About six billion, right?
Right now, as I type, it is estimated to be six billion, eight hundred and twelve million, one hundred fifty-five thousand, nine hundred twenty-five.
Officially, according to the World Bank, the world's population in 2008 was (oh, I'm not gonna type it all out) 6,692,030,277.
Whoa! Where did that .6 to .8 billion people come from? I mean, seems to me just a few short years ago it was six billion. (Well, it turns out that milestone happened on Oct. 12, 1999. Time flies when you are having fun).
Okay, so no, this isn't one of those oh-dearie-dear-overpopulation-we're-doomed essays. Let me continue.
What's the US population? Well, we got a census brewing, so the numbers will change, but currently the number is around 309,016,000 or so. We won't quibble, since the numbers will change soon anyway.
Ah, but what a change. Seems to me, our population is growing pretty rapidly. The Gen-X and Yer's seem to be much more family oriented than the Boomers. They're popping out babies for a whole new Boom. Baby Boom II. And without a major war needed to, what, fuck themselves out of the bad times? Or celebrate the good times? At any rate, we're chugging along at about an 8% growth rate.
Which actually is making me feel optimistic about things.
A few essays back, I lamented about how we are losing all our innovation to China, on account of one of our companies is building a massive R&D lab over there. And I suppose I started to feel the old American defeatism.
You know how it goes. First, it was Russia that was going to kick our ass. Then Japan. Then China. Thing is, it never really happens. I wonder if we do this to ourselves so that we can feel like the underdog and play "that most American of games: Catch-up".
Well, I've found an essay that changes my mind. You can read it here, or you can keep reading what I have to say, since I'll kind of summarize and plagiarize it.
I think we as a nation still have a few miles left in us.
Some facts help, so let's whip out the facts. And you know, I always did like geography in grade school. I like looking at maps. I like looking at charts and graphs. For some reason, I've always liked bar graphs. And I like looking at the pictures in geography books, with all those quaint little people dressed up in their colorful ethnic costumes. But I digress...
Fact: The fertility rate in America is 50% again what it is in Russia, Germany, or Japan. And much higher than China. We will more than likely hit the half a billion strong mark around 2050 or so. And we will be a nation of youngsters, perhaps as little as a quarter of our population will be over 60. In comparison, China, Europe, Russia, Japan, will be hobbled with old fuckers all over the place. Take from this the following: America will continue to be a young, vibrant, vigorous nation.
Fact: Aside from our native born, we continue to attract lots of immigrants, and thank goodness for that. Yes, despite the short-sighted fat, white, lazy Republican butthead view that illegal immigrants are bad for the country, the opposite holds. Half the world's skilled immigrants come to the US. Increasingly, they are well-off immigrants that bring they're monies along with them, and set up business here. Between 1990 and 2005, immigrants started nearly a quarter of the new public-backed venture companies here. Take from this the following: Yes, we do have some enterprising go-getters that are native-born, but it is our immigrants that are hungry enough to drive things forward. Bully on them!
Fact: Well, this one I'll just quote directly: "The United States already measures at the top or close to the top of nearly every global measure of economic competitiveness. A comprehensive 2008 Rand Corporation study found that the U.S. leads the world in scientific and technological development. The U.S. now accounts for a third of the world’s research-and-development spending. Partly as a result, the average American worker is nearly 10 times more productive than the average Chinese worker, a gap that will close but not go away in our lifetimes." Take from this the following: Since science and technology account for more than half the drive of our economic engine, I suspect we are in for some really great boom times ahead.
Fact: America has been ruled by some of the worst leaders that civilized man can possibly produce. Not just the executive office, Congress included, not to mention, state, county, and local authorities. Why, you could set up a lottery of random choices for any office in the land, and you certainly could not do worse. Take from this the following: We Americans have iron in every generation. And we can carry, have carried, this nation through the rapids on our great broad backs on more than one occasion.
Now, you would think, after all my bad news (and I haven't actually told you ALL my bad bews) of the past few days, that I should not be so cheerful and chipper.
Well, I don't know. I'm easily distracted?