1.5% of 10 billion is 150 million

That's the number of people who will die annually of natural causes when we are 10 billion people on earth, with an estimated life average of 66.67 years.[1]

That is over twice the current population of France. Or as Peter Sloterdijk points out on page 467 of "Spheres III: Foam" in the chapter on the history of man's relation to the dead - I am slowly plowing through this 800 page book - "that is the equivalent of 30 Holocausts, or 4 Stalin eras or three Maoist leaps forwards". The grim reaper is grim indeed.

On the other hand this should be compensated with about the equivalent number of new born children entering this world.

Note

Sloterdijk states that a 1.5% mortality rate of the human population is equivalent to a 75 year average life span. I calculate that you can get 66.666.. times 1.5 in 100, ie. that after 66.66.. years everybody would be dead statistically - 10 billion to die in next 66 years! 10 billion to be born in the same time frame! which is the most disturbing? - ie we have an average life span of 66.67 years. To get an average of 75 years, I calculate that would be a 1.333% death rate, which then would mean 133 million deaths per year. Still a very large number.

Comments:

But just think of the carbon sequestered if we bury these bodies!

We must ban cremation.

Posted by Mark on September 16, 2007 at 08:37 PM CEST #

It is interesting that when you look at global phenomena like this you end up with really huge numbers and huge problems. We are not usually correctly equipped to deal with this. The problem is that the world is globalizing, the news is coming from all over, we receive statistics on all kinds of frightening facts all day. But if we can not keep them in perspective we are bound to draw the wrong lessons form the facts. So the number of dead per year globally is one such good reference point.

John Stossel has some interesting examples in his talk at the Fraser Institute

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1876894381231272307

on what goes wrong when you don't keep things in perspective.
Not that smaller ills are necessarily less important of course - the case in point being the holocaust mentioned above. Things appear smaller in the distance than they really are. But perspective, or context, can make one ask some important questions...

Posted by Henry Story on September 19, 2007 at 03:28 AM CEST #

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