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Over Two Billion Served 2010-Jul-05 at 19:15 PST

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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As I’ve been doing my presentation lately, I’ve been pointing out to people that there are tens of millions, and then hundreds of millions, of people who will join us at an Integral level of development in the coming decades.

I’ve been thinking about it, and I think I’ve been wrong about those numbers by a wide margin.  They’re way too low.

The real number is probably somewhere around two to three billion people who will develop to second-tier in the next four decades.

How do I arrive at this estimate?  It’s simple, really.

The United Nations (useless in many respects, but occasionally good for statistics) estimates that the peak population on Earth, reached around 2050, will be around 9.5B.  The reason that population growth levels off there is because the spread of globalization, and the rising income and educational levels that globalization brings to nations, mean that the nations that have the highest birth rates now – typically on the lower end of GDP/capita – will see those birth rates decline to around replacement rate by 2050.

Already, Japan is below replacement rate (generally defined as 2.1 children/couple).  Europe is below replacement rate.  The United States is exactly at replacement rate, in the latest estimate, and that thanks to the immigration we still welcome.  The parts of Africa, South America, and Asia that currently sit far above replacement rate will slow dramatically as income levels rise, and therefore the chances of raising children that will survive and thrive go up as well (as has always happened in history).  I find this a compelling model for population numbers.

So, we’ll be at 9.5B or so in 2050.  Then, if you look at the number of people estimated to be at a post-modern level of development in the “Western” world, or what Thomas Barnett calls the “Old Core”… that’s generally estimated to be 25%-30% of the population.  There’s no reason to think that Integral won’t get to that 25%-30% of the population in the next four decades (and probably sooner).

But, this time, because of the Internet and globalization, and the “Flat” world we have, as Thomas Friedman would put it, the Integral wave of development won’t be limited to the Western world.  No, this time, we’ll also be a significant percentage of India and China and the rest of the world.

So, let’s take a conservative estimate and say that Integral will, by 2050, comprise only 20% of the world’s population.  20% of 9.5B = 1.9B people.  And I think that’s the minimum estimate.  25% gets us to 2.4B people.

So… stop and think about this… imagine a world where over two billion people are operating with some sort of second-tier consciousness.  Imagine the kinds of global leadership and decision-making that will be possible in that world… a world where all points-of-view are recognized and which also finds the balance between those contexts to make nearly optimal decisions.  A world where enough of us overcome our own limited, fearful, egoic perspectives to share a world-centric view of right action that transcends the limited definitions we place on ourselves about who we are.  A world worth saving… and a world worth celebrating.

Feel that.  Believe that.  We’re going to be fine, because there will be enough of us who are capable of acting for the good of the planet, and for the good of all sentient beings.  This world is coming, in this lifetime.

That’s the future worth creating that I’m talking about.  The Integral Wave of Development is now serving… you.

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