The world population crossing seven billion is just a statistic. A giant, seemingly made-up number. Like a 22 gazillion jillion. But – according to the media, we should be concerned because seven billion is WAY worse than 6.999 billion.
And here’s why – when I was a kid, there was less than five billion, and people were constantly starving in Africa. I even have the audio track of “We are the World” to prove it. So – if we ran out of food somewhere around 4.5 billion, there must be at least 2.5 billion people with nothing to eat.
But – that’s not what we’re seeing. With modern farming methods and improved distribution, we’re able to feed more people than ever before.
And then there’s the Occupy Wall Street (#OWS). Again, when I was a kid, we went to Grateful Dead and Jimmy Buffet concerts. Today, kids still party and tail gate but in city parks. The Wall Street protesters are upset about the disparity between the really rich and the rest of us. Capitalism is a failure.
But that’s not what we’re seeing. But – in thinking about every job I’ve ever had, I’ve ultimately worked for a really rich guy. My efforts had also made the rich guy richer, but also myself at the same time. A few really rich people like Steve Jobs or Sam Walton are a by-product of our system, not an indication of a problem.
The population and #OWS concerns do indicate a serious problem. A lack of critical thinking. An intellectual laziness which prefers to be self-righteously indignant and not spend a considerable effort to understand a complete problem and develop and effective, elegant solution.
Seven billion isn’t a problem; it’s a data point. Wall Street isn’t a crisis; it’s an opportunity.
If your gripe fits on a hand-held sign or catchy chant, maybe we need to spend less time in tents and more time thinking, debating, and designing a solution.