Can you imagine the world as one big country? If so, you wouldn’t be the first person to have mused over such a thing. In this world, we would not be antagonized by other’s religious beliefs, but accept the fundamental right to have a belief. There would probably be one universal language, because as German philosopher Wittgenstein wrote, if you don’t speak the same language, you cannot possibly understand one another’s culture. Choosing a language might be difficult, so perhaps all children of the world would start learning the New World language. Trade would be fair and all matters of business would be conducted for the greater good and environmental sustainability of this one country. Can you imagine all the people, living in harmony? Today we are going to take a look at the planet as if it were all one, in this episode of the Infographics Show, If the World was a Country.
First let’s have a look at the world today. As of April 2017, the population of the world was about 7.5 billion (101 males to 100 female), and while the growth rate is currently in decline, it’s expected that by the year 2100, the population will still be 11.2 billion. There are currently 195 countries in the world today. 54 of them are in Africa, 48 in Asia, 44 in Europe, 33 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 14 in Oceania, and 2 in North America. China is the most populated country, followed by India, the United States, Indonesia, and Brazil. Asia has the most people at over 4.4 billion, Africa has over 1.2 billion, Europe almost 739 million, North America 579 million, South America 422.5 million, Oceania just over 41 million, and Antarctica 4,490.
According to the nominal GDP of each continent, Asia is 27.2 trillion dollars, North America is 21.2 trillion, Europe 19 trillion, South America 3.9 trillion, Africa 2.1 trillion, Oceania 1.4 trillion, and Antarctica is listed as 0. As we can see, wealth isn’t exactly spread evenly across the globe. In fact, it’s not spread evenly anywhere. A recent report by Oxfam states that the concentration of the world’s money belongs to a small group of people. It called this concentration of wealth “beyond grotesque”, telling us that the richest billionaires control the same amount of wealth as almost half of the entire poor global population. It explained that the richest 8 men in the world, including the richest, Bill Gates, have the same wealth as 3.6 billion people.
We understand that dividing all the money doesn’t make much sense as that money might not exist without the motivation of becoming rich and powerful. But let’s have a look anyway at what would happen if we did divvy up all that wealth. According to the CIA Factbook, if we consider “broad” money – “Stock of quasi money compares the total quantity of time and savings deposits denominated in the national currency, held by nonbank financial institutions, state and local governments, nonfinancial public enterprises, and the private sector of the economy.” – there is about 85 trillion dollars in the world. If we divide that by the 7.5 billion population, we each have around 11,333 dollars. But that’s just money, not what all our assets come to in terms of dollars. According to a Credit Suisse report, current global wealth in 2016 stood at 256 trillion dollars, which would give each of us 34,133 dollars.
So we have our big pile of cash and we are set to share it all out. The first thing we need to do is learn how to survive, as a whole, and the most important thing that we just can’t live without is water. Well, according to the World Health Organization, having access to clean drinking water is not a done deal for a lot of people today. 884 million people have no access to safe drinking water, while 2 billion people are drinking water that is contaminated with feces. A further 502,000 people are drinking water that can “transmit diseases such diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio.” Each day, the world consumes about 10 billion tons of freshwater, while the average American uses or consumes about 100 to 175 gallons of water every day (around 216 trillion gallons per year). Per capita, this easily puts the U.S. at the top, although in terms of an entire country, China consumes more water per day (362 trillion gallons per year).
Next thing we need is food. According to worldhunger.org, one in nine people are undernourished in the world, and 98 percent of them live in developing nations. So on top of using our shared wealth to create clean drinking water facilities, we’d also have to develop some kind of sustainable farming and food manufacturing process. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the world’s biggest consumer in terms of daily calories is Austria, at an average of 3,800 calories a day. The U.S. is second at 3,750 calories, and Greece third at 3,710 calories. Some countries’ citizens don’t get the recommended average minimum daily calories of 1,800. According to the FAO, about a third of the food we produce gets thrown away each year – that’s about 1.3 billion tons of food. Per capita, this means we are wasting 209-254 lbs (95-115 kg) of food a year in Europe and North America, and about 13-24 lbs (6-11 kg) of food in sub-Saharan Africa, south and south-eastern Asia. In our new country, we’d have to try and prevent this. It might even mean replacing or ensuring the growth of some of the “staple starches”, rice in Asia, bread and potatoes in the west. In terms of tons produced each year in the world, the winner is corn at 873 million metric tons, rice 738 million tons, wheat 671 million tons and potatoes 365 million tons. Corn is so high because, according to the Washington Post, it’s in just about everything we eat. It’s also in toothpaste and spark plugs. Obviously our country would solve the problem of food waste in the west, and work on creating more food in poorer parts of our new country.
How do we rule our new country, or at least organize it? The most common type of government in the world is what we call democracy, which is the people ruled by the people. But then what kind of democracy is that? A totalitarian democracy, a democracy tainted with Plutocracy or Corporatocracy or even Technocracy? That’s not easy to answer, but in the spirit of our Utopia, we’d have to say our democracy would be ruled without greed. In the world today, the next four main types of government are Republics, types of monarchical rule, communism, and dictatorships. With loving rulers at our side, as we said earlier, everyone would be free to believe in any kind of religion or no religion at all. If we kept the religions we have today, that would mean that there would be more Christians in the country than any other religion. 2.2 billion people, or just over 31 percent, of people identify as being Christian. 1.6 billion people, or 22.3 percent of people, devote themselves to Islam, 1.1 billion are secular (atheist, agnostic, non-religious), 1 billion are Hindu, 394 million are traditional Chinese religions, 376 million are Buddhist, 300 million are ethnic religions, 100 million are African traditional religions, and 30 million are Sikhs.
What would we be doing in our free time? Well, one of the things that connects the world is sports. Right now the most popular sport around the world is soccer (football), which is said to have about 3.5 billion fans worldwide. That’s almost every other person in our country liking the game. Next is cricket with 2.5 billion, and then basketball with 2.2 billion fans. Soccer wins in how many people watch it, play it for fun, are in a team, and the number of leagues in the world. Another thing we’d all likely be doing is scrolling through Facebook, the largest social media platform in the world. As of June 2017, it had 2 billion monthly users. According to WorldAtlas, the countries that spend the most time online are Canada (at 43.5 hours per month per person on average), the U.S. (at 35.3 hours), the UK (at 32.3 hours), South Korea (at 27.7 hours) and France (at 26.6 hours). Another thing a lot of people do in our new country is drink alcohol; according to the WHO, that amounts to more than half of our country’s population. The biggest consumers are in Europe and the Americas, with the former having 69 percent of people that drink, and the latter having 59 percent of people that drink. The biggest consumer in the world is Belarus at 4.6 gallons (17.5 liters) of pure alcohol per capita per year. That’s equivalent to the average person drinking a bottle of wine every other day. One thing we can certainly say about our country is that a lot of us would spend maybe too much time scrolling through Facebook, drinking beer, and watching sports on TV.
Does this sound like you? Why not tell us in the comments. What’s your average day like in terms of consumption, activities, and money spent?