need other standards to perceive how well a country is developing.
      We can define the word "development" as not only utilizing resources to stimulate economy and raising standard of living to be comfortable, but also we can include raising amount of kindness, good memory, affection on one's neighbors and friends, etc. Personally I really prefer this definition, but there are two problems. First, we cannot objectively measure the amount of such things. Second, is it permissible to compare such things each other? I can't imagine how terrible the world will be if we start to compare the amount of intrinsic value of human beings.

      Nevertheless, we need to keep thinking how the economical development shapes our lives, and reminding us to the fact that this development cannot represent the whole happiness of humans.
    • Jul 7 2013: Sometimes I've found that the happiest people are those who do not have so much material wealth for they enjoy the loving company of friends and family for their happiness!
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    Jul 15 2013: It is true to say that developed countries should have better aspects of living. However, in most cases, ordinary people would relate a country's level of development to its economic growth and advancement of technology and industry. It is flawed to think that industry will lead to development which eventually makes people's live better off. There is no so-called developed countries out there that is based on a strong agriculture foundation. Due to the process of westernisation or Americanisation, eastern countries now start to think that industrialisation would lead to better lives, which is not always right.
    Take a look at Bhutan, a small Himalayan nation, where the country's development is measured by GNH (gross national happiness). It is the only country in the world where the smile on your face is legally stated in the constitutions to be more important than the money you have in your pocket. People there love and protect the environment like they would care for themselves. To me, it is an advanced thought and behaviour that no developed countries could reach yet. However, ironically, Bhutan, being one of the happiest country in the world, is not considered as a developed country.
  • Bob Gu

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    Jul 12 2013: Anyong!! So the factors that determine "developed" differ throughout the west and east. However economically the meaning developed is based on a singularity meaning: countries that are developed use advanced technology to produce goods and the living standards are higher.

    But what if these technologically countries are so advanced but the communities are in bad shape and people turn on one and another just to get ahead, and a place where there is little respect. Compare that to a developing nation, where community values are held with utmost value and the people treat each other with dignity and respect.

    Which one do you think is "developed" judging by ur own definition ?
    • Jul 13 2013: I couldn't agree more. It is extremely evident in my country where there is no culture, or you could say commerce is the way of life, because thats the drive for people here. That creates a society based on materialism and spiritual materialism, that the big businesses and corporations thrive off of. Its very much the herd mentality where the weak people in society thrive because they think they are safe in numbers. This then makes people not want to fight, with the chance they will be thrown to the wolves, so government can come in and do their fighting for them with rediculous laws to make the small amount of people feel helpless.
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      Jul 15 2013: I agree with you, and this is why I started this TED conversation: trying to find another aspects of development.
      In my opinion, sense of being together in humane communities is much more important then economical development.

      If we trace back to hundreds of years ago, we can see the difference of the meaning of development between East and West. In Korea and China, there was a teaching that pursued metaphysical understanding of interaction of nature. That was a belief that human beings are inseparable from nature. To Korean ancestors, the meaning of development was finding ways of being harmonious with nature and reading books of Confucius, so that more people learn what is being virtuous.
      This teaching had a flaw. It had no value in practical meanings, and they denied Western civilization and technology. Because of that, Koreans lost their country by Japanese armed with strong military power in 1910 to 1945. After this tragedy, Koreans have been much more practical and abandoned the old teaching.

      Nowadays Korea is very westernized, and they define development in the same way of Western countries. But still the old teaching has profound influence to current Koreans, and the teaching has some important value in today's Korea and the world. Being virtuous and being harmonious with nature can be reused to define the development, because this time Koreans are supported with economical power and become practical enough with a high level of technology to pursue cultural / humanistic development.
      • Bob Gu

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        Jul 15 2013: very true and quite a historical insight into early Korea !, Like you said It was due to another foreign power that disrupted the very balance of community values. during the Han or Qing dynasty, China was reliant on the philosophy of Confucianism; Confucianism was principally based around family values. then Marco Polo came and decided to profit from China's wealth which was supposedly gained through peace and obviously following the family values that Confucianism stood for, China refused to engage in large scale trading with the European countries and thus the war began. "door" to china was literally blasted through, The Chinese whom had all the necessary resources to develop weapons had felt it would be wise not to in order to preserve peace and stability, but at the risk of not being able to defend from attacks.

        Later on in the years Japan had also attacked China and Korea, these were events that were partly responsible for making china what it is today... but now they use their foreign trade to their advantage and as China prospers the living conditions continue to improve.
        China also doesn't actively seek enemies as do certain western countries eg: the United states of America (NSA's probably reading this right now) but it has grown a little aggressive throughout the decade and old grudges wont be forgotten... Anyways I went off topic, but to conclude, very meaningful and debatable question.
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    Jul 11 2013: This is an easy question and it has an even easier solution.

    Here. we are discussing about terms such as Developed Countries, Developing Countries and Under-developed Countries.
    And what they mean.
    These terms are globally used and what they define do not change. Its like an universal truth.
    Every kid learns about this at school and we all learn the same thing in every country, in the east or in the west,it means the same thing.

    The simplest people-friendly and easy explanation to your question comes from Wikipedia,

    DEVELOPED COUNTRY????
    A developed country or "more developed country" (MDC), is a sovereign state that has a highly developed economy and advanced technological infrastructure relative to other less developed nations. Most commonly the criteria for evaluating the degree of economic development are gross domestic product (GDP), the per capita income, level of industrialization, amount of widespread infrastructure and general standard of living. Which criteria are to be used and which countries can be classified as being developed are subjects of debate. Which is basically what you said in your question.

    Developed countries have post-industrial economies, meaning the service sector provides more wealth than the industrial sector. They are contrasted with developing countries, which are in the process of industrialization, or undeveloped countries, which are pre-industrial and almost entirely agrarian. According to the International Monetary Fund, advanced economies comprise 65.8% of global nominal GDP and 52.1% of global GDP (PPP) in 2010.[2] In 2011, the nine largest advanced economies by either nominal GDP or GDP (PPP) are the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, Canada, Spain and South Korea.

    ___________________________________

    My defintion of Developed country is no different from yours.

    Only thing that differs is that I don't live in one.
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      Jul 13 2013: If we define the word development in formal language, your explanation is right, but I want you to challenge the formal definition.

      Is the definition we use today good enough to use in future?

      I don't think so. Most developed countries today face common problem, such as aging population, decline of economical growth, climate change, etc. We cannot solve these problems simply by increasing GDP or raising the level of industrialization. So we need to ask: How can we define the future development so that we can prosper continuously? How should we change the meaning of development so that it's going to make more sense in regards to the problems we face? How can we define high standard of living?

      While you answer these questions, you'll notice that the solutions are different in many cultural / historical background.
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    Jul 10 2013: Give a look to this awesome talk of Robert F. Kennedy, focusing on the point that the development of a nation is not necessary related to its GDP, but should be measured by other factors.

    Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77IdKFqXbUY

    Transcript:

    "Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product - if we judge the United States of America by that - that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."

    Insipiring words.
    Despite the differeces we have among cultures, I would love this concept to take roots in my country too, Italy, and maybe lots of people would like the same, in their own ones.
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      Jul 13 2013: Guido, thanks for sharing the talk. I didn't know such understanding of a developed nation already came in Kennedy's time.
      Suddenly I got a question: when is the first time to start measuring development in a nation with the factors other then GDP?
  • Jul 9 2013: INDIA CALLING!
    well i have to give it to you!
    This is some question indeed.So who defines a what is a developed country?Whose gonna put a fine line between who is developed and who is not.
    People will surely agree that there might be numerous parameters that can get us closer to that answer but in reality it's not the case,not because that all of them are unable to provide that the exact answer but because the term "development" itself is a relative term and can only be compared.
    Talking about the parameters,let's count what they can be freedom,equal opportunity for each individual (if you are an Indian you can easily relate with "nepotism" ) flourishing lifestyle and good governance!
    But the recent turn of events are proving that we need to revise our definitions about all these,I mean look at the world's most developed country U.S.A. which is put in the corner by it's own people on the surveillance program PRISM which people are thinking as the violation of the basic right of privacy!
    In a nut shell according to me( as an indian nationality ) development of a country or the definition of a developed country can be directly related with the happiness index and satisfaction of the people of the country over the governance of the government!
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    Jul 7 2013: Hello Jong, firstly I would like to commend you on your exceptional grasp of the English language. You are articulate and cogent in your thoughts and comments!

    I think culture is the main differentiator in terms of developed country and each country has developed in their own unique way, however I believe it has only been in our more recent history that the term is becoming more homogeonised by media projected ideals.

    History is the starting point for development, though, it is not to say that any one way is better than another. Idigenous cultures were more attuned and in harmony with nature & left less of a carbon footprint ( amongst other things). The ancient Greeks & Romans gave us many things (Socrates-philosophy, Pythagorus-mathematics, Romans-roads & sewage, to name but a few) while the Persians gave us writing, the Chinese- acupuncture and so on and so forth... Korea- Tae Kwon Do etc.

    I have heard it said that the reason that the Chinese never developed their architecture to the same standard other civilisations did was because, the master would NEVER give the student all his knowledge, he would hold some back.

    Other cultures, however would tell all they knew with their student adding their own learnt bits to be handed down to future generations.

    The world now has come to a point where if developing countries (such as India and China) were to live the lifestyles of the so called developed west, the world would be in real trouble with respect to unsustainability of the worlds ecosystems & resources.

    Bearing in mind too, that China & India represent about half of the total world population.

    That said, these countries are aware of this situation/circumstance as is the rest of the world, who are now actively engaged in finding ways to live more sustainably.

    I have heard it said by an Indian associate that, his countrymen look to the west for guidance & example of the way forward. I would say, that at this point in time, any country can take the lead! : D
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      Jul 7 2013: Hello Time Traveller, firstly I want to express my gratitude for your compliment and thoughtful writing.

      The emergence of new guidance & examples of the future country is very necessary, and that's why I posted my question on TED conversation; trying to gather different cultural ideas to define "developed country" in a better way, so that we can find better future, the future that has sustainability of the world ecosystems, and has the diversity of cultural values.
      To find good models of developed countries, or future countries, people should find their country's identity first. This process starts with studying their history and culture. Then they can find their unique way to express and contribute the development of culture, economics, philosophy, architecture and others.
      For developing countries, just copying other developed countries cannot be a real solution, since most developed countries are facing common problems such as aging population, environmental crisis, slowdown of economical growth, and consumerism.
      We need a new model of developed country, where more of humanity values are nurtured, and more environmentally friendly business are encouraged.
      As you said, any country can take the lead, and I, as a Korean, hope my country will be one of the leading country.

      Or, in my dare attempt to find a way, I asked, is it should a country? Can it be a form of shared philosophy around the world? And I found TED community is very likely a good model for young generation around the world.
  • Jul 13 2013: Your question involves one of the most basic questions of culture:
    What is the proper measure of a culture? What makes a culture better?

    Just a while ago I was thinking how Libertarian-ism is a philosophy for the young and fit because it emphasizes personal freedom, while saying little about the responsibility we have for those who cannot care for themselves. Perhaps that should be the most important measure of development, how a society cares for children, especially orphans. How do we care for the indigent, insane and those too ill to care for themselves. How do we treat animals.

    A few years ago I read a news story about health care. Of all the groups for whom the USA federal government provides health care, the two groups that received the fewest dollars per patient were the veterans and the Native Americans. That does not seem very well developed, does it, especially for a nation founded on the principle of legal equality.

    The emphasis on economic development is natural, having origins with mankind's flight from starvation and poverty. When the economically advanced cultures realize that they have succeeded, perhaps they will find new measures for their development, perhaps using some of Robert Kennedy's criteria.
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      Jul 15 2013: I agree with you. The shift of emphasis on economical development to cultural / humane development is very necessary, especially among developed countries.

      I become worried when I see people who only emphasize on financial development. Seeking financial stability, lots of people change their nationality, too. I had lived in Vancouver, Canada for eight years but all new immigrants I'd met came to Canada to find better jobs. Without thinking about what is true patriotism and the responsibility of a citizen, people tend to forget the importance of equality, freedom, nature, caring for others, just because these are not relevant to their personal financial gain. This money-seeking attitude even becomes a common sense among new immigrants.

      I don't understand why this addiction to financial gain still persist in developed countries. I also want to know how if this is a worldwide phenomena.
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    Jul 11 2013: I hate to say it, but the issue of "advanced country" might best be defined by something simple. As in, what consumer products are available & can everyone afford them. That as well as everyone having their basic needs met w/no one suffering needless want (lack of food, shelter, education or opportunity). Quality has a lot to do with it. Is there quality housing, quality food, quality clothing available? Is their opportunity for work? Is there opportunity for quality work that people want to do? Is there opportunity for education & self-improvement to broaden the available opportunities for the future.

    I guess that's pretty basic . . . & very simple. But that's what I think.
  • Jul 10 2013: I agree 100%. But since we now live in such a global economy and so many nations have copied American ways (morals, environment, finances, education etc.), we may well bring the whole world down with us! Perhaps that is what we all need in order to start over fresh and return to our former moral foundation. All great civilizations eventually fall and maybe now it is our time! It's amazing how many Americans are truly upset by the way things are, but our leaders no longer listen to the will of the people!
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    Jul 8 2013: Jong, it really is an interesting question you pose. Just what defines a “Developed” country?

    I guess a good definition would be the degree of stress relief that modernization offers to the average individual. We all own cell phone but not many of us know how they work or how they were made. They can help us handle stressful situations in our lives and to that purpose they serve us well.

    Modern medicine also is a product of modernization. The real measure of modernization is the degree is affects the average person, as I said previously. In the US, the more money you have the more modern you can appear, the more you can afford to be affected by modernization, the better health care you can receive. How a country distributes health care can be a measure of "development".

    In the US, the older you get the more stressful life becomes. With less opportunity to earn more money, you become dependent on others to relieve life's stress. You wouldn't think that not being able to mow your own lawn would be stressful but when your neighbors expect you to keep it neat, it can become a problem.

    The majority of people are employed in either manufacturing or the Service industry. The difference between countries could be a simple measure of how much more educated are your garbage collectors than any other country's? Do your fast food cooks know more or less about nutrition?

    I guess it depends on how far into the lower regions of a social hierarchy the fruits of technology and education penetrate as to the degree of modernization of any country. That is, how equitable are those fruits shared throughout society.
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    Jul 8 2013: I find it interesting that you focus on Military power when you compare the US to South Korea. It makes me feel sad that we have, come to this as a nation.

    I was brought up to believe that the US was the leader in all things, especially technology, medicine and agriculture.

    My idea of a developing country would be Vietnam. Because I was involved in that battle I had the chance to see and get to know the people there. On the whole, they were no different than I in most ways. A farmer was no different than a US farmer. I think developing nations tend to have more individual freedom from centralized control by way of the business industry. But the people, are no different than any other country.

    Their feelings for family and industry are the same. There may be less education due the lack of strenuous scientific or industrial needs but they appear to know how to read and think as well as any other nation. It's a matter of what they think about.

    I have seen Korea when it was not so developed and the difference is striking. I think Technology had much to do with that. I remember the US when is was a very industrious country. It appears to have fallen far from it's perch at the top of the food chain.

    What is interesting to note is how the culture of a nation defines the degree and flavor of modernization that takes place. There is a strong, low level of education that permeates most of the US. In a way we lag behind such countries like Norway and Europe in General, perhaps even South Korea.

    What is the general level of education in your country and how do you compare yourselves to the rest of the modern world? To help narrow the answer, consider only people under the age of 40
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      Jul 10 2013: Hi, John!
      If you get a chance to know about Korean history, we had been invaded a lot. So we thought "survival" is the first step to do. To survive among countries like China, Japan, Russia, USA, etc had been extremely hard. Especially after Korean War in 1950-1953, South Korea became extremely poor country, and building an economically strong county became an obsession in South Korea, and we were dependent on USA in case of military power.
      Even though we had a hard time, we have a spirit that made our country technologically developed, and while pursuing a perfect country, we accomplished economical development that is never seen before worldwide, and the development is called the miracle on the Han river.
      For Koreans, economy is a very important factor in developed country. Yet we have our distinctive culture.
      We, as Korean, cherish sense of being together and feeling of affection. These culture make us distinctive from USA, where individualism and sense of privacy are very strong.
      I think the sense of being together and the feeling of affection can be a golden key to solve the world's problem such as hunger in Africa, wars around the world, and even the climate change. The question is how we can spread those culture and apply to solve actual problems...
      I personally think, when we define a term advanced country, humane values and shaping cultural identity in a country are much more important then having economically strong country.

      To answer your question, the education system in South Korea is terrible, and most Koreans agree with that. We learn how to compete rather then cooperate, and how to memorize fast rather then think deeply and express it in an articulate way. One reason the American education is still good is that they emphasize on thinking, writing, and speaking. And also activities outside of school to engage in other social activities are encouraged, and that's something I didn't experience when I was a student in South Korea.
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        Jul 10 2013: I would agree, We in the united states are led to believe that South Korean is the new mega-cultural of technology in the world today. I was unaware of the educational system defaults you speak of . It is being revealed in the US that there is a deficit in the number of educated young people graduating to day. Their education appears lacking along the very lines you delineate. I'm not sure if the new cellular technology has anything to do with it or not.

        I also agree that South Korean has been bullied by the other Asian countries in the past and present to some degree. I belonged to a writing group that included a member who was a Japanese comfort woman during WWII. I critiqued her book. It was an adventure of survival. She was a woman of small stature but after reading her book, she grew in my mind to be an Amazon among women, defiant and strong.

        I would love to go visit your country.
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    Jul 7 2013: Namaste Jong

    Apply this yard stick. Ask one question...and if answer is yes its an advanced country.(Gandhi)

    Does it takes care of its poorest of the poor?
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      Jul 10 2013: Thank you for sharing your idea, Adesh!
      According to Gandhi, I think Korea and America are not developed countries...
      The world's econony is based on the Capitalism, which motivates us to work for selfish reason... I feel very sad about this world phenomena.
      Do you have good ideas of how to make a country that people stop being selfish and work for other's happiness, and start taking more care of poor people?
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        Jul 10 2013: Jong, your last paragraph echoes the thoughts & sentiments of so many. World poverty is abysmal. I have found it abhorrent ever since I was made aware of it as a child and saw tv pictures of malnourished & starving children in countries far removed from mine but for circumstance of birth all to close and real.

        In many of my posts here on TED I have espoused an opinion that there needs to be some form of overarching world governing body whose sole task it is, is to tackle via focused & targetted effort on prioritised global world objectives.

        I think this is the only real way to do this as each individual country has their own problems to deal with, that simply thru vested interest will always ride in preference to more global & altruistic goals!

        Furthermore, I have discovered via personal research on areas of personal interest a term or way of life that is,.. unique, for want of another way to describe it. It is not Capilatism, it is not Socialism, it is not Communism but it is Technocracy.. roughly translated to be governance by science & engineering. That is to say, acting in the best interest of people & society.

        For example capitalism would see a car company promote the virtues of purchasing a brand new car, whereas the technocrat, would see that in order for a brand new human baby to be placed in that car without harm from the outgassing of chemicals used in the fabrication of it, then the brand new car was warehoused for 6 months!

        The above scenario has had unsubstantiated figures and timelines incorporated as technocracy hasn't enabled as yet this reality.. in fact it was a genuine entity in America prior to World War 2, however, it disappeared when the war started & has been buried ever since.

        I was doing my own individual research on an area of personal interest & discovered that I was in essence a technocrat. Personally I think if a group of like minded individuals acted with this as their core foundation, your question & many others would be answered
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    Jul 7 2013: What is an advanced country ?

    Which positively influences lives of as many human beings as possible

    Which protects and nurtures mother nature
  • Jul 7 2013: As a citizen of a so-called "developed country" ( the US), I feel that due to our increasing feelings of superiority and selfish greediness, we are no longer the world leader of anything but stupidity. Our corrupt government and Wall Street plutocracy no longer listens to the people and this moral, environmental and financial will eventually bring on the downfall of our formally great nation. It is only a matter of time before some other nation takes over our leadership role; it is already well underway. So Nature's process of rejuvenation continues to rule.
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      Jul 10 2013: I, too, become worried when I see the future of USA.
      I think a true advanced country should be able to define what is a better world. Clearly the war USA engages in the Middle East and the Wall Street filled with greediness are not good aspects of USA.
      I feel that people in USA has slowly forgotten what was the original spirit of the American dream. Freedom, justice, fairness, and democracy...Americans should remember what Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King said about. Still those are so much more important then bigger military power or more economical gain.
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    Jul 7 2013: You will get a different perspective from each individual because everyone is different even though we share this planet we are as different as snowflakes. Even twins and clones are different. That is where the beauty is, can you imagine how boring it would be if we were all the same?
  • Jul 5 2013: Whether we take it for granted or not...
    Perspectives could be significantly different.
  • Jul 5 2013: As a Chinese, I agree with you to some extent. In my opinion, people always have heterogeneous measurements for everything. Besides, human beings are birth to have tendency to chase better lives, and we always have real or specific targets or benchmarks to compare. For example, you have five friends. You maybe compare with A with respect to academic results, with B in case of singing skills, with C in communication abilities. But, I think nobody is perfect, ........ Everybody and every countries are developing step by step.
    With respect to your question, just similar to you, an advanced country may be a complex combination of many countries.
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    Jul 5 2013: I am sorry if you think I did
    I stick to what I have said.
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    Jul 4 2013: Advanced compared to what?
    Look inwardly, and ask yourself this question, not in comparison.
    Comparison destroys, creates envy, the source of competition.
    Competition creates exclusion, division and hatred.
    And Idealism is a source of discontentment.
    Is that what you want to aspire to?
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      Jul 5 2013: Sir, I think you misunderstand the intention of my question.
      Please look the other replies I made and you will understand my point better. Thanks.
    • Jul 7 2013: But as you say, comparison can lead to creativity and adaptability; 2 traits the US is sorely lacking in these days...(unless you foolishly listen to our propagandized government and media!)
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        Jul 8 2013: Sir,

        Is it possible to lokk at it this way:

        - there is differentiation before comparison. That is a cognitive aspect of the first level of abstraction. There is man and woman, for example. thank God for that, agree? This is to Admire.

        - the second level of abstraction, is evaluation. In that there is inequality, one is better that other, etc.
        This is comparison and prejudice. Competition, I want to be better than you. Jealousy, envy, hatred, etc. Do we need that? This is to Desire.

        Can you Admire and not Desire?

        Admiration is the I and Thou of Martin Buber
        Desire is the I and It of Martin Buber.

        Without comparison, the mind is not divided.
        The Undivided Mind alone can form a Gestalt. Can see the Whole.

        What is your take?
        • Jul 8 2013: My take is that there is often good and bad in everything, IF we have an open, receptive mind.I.e. I have often found myself in the company of people with whom I thought I would never chose to be with but in time, I realized the beauty in each of them. It was imperceptible upon first glance and had I not been so confined, I would never have gotten to know them. Nothing, no one is all good or all bad; everything is comparative to an open mind.
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    Jul 3 2013: Developed is basically utilizing resources to stimulate and create a lucrative economy that the population of that country can benefit from. Maintaining a standard of living that is healthy and comfortable.
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      Jul 4 2013: Yes, you are right. That's what generally a developed country means.
      But if you look up the terms carefully, many terms are very subjective, and there is actually no norm to compare to. For example, what does "lucrative economy" mean? We can look up rate of growth, unemployment rate, etc, but how can we determine whether the economy is lucrative or not?
      What about the word "comfortable"? What does "a standard of living that is comfortable" mean? The meaning varies a lot from country to country, and also it is understood in many ways in different cultures.
      This is why I asked TEDsters to share their own perspective to see what a developed country means.

      Or, we can ask, if maintaining comfortable living and stimulating a lucrative economy have to cause the destruction of environment (which is true today in developed countries), is your definition a proper definition? Can we find a better definition of developed country that shows a way of harmony with environment so that we can make our future brighter?
      Is there any country that defines a developed country as an environmentally sustainable country?

      Those are good questions to ask, I think.
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        Jul 6 2013: Consumerism and greed run rampant and instead being satisfied with enough to afford your basic living expenses, cover the unexpected expenditures and have a little extra for fun, people seek to add more to their lives and live outside their means. In order to become environmentally friendly and live comfortably which I define as what I've stated above, people would have to learn to live a little more frugally and let go of the trend of always keeping up with the latest and greatest trinkets on the market.

        My idea of a lucrative economy is that the money flows and stimulates every aspect of a country. It doesn't pool in one area ceasing to fuel production causing the death of certain markets. It doesn't exactly fit the dictionary definition perfectly but in order for a country's economy to be profitable the flow of money has to span across the spectrum.
      • Jul 7 2013: They say that many countries far surpass the Us in the "happiness scale", i.e. countries such as Australia, Denmark etc.
  • Jul 3 2013: You need to step back and ask a more fundamental question, first:

    Do Western and Eastern countries define "Western" and "Eastern" differently?
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      Jul 4 2013: Thanks for your question, and in my humble opinion, your question is too broad and general.
      In my opinion, people (both Western and Eastern) consider that Western and Eastern are different in terms of geography, religion, race, language, culture, etc but they are same in terms of humanity, freedom, love, responsibility of parents, development of cities, etc. My answer is somewhat banal, and I want to see your brilliant answer as well.
    • Jul 6 2013: yes the definition of east and west significantly varies. As some one who had travelled across many of the eastern and western countries I can understand there is a bit of sterotyping being done probably due to lack of knowledge. Further despite many of the advancement information technology and internet penetration it is a still a matter of perception than out of substance and reality. West is certainlyl not cozy and east is certainly not ridden in poverty either.
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    Jul 3 2013: I am sorry you have gotten no replies yet to your question.
    In my experience, one seldom hears talk where I live of "developed countries" but only of "developing countries." The criteria are variable but are usually related to whether there is industrialization, a service sector, widespread literacy, and so forth.
    I have not heard of "developed country" to mean a perfect, idealistic world. It would be strange to have a label for a category of country that has no country belonging to it!
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      Jul 4 2013: "It would be strange to have a label for a category of country that has no country belonging to it!" Personally I agree with your view. Since my view was like a contradictory to the general view in Korea, I started to question about it.

      Koreans have a spirit that makes them work so hard, which enabled them to accomplish the miracle on the Han river. We were as poor as some African countries in 1950's, but we are around 12th in the world based on GDP now. (think about Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Kia, etc to see Korean economical power)
      In this fast economical growth, Koreans have dreamed to build a developed country. They have pursued something that looked like unreachable; they pursued a perfect country. Because of this, they don't recognize what they have or how good their country is now. This lack of understanding causes them not to believe the fact that they already built a developed country. And this is a problem because, first, this attitude represents the infinite amount of greed, which makes them unhappy and unsatisfied even though they are actually quite rich. Second, this makes them forget about their responsibility as a developed country. Koreans are rich enough now to help other countries in developing countries, but since they consider their country still as a developing country, they are unwilling to contribute what they have... and it makes me worry about my country.

      It’s great pleasure to share ideas with you, and could you tell me where you are from?
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        Jul 4 2013: Yes, while it is positive to look forward to doing things better, it is also positive to recognize what one has.

        I am from the United States. There is an expression that used to be used here quite a bit , "keeping up with the Joneses." The meaning this captures is that many people do not notice how comfortably off they are, because they only notice and try to attain what people have who have more than they do.

        This description would apply to people who are well-nourished, have a safe place to live, free education, and the basic necessities already but might not have as nice a house or car or whatever as the neighbor has. It would not apply to those who do not have those things.