Here is an interesting -- and for me, enlightening -- way to put our individual incomes in perspective.
An interactive media company in London has developed a nice little online program that shows where you fit in the spectrum of annual earnings, compared to everyone else on Earth.
Before you look at the chart and graph below showing the data they used, you may want to try the site first, and see if you are as amazed as I was. Then you can scroll down on this page. (I'm not revealing it now so as not to spoil the surprise.)
I'm waiting patiently for you........
Have you clicked on the link yet to take the Rich Test?
Okay, if you're now ready, let's look at the figures.
Click on the image below to see the yearly income in percentage for different income groups according to the World Bank:
What this demonstrates, obviously, is how disproportionately incomes are distributed. It's probably arguable whether this is a healthy situation or not, although it seems clear to me that it isn't. (You might also choose to quibble with the numbers they used, but even if you plug in other estimates, the graph will still look shocking.) The difference in incomes, by the way, has not always been this dramatic, historically, and the current trend is toward more disparity, not less.
How does all this have anything to do with nanotechnology?
Well, regardless of whether the present vast gaps are acceptable to you, the arrival of molecular manufacturing -- likely within the next ten years -- has the potential to significantly alter things, economically as well as in other ways.
Molecular manufacturing represents power: political power, military power, and financial power. Who controls that power and how widely -- how democratically -- it is distributed will make all the difference when it is developed. Decisions we make before that time will determine whether the world becomes safer or more dangerous; more just or less just; more free or more oppressive.