Dans Factfulness, Hans Rosling étudie dix biais de perception, sauf son incroyable biais de positivité, qui tend à minimiser les effets sociaux et géopolitiques du dérèglement climatique ou la manipulation des citoyens par les médias de masse. Son modèle des quatre niveaux de richesse, qui place l’immense majorité des humains dans les deux groupes médians, me semble être une classification plus pertinente que l’opposition traditionnelle entre « pays développés » et « pays en développement ».

Mais pas beaucoup plus pertinente, puisqu’elle ignore (sciemment ?) la confiscation d’une immense majorité des richesses par une infime minorité (0,9 % des humains les plus riches s’arrogent 43,9 % des richesses), et que la distribution des richesses suit la loi de Pareto plutôt que la loi normale (89,2 % des humains les plus pauvres partagent seulement 17,3 % des richesses1). C’est que Factfulness est une ode au capitalisme financier et au productivisme, qui appelle à mieux s’informer… pour mieux investir !

« This is a happy realization for humanitarians and a crucial realization for global businesses », dit Rosling : « there are 5 billion potential consumers out there » ! Factfulness peut se lire comme un manuel pour mieux comprendre les marchés, mieux vendre les produits dont rêvent les habitants des « niveaux 2 et 3 », et surtout mieux exploiter le continent africain. Pas étonnant que ce soit le livre de chevet de Bill Gates !


Une ignorance systématique de la réalité du monde qui nous entoure, p. 9 :

It is not a question of intelligence. Everyone seems to get the world devastatingly wrong. Not only devastatingly wrong, but systematically wrong. By which I mean that these test results are not random. They are worse than random: they are worse than the results I would get if the people answering my questions had no knowledge at all. […] Every group of people I ask thinks the world is more frightening, more violent, and more hopeless—in short, more dramatic—than it really is.

Que mon hémisphère gauche ignore ce que mon hémisphère droit sait, p. 11 :

But gradually, gradually, we came to realize that there was something more going on. The ignorance we kept on finding was not just an upgrade problem. It couldn’t be fixed simply by providing clearer data animations or better teaching tools. Because even people who loved my lectures, I sadly realized, weren’t really hearing them. They might indeed be inspired, momentarily, but after the lecture, they were still stuck in their old negative worldview. The new ideas just wouldn’t take. Even straight after my presentations, I would hear people expressing beliefs about poverty or population growth that I had just proven wrong with the facts. I almost gave up.

Le monde de la loi normale, p. 13 :

In fact, the vast majority of the world’s population lives somewhere in the middle of the income scale. Perhaps they are not what we think of as middle class, but they are not living in extreme poverty. Their girls go to school, their children get vaccinated, they live in two-child families, and they want to go abroad on holiday, not as refugees. Step-by-step, year-by-year, the world is improving. Not on every single measure every single year, but as a rule. Though the world faces huge challenges, we have made tremendous progress. This is the fact-based worldview.

Changer de modèle pour mieux vendre, épisode 1, p. 32 :

Combining middle- and high-income countries, that makes 91 percent of humanity, most of whom have integrated into the global market and made great progress toward decent lives. This is a happy realization for humanitarians and a crucial realization for global businesses. There are 5 billion potential consumers out there, improving their lives in the middle, and wanting to consume shampoo, motorcycles, menstrual pads, and smartphones. You can easily miss them if you go around thinking they are “poor.”

La simplicité de la dichotomie, p. 38 :

So why is the misconception of a gap between the rich and the poor so hard to change? I think this is because human beings have a strong dramatic instinct toward binary thinking, a basic urge to divide things into two distinct groups, with nothing but an empty gap in between. We love to dichotomize. Good versus bad. Heroes versus villains. My country versus the rest. Dividing the world into two distinct sides is simple and intuitive, and also dramatic because it implies conflict, and we do it without thinking, all the time.

Ignorance is bliss, p. 67 :

Alongside all the other improvements, our surveillance of suffering has improved tremendously. This improved reporting is itself a sign of human progress, but it creates the impression of the exact opposite.

Du « possibilisme » comme troisième voie (illusoire ?) entre optimisme et pessimisme, p. 69 :

I’m a very serious “possibilist.” That’s something I made up. It means someone who neither hopes without reason, nor fears without reason, someone who constantly resists the overdramatic worldview. As a possibilist, I see all this progress, and it fills me with conviction and hope that further progress is possible. This is not optimistic. It is having a clear and reasonable idea about how things are.

Le nouvel équilibre démographique, p. 87 :

Remember the child skeletons in the graveyards of the past? On average four out of six children died before becoming parents themselves, leaving just two surviving children to parent the next generation. There was a balance. It wasn’t because humans lived in balance with nature. Humans died in balance with nature. It was utterly brutal and tragic. Today, humanity is once again reaching a balance. The number of parents is no longer increasing. But this balance is dramatically different from the old balance. The new balance is nice: the typical parents have two children, and neither of them dies. For the first time in human history, we live in balance.

Un « filtre d’attention », p. 104 :

Imagine that we have a shield, or attention filter, between the world and our brain. This attention filter protects us against the noise of the world: without it, we would constantly be bombarded with so much information we would be overloaded and paralyzed. Then imagine that the attention filter has ten instinct-shaped holes in it—gap, negativity, straight line, and so on. Most information doesn’t get through, but the holes do allow through information that appeals to our dramatic instincts. So we end up paying attention to information that fits our dramatic instincts, and ignoring information that does not. The media can’t waste time on stories that won’t pass our attention filters.

De la savane aux rédactions, p. 107 :

Fears that once helped keep our ancestors alive, today help keep journalists employed. It isn’t the journalists’ fault and we shouldn’t expect them to change. It isn’t driven by “media logic” among the producers so much as by “attention logic” in the heads of the consumers.

Le problème de la perception sélective, p. 116 :

This means that a fact-based understanding of topics like childhood vaccinations, nuclear power, and DDT is still extremely difficult today. The memory of insufficient regulation has created automatic mistrust and fear, which blocks the ability to hear data-driven arguments.

De la différence entre « effrayant » et « dangereux », p. 122 :

Because “frightening” and “dangerous” are two different things. Something frightening poses a perceived risk. Something dangerous poses a real risk. Paying too much attention to what is frightening rather than what is dangerous—that is, paying too much attention to fear—creates a tragic drainage of energy in the wrong directions.

Changer de modèle pour mieux vendre, épisode 2, p. 148 :

Vaccines must be kept cold all the way from the factory to the arm of the child. They are shipped in refrigerated containers to harbors around the world, where they get loaded into refrigerated trucks. These trucks take them to local health clinics, where they are stored in refrigerators. These logistic distribution paths are called cool chains. For cool chains to work, you need all the basic infrastructure for transport, electricity, education, and health care to be in place. This is exactly the same infrastructure needed to establish new factories.

Et soudain, un aparté sans la moindre preuve, comme quoi, les statisticiens sont humains, p. 210 :

(I am not getting into the debate about deliberately manufactured fake news. That is something else altogether and nothing to do with journalism. And by the way, I do not believe that fake news is the major culprit for our distorted worldview: we haven’t only just started to get the world wrong, I think we have always gotten it wrong.)

La presse ne peut pas être neutre, nous sommes d’accord, p. 211 :

Our press may be free, and professional, and truth-seeking, but independent is not the same as representative: even if every report is itself completely true, we can still get a misleading picture through the sum of true stories reporters choose to tell. The media is not and cannot be neutral, and we shouldn’t expect it to be.

La négation des causes climatiques des migrations, p. 233 :

Most concerning is the attempt to attract people to the cause by inventing the term “climate refugees.” My best understanding is that the link between climate change and migration is very, very weak. The concept of climate refugees is mostly a deliberate exaggeration, designed to turn fear of refugees into fear of climate change, and so build a much wider base of public support for lowering CO2 emissions. When I say this to climate activists they often tell me that invoking fear and urgency with exaggerated or unsupported claims is justified because it is the only way to get people to act on future risks. They have convinced themselves that the end justifies the means. And I agree that it might work in the short term. But.

Tiens donc, p. 238 :

Serious experts on infectious diseases agree that a new nasty kind of flu is still the most dangerous threat to global health. The reason: flu’s transmission route. It flies through the air on tiny droplets. A person can enter a subway car and infect everyone in it without them touching each other, or even touching the same spot. An airborne disease like flu, with the ability to spread very fast, constitutes a greater threat to humanity than diseases like Ebola or HIV/AIDS.

  1. Selon l’édition 2019 du Global Wealth Report du Crédit suisse, un chiffre qui tend toutefois à augmenter depuis 2016. ↩︎