The Global Village

Small numbers are easier to comprehend for our feeble brains than enormous ones. Consider, it is easier to comprehend how a society of a few dozen people would look like, than to review a society of billions.

With that in mind, if we pretend humanity consists of 100 individuals living in a single village, how would that village look like? In other words, what kind of world are we living in? Using global data from 2009 and onwards, the following results emerge:

If the world were a village of 100 people,

  • (Age) There are 70 adults and 30 children.
  • (Air) There are 68 people who breathe clean air, the other 32 breathe polluted air.
  • (Computer) There are 7 people who own a computer and 93 who do not.
  • (Education) There is one person with a higher education, the other 99 never studied.
  • (Electricity) There are 76 people with access to electricity, the other 24 do without it.
  • (Energy) There are 20 people who consume 80% of all the energy, the other 80 consume the remaining 20%.
  • (Food) There is one person dying of starvation; 20 are undernourished; 50 do not have a reliable source of food and are hungry most of the time; 30 always have enough to eat; 15 are overweight.
  • (Gender) There are 52 women and 48 men.
  • (HIV) There are 99 people without HIV, one with.
  • (Language) There are 17 people who speak Chinese, 9 who speak English, 8 Hindi, 6 Russian, 6 Spanish and 4 who speak Arabic; the other 50 speak different languages.

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • (Literacy) There are 86 people who are literate and 14 who are illiterate.
  • (Money) There are 6 people who own 59% of all the money; 74 people own 39%; and the remaining 20 people own a mere 2%.
  • (Nationality) There are 61 Asians, 13 Africans, 13 North/South Americans, 12 Europeans and 1 person from Oceania.
  • (Population) There are 2 births a year; one death.
  • (Race) There are 70 people who are not ‘white’, and 30 who are.[1]
  • (Religion) There are 33 Christians, 24 non-believers, 19 Muslims, 13 Hindus, 6 Buddhists and 5 people who believe there are spirits in all natures.
  • (Safety) There are 52 people who can speak and act according to their conscience; the other 48 – due to harassment, imprisonment, torture or death – cannot.
  • (Sexuality) There are 90 heterosexuals and 10 homosexuals.
  • (War) There are 80 people who do not live in fear of death by bombardment, armed attack, landmines, or of rape or kidnappings by armed groups; the other 20 do.
  • (Water) There are 83 people with access to clean water, the other 17 people have no clean water.

“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” – Jane Addams

[1] The authors would like to distance themselves from any racial bias. In doing so, we like to stress that we do not recognise the term ‘race’ as a concept in any way. That is to say, we hold that all people are people: equally beautiful, complex, flawed, fragile and amazing.

We have deliberately published this statistic in a ‘Caucasian-centric’ manner (i.e. There are 70 people who are not ‘white’…) not to emphasise or lend support to some prejudiced preference or point of view, but rather to show that humanity is incredibly diverse – in fact, we suspect that humanity is more diverse than many ‘Caucasian westerners’ realise. And it is our conviction that it is important to be aware of the wonderful intricacies and diversities of our species.

Cognitive Benefits of Being Bilingual

There are a number of languages spoken throughout the world. Virtually every person knows at least one language which he learns to speak and even write in his childhood. However, many people have a flair for new languages. In over 150 researches it has been found that the practice of bilingualism is indeed beneficial.

An interesting fact about biliteracy is that having knowledge of one language doesn’t push out the other. According to common underlying proficiency (CUP) model of language processing, the database of different languages in our mind, though linked, is stored in separate compartments with these languages having little impact on each other except at the surface level.

There are a number of cognitive pluses to being well-acquainted with two languages. Let us delve further into them.

  • A bilingual’s brain has two active language systems irrespective of what his preferred language is. Thus, the brain is always exercising cognitive muscles. Whereas people normally take extra efforts to keep mind sharp by solving crossword puzzles etc., for bilinguals, simply using another language does the trick.
  • A speaker of two tongues can think up two or more phrases or words for each idea and object, that too in two different languages. A talent which hones creativity.
  • General reasoning and concept formation themselves get better as an advanced linguistic skills like code-switching, accent neutralization and syntax appropriation are acquired by us when speaking two languages.
  • Cognitive flexibility improves to a great extent via divergent and convergent thinking. It means that building up on a single idea as well as coming to a conclusion after scrutinizing various arguments become easier. This too has been attributed to parallel data processing.
  • Meta linguistic abilities are also developed easily in dual-language speakers. The differentiation between implied meanings and literal ones becomes clearer. One can think beyond labels, symbolism and language structure because the mind is not restrained to think in a single language.
  • Being bilingual has a positive effect on intellectual growth. It enhances and enriches a person’s mental development. Latest research has proved that the bilinguals are better at IQ tests as compared to the monolinguals.