Global Village 100 Debunked

Many of us have seen "The Global Village" email where the world is shrunk down to a village of 100 people, and you can see the numbers in a way clear to grasp. Unfortunately, the makers of this email did not provide correct information, and the overall effect is to make people believe their agenda. There is a LOT of "anti-American-way-of-life" false-speak in those numbers.

Donella Meadows seems to be the one basically responsible for getting the think-ball rolling on this by writing an article on May 31, 1990 titled "State of the Village Report" where she shrunk the world down to a village of 1,000 people. David Smith wrote similar material in 1992. David Copeland of an organisation called Value Earth, based in New Jersey, with Donella Meadows' permission, had 50,000 posters made based on 'The Global Village', for the 1992 Rio de Janiero Earth Summit. He seems to be the one mostly responsible for the worldwide circulation of emails regarding this.

The original email that most people got was probably something like this: "There would be: 57 Asians 21 Europeans 14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south 8 Africans --- 52 would be female 48 would be male --- 70 would be non-white 30 would be white --- 70 would be non-Christian 30 would be Christian --- 89 would be heterosexual 11 would be homosexual --- 6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would be from the United States --- 80 would live in substandard housing --- 70 would be unable to read --- 50 would suffer from malnutrition --- 1 would be near death 1 would be near birth --- 1 would have a college education --- 1 would own a computer.

I'm no expert, but i spent 8 hours searching the net to see if these things are so. They are nowhere near so. Of the numbers above, i could find supporting evidence for only the first one describing the number of Asians etc. in the village. All the rest that i could find information for are false.

A. For example, there are nowhere near 11% homosexuals. The latest US census only turned up around 0.49%. In other studies done, the level is usually from 2-6%. I currently live in Japan, and have read it is around 2% here too. Sure, there are pockets like in S.F. where the rates go up, but world-speaking, the rates are much lower than Donella Meadows would have you believe.

B. She shows 52 women and 48 men, but the CIA Factbook 2001 shows a total world population with 1.05 men for every 1 woman.

C. She has 30 Christians in the village, but there would be 33 (many sources including Infoplease)

Who is the author: "Donella Meadows"? She is probably best known for her book: "The Limits to Growth". Looking at a couple of her syndicated articles called: "The Global Citizen", she shows:

1. She's an evolutionist "But we are, as far as we know, the first creatures on this planet evolved enough to realize that there is such a thing as a carrying capacity and that there are penalties for exceeding it. --- What the Earth sees is that its species are vanishing at a rate it hasn't seen in 65 million years."

2. She is anti-human, wishing that 2/3 of all humans were gone. "The Day of Two Billion! THAT would be worth celebrating!"

3. She espouses "Sustainability", which involves destruction of the socialist & capitalist systems "I'm rooting for a fourth scenario: "Shocked into a New Economics," in which the creative destruction is directed at the obvious weaknesses of both socialism and capitalism."

4. She's for euthanasia "I can't imagine having the knowledge, the certainty, or the right to prescribe it or forbid it to others."

5. She likes government to get more involved in things like subsidized health care "Why can't we even consider learning from the public health care systems that work smoothly and inexpensively?"

6. She just doesn't get some basic economic things such as less-skilled jobs getting paid less than higher-skilled ones. "How is it that "globalization," which allows companies to move plants to places where people will work for one-tenth or one-hundredth the wage of the average American worker, can ever benefit the average American worker?"
Rather than getting paid to put a screw in the same place in a box 1,000 times for 10USD/hour, isn't it better that they use their brain for what it was made for and let the 'screw in a box' job go to someone willing to do it for 20UScents/hour? That person is happy, and this person is happy (after re-education), and it's a win-win situation. This philosophy sounds like what i was hearing here in Japan right after the bubble burst, but before the effects had really hurt anyone - "we are a great economic powerhouse because we have full employment. No, we really don't need girls in elevators in department stores to press the buttons for us, but these "non-necessities make us a civilized society". Noone talks like that now with companies folding...

7. She says we humans aren't producing enough food to keep pace with population growth "But grain output PER CAPITA peaked in 1984 and has fallen by about ten percent since. The world's farmers are not keeping up with population growth." Yet the cereal price index (cost) here in 2002 is DOWN 13% from 1990 (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), and the World Bank reported in 1993 that "...prices of agricultural commodities are at their lowest level in history; crop yields continue to rise faster than population; and world cereals yields grew more rapidly during the 1980s than during the 1960s or the 1970s."

8. She says 70 in this village would be unable to read. This of course implies a world literacy rate of only 30%. Yet UNESCO released this: "02/09/2002 Paris, September 2 - Almost 80 percent of the world's population aged 15 years and over is now literate."

9. She says 50 of these people would suffer from malnutrition. But the UN 1997 Report on the World Social Situation says "Still about 840 million people in the developing countries were undernourished in the early 1990s (down from 918 million in 1969-1971)." Allowing for even 160m malnourished in the developed countries, that would still not amount to 1/6 of the total population.

10. She says only 1 of these 100 people would have a college education. Of the OECD countries there are around 150,000,000 people with tertiary type 4 education (4-year). This alone approaches 3% of the entire world population total, not counting any in the remaining countries with around 5B population.

11. She says only 1 would own a computer. There are 530,000,000 PCs in use worldwide in 2000 (Computer Industry Almanac) which translates to almost 9 owners of computers in the village of 100.

11. She says in her grossest error, that only 6 people would control 59% of the wealth, and all 6 would be from the United States. The CIA report says that in 2001 America accounted for 23% of gross world production. There were a few years immediately after WWII when the figure was around 50%, but it has remained less than 30% for many years. This implies that Americans control around 25-30% of the world's wealth. This is confirmed in a Merrill Lynch report (World Wealth Report 2002) that shows that of the High Net Wealth Individuals (more than 1,000,000USD), 29% are North Americans which includes some % Canadians also.

But she does have some excellent insights into how the world works. "What Future Survey reveals, article after article, month after month, is a world fixated on building up money capital, and in most places physical capital, and for a minority of the population human capital, at the expense everywhere of social and natural capital. Those who count money and the welfare of the privileged see good news. Those who count nature and societal health and the welfare of the entire population see bad news."

I personally use a bicycle and train for transport. Being vegetarian also is helping the environment. This world was made by God not to abuse, but to use wisely. Where there are abuses we should raise our voices and work for change.

We have something ingrained in most of us to think that numbers don't lie, but they do when the sources are lying!

To the truth!
Daniel Winters

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