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Global issues are the biggest challenge for the G20 leaders…

But not in the way the protesters in London might have you think…

Unfortunately, although the modern economy is very much global, there are still those with a quite astounding lack of geographical knowledge of our global village, as seen in this video clip that’s been doing the rounds on YouTube for a long time now, but deserves another airing*. I love the kid sniggering as the contestant flails around in search of an answer:

* Sadly this ISN’T an April Fool’s joke.

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4 Responses and Counting...

  1. Mohamed Idris

    April 01, 2009

    This is really funny.

    However, don’t you think that such ignorance has something to do with the size of the US?
    I read somewhere that large countries tend to be insular and therefore, people in those countries may know less about other countries.

  2. philippa

    April 01, 2009

    @Mohamed I’m not sure it is to do with the size of the US – there are ignorant people in every country, no matter what it’s size. Perhaps, with the sheer number of people in the US, the likelihood of there being more ignorant people pro-rata is increased, I don’t know.

    Perhaps it’s true that people are more insular in bigger countries, but in the UK we are also pretty insular and we’re a tiny island! In the case of the US, I would say that any insularism is likely to stem from the expense and difficulty of travelling to different continents to experience different cultures, and the dominance of English as a world language.

  3. Mohamed Idris

    April 01, 2009

    Hello,

    There are certainly other factors that affect how ignorant a people can be, but when we talk about the US, we talk about a country that is perceived to be a first-word country and full of education opportunities. People in such countries have no excuse for being ignorant, especially to the degree of thinking that Europe is a country and Hungary is pronounced like hungry. But I still agree with your point that the insularity of a country is not the only factor that determines how ignorant its people are.

    When I mentioned the size of the US, I was not only referring to its physical size, but to its population too. The latter is a more crucial factor. Hence, the UK may still be considered insular not due to its size, but due to having around 60 million inhabitants.

    The fact that English is perceived to be a world language is certainly another crucial factor. I’m sure you have come across the following joke:
    What do you call someone who speaks three languages?
    trilingual.

    What do you call someone who speaks two languages?
    bilingual.

    What do you call someone who speaks one language?
    American.

    (If you haven’t, I guess you are insular). Just kidding.

    Check out the following video too on youtube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sudCmrAsF4

    Thanks a lot!

  4. Judy Jenner

    April 01, 2009

    This one is funny every time! I agree with Philippa that many Americans — because of the distance and cost — rarely venture outside the country, which is understandable. If you live in Vienna, on the other hand, you can be in different countries by driving 45 minutes, which surely contributes to more country-specific knowledge, but most folks in Austria don’t know where Omaha is or what lake Chicago is on. I am originally from Europe, so I think if you are American, knowing the all 50 state capitals and locating them on a map is analogous to identifying most countries in Europe — after all, most of these states are bigger than many countries. However, it doesn’t hurt to have some rudimentary knowledge of world geography. And at the very least, one should know that Europe is not a country, even if you are blonde (I am). Now, those Hungarians stole the Gulasch from us (I am Austrian) — hehe.

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