Sunday, November 11, 2007

Extreme Populations

Consuming nearly six global hectares per person per year (49 percent of the world’s maximum) with a life expectancy of 77 years (the average for men and women) and happiness of 82 percent, Denmark has perhaps the best quality of life with a low price in resources. In addition, income inequality is about 25 percent, and its birth and death rates are nearly matched (12 and 11 per thousand people, respectively). Based on my models, this corresponds to an ideality of 80 and an adjusted power of 83. Denmark lives in the narrow region of adjusted power where consumption is falling and ideality is peaking, beyond which the death rate skyrockets and ideality plummets.

If Denmark represents the best that any population can achieve, Zimbabwe is its mirror image. People there have a life expectancy of only 37 years and happiness of 33 percent. Income inequality is 50 percent, and the birth and death rates are double those of Denmark (25 and 24 per thousand). Ideality is 35 and adjusted power is estimated to be five. Per capita consumption is less than one hectare per person, or eight percent of the world maximum.

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