Friday, September 29, 2006

world population and calculus

If you click on the photo above, you can see a larger version!. conversely, see the original here at Evidence of Evil. Today I was attempting to work on Calculus while sitting in front of the computer. I had the legitimate excuse for this that I own only a digital copy of both the textbook and the complete solutions manual for the course (as I am awaiting the hard copy textbook to arrive via snail mail). Alas, a problem involving population growth, with, of course, attached graph, distracted me. Off I went to compare the graph in my textbook to the graphs provided by the U.N. and the U.S. and then of course I got sucked in by all the associated paraphanelia. But do you find this disturbing? So 1.2 billion of us live in more developed countries (hereafter MDC), while 5.3 billion of us live in less developed countries (hereafter LDC). Moreover, we in the MDC have .4 births per second among a population of 1.2 billion, while the LDC have 4 (10 times as many!) births per second among a population of at 5.4 billion (only 3.5 times as many) which means that their birth rate per capita is 3 times greater, which means that while we get to continue to wallow in our excessive wealth, they get to continue to fall further into their opressive poverty, if you look at it in terms of resources per capita (if you assume zero sum, which is a rather huge assumption). Still with me?
How about infant deaths per second. We have .003, while they have .2, a rate 66 times greater, and even adjusted for population size, still 20 times greater (for you math whizzes, yes I'm making a lot of largish approximations). That means that for every 1 infant that dies here, 66 die in the developing world.
What steps are we taking to maintain this gargantuan and evil disparity? I think Dr. Paul Farmer would say that whatever the steps are, they are steps that are very institutionalized. The world is set up in such a way that this disparity gets maintained, and as members of the world, we either go along with it, or we are actively fighting it. Hmmmmmm.

1 comment:

Megs said...

(Ever since living in Uganda, I've been trying to work out HOW!! So...) HOW?