Finally, we are 7 Billion

Video: 7 Billion,National Geographic Magazine

The human population on planet Earth has reached for the first time in history 7 billion  as reported by the United Nations[1]. 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[2] 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.”

Largest Urban Agglomerations, 1975, 2000, 2025

Source: United Nations, World Urbanization Prospects: The 2007 Revision.
Source: United Nations, World Urbanization Prospects: The 2007 Revision.

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.”

World Population Cartogram

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.

Launch InteractivePrintable Map Version

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 Malthus famous 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:

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What is Capitalism?

Before defining what is Capitalism I have decided to provide you with five videos that explain the philosophical foundations of Capitalism as a social system. By listening to these videos, you’ll get a wonderfully elaborated explanation of What Capitalism is and of what it consists of.

Video – What Is Capitalism (1/5)

“Capitalism is the only social system based on the recognition of individual rights and, therefore, the only system that bans force from social relationships.”1

Published in 1966 this abstract from Ayn Rand‘s work on Capitalism explains in a clear and unequivocal way the true concept and definition of a system based on reason and in the recognition of the rights of free and responsible men.

Capitalism in the previous quote means a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated social system known as “Capitalism Laissez-faire“. It is a system that works as a set of interacting or interdependent moral, political and economical principles that are incorporated into legal systems, institutions and governments. This moral, economical and political principles are contingent to the identification that the members of the system do in order to understand the nature of man and are applied to the rational understanding of man’s psycho-epistemology (man’s mode of functioning in acquiring knowledge).

In human history there hasn’t yet existed a capitalist laissez-faire social system that fulfills the previous requirements; and only glimpses of its potentiality have been achieved through history. However, since the 15th Century “economies organizing themselves on capitalist lines have experienced greater economic dynamism: increasing productivity, increasing employment, and generating more rapid advances in economic wealth, living standards, and improved health of the population.”2  It is because of many of the principles of Capitalism Laissez-faire that Globalization and all the different forms of Capitalism have managed to benefit humanity and achieved our current conditions. Unfortunately, it has been because of the philosophical contradictions and irrational actions of man that also many adverse results have come into being from these mixed forms of capitalism and economic crisis, inequalities in the distribution of wealth and environmental degradation are still existing.

The Board of the Center for the Study of Capitalism at Wake Forest University explains what are some of these forms of Capitalism that currently exist and also explain which are some of its capitalist characteristics,

In the 21st century capitalism exists in several forms. These include 1) free market or market-led capitalism such as we are accustomed to in the U.S.; 2) corporatist or state-led capitalism where the government exerts significant guidance, leadership, and influence over the deployment of private capital (e.g. France, Japan in the 1980s); and 3) managed capitalism, in which worker groups and broad social welfare issues exert significant influence on private corporate behavior (e.g. Sweden, Germany).3 Whereas some evidence suggests that market-led capitalist economies experience greater economic dynamism and higher rates of per capita income growth than economies with other forms of capitalism,4 other evidence points to less volatility and fewer inequities in other forms of capitalism than in market-led economies.5

This blog was created to study how and when Capitalism and its philosophical principles played a role in Global History.  It is my goal to demonstrate with a narration of past events how the roots of Wealth enabled for the interconnection of the World and how we could learn from the past to build more rational and objective societies.

Sources:

1 Rand, Ayn. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. Signet; Fitst Signet Printing, 1967 edition (July 15, 1986)

2 About Capitalism. BB&T Center for The Study of Capitalism. http://capitalism.wfu.edu/about/capitalism/

3 D. Coates, 2000, Models of Capitalism, Blackwell: Malden MA.

4 R. L. Heilbroner & W. Milberg, 2006, The Making of Economic Society, Prentice-Hall: Upper Saddle River NJ; E. Phelps, 1999, “Lessons from the Corporatist Crisis in Some Asian Nations”, Journal of Policy Modeling, 21 (3), 331-339. E. Phelps, 2007, “The Economic Performance of Nations: Prosperity Depends on Dynamism, Dynamism on Institutions”, in E. Sheshinski, et al, ed., Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and the Growth Mechanism of Free Enterprise Economies, 342-356, Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ.

5 M. Walker & R. Thurow, 2009, “U.S., Europe are an Oceans Apart on Human Toll of Joblessness”, Wall Street Journal, May 7, A1.

Why Globalization Matters?

“It was by making myself a Catholic that I won the war of the Vendee [the war of counter-revolution in western  France], by making myself a Muslim that I established myself in Egypt, in making myself Ultramontane [a devotee of the papacy] that I won men’s hearts in Italy. If I were to govern a Jewish people, I would re-establish Solomon’s Temple.” Napoleon Bonaparte

It is with Napoleon’s astonishing remark that I decided to give you some light of what Globalization refers to and why I choose to write about it as one of the two pillars of my research.

The term Globalization (also referred to as Globalisation) refers to what many different historians considered a process of interrelation (or unification) of the world. It was a process of cultural, political and economic relations that for the first time in history united all mankind.

It has been the aim of historians to identify When does Globalization begun and How it begun.  But also, it has been their aim to question if Globalization as a process has already concluded or if it is an ongoing process in the 21st. Century.  As well, historians are still trying to explain if Globalization should be judged (or not) as the result of only positive (good) results in regard to increasing the wealth, culture and technology of the world; while other historians argue that Globalization has also resulted in poverty, losses, conquest and cannibalization.

Globalization has been studied from different approaches in Social Sciences. Sociologists and Anthropologists have focused on the cultural effects that the transfer of technology, mass migrations, institutions and products has had in different regions of the world. Political Theorists studied how Globalization affects the institutions, norms and hierarchical authorities in specific regions and how changes in other regions may have had altered the status quo. Economists study how globalization increased the commerce and transactions between regions and territories through trade, investments, and flows of capital just to mention a few.

In this blog I’ll aim to discuss Globalization as a process and a result of the interconnectedness of human’s psycho-epistemology in specific contexts and periods of history.  My mission is to study how human behavior is not determined by nature and how human free will (action that results from rational or irrational reasonings chosen between opportunity costs) has shaped the course of history until the present.

Continue reading “Why Globalization Matters?”