The World Now Has 7,000 Million Inhabitants

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

All equal in dignity. All equal in dignity, but only 20% living in the “welfare society”, in the most prosperous neighborhood of the global village… The rest, the other 80%, live in progressive stages of desperation, surviving in situations in which they are frequently pushed to the limit.

The human race has doubled since 1969. It is true that birth rates have dropped in the majority of “developed” countries and there has been a general increase in life expectancy. In many countries birth rates have dropped below their death rates (that is, 2.1 children for each woman of child-bearing age). This is the case in Spain. The result is that world population is increasing an average of 1.1% per year, half of the rate in the 1960s.

As indicated in the November 7, 2011 “Weekly Foreign Policy Report”, the drop in birth rates in a large part of the population alleviates pressure on the environment, but generates other economic problems derived from an increase in dependence, that is, in the percent of active vs. inactive population. In 1950 there were 6 children under 15 years of age for every person over 65. In 2070 those over 65 will outnumber children under 15. In the next 20 years, the dependence rate will surpass the present one.

As an example, in 2050 40% of all Japanese will be over 65, and 50 % will be over 52, making Japan the most elderly society ever, with 3 dependents for every 4 adults.

At the beginning of the next century the world’s population may reach 12,000 million. Is that possible? Is it possible for them all to have access to water, food, medical care? Yes: It’s possible if there is radical change. If there is the “new beginning” foreseen in the Earth Charter. A new era in which words replace force, and outstretched hands replace those that hold guns.

Among other negative factors, “globalization” has made us forget the urgent problems of the environment. New world governance is essential.

The present inequalities are ethically inadmissible. A few have a bit of everything. But the majority frequently lives in unbearable conditions.

New energy, monetary, food and education policies are needed to ensure a minimum quality of life for all human beings.

7,000 million citizens subjected to the decisions of a few leaders of the G7, G8 or G20? No. We cannot tolerate a partial leadership, conditioned by economic aspects. A change of course is essential.

If not, as underscored in the Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, man may be “compelled to have recourse to rebellion”.