3.3 Billion--The Big 3 and the Little 3
Folks paying attention and believing in our ability to track with such precision know that this week the population of the United States will reach a particular milestone, 300 million people. CNN informs us that this is to occur at 7:46 AM EST on Tuesday (groan, moan, sigh—aw come on!).
Well, be it this afternoon during the Bengals game, sometime tomorrow or Thursday, it is beyond dispute that the most powerful country in the world, the third most populated, will reach a population of 300 million this week.
Take a good look at the map above, a population density map that shows where humanity lives. See two big blobs of dark red and purple on the other side of the planet? It’s not precise, but rather close to say that those two blobs are about 3 billion people.
"Them and us" make 3.3 billion individuals on this planet, over half of everyone. They are the big 3, the one before the dot. We are the little 3 after the dot.
So what does this have to do with the price of rice?
Well, a lot. Rapid advances in technology, in particular those in transportation and information technology, are dropping the barriers and borders between us all at a mind numbing pace that is producing dynamics we are only beginning to understand.
Globalization has arrived. Isolationism is dead. We can bitch about jobs going to India and China’s entry into the automotive industry (projected US price tag under $10K), and yes, this is mostly about India and China. Anyone following the economic development over there? (Hint: Price of copper—and what does copper do?)
We, the little three, consume something like a third of the world’s energy. Do you have any idea what would happen if the big three started behaving the way we do? (Hint: Global warming.) Consider that they might want to and also consider what would stop them if they made this choice. Some ideas to consider.
Let’s discuss education briefly. How well are we developing our kids? How are they doing over there? (Think computer scientists and programmers, engineers, physicists, folks that say "Wait a minute!" when CNN says the population will hit 300 million at 7:46 AM EST on Tuesday.)
Then there is religion and spirituality. The big three, in general, aren’t into the same religions as the little three. Somehow I doubt our relationship is enhanced by politicians who feel that those who have not embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior are evil sinners destined for damnation in hell.
I am not saying it is the big three against the little three. THAT’S THE POINT!!
Seen the film A Beautiful Mind about mathematician John Nash? There is a fabulous scene in a bar when he has his flash of game theory genius, realizing that the old "do what's best for oneself" paradigm of competition (Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations) did not maximize utility. It was genius of the first order.
The same thing now applies here on a global scale. It is no longer in the best interests of the United States to pursue the best interests of the United States alone.
We really, really need to figure this out, and arrogant "doing what's best for ourselves" policies, if they persist, are going to create grief on a scale not yet seen on this planet.