poor, pathetic nauru

A great Economist piece on the sad tale of Nauru, the most pathetic nation in the world. I remember reading about Nauru when I was about eight years old — there was a two-page spread about them in one of the volumes of the Childcraft encyclopedia I had when I was a kid. (For the record, if you’re trying to build a powerhouse dork from the ground up, giving them Childcraft is an excellent start.)
Anyway, the Childcraft article on Nauru was all about the island nation’s usefulness to Western corporations as a massive phosphate mine. (The piece in question would have been written in the 1970s, when the phosphate wealth still flowed and Nauru’s grand bargain with the world seemed wise. As the Economist piece shows, it didn’t turn out that way.)
Nauru’s perhaps the best example of what Captain Cook wrote after seeing what Western contact had done to traditional South Pacific societies: “It would have been far better for these poor people never to have known us.”

3 thoughts on “poor, pathetic nauru”

  1. Oh, my own set of Childcraft was well loved and well worn. What was your favorite volume? I liked holidays & customs and the book with all the fables.

  2. I *NEED* you to write for my Runner Up site (www.runner-up.org). You could do something about “loser countries” like Nauru and Pitcairn. You could be the chronicler of geopolitical woe. (Seriously, would you consider it? Let me know…)

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