Thursday, October 22, 2009

Quality of Life

The other day a coworker sent me an article about lots of educated Indian and Chinese workers leaving the U.S. to return to India and China. In it they gave reasons like earning more money at home and a better quality of life in India and China.

That got me thinking, how does one define quality of life?

Certainly I feel my quality of life in India is far, far lower than in America. But maybe I just miss America, where I grew up.

Comparing cultures, Indians are raised to take care of their parents when they get older, and the article mentioned some of the Indians interviewed considered that a major factor to return to India, because their parents needed them. Along with raising their kids to be Indian, instead of American.

Of course, as an American, I can't really imagine that. My parents are far better off than I am, and probably more capable of taking care of themselves than I am. If they relied on me for care, it'd be a disaster because I don't have the faintest clue how to handle anything like that (unless it involves reading on the couch all day...).

And there must be some differences in values. The returning Indians may feel quality of life involves having household servants to cook, clean and run errands, which to me, having observed my wife and mother-in-law at this for some years, seems a lot more stressful than simply doing it myself.

But to me, quality of life involves things like reliable running water, reliable electricity, not walking on a street covered with cow shit just to get to work.

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