"If everyone in the world consumed like the average American, we'd need about six Earths to sustain ourselves."
Considering Americans consume 26% of the world's energy but only make up 4% of the world population, this situation could become reality sooner than we think. By 2050 it is estimated that India will have surpassed China in population and India and China will account for half of the world's inhabitants and more than likely will adopt the same consumer habits only a mere 4% practice now.
Knowing this, I can understand why we must continue to subsidize agriculture even though it only accounts for nine-tenths of one percent of G.D.P. and farmers only make up seven-tenths of one percent of our labor force. Historically, one of the main reasons to keep the majority of people in poverty has been in order to maintain political power because those in power know that is the only way to maintain, what to most in the developing world, would probably consider a very greedy lifestyle.
"To satisfy all the world’s sanitation and food requirements would cost only $13 billion, hardly as much as the people of the United States and the European Union spend each year on perfume". -- Ignacio Ramonet,
Luckily, for us, two billion people in the world are without electricity and many more live without running water and/or adequate food supply.
The head of the US State Department planning staff until 1950 made this very clear when he said the following,
"We have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population.…In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity.…To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives.…We should cease to talk about vague and… unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.
We should recognize that our influence in the Far Eastern area in the coming period is going to be primarily military and economic. We should make a careful study to see what parts of the Pacific and Far Eastern world are absolutely vital to our security, and we should concentrate our policy on seeing to it that those areas remain in hands which we can control or rely on."
— George Kennan,