Thursday, July 21, 2005

Just how rich are you?

One of my recurring themes has been the fact that we in the Western world have it good. We are the wealthiest people as a whole in human history. We have to make critical decisions about what to do with these advantages. This is one of the themes of The Progress Paradox by Gregg Easterbrook. Our society is suffering from a transition from searching for the things we need, to searching for meaning in what we do. Needs can be met eventually, and the book contends that most of us in the western world have these needs met. Searching for meaning can be a never ending inexhaustible task, and therein lies some of the uneasiness.

I ran across this interesting calculator, the Global Rich List, on TreeHugger. Go to it and see where you land, it will be in the top few percent. Those of us in the United States fall among the richest people on the planet, which puts us among the richest people in the entire history of the human species. Appreciate where you are and what you have. Now what are we going to do about it. Tell me if I am just being a pollyanna here or is this a singular unique opportunity in all of history and we must do something with it now.

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