Author Topic: Nauru - Once the Richest, Now the Fattest Per Capita, Country in the World  (Read 211 times)

Ben

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I stumbled upon this interesting youtube video on Nauru - an island country I've probably heard of as background noise, but don't know anything about. It's a pretty fascinating story of rags to riches to rags, corruption, and all around bad planning.

At one time in the 1970's, because of the phosphate deposits, it was the richest country per capita in the world, with residents sitting around collecting $176,000 per year from the government. The US per capita at the time was $44,000. The government first used much of that money to build luxury hotels all around the world. This all went to hell in the 1990s-2000s, with phosphate drying up and them having to sell all their international hotels. With the result that Nauru is now one of the poorest countries in the world.

For a while after the phosphate ran dry, they had a deal to take in "unwanted refugees" from Australia, mostly composed of Afghanis, Iranians, and others from that region. They were making a profit of $500,000 per refugee. That dried up too, with the refugees living in horrendous conditions, practically outside, for years. Disease and suicide took many. Of the others and where they went, no one on the island talks about. In fact while a visa for tourists (less than 200 per year) is $50, a visa for journalists runs $8000, to discourage reporters.

The phosphate mining destroyed most of the island for agriculture, so now the vast majority of food is imported processed food which has led to them being the most obese country in the world. Apparently diabetes runs rampant. They also pretty much polluted the only natural fresh water source on the island and now get their fresh water through desalination.

Next up with the phosphate gone, they are working with Canada to mine the near shore waters for rare earths and metals.

Anyways, I found this to be a very interesting 16 minutes.

https://youtu.be/x1KrGZRzVGY
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K Frame

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Re: Nauru - Once the Richest, Now the Fattest Per Capita, Country in the World
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2024, 06:49:43 AM »
More fatter than 'Murica?

Not possible.
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WLJ

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Re: Nauru - Once the Richest, Now the Fattest Per Capita, Country in the World
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2024, 08:27:30 AM »
Detroit of the Pacific
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MillCreek

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Re: Nauru - Once the Richest, Now the Fattest Per Capita, Country in the World
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2024, 10:06:46 AM »
I just read the Wikipedia article.  A rags to riches to rags again story.  They would be in a world of hurt without Australia looking out for them.  Although the political recognition of various countries to extract money from Russia and the PRC was clever.
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WLJ

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Re: Nauru - Once the Richest, Now the Fattest Per Capita, Country in the World
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2024, 10:12:47 AM »
If the content creator is in shock at how much of the island is taken up be the runway he should visit some other Pacific islands where a runway is pretty much the island.
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Ben

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Re: Nauru - Once the Richest, Now the Fattest Per Capita, Country in the World
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2024, 10:23:46 AM »
I just read the Wikipedia article.  A rags to riches to rags again story.  They would be in a world of hurt without Australia looking out for them.  Although the political recognition of various countries to extract money from Russia and the PRC was clever.

Speaking of Ruskies, from the video, apparently the Russian mafia and Al-Qaeda, among other nefarious organizations, played a role in Nauru's free -wheeling banking system, for as long as it lasted.

Also, in their phosphate heyday, the population were all acting like Saudi princes. I had always heard stories about Saudi princes buying $300K cars, and if they got a flat tire, or even ran out of gas in the desert, they would just leave them where they stopped and go buy a new one. The video mentioned that a Nauru cop (they have a lot of cops per capita too) bought a Lamborghini, found out he was too fat to fit in it, and just left it on the side of the road.
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K Frame

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Re: Nauru - Once the Richest, Now the Fattest Per Capita, Country in the World
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2024, 11:42:24 AM »
If fusion power ever becomes a reality, that story is a foreshadowing of the Middle East.

And I'd be absolutely fine with that.
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RocketMan

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Re: Nauru - Once the Richest, Now the Fattest Per Capita, Country in the World
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2024, 01:01:27 PM »
If fusion power ever becomes a reality, that story is a foreshadowing of the Middle East.

And I'd be absolutely fine with that.

That should only be about ten years away.  Oh, wait...
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Re: Nauru - Once the Richest, Now the Fattest Per Capita, Country in the World
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2024, 01:46:06 PM »
Detroit of the Pacific

I watched the video and, as someone who has lived within ten miles of Detroit my entire life, your assessment is accurate.