A World of One Hundred

A World of One Hundred June 3, 2023

What if the population of the world was 100, and the land we shared was just 100 acres?

A World of 100

Imagine that the world’s population is 100 people, all living on 100 acres — in the same proportions as today. In this small world, 60 Asians live on 30 acres, 17 Africans live on 20 acres, 10 Europeans  live on seven acres, nine Latin Americans live on 12 acres, and five North Americans live on 16 acres.[1]

Now imagine that you are seated with two women and two men at an outdoor café in the diminished North America.

“This is the best rum I ever tasted,” says Bob, swirling a caramel-colored liquor in his glass.

“Rich and smooth,” says Sue. “Not a hint of aftertaste.”

“I picked it up on my cruise,” says Bob.

“I don’t do cruises anymore,” says Jane. “They make me fat.”

“I brought home 11 lovely pounds,” says Bob, patting his waist. “The desserts were perfectly obscene. And shows like I’ve never seen before!”

“I quit doing cruises,” says Sue. “I got sick of those dirty beggars asking me for money.”

“I don’t give ‘em a dime,” says Bob. “The way I see it, we’re helping them just being there.”

“Speaking of beggars,” you say, pointing across a vacant lot, “look who’s back.”

“It’s that nine-tenths of a person,” says Sue.

Through a chain link fence — not 20 feet away — sits a weary woman in a tattered dress. This nine-tenths of a person is an amalgamation of all the refugees, asylum-seekers and displaced persons in the world. Further away you see hungry Asians and Africans, all pressed up against the far side of the fence.

“You don’t have to pretend I’m not here,” the woman says.

“Come to steal our jobs,” Sue hisses.

“Watch your purses, ladies,” says Bob.

“Go home!” Jane shouts.

“I don’t have a home!” the refugee pleads. With tears running down her face, she holds up a photo. “This is my mother and father. My husband and children. Our house. The flower garden that I planted with my own hands. It’s nothing but rubble now. Bombed and poisoned because of your war for oil. Only my son and I escaped, but he drowned when our raft capsized. Wherever I go, people rob me, rape me and beat me.”

“That’s not our problem,” shouts Bob. “Fix your own damn country.”

“Your country took the best of what we had,” says the refugee, “and now the climate is ruining our crops. We have nothing left.” She starts to sob.

Laughing, Bob turns to Sue and Jane. “Did you ladies bring a violin? Someone needs to play the soundtrack to this drama. The self-centered bitch didn’t say a word about our inflation and the unemployment rate. She doesn’t give a damn about our problems. All she wants is  to steal our jobs and get a free meal ticket.”[2]

“It would kill our investments if we let these people in,” Sue says.

“It already has,” says Bob. “Their oilfields are burning and it’s shot my petroleum stocks all to hell. I wouldn’t even think of letting people like this in. Speaking of which …”

Bob leans toward the man in military costume.

“Hey, Joe!” he shouts.

Joe, who has been napping, perks up. “Eh?” he says. The elderly man’s eardrums are shot from working with bombs and guns.

“Joe,” says Bob, “see what you can do about beefing up our borders, will you? We don’t want the lice and rats crawling in, if you get my meaning.”

“Sure, Bob,” said Joe. “We’ll keep the bastards out, one way or another.”

A tremendous flash brightens the sky, followed by a deafening blast.


Smoke and dust rise from across the fence.

“It’s Asia,” you say.

“No, Africa,” says Jane.

“Damn wars are getting closer all the time,” says Bob.

Smoke clouds that corner of the sky.

Suddenly a loud CRASH sounds behind the café. Bob and Joe go to investigate.

“Hell, would you look at that!” shouts Bob, waving a hand at his motorhome. “Those sons-a-bitches hit my RV with shrapnel! Would you look at that!?”

He stomps to the side of his rig.

“Goddammit!! Put a two-inch dent in the finish! Two inches!!!! This will cost me a fortune! They have no clue how their family squabbles affect this planet. Dammit, would you look at my motorhome! It’s ruined!”

“It’s not safe here anymore,” says Joe. “We need to fall back.”

“Fall back?” you ask.

“Put some space between us and those jackasses,” says Joe.

“You’re absolutely right,” says Bob.

“There’s a nice acre that’s barely developed in the heartland,” says Sue. “It’s been empty ever since we exterminated the brutes who used to live there.”

“We can build new cafés and shops there,” says Jane. “And churches and a mall.”

“Hell, Bob,” says Joe, “don’t be glum about your motorhome. You can take it to the dump and get yourself a new one. I’ll make them pay for it,” he says, jabbing a thumb over his shoulder.

“Mmm,” says Bob, his face brightening.

“Now you all go ahead while I make those bastards pay,” says Joe. “And while I’m at it, I’ll secure our international businesses. We got half the planet supplying us with goods and services at pauper’s prices and we can’t afford to lose that now. So go get yourself dinner and a show while I put the minions in their places.”

“Shopping always makes me feel better,” says Jane.

“Nothing like spending money to lift your spirits,” says Bob.

“I got some peace-keeping to do,” says Joe. “But first, it’s deep-pockets time. We can’t afford to let them get the upper hand. The new gunships I’m building are like war utopia. I only need a few bucks from each of you to cover the cost.”

“We’ve been taxed pretty hard lately,” Jane says.

Joe turns with a puzzled expression. “Have you considered the alternative, Jane?” he asks.

“You want your kids to be safe, don’t you?” Joe says, beads of sweat glistening in his close-cropped, gray hair.

“Sure we do,” says Bob, opening his wallet and forking out some cash. “We love our kids more than they love theirs.”

“Here you go,” says Sue.

Jane gives Joe some cash.

You slip a few bills into Joe’s hand.

“And Joe,” says Bob, speaking with the sacred tones of a preacher, “if those monkeys should blow you into 1000 pieces, know that we love you, Joe, and we honor you for your service.”

“We honor you,” says Sue.

“Never question your God-given mandate to rid the world of evil,” says Jane.

“Rid the world of evil,” says Bob.

“Rid the world of evil,” says a chorus of voices.

“Thanks, all of you. I really do appreciate it.” Joe shakes hands with his fellow citizens. “You all make me feel real good about killing them, not that feelings matter.”

“Feelings got nothing to do with it,” says Bob. “Now go get ‘em, Joe.”

“Thanks,” says Joe as he marches off to war.

“I’m getting excited about this move,” Jane says.

“We’ll build ourselves the homes of our dreams,” says Bob.

“An amusement park.”

“A golf course.”

As you line up to enter the RV, Bob turns to face the nation.

“Do you all feel what I’m feeling right now?” he asks. You can’t help but notice the twinkle in his eyes. “I do declare that a shiver just went up and down my spine. We are making history, blessed Americans. We are creating something very special today, which binds us to our past. In the tapestry of our DNA lies a golden thread — a sacred strand woven throughout America’s history. Like our forefathers, we have been chosen above all people on earth to be heirs of God’s manifest and sacred destiny.”

“We are the most blessed of all nations,” says Sue.

“Called out of darkness,” says Jane, “to police the world for righteousness.”

“Like a sacred city on a hill,” says Bob, “bringing liberty and justice for all who embrace our values on our terms.”

“So help me God,” says Jane, placing her hand on her heart.

“In God we trust,” says Sue, gently fondling a crumpled bill.

“And so, today,” says Bob, placing a hand on his chest, “I proudly proclaim before each of you, before the nations of the world, before nine-tenths of a refugee and before God Almighty, that what we do today is done humbly and compassionately … to make America great again.”

In awed silence, all heads tilt reverently toward the heavens.

With sparkling eyes, all citizens place their hands on their hearts.

“We are the greatest nation on the planet,” says Sue.

“Let us make America great again,” says Bob.

“America first,” says Jane.

You take one slow breath, part your lips and … .

… awaken back in the world of 8 billion, with pounding chest and confused thoughts.


This is Part 1 of a 3-part series. To continue, see:  A World of Three


Image by Josh Durham, Unsplash.

[1]  Additionally, “1/2” an Australasian would live on five acres, and nine unoccupied acres would represent Antarctica. See: “Distribution of the Global Population 2018 by Continent,” Statista, www.statista.com/statistics/237584/distribution-of-the-world-population-by-continent; and “The Continents: Land Area,” Enchanted Learning, www.enchantedlearning.com/geography/continents/Land.shtml.

[2] I’m ashamed to say this is a paraphrase of an actual quote I heard on talk radio while driving through Indiana, including the part about the violin.

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