Nauru, a cautionary tale

Nauru is the world’s smallest island nation, covering just 21 square kilometres in the western Pacific. Sounds idyllic.

Trouble is, they had good natural resources there, in the form of phosphate (guano), which was stripped out by companies converting it to cash by selling it as fertiliser to countries like the UK.

The guano ran out (which is bad news for our non-organic agriculture), and a series of governments squandered the country’s savings.

A tropical paradise has been converted into, well, a shadow of its former self.

The unemployment rate is estimated to be 90%, and the government employs 95% of those Nauruans who are employed.

As the writer of this article in the New York Times says, “I am not looking for sympathy, but rather warning you what can happen when a country runs out of options. The world is headed down a similar path.”

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