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Friday · July 23 2004

I've read that the United States owns 50% of the world's wealth and has but 6% of the world's population. I wonder which nation is closest to equilibrium. That is, which nation has an almost exact share of the Earth's people and wealth?

I don't know the answer.

Archived: Living in a box » July 2004
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July 23 2004

I was curious, so I poked around. Seems like that stat goes all the way back to 1948, from a U.S. State Dept. official named George Kennan, as part of a secret document on the Cold War. From a Feb. 2004 Harper's article on the subject:

"This is the larger and profoundly explanatory context of a national-security memo George Kennan wrote in 1948 as the head of a State Department planning committee, ostensibly about Asian policy hut really about how the United States was to deal with its newfound role as the dominant force on Earth. 'We have about 50 percent of the world's wealth but only 6.3 percent of its population,' Kennan wrote."

The rest of the quote (which I found elsewhere) is provocative: "In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this policy of disparity ... The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts."

Seems like the World Bank or the United Nations Development Program is the most likely source of updated info.

© 2004 Jason Keglovitz