Like it or not, not all of us are born equal. Each human is born into unique circumstances that largely decide life outcomes. These include life expectancy, health status, family ties, social standing, economic standing, ability to maintain relationships.. While man is capable of altering destiny in their favor, actually, you can only go so far on your own in life. In our 21st century, a big determinant of your destiny at birth is geography. Where you are born determines your nationality. Your nationality either restricts you or creates a wide window of opportunities and privileges that you may exploit to accelerate your personal development on the road to a comfortable, fulfilled life. So how is your nationality such a game changer when it comes to your fortunes at the moment you’re born into this Earth? The Privilege of Being Born in Advanced, Democratic Nations.
From Manhattan to Kabul
A Bangladeshi Sends Remittances Back Home
Take the hard-working guy from Bangladesh who spends three decades of his life in a desert in the Middle East. He works long hours and lives in a below-mediocre accommodation. But what he sends back home in remittances more than suffices to feed his family and cover school tuition of his kids. One day, he’ll have enough money to go back and open a convenience store and make enough to get by. By the way, check out our article about saving money here.
A Pole Crosses the Borders into Germany
Now take the Polish citizen who crossed the border into neighboring Germany with his family of four. There, he and his wife worked average-paying jobs, yet always transferred their hard-earned income back to mother Poland. Their children learn for free in German schools, which have far more to offer in terms of quality education than did the Polish schools across the border. When a family member got sick, German hospitals offered quality healthcare, a rare currency in this world post-Covid 19 pandemic. Notably, the few thousands of Euros they managed to pile up- while not an extraordinary amount- would access a higher level of purchasing power back home in Poland. There, a Euro was equivalent to a bit over 4 Polish Zlotys, and the undervalued Zloty meant they could one day buy a new apartment, establish their own business, and have a safety net post-retirement. Access to free movement in the EU had offered them the chance to improve their livelihoods by participating in the job market in Germany, a substantial elevation.
The American Dream- Everyone’s Dream
And now take the British citizen, born in the land where the sun never sets. Or the United States citizen whose Dollar is the world’s reserve currency. Quality schools, cutting-edge healthcare, the list goes on.. Setting aside social problems and issues of widespread inequality, the US remains a land of opportunity. If you manage to just focus on getting a job and working your way up, your Dollars could buy you your luxury vacation in Eastern Europe or Latin America. Social services, while struggling, remain a class or two above that offered in the rest of the world. There’s a lot to be grateful for if you’re born in an advanced country such as the UK or France. And even if you’re not born into privilege, with the right attitude and some luck, you may one day say the words, “I made it”.
Nationality Goes a Long Way in Deciding Life Outcomes and Fortunes
The three paths laid out demonstrate stark differences in life paths that you may follow based on your nationality. Each will present you with a different set of challenges in life. “White Privilege” is an actual problem for many in the US. Not getting into an Ivy League school could be another. The point is that nationality makes a difference. Do you really want to be that guy whose life is defined by his struggle to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance in his new home, Germany? Nothing wrong with that, all dreams are worth pursuing, but you get the point.
On a less serious note, why are Americans the only ones wearing shorts in a “fine dining” restaurant in Italy? Why do Germans always have the most sophisticated beer taste buds around? And the most “German” sense of humor? Why are the Poles the most hard working people, and the most committed to their jobs? And why are they so uninterested in learning English after years in the UK? And why am I so simplistic today?! The story is more complex, but it is, at least partially decided by your nationality and the life paths it throws in front of you.
And finally, remember the song, “Manhattan Kaboul”, by Renaud and Axelle Red? It comes back to mind, especially given the political developments in Afghanistan, a country torn by instability and conflict. Basically, the song is about a Puerto Rican working in Manhattan, New York and a young girl in Afghanistan. Both are ordinary victims of the same conflict in the name of politics, religion and countries.