Rosling at the 2012 Time 100 gala
27 July 1948 |
|Alma mater||Uppsala University
St. John’s Medical College
|Thesis||Cassava, Cyanide, and Epidemic Spastic Paraparesis: A Study in Mozambique on Dietary Cyanide Exposure (1986)|
|Known for||Gapminder Foundation
Well, the truth is I'm very scared for people to dislike me. I have conflict-avoidance.
I loved statistics from a young age. And I studied very much in Sweden. I used to be in the upper quarter of all courses I attended. But in St. John's, I was in the lower quarter. And the fact was that Indian students studied harder than we did in Sweden. They read the textbook twice, or three times or four times.
My best friend in medical school was a magician. And we were shown an X-ray of a sword-swallower, and I tried it and failed. Then I got a sword-swallower as a patient, and he taught me.
Data allow your political judgments to be based on fact, to the extent that numbers describe realities.
While teaching a course on global development at Uppsala University in Sweden, I realized our students didn't have a fact-based worldview. They talked about 'we' and 'them.' They thought there were two groups of countries: the Western world, with small families and long lives, and the Third World, with large families and short lives.
What I'm really worried about is war. Will the former rich countries really accept a completely changed world economy, and a shift of power away from where it has been the last 50 to 100 to 150 years, back to Asia?
To get away from poverty, you need several things at the same time: school, health, and infrastructure – those are the public investments. And on the other side, you need market opportunities, information, employment, and human rights.
My interest is not data, it's the world. And part of world development you can see in numbers. Others, like human rights, empowerment of women, it's very difficult to measure in numbers.
The 1 to 2 billion poorest in the world, who don't have food for the day, suffer from the worst disease: globalization deficiency. The way globalization is occurring could be much better, but the worst thing is not being part of it. For those people, we need to support good civil societies and governments.
There is still a severe and scary amount of extreme poverty in rural parts of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Burma and sub-Saharan Africa.
Good analysis is very useful when you want to convert a political decision into an investment. It can also go the other way and drive policy.
I've done a lot of practical anthropology, living in villages with people and realizing how difficult it is to get out of poverty. When in poverty, people use their skill to avoid hunger. They can't use it for progress.
When I have an argument with someone, even with someone I am not very close with, I can't sleep at night thinking about it. It's terrible. But I still manage speak out frankly because I have also been gifted with the ability to read people. I can sense when they start to get irritated with me, and then, I shift.
The shining star in the world is Shanghai. That's what CEOs from big companies say – 'if I want mathematical analytical work done, it's done in China.'
There's about one sword-swallower per 2 to 4 million persons in each country.
We have great international experts within India telling us that the climate is changing, and actions has to be taken, otherwise China and India would be the countries most to suffer from climate change.
I meet so many that think population growth is a major problem in regard to climate change. But the number of children born per year in the world has stopped growing since 1990. The total number of children below 15 years of age in the world are now relatively stable around 2 billion.
There's still racism. Western Europe… has taken the native cultures of the Americas, the African cultures, the Asian civilization and lumped them together into The Others.
I am not an optimist. I'm a very serious possibilist. It's a new category where we take emotion apart and we just work analytically with the world.
The number of children is not growing any longer in the world. We are still debating peak oil, but we have definitely reached peak child.
Beyond 2050 the world population may start to decrease if women across the world will have, on average, less than 2 children. But that decrease will be slow.
I am a toxico-nutritional neuro-epidemiologist. It's the study of neurological disorders caused by a mixture of toxins and malnutrition using epidemiological methods… We are just three or four in the world, even fewer than sword swallowers.
Eighteen fifty-eight was a year of great technological advancement in the West. That was the year when Queen Victoria was able, for the first time, to communicate with President Buchanan, through the Transatlantic Telegraphic Cable. And they were the first to 'Twitter' transatlantically.
Fame is a dangerous thing. It's what the post-industrial society wants. They want fame and many followers on Twitter. But to really make the world understandable, that challenge is remaining.
Cancer is awful. It took 10 years until I didn't think about it every day. Nobody should go through this. Nobody.