Monday, 31 October 2011

What is your number?

And I dont mean the phone or other more important numbers. I refer to the latest news on the earth's population. People who are responsible for such things 'reliably' inform us that we are likely to pass the 7 billion mark one of these days. Intrigued about this I looked up the Google search on this and came across a website that tells you your 'possible' number in the overall population on this earth.
So I put in my DOB and came up with this message

When you were born, you were the:
person alive on Earth 
75,536,789,785th person to have lived since history began

Very interesting I said to myself, while thinking that perhaps the current interest in the number of inhabitants appeared to be aimed at making us think that the population was too large to sustain given the current food production, and the poverty that affects many of the world's countries.

For a little diversion I began to play with these numbers in my thoughts and on the Internet. If everyone who enters my DOB into the program gets the same numbers then obviously they are meaningless. The program never even asked the simple extension of the time of day. I only have others memories to rely on for this but the difference of 65000 that the program produced for a day later suggests that my number could be wrong by upto this number.

Another interesting number related view was suggested by a radio program, where the speaker suggested that if we were to put the entire population (7 Billions) in a square where every person had a square metre of space then that square would measure about 84 Kilometres in each direction. Looking at it this way, you might be forgiven for thinking that the Earth population was not very big at all! However when you walk around some the big cities of this world (and we did just that recently in London) it appears that the Earth far more densely populated than that.

Looking at this the other way around, I calculated if the entire land mass was divided equally then each one of us might have a square about 100 meters by 100 meters.

So, we are getting more and more, where I was 2.5 billionth at birth, now I am 7 billionth of the population.

Now consider this..How much money exists in the world and what is the total GDP (Gross Product value) in the world? This is not totally unrelated as I thought it would be interesting to see how much money on average each one of us could have if we divided it equally, something that the rich people of this world would no doubt object to.

Perhaps the closest estimate to how much money exists in the world was released in January 2009 by Mike Hewitt, editor of the economics blog Hewitt tracked the reporting of 73 currencies from central banks and financial ministries in 90 countries, which cover the money used by 84.1 percent of the world's population. The countries tracked represent 96.7 percent of the world gross domestic product -- the market value of the world's economies combined. Hewitt found that in October 2008, these countries had notes and coins equaling $3.94 trillion in U.S. dollars in circulation [source: Hewitt].

If we were divide the cash in this world equally each person would have 560 Dollars

On the other hand money supply, which is the actual money people have which lies in bank accounts and investments etc is a much larger number. In the US alone this (known as M3) is ten times more than their cash number (M0). If the same is roughly true of the rest of the world then the total money held in the world bank accounts, cash and stocks etc must be something like $39 trillions.

If we divide this equally then each one of us would have about 5600 Dollars

And the world GDP can be approximated, based on China's GDP (about 6Trillion) being about 10% of the world. Which means that the world's total is around 60 Trillions.

Which means that we produce on average about 8600 dollars worth of goods per person every year. Nice to know.

And where does all this lead us?

Nowhere. And now we all have a lot more useless numbers in our heads.
As Pat mcGoohan says in The Prisoner 'I am not a number, I am a human being'. Or was it 'I am free man'? I am forgetting...and it was a long time ago.

Signed (#2,492,563,696 or possibly 2,492,628,700 as I was born around midnight)

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