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It's that time of year again.
December 23, 2002 12:04 AM   Subscribe

Miniature Earth... Sure, you may have already seen something like this before... but as we're about to turn the calendar over for another year, it's as good a time as any to thoughtfully reconsider the world we live in. Miniature Earth is a flash presentation that compresses the world's population down to a community of 100 people, and gives statistical proportions. Work with passion; Love without needing to be loved; appreciate what you have; and do your best to make a better world.
posted by crunchland (22 comments total)

 
I am not surprised that the Asian percentage is so high. India and China account for 1/3 of the planet.

Great link crunchland.
posted by riffola at 12:18 AM on December 23, 2002


It's a damned shame all the good poignant works of art have to be politically correct, ethnic and liberal. If I knew any better I'd say this flash bit had a point. But alas, it is, "politically correct, ethnic and liberal".

Ho Hum. They'll get it right eventually. Then it'll get peoples' attention.
posted by crasspastor at 1:20 AM on December 23, 2002


I suppose Snopes' take on the old email, and its categorizations is called for.
posted by rogue at 1:44 AM on December 23, 2002


What is the liberal bias? Because it is not about white people? Because it is not about how great America is? I am white and I love America and I think that miniature earth does a good job of representing many of the problems we must overcome to make the world a better place. The moralizing is a little too squishy for my taste. Crasspastor, how would you make it without being "politically correct, ethnic and liberal"? Further, isn't a study of global demographics "ethnic" by definition?
posted by mokujin at 1:58 AM on December 23, 2002


At first I thought this might be a link to this little earth. A little Earth model to contemplate a big-little Earth.
posted by Dick Paris at 3:45 AM on December 23, 2002


If you have a bank account
You're one of the 30 wealthiest people in the world.

25 struggle to live on US$ 1.00 per day or less...
47 struggle to live on US$ 2.00 per day or less.


So why do my dates all think I'm a loser because I don't make 100k a year?

*sigh*

Merry, Happy (your holiday here)
posted by mrhappy at 4:54 AM on December 23, 2002


This has been updated with some degree of improvement since the last time it was posted. The only inconsistency in the way that the numbers are presented is now:

If you keep your food in a refrigerator
And your clothes in a closet
You are richer than 75% of the entire world population.


Still seems strange not to just say "you are one of the 25 richest people in the world". The change certainly jarred me out of the mood of piece for a moment while I reassured myself that the change to percentage wasn't a means of hiding something. Perhaps I'm too suspicious.
posted by MUD at 5:56 AM on December 23, 2002


Alright! Now it is time to finally get the answer to the burning question which has been plaguing me:
I often hear about someone in a poor 3rd world nation living on, say, $1.00US per day. What the hell does that mean? Obviously, a dollar in the US is not enought to live for a day. So are prices there ridiculously low? Or the value of an American dollar incredibly high? Or is it the equivalent of a dollar? Those publications and commercials can't fool me, I want answers!
posted by ac at 6:33 AM on December 23, 2002


are prices there ridiculously low?

They reflect what the market "there" can sustain?

Those publications and commercials can't fool me, I want answers!

Your mileage ...
posted by walrus at 7:14 AM on December 23, 2002


I don't understand at all. Market can sustain? Whoever is selling things for so cheap has to live too; so in other words the comparison to US dollars is completely irrelevant, because over there a dollar is worth alot more than it is here; so saying someone lives on one dollar equivalent does not actually mean they are poor.
No?
posted by ac at 7:17 AM on December 23, 2002


This has been updated with some degree of improvement since the last time it was posted.

Looks like the party line that formed then is forming now. I should have posted a warning -- if you're a conservative fuckwit, this will still annoy the piss out of you.
posted by crunchland at 7:19 AM on December 23, 2002


that little globe puzzle is way cool; as is the original piece...
posted by folktrash at 8:16 AM on December 23, 2002


Folktrash: I'd agree but the globe puzzle is for IE users only -_- Darn discriminatory web developers...

AC: If I had to guess, I'd say that the $1.00US figure is accurate....i.e. it may buy you a tiny bowl's worth of low-quality grain left over from some surplus elsewhere, and MAYBE, if you're having a good day, a few ounces of not-completely-tainted water.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 8:51 AM on December 23, 2002


Or a cheeseburger.
posted by ac at 9:24 AM on December 23, 2002


It's interesting that the number of educated people is pretty much the same as the number of rich people. I know that doesn't necessarily mean anything, but... And of the $3 mil spent per year, who pays the majority of it? Probably those 6 or 7 wealthy people. I doubt 93 people making $1/day spend $3mil a year.
And finally, lets say we did compress the worlds population to 100 people living in a village. I don't think any of those problems would exist. 100 people living together make it easy to help everyone. Now spread those 100 people across the planet, and suddenly you can't raise the standard of living very easily.
How about we compress the entire population down to 1 mostly asian shemale who's rich AND hungry. Then what?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:45 AM on December 23, 2002


thanks crunch! and it makes a great thoughtbreak from holiday excess...
posted by amberglow at 10:47 AM on December 23, 2002


Prices _are_ lower in these countries, but the "One dollar a day" figure really comes from GDP-per-capita divided by 365. Most of the people surviving on "less than one dollar a day" are subsistence farmers who get along pretty well most of the time so long as the weather is all right and the local government isn't carrying out its latest genocide or agricultural collectivisation policy. While we'd look down on their lives, they're not starving most of the time, and they have a house and personal goods able to provide them with a spartan, but pleasant life. They just aren't producing a lot of goods that are tracked (and thus added to GDP) or sold to other people. A banana in the west is sold and then eaten, adding to GDP - a banana in Africa is just eaten by the guy who grew it, not adding anything to GDP. That tends to skew these statistics quite a bit.

And actually, most of the lives of these people are slowly improving when you look at infant mortality rates and life expectancies as they gain some of the benefits of scientific knowledge developed elsewhere (many third worlders know to boil their water before drinking it, for example). There's room for more improvement yet, but it's not the case that everyone is starving and unable to survive.

Things only get _really_ bad during droughts, in refugee camps, and when the government gets some damn fool idea into its head. Collectivisation of agriculture is responsible for more famines than just about anything else (look how well it worked for the Soviets, after all). But, sparing that, life goes on.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 12:58 PM on December 23, 2002


But alas, it is, "politically correct, ethnic and liberal".

Yeah, I guess if it is any/all of the above its automatically shite then. Better not listen to anything they have to say.

I should have posted a warning -- if you're a conservative fuckwit, this will still annoy the piss out of you.

Yeah, it was such a radical message saying that there are poor people in the world.

Whoever is selling things for so cheap has to live too; so in other words the comparison to US dollars is completely irrelevant, because over there a dollar is worth a lot more than it is here; so saying someone lives on one dollar equivalent does not actually mean they are poor.

Yeah, the dollar might be worth twice what it is in the US, that means they can live off of the equivalent of $2 a day, woo hoo, they must be rolling in it. Yeah, $2 a day will go a LONG way to feed your family, you might even be able to afford a can of beans, that is if you weren't saving for a new shirt since winter is coming on!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:45 PM on December 23, 2002


Of course that is if you are lucky enough to live in a place that actually has products for sale!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:46 PM on December 23, 2002


well, on this eve of the holiday of gift-giving, there's something to be said for not living a materialistic life, full of hollow desires for stuff. I'm currently in the process of moving, and it feels pretty good to be getting rid of some of the junk I've accumulated over the last 8 years in this place...

But I also feel very thankful that I was born into a life of relative luxury, and that I don't have to wonder where my next meal is coming from.
posted by crunchland at 4:38 AM on December 24, 2002


What would our lives be without stuff? Wanting it, getting it, losing it, living it, dying for it ok that was just a line from the Empire trailer.But really, what do you have except stuff - nothing! And thanks for the information, pseudo...uh...ya.
posted by ac at 7:21 AM on December 24, 2002


well, if you have $2/day and have your own land to grow food on, whats the problem?
posted by delmoi at 7:08 AM on December 25, 2002


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