I’ve come across the term global village before, in the context of how the internet and technology in general has made this world a very small place. The phrase itself is closely associated with 1960’s author Marshall McLuhan, whose books explored how the globe was contracting into a village, such was the rapid movement of information. Imagine channelling the brain waves of every gossipy aul wan (and aul fella) you ever met and giving the whole world access to them.
There’s no arguing with the fact that physical distance means nothing these days, given the ever- enhancing speed of online communication. But that only heightens our awareness to how inequal our world really is. I recently came across some statistics which imagined the creation of an imaginary ‘global village’, whereby the entire population of the world was condensed into a village consisting of 100 people. The results, though somewhat speculative, are startling.
Maintaining the proportions of all the people living on Earth, that village would apparently consist of:
14 Americans (North, Central & South)
There would be:
52 women and 48 men
30 Caucasians and 70 non-Caucasians
30 Christians and 70 non-Christians
89 heterosexuals and
Six people would possess 59% of the wealth and they would all come from the USA
80 would live in poverty
70 would be illiterate
50 would suffer from hunger and malnutrition
1 would be dying
1 would be being born
1 would own a computer
1 (yes, only one) would have a university degree
If we looked at the world in this way, the need for acceptance and understanding would be obvious.
But, consider again the following:
If you woke up this morning in good health, you have more luck than one million people, who won’t live through the week.
If you have never experienced the horror of war, the solitude of prison, the pain of torture, were not close to death from starvation, then you are better off than 500 million people.
If you can go to your place of worship without fear that someone will assault or kill you, then you are luckier than 3 billion (that’s right) people.
If you have a full fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are wealthier than 75 of the world’s population.
If you currently have money in the bank, in your wallet and a few coins in your purse, you are one of 8 of the privileged few amongst the 100 people in the world.
If your parents are still alive and still married, you’re a rare individual.
If you’re reading this article, you’re extremely lucky because you don’t comprise one of those 2 billion people who can’t read.
The message at the end of the statistics is one that I’ve seen on countless fridge magnets and keyrings but it’s worth repeating for its wonderfully uplifting quality:
‘Work like you don’t need the money.
Love like nobody has ever hurt you.
Dance like nobody is watching.
Sing like nobody is listening.
Live as if this was paradise on Earth’