Saturday, July 20, 2013

Here's an easy way to distinguish the civilized world from the rest.

I'm in the process of buying something on eBay from a professional eBay seller. Reading the fine print, I came across this notice:

"Due to custom issues and heavy lost packages, we DO NOT ship to the following countries/regions: 
1. Africa, 
2. South America, Central America, Mexico, 
3. Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Israel, Italy, and 
4. Asia (except Singapore and Japan)."

The civilized world, then, would be:

1. All the English-speaking countries outside of Africa--that is, the U.S. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K.

2. Western Europe except for Italy, but including Poland, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Macedonia.

3. Singapore and Japan

4. All the Pacific and Indian Ocean island nations (unless they're too small to get listed on the shipper's do-not-ship-to list, which is conceivable).

I wasn't surprised at Italy showing up on the prohibited list; I was surprised by Israel, because I like it, and Belarus, because it's an authoritarian dictatorship. Maybe Israel is not so much crooked as highly customs-restrictive. I don't know.

But in general I think this eBay shipper's list tells us a lot about the current world, and gives a handy way to divide all the nations into two buckets. 

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