«If America Were a Village»

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David J. Smith – автор бестселлера «If America Were a Village»
      He shrinks down America to a village of 100 (уменьшил Америку до деревни из ста человек,) и that great country was spread before the eyes.

David J. Smith’s If America Were a Village takes a snapshot — past, present and future — to help define America for children.

In his effort to explain the world’s population to young children, David J. Smith asks children to imagine the world as a small village so they can understand the vast population figures in a more comprehensible way. For example, by January, 2002, the world’s population was 6,200,000,000.

Instead of talking about numbers of this magnitude he represents the world as 100 people; where 1 imaginary person represents 62,000,000 people from the real world. Using his model, we can more easily examine what nationalities make up the world’s population, what languages they speak, how old they are, and how statistics regarding wealth and education.


Here are some interesting facts from Smith’s global village (8). Of the 100 people living in the village:

61 are from Asia
13 are from Africa
12 are from Europe
8 are from South and Central America
5 are from the United States and Canada
1 is from Oceania
So, how do these 100 people talk with one another? While there are nearly 6,000 languages spoken in this village, more than 50% of the villagers speak one of these eight (10):

22 speak a Chinese dialect (18 speak Mandarin)
9 speak English
8 speak Hindi
7 speak Spanish
4 speak Arabic
4 speak Bengali
3 speak Portuguese
3 speak Russian

      Although there are 38 school-aged villagers (5-24 years), only 31 of them go to school, and there is only one teacher. Of the 88 people old enough to read, 71 can read at least a little while 17 cannot read at all. Male villagers are taught to read more than females (Smith 21). Seventy-six villagers have electricity, 24 do not (Smith 25). Like literacy and electricity, access to money is disparate. If each villager earned a similar annual income, each one would have $6,200 per year. Instead, 20 people in the village earn more than $9,000 a year, another 20 villagers earn less than $365 a year, while the remaining 60 earn somewhere in between. As the average annual cost of food and shelter in the village is between $4,000-$5,000, many people go without these basic necessities (Smith 22).

Moreover, it probably does not surprise you that the people with less money are also likely to have electricity and education. What may surprise you though is that these villagers are also more likely to be female and non-white? Besides simple cultural differences such as what language one speaks or the foods they prefer, cultural identity impacts individuals’ accessibility to certain resources such as shelter, electricity, running water, health care, education, and political and legal systems.

If we return to the United States from our look at the global village we see that according to Moore (62-63, 149-50):

— About 20 percent of young black men ages 16-24 are neither in school nor working. Compare this to 9 percent of young white men.
— Black women are four times more likely than white women to die in childbirth.
— Black levels of unemployment have been roughly twice those of white since 1954.
— Women hold only 13 seats in Congress.
— 496 of the top 500 companies are run by men.
— Women’s earnings average 76 cents for every $1 earned by men—resulting in a lifetime loss of over $650,133.
— To make the same annual salary as her male counterpart, a woman would have to work the entire year PLUS an additional four months.
— The United States is one of the few countries in the world that puts to death both the mentally retarded and children. The other five countries in the world that execute their children are Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.

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