Earth to hit 7 billion mark this year, straining developing regions

By the CNN Wire Staff
July 28, 2011 9:28 p.m. EDT
The world population hit 6 billion people in 1999 and is set to reach 7 billion this year.

(CNN) — Earth will become home to 7 billion people later this year, and most of the planet’s growth will affect the developing countries the most, straining those regions’ limited resources, a Harvard University professor said Thursday.

The world’s growth has been dramatic: It was just in 1999 that the global population reached 6 billion. United Nations projections call for the population to reach 10.1 billion in 2100, according to David Bloom, a professor of economics and demography at the Harvard School of Public Health, in an article published in the July 29 issue of Science.

By 2050, about 2.3 billion more people will be added, nearly as many as the total living on the globe as recently as 1950, Bloom said. Humanity grew slowly through most of history, taking until 1800 for the population to hit 1 billion.

In the past half-century, the population grew from 3 billion to about 7 billion.

Forecasts call for the world’s “demographic center of gravity” to shift from more-developed to less-developed regions, Bloom wrote in his article, according to a Harvard news release.

This means the developing world will face hardships in providing food, water, housing and energy to their growing populations, with repercussions for health, security and economic growth.

The demographic picture is indeed complex, and poses some formidable challenges.
–David Bloom, professor of economics and demography, Harvard School of Public Health

“The demographic picture is indeed complex, and poses some formidable challenges,” Bloom said.

“Those challenges are not insurmountable, but we cannot deal with them by sticking our heads in the sand. We have to tackle some tough issues ranging from the unmet need for contraception among hundreds of millions of women and the huge knowledge-action gaps we see in the area of child survival, to the reform of retirement policy and the development of global immigration policy. It’s just plain irresponsible to sit by idly while humankind experiences full force the perils of demographic change,” Bloom said.

In the next 40 years, virtually all (97%) of the world’s 2.3 billion projected increase will be in the underdeveloped regions, with nearly half (49%) in Africa.

Meanwhile, the populations of more developed countries will remain flat. As those peoples age, however, there will be fewer working-age adults to support retirees living on social pensions, Bloom said.

“Although the issues immediately confronting developing countries are different from those facing the rich countries, in a globalized world demographic challenges anywhere are demographic challenges everywhere,” Bloom wrote.

In 2011, about 135 million people will be born and 57 million will die — a net increase of 78 million.

But uncertainly exists about the global projections, Bloom wrote. Depending on whether the number of births per woman continues to decline, population predictions for 2050 span from 8.1 billion to 10.6 billion, and the 2100 projections vary from 6.2 billion to 15.8 billion, Bloom said.

CNN’s Michael Martinez contributed to this report.


Las 100 compañías más lucrativas del mundo

(Conlas variaciones naturales de siempre)


Global 500
  Current view: 1-100  101-200  201-300  301-400  401-500
Rank Company Revenues
($ millions)
($ millions)
1 Wal-Mart Stores 408,214 14,335
2 Royal Dutch Shell 285,129 12,518
3 Exxon Mobil 284,650 19,280
4 BP 246,138 16,578
5 Toyota Motor 204,106 2,256
6 Japan Post Holdings 202,196 4,849
7 Sinopec 187,518 5,756
8 State Grid 184,496 -343
9 AXA 175,257 5,012
10 China National Petroleum 165,496 10,272
11 Chevron 163,527 10,483
12 ING Group 163,204 -1,300
13 General Electric 156,779 11,025
14 Total 155,887 11,741
15 Bank of America Corp. 150,450 6,276
16 Volkswagen 146,205 1,334
17 ConocoPhillips 139,515 4,858
18 BNP Paribas 130,708 8,106
19 Assicurazioni Generali 126,012 1,820
20 Allianz 125,999 5,973
21 AT&T 123,018 12,535
22 Carrefour 121,452 454
23 Ford Motor 118,308 2,717
24 ENI 117,235 6,070
25 J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. 115,632 11,728
26 Hewlett-Packard 114,552 7,660
27 E.ON 113,849 11,670
28 Berkshire Hathaway 112,493 8,055
29 GDF Suez 111,069 6,223
30 Daimler 109,700 -3,670
31 Nippon Telegraph & Telephone 109,656 5,302
32 Samsung Electronics 108,927 7,562
33 Citigroup 108,785 -1,606
34 McKesson 108,702 1,263
35 Verizon Communications 107,808 3,651
36 Crédit Agricole 106,538 1,564
37 Banco Santander 106,345 12,430
38 General Motors 104,589
39 HSBC Holdings 103,736 5,834
40 Siemens 103,605 3,097
41 American International Group 103,189 -10,949
42 Lloyds Banking Group 102,967 4,409
43 Cardinal Health 99,613 1,152
44 Nestlé 99,114 9,604
45 CVS Caremark 98,729 3,696
46 Wells Fargo 98,636 12,275
47 Hitachi 96,593 -1,152
48 International Business Machines 95,758 13,425
49 Dexia Group 95,144 1,404
50 Gazprom 94,472 24,556
51 Honda Motor 92,400 2,891
52 Électricité de France 92,204 5,428
53 Aviva 92,140 1,692
54 Petrobras 91,869 15,504
55 Royal Bank of Scotland 91,767 -4,167
56 PDVSA 91,182 1,608
57 Metro 91,152 532
58 Tesco 90,234 3,690
59 Deutsche Telekom 89,794 491
60 Enel 89,329 7,499
61 UnitedHealth Group 87,138 3,822
62 Société Générale 84,157 942
63 Nissan Motor 80,963 456
64 Pemex 80,722 -7,011
65 Panasonic 79,893 -1,114
66 Procter & Gamble 79,697 13,436
67 LG 78,892 1,206
68 Telefónica 78,853 10,808
69 Sony 77,696 -439
70 Kroger 76,733 70
71 Groupe BPCE 76,464 746
72 Prudential 75,010 1,054
73 Munich Re Group 74,764 3,504
74 Statoil 74,000 2,912
75 Nippon Life Insurance 72,051 2,624
76 AmerisourceBergen 71,789 503
77 China Mobile Communications 71,749 11,656
78 Hyundai Motor 71,678 2,330
79 Costco Wholesale 71,422 1,086
80 Vodafone 70,899 13,782
81 BASF 70,461 1,960
82 BMW 70,444 284
83 Zurich Financial Services 70,272 3,215
84 Valero Energy 70,035 -1,982
85 Fiat 69,639 -1,165
86 Deutsche Post 69,427 895
87 Industrial & Commercial Bank of China 69,295 18,832
88 Archer Daniels Midland 69,207 1,707
89 Toshiba 68,731 -213
90 Legal & General Group 68,290 1,346
91 Boeing 68,281 1,312
92 U.S. Postal Service 68,090 -3,794
93 Lukoil 68,025 7,011
94 Peugeot 67,297 -1,614
95 CNP Assurances 66,556 1,396
96 Barclays 66,533 14,648
97 Home Depot 66,176 2,661
98 Target 65,357 2,488
99 ArcelorMittal 65,110 118
100 WellPoint 65,028 4,746

Mohandas Gandhi

Gandhi in South Africa (1895)

Gandhi in South Africa (1895)



Gandhi’s real legacy.

by Pankaj Mishra

Mohandas Gandhi was the twentieth century’s most famous advocate of nonviolent politics. But was he also its most spectacular political failure? The possibility is usually overshadowed by his immense and immensely elastic appeal. Even Glenn Beck recently claimed to be a follower, and Gandhi’s example has inspired many globally revered figures, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, and Aung San Suu Kyi. Gandhi, rather than Mark Zuckerberg, may have been the presiding deity of the Arab Spring, his techniques of resistance—nonviolent mass demonstrations orchestrated in the full glare of the world’s media—fully absorbed by the demonstrators who prayed unflinchingly on Kasr al-Nil, in Cairo, as they were assaulted by Hosni Mubarak’s water cannons.

And yet the Indian leader failed to achieve his most important aims, and was widely disliked and resented during his lifetime. Gandhi was a “man of many causes,” Joseph Lelyveld writes in “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India” (Knopf; $28.95). He wanted freedom not only from imperial rule but also from modern industrial society, whose ways Western imperialists had spread to the remotest corners of the globe. But he was “ultimately forced, like Lear, to see the limits of his ambition to remake his world.”

How can one square such quasi-Shakespearean tragedy with Gandhi’s enduring influence over a wide range of political and social movements? Why does his example continue to accumulate moral power? There are some bracing answers in “The Cambridge Companion to Gandhi,” edited by Judith M. Brown and Anthony Parel, a new collection of scholarly articles, examining particular aspects of Gandhi’s life, ideas, and legacy (Cambridge; $90). Still, Lelyveld relates the more compelling story of how a supremely well-intentioned man struggled, through five decades of activism, with a series of evasions, compromises, setbacks, and defeats.

As a young man in South Africa at the beginning of the twentieth century, Gandhi developed satyagraha, a mode of political activism based upon moral persuasion, while mobilizing South Africa’s small Indian minority against racial discrimination. But the hierarchies of South Africa did not start to be dismantled until nearly a century later. After his return to India, in 1915, Gandhi sought to fight the social evil of untouchability in India, but Lelyveld shows that his attempts were of mostly symbolic import and were rebuffed even by the low-caste Hindus who were the presumed beneficiaries. Gandhi’s advocacy of small-scale village industry and environmentally sustainable life styles was disregarded by his own disciple and political heir, Jawaharlal Nehru, who, as Prime Minister, made India conform to a conventional pattern of nation-building: rapid industrialization and urbanization, the prelude to India’s ongoing, wholly un-Gandhian, and unsustainable attempt to transform 1.2 billion people into Western-style consumers. Lelyveld also shatters the attractive myth, burnished by Richard Attenborough’s bio-pic, of the brave little man in a loincloth bringing down a mighty empire. As early as the mid-nineteen-thirties, Gandhi had largely retired from politics, formally resigning from the Congress Party to devote himself to the social and spiritual renewal of India’s villages. And by the time independence came, the British, exhausted by the Second World War, were desperate to get rid of their Indian possessions.

Their hasty retreat led to one of the twentieth century’s greatest fiascoes: the partition of British India, in August, 1947, into Hindu- and Muslim-majority states. The accompanying fratricide—it involved the murder and uprooting of millions of Hindus and Muslims—condemned India and Pakistan to several destructive wars and a debilitating arms race. It was the cruellest blow to Gandhi. Liberation from colonial rule meant little to him if the liberated peoples did not embody a higher morality of justice and compassion. Appropriately, Gandhi’s last major act was a hunger strike protesting the Indian government’s attempt to deny Pakistan its due share of resources. By then, as Lelyveld writes, he was longing for death. Having refused all police protection, he was shot dead in January, 1948, by a Hindu patriot who feared that Gandhi’s faith in such irrational things as individual conscience would prevent independent India from pursuing its national interest with full military vigor.

Gandhi’s ideas were rooted in a wide experience of a freshly globalized world. Born in 1869 in a backwater Indian town, he came of age on a continent pathetically subject to the West, intellectually as well as materially. Europeans backed by garrisons and gunboats were free to transport millions of Asian laborers to far-off colonies (Indians to South Africa, Chinese to the Caribbean), to exact raw materials and commodities from Asian economies, and to flood local markets with their manufactured products. Europeans, convinced of their moral superiority, also sought to impose profound social and cultural reforms upon Asia. Even a liberal figure like John Stuart Mill assumed that Indians had to first grow up under British tutelage before they could absorb the good things—democracy, economic freedom, science—that the West had to offer. The result was widespread displacement: many Asians in their immemorial villages and market towns were forced to abandon a life defined by religion, family, and tradition amid rumors of powerful white men fervently reshaping the world, by means of compact and cohesive nation-states, the profit motive, and superior weaponry.

Dignity, even survival, for many uprooted Asians seemed to lie in careful imitation of their Western conquerors. Gandhi, brought out of his semirural setting and given a Western-style education, initially attempted to become more English than the English. He studied law in London and, on his return to India, in 1891, tried to set up first as a lawyer, then as a schoolteacher. But a series of racial humiliations during the following decade awakened him to his real position in the world. Moving to South Africa in 1893 to work for an Indian trading firm, he was exposed to the dramatic transformation wrought by the tools of Western modernity: printing presses, steamships, railways, and machine guns. In Africa and Asia, a large part of the world’s population was being incorporated into, and made subject to the demands of, the international capitalist economy. Gandhi keenly registered the moral and psychological effects of this worldwide destruction of old ways and life styles and the ascendancy of Western cultural, political, and economic norms.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2011/05/02/110502crbo_books_mishra#ixzz1TPmzFZWV