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Your Share of the Global PiePosted Saturday, May 31, 2008, at 2:51 PM
What would be your fair share if everything was divided equally among everyone on this planet?
If all the land on Planet Earth was divided into equal parcels, each person would have slightly less than five acres. This would include many uninhabitable areas, such as Antarctica, Greenland, high mountain peaks, swampy lowlands, areas preserved for wildlife, recreational parks, restricted areas and most of Minnesota, further reducing reasonable inhabitable land masses to less than four acres per person. And if you add the amount of land required to grow food for the ever-increasing population, it's down to about two acres available per person.
As the world population continues to increase year after year, less land is available for each person. There is only so much land on this planet and they aren't making anymore.
A more startling statistic is how much money each of us would have if divided equally.
If all of the currency in circulation in the world was converted to US dollars and divided equally among everyone on the planet, we would each have approximately $500, give or take a few dollars depending on fluctuating factors.
Currency in circulation means all the money you have in your wallet or purse or cookie jar, plus all the cash businesses, including banks, have on hand. Basically, all the paper money and coins that have been printed or minted in all the countries in the world and are in public circulation, even if it's sitting in a vault in a bank somewhere.
This does not include accumulated wealth, such as stocks, bonds, real estate holdings, net worth and so on. This is not currency; it's a paper trail. Most banks only have enough cash on hand to cover a small percentage of customer deposits.
So if you own a couple of acres and have $500 in your pocket or cookie jar, you have acquired your share of the global pie.
If you're content with what you have, I salute you. Peace of mind is far more important than land or money. And if you have more than your fair share, so much the better. Through effort or good fortune, you've exceeded the norm.
But if you're dissatisfied unless you have more than your fair share, I pity you. More for you means less for others.
We live on a planet of credit and consumption, where more is better and endless growth is encouraged. We work far too many hours to acquire far too many things, and governments bleed us dry while keeping the cycle of earning and spending and expanding going.
There's a difference between having as much as you want and having as much as you need.
If you want more than your fair share, you suffer from envy.
If you need more than your fair share, you suffer from greed.
Greed and envy are two of the Seven Deadly Sins. In either case, perhaps you should reappraise your lifestyle.
If being opinionated were a deadly sin, I'd be dead by now.
Quote for the Day -- "He who knows enough is enough will always have enough." Lao Tzu
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Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist for The News (2001-2007) and author of four novels. He has lived in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and the middle of the Arizona desert. After a life of blood, sweat and tears in big cities, he has finally found peace in northern Arkansas where he grows tomatoes, watches sunsets and occasionally shares the Secrets of the Universe (and beyond) with the rest of the world.