Rudolph Vecoli introduced his edited volume A Century of European Migrations, 1830–1930 with the statement “[w]e need to move beyond the framework of the ‘Atlantic Migration’ . . . It [has] blinkered us to the global nature of [migration].”
And indeed, that is what Prof. Adam McKeown planned to demonstrate in the article “Global Migration, 1846–1940”. The article is a great tool to understand the role that global interconnectedness, industrialization and increase in trade meant for the world. McKeown explains how was it that millions of migrants during the period of his study enabled for the population of America, Southeast Asia and Manchuria to increased more quickly than world population.
The human population on planet Earth has reached for the first time in history 7 billion as reported by the United Nations. As of today, October 28, 2011 at 16:44 (GMT+1) it was estimated to be 6.92 billion by the United States Census Bureau and you can check their World Population Clock. and 7 billion by . But also, we can also acknowledge that this is also the first time in human history in which most humans have access to medical services, potable water, electricity.
As Susa Lewis from Nova acknowledges, “For most of human existence our ancestors led precarious lives as scavengers, hunters, and gatherers, and there were fewer than 10 million human beings on Earth at any one time. Today, many cities have more than 10 million inhabitants each, and populations continue to skyrocket.”
Also, the UN World Urbanizaiton Prospects reviewed that “Through most of history, the human population has lived a rural lifestyle, dependent on agriculture and hunting for survival. In 1800, only 3 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas. By 1900, almost 14 percent were urbanites, although only 12 cities had 1 million or more inhabitants. In 1950, 30 percent of the world’s population resided in urban centers. In 2008, for the first time, the world’s population was evenly split between urban and rural areas. There were more than 400 cities over 1 million and 19 over 10 million. More developed nations were about 74 percent urban, while 44 percent of residents of less developed countries lived in urban areas.”
Nova has the following interactive map in which you can trace the dramatic growth of human populations over recent centuries, and see where on Earth as many as three billion more people may live by 2050.
New challenges for humans will continue appearing with so many of us living here. However, it is not the number what really matters but how we are all going to live here. Currently, Thomas Malthusfamous argument from 1798 in which he said “that population growth was a critical problem, reasoning that because human population grows exponentially while our food supplies grow linearly, that our growth would lead to massive problems” has already been proven wrong.
But what has still not being solved is the current philosophical crisis in which we live. For a great part of human history, the world has been ruled by a collectivist philosophy of life that in the words of Ayn Rand “promoted the subjugation of the individual to a group (kings, oligarchs, nobility, religions, patrimonialists, corporations, parties, communities)—whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called “the common good.” The previous sentences are very important and cannot be passed without understanding its historical results. You can further explore them in the work of Leonard Peikoff titled “The Ominous Parallels“.
For more information regarding human population check the following links: