Contemporary Life in Perspective

A stunning statistic (via Bloomberg Businessweek):

The global median income is around $3 to $4 a day.

That means that half of the world’s population lives on less than that.

Here’s another stunning statistic (from the same source):

According to the World Bank, current world GDP is about $76.4 trillion, […] The OECD predicts world GDP will be about four times in 2050 what it is today. World population may have reached 9 billion.

The world is getting richer at an impressive clip, but the disparities between rich and poor are stark. The OECD prediction suggests to me that, even in 2050, global median income will be just $12-16 a day.

I wonder if Big Data might change the equation. Some are claiming it will have an internet-sized impact on the world in the near future. This comes via Derek Mead:

As photographer Rick Smolan tells it, Big Data is now like the internet was in 1993: People are just learning what it’s about, and people are just figuring out what it is. But then you hear Google CEO Eric Schmidt say things like “There was 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003, but that much information is now created every 2 days, and the pace is increasing…People aren’t ready for the technology revolution that’s going to happen to them.”

Are you strapped in?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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