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Cure two huge problems at once with 'people exchange'!





ocalhoun
So, we have two big problems that need to be addressed:

1: Many Americans are seriously, ponderously overweight.
2: Many Africans are starving, wasting away.

And now, a simple solution to both problems:
Trade the two for each other. Send a fat American to Africa, and in exchange take a starving African to America to take that person's place, and vice versa. Repeat as needed.

The Africans transferred over should have no more problem with starvation, while the Americans transferred would experience amazing, rapid weight loss when they are forced to work hard for any small amount of food they may be able to get.

(Yes, I realize the starving African and the fat American are stereotypes; not all Americans are fat, and not all Africans are starving. Some from each group are though - these would be the ones selected for transfer.)

Of course, each person transferred over would take over the social position and possessions of their counterpart, otherwise the problems might not be solved.
c'tair
Haha, I've actually thought of this before and suggested it to my friends as a joke. Of course, practically - it wouldn't work because the Americans would probably fail due to lack of physical prowess whilst the Africans would fail because of total lack of understanding of the functioning of a democratic society.

However, the idea is very good thought food as it give you a lot to think about - why have American people (an people in other 1st world countries) moved soooo far away from their biological role? We did not evolve to spend 8-10 hours per day sitting at a desk, pushing papers - we get crooked spines, herniated discs, carpal tunnel syndrome not to mention stuff like allergies or ill effects from things like Sick Building Syndrome. We were made to run, hunt, gather berries, run away from larger animals and to exert our bodies as much as possible. While I'm not an advocate of anarcho-primitivism because I think that that ideology has a lot of bullcrap.

Could we describe the Africans as 'sadder' or 'more depressed' people than Americans, because Americans have food, a couple of TV sets per household, at least a car per person and of course - tons and tons and TONS of food? I don't think so. While it may provide quite a bit of hardship, earning more money and having more possessions doesn't give you more happiness.

I even remember a study that showed that among the few hunter-gatherer tribes which existed in the 20th century in Africa - the phenomena of being depressed was basically unheard of and suicides usually happened only to end some physical suffering.

I remember two works that concern this problem, one directly and the other one completely indirectly - the first one is The Road to Revolution by Theodor "Unabomber" Kaczynski which includes his manifesto - "Industrial Society and its Future" which quite frankly accuses technology of creating our world, a dystopia not in the making, but already a dystopia and he provides much evidence that individuals were much less frustrated, depresses and filled with anxiety in pre-industrial societies.
The second book is called "Nation of Rebels", I don't remember the authors off the top of my head but it's a book that treats about non-conformity and counter-culture, basically saying that such a thing doesn't exist, because every movement that attacked "the system" was eventually assimilated "sold out" and became part of the system. I remember the book going into much detail that the happiness of the people in a country hits a plateau when it reaches a GDP of 16 thousand dollars per capita. Most first world countries hit that mark long ago.
Countries like the US, UK, France, Germany - those people have everything they could every need to survive and live comfortably, however rates of depression, anxiety, frustration have skyrocketed over the past 50 years.

Ah, I think I'm done for now Razz .
Blaster
Yea this is pretty funny and would never work... What happens after the americans get unfat and want to come back? I doubt the starving Africans would want to go back after all they have been through... This is more humerous then plasuable.
deanhills
I think that must be an oversimplification of obesity. Assuming that obesity is the overconsumption of food from a "land of plenty". I think it is more a consequence of an inactive lifestyle and eating wrong foods that are starving them of nutrition. In a way those obese guys from North America are starving in reverse. Their metabolisms are up the creek, they are undernourished and barely surviving. Those starving Africans could in extreme comparisons be healthier in comparison with those who are obese.
Bluedoll
Ok, think I see how this works as an exchange program. Major culture shock though not sure what that would do. On a village/small town level this kind of project might work maybe. The Americans go to Africa with, water purifying, irrigation tools sort of things to promote food production for the African drought lands for a little village. Due to lack of knowledge on my part Im not sure what the African will bring to small town America but maybe the exchange itself would be enough if it was successful. There is no going back?
standready
Interesting but would not work. How would you feel if you got selected transfered? How do you think your counterpart would feel getting transfered back?

@bluedoll: as you know, there are several organizations that do go to other parts of the world teaching food production and water treatment.
c'tair
^ I've recently given much thought about joining the Peace Crops. However despite me having lots of universal skills, I lack a single very well researched skill in a narrow area, and I think they're looking for people with very high skill in a single area to tackle a problem in only that area. Maybe after I finish school? It would be awesome to travel to some place, live there for 2 years, learn the customs and language and meet the people and come back a wiser person.
deanhills
c'tair wrote:
^ I've recently given much thought about joining the Peace Crops. However despite me having lots of universal skills, I lack a single very well researched skill in a narrow area, and I think they're looking for people with very high skill in a single area to tackle a problem in only that area. Maybe after I finish school? It would be awesome to travel to some place, live there for 2 years, learn the customs and language and meet the people and come back a wiser person.
I met someone like that in Thailand this summer. His specialist field was politics. But he was in between leaving the UN and doing research work on a contract basis in Afghanistan. It is quite difficult to get into the United Nations, and he said he got in by sheer luck by being in the right place at the right time. He had been travelling at the time, and I can't recall which country it was, but there was a position advertised by the UN in the country, he applied and got it. It is definitely the ideal way to do what you are aiming at, which is to learn about the customs and languages of countries. The UN also has access to sources of information that one would never get access to as a student or private citizen. He is from England, but could speak Arabic and French very well. That of course always helps with getting a job at the UN as well.
SonLight
Bluedoll wrote:
Ok, think I see how this works as an exchange program. Major culture shock though not sure what that would do. On a village/small town level this kind of project might work maybe. The Americans go to Africa with, water purifying, irrigation tools sort of things to promote food production for the African drought lands for a little village. Due to lack of knowledge on my part Im not sure what the African will bring to small town America but maybe the exchange itself would be enough if it was successful. There is no going back?


I'm amazed that you are trying to find a practical "mutual improvement" solution for what was originally such an obviously far-out suggestion. I doubt that the heaviest Americans could go to Africa and do them some good, but perhaps a voluntary program could be worked out that recruited people medically at risk due to overweight, insured that they have enough basic nutrition (but few starches and fats) to survive, plus the ability to trade for food in the local economy.

It seems obvious that the Africans would bring the ability to enjoy life even if it was harsh. I don't see typical Americans being as willing to receive the joy offered to them as the Africans would be to receive water, medicine. and productivity skills, though.
deanhills
SonLight wrote:
It seems obvious that the Africans would bring the ability to enjoy life even if it was harsh. I don't see typical Americans being as willing to receive the joy offered to them as the Africans would be to receive water, medicine. and productivity skills, though.
Agreed. Those Africans would be unspoilt, versus the overweight from the States tending to be more lazy, spoilt and perhaps bored? Africans would respond much more positively than the overweight from the States would.
Flakky
Fat often relates to lazy which already makes this plan a failure due to fat people having to work hard Wink

Though maybe importing Africans will only solve one problem, but I don't see the downsides for that Smile
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