Saturday, October 29, 2011

Living in the 21st Century

Here's a fascinating chart from the The Economist's Daily Chart blog, slightly edited for size [*]: 

The world's population and economic output are growing exponentially. No surprise there. But there's an interesting angle to look at population: Instead of counting the total number of people on the planet, you count the number of minutes lived by humans in a particular century. In the first 10 years of this century, we've out-experienced the 17th century.

We love comparing ourselves to others, and we see more people than ever having more experiences than ever. With Facebook, Google+, and Twitter permeating our lives, others' experiences are more accessible, so we're bombarded with things to compare ourselves to, giving us lots of opportunities to feel inadequate.

On the bright side,  humanity has certainly earned how to make products and services. With the 21st century already at about a third of of the output of the entire 20th century, people are living healthier, more productive, more comfortable lives than ever.

[*] I realize the y-axis in the chart is a percentage, and by cutting off 1st to 8th centuries so the chart would here horizontally, they no longer add to 100%. Yet I feel like the central point of the chart still remains.

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