TED Conversations

greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement


This conversation is closed.

How does it feel to live in a smaller, or a less powerful, country?

I've lived all my life in the United States, the world's most important country in my lifetime. I suppose some of it rubs off, by living in an important country I feel important. I wonder how people feel in smaller, less powerful countries, do they feel unimportant because their country is not as powerful, do they have a grudge against more powerful countries because they are more powerful, do they have an eagerness to prove they are just as good as people from more powerful countries, or that their country is just as good, do they not care or see advantages in being from a less prominent country?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Oct 12 2013: Most people's concerns are local, no matter what kind of country they live in, and if you feel more important for being American that's just your fantasy. Unless it affects them, people everywhere don't pay that much attention to far-away events or cultures. I live in two countries, one large (US) and one small (Norway). People in Norway don't give much more thought to the US than Americans give to Norway. Well, some more, because the US is often in the news, usually in a negative way. If the Norwegian prime minister does something dumb it doesn't affect very many people. But when the US president does something dumb people can get hurt all over the world.

    I don't agree that the US is the "most important country," though it's seen that way by many Americans. It is the country that has been in most wars in the last century, and it's probably the world's most despised country and perhaps the most feared because of its tendency to bring down the hammer on smaller countries. But in the US also, people in my town are much more concerned about their own condition - about unemployment, the economy etc - than about what goes on around the world. The latter is of importance mainly when it affects them, like a rise in oil prices. In the end people are people. I haven't seen much difference, though those in smaller countries may be happier on average.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.