Now that we have talked about the starsheds and the geography of them on Earth, I want to switch gears and talk about the people on it.
So, let’s talk about me for a while. No that’s rude, let’s talk about you for just a bit first. Ok, ok, let’s talk about us. No, I mean ALL of us. Every single human on the planet. Let’s talk about them, and their kids and the grandkids too. I want to talk about Earth’s people in the year 2099.
First, we’re going to take a look at the world as it is today. But showing every person on the planet is not an easy thing. However, there is a trick that cartographers and mapmakers use. It’s called a population adjusted map. Basically, you puff up or suck out a country on the map based on its population size. It’s a lot like taking a straw and sticking it into an empty juice-box and then puffing it or sucking all the air out of it. Here is what that map looks like for the world today in the year 2018:
Now, this is NOT a map that you can navigate by at all! But it is the kind of map that a pollster, or an immunologist, or a Coke-a-Cola executive would navigate by. It’s clear that India and China are HUGE countries when it comes to population. But that makes sense, we know that both of them have tremendous populations of over a billion humans each. Another thing to note is that Australia, Canada, and Russia, though large in land mass, are very small in population, so they end up looking really tiny and jagged.
Now I want to show you a vision of the future. This next map is just like the previous one, but this time the year is 2099. Ok, ok, it’s actually for the year 2100, but to me, the number 2100 just looks like some amount of soybeans or the model number for a printer. So, I’m using 2099 as I think it’s a bit easier to think of as a year and not something else. Still, the map is going to be fairly accurate for that year.
And, yes, I know, there is no way of figuring out what the exact population will be. But, and I am serious now, if you take away one thing from this, it should be that UNSECO’s population predictions are ironclad. IRONCLAD. They are very very good and they tell us a very good story about the future of our world. I am not about to get into the minutia of these statistics, I’m just going to show you the map. However, if you are interested, and if you are under 50 years old you should be, then I highly suggest watching or reading the late Dr. Hans Rosling’s incredible TED talks and books. Nothing will give you a greater sense of calm and optimism than that great man (https://ideas.ted.com/cultures-nations-and-religions-are-not-rocks-theyre-always-changing/ https://www.gapminder.org/videos/hans-rosling-and-the-magic-washing-machine/).
Dear Lord, things got bigger, didn’t they? Look at Africa. They’re as big as India and China. Africa is HUGE in the year 2099. If you look into the numbers a bit, and I’m not going to torture you with that dive, then you see that Africa goes from about one billion people today, to about four billion people in 2099. Asia is at about four billion today and will go to about five billion people in 2099. The rest of the world, Europe and the Americas, stays the same at about two billion people. This means that there will be 11 billion people on this planet in 2099, about one human lifetime from now. And most of those 3.9 billion new humans will be Africans.
Here’s the other thing, these new humans aren’t going to be poor either. They’re going to be like us, at least by 2099. Think back to 1940. Maybe some of the older readers can actually remember those times. Most of us will have just heard of them. Think back to your grand-mother or great-grandmother. I’m sure, even in the US, you heard the story of the first refrigerator in the house. How grandmom used to just use an icebox, how it melted all the time and dripped down into a pan. And how grateful grandmom was when an electric refrigerator got into the house. She might have cried even, so life changing was a simple fridge. Now they could eat pork-chops with having to sear them to death so as to avoid trichinosis. They could finally make Jell-O for the first time and store milk and not have it spoil. Thousands of other devices and machines have made the Western world safe, easier, and better. Now we can read books and learn new things instead of having to wash clothes and dishes.
That is where places like Africa and India are today. China has already made the change to a ‘modern’ society; their main health concern is OBESITY. The famines of the 1970’s are gone, and now the Chinese are worried that they are too fat. What a miracle!
In less than the lifetime of some people reading this, Africa and India will be where the Western world is this very moment. Their families will be just two children, they will eat a lot of meats and sugars and fats, they will have cars and washing machines, and their kids will all go to college. Since there are going to be four billion people making over $64 per day, and Europe will be only at one billion, there will be more Tanzanian tourists in London than English tourists in Dodoma.
Ok, so, now we understand how the population of the world changes and how everyone is going to be living much better. But how does that map back into the starsheds? I’m going to show you the population adjusted map again, but this time with the starsheds drawn on it. However, that is REALLY teasing the accuracy of these types of images. Trying to accurately draw the starshed on such a distorted map really isn’t possible. Nonetheless, I hope you allow me some ‘artistic’ license:
In pink stars are the locations of the starports. As you can see, the map is a bit distorted and the equator is no longer a straight line. Nonetheless, the map is striking. The Macapa starshed is relatively small in population, western Africa nearly makes up for all of South America and then some. The Galapagos, Nauru, and Kiribati starsheds barely have anyone living in them. But the BIG takeaways are Kismayo and Singapore. The Kismayo starshed has a LOT of people in it, especially as Africa grows this century. The Singapore starshed’s proximity to the mouth of the Ganges also captures a lot of people. Hopefully you can now see why it is so important that Singapore has a starport that far west and why additional starports to the east will not count for much. Though I feel this map is striking, astute readers may be asking about the actual NUMBERS. You know, not just a pretty graphic, but what are the real percentages? Well, UNSECO also publishes the data for country-by-country population growth in a decade-by-decade fashion. I’ll not bore you with the details of the analysis and just give you the chart of each starshed’s population each decade until 2099.
Well, I think it’s clear that Kismayo is the leader here. By 2099, its starshed holds ~57% of the world’s population. Let’s just repeat that another way for emphasis: Not only is a small Somalian port even in contention for being a starport to begin with, but at the turn of the next century, it takes the lion’s share at nearly 3/5ths of the world population’s path to the stars. Singapore also does good business, and Macapa cleans up the rest of the world. The smaller Pacific islands remain, well, small.
Before, I mentioned that Africa, despite it coming population boom, is also going to experience a boom in wages and economy to match. What is that boom going to look like? Well, that is VERY difficult to measure. I tried looking at historical Gross Domestic Product per Capita (GDP/c), basically the amount each person takes home each year in each country, but the numbers get real squirrely. China is booming in recent years and the data really shows it. Their GDP/c is insane exponential growth. However, places like the USA or France aren’t really exponential anymore but grow linearly. Trying to match a growth rate to each country and then add everything up isn’t really reasonable. If you kept the lines going for China as it is today, then by 2099, their GDP/c is $3.2 billion; i.e. each citizen is a billionaire. That, obviously, is not going to happen. Instead, I’m going to look at the Gross World Product from 1960 to 2011, extrapolate that out, and then divide it by the world’s population (GWP/c). The graph of GWP/c is as such:
Here I used a linear fit. See that the GWP/c in 2011 was about $6000. That’s $16/day or about $2/hr, for the average human. If you extrapolate this out, and I don’t think this is necessarily a good idea, then you get the GWP/c in the year 2099 to be $12,135, about $33/day or a $4.15/hr wage. Here is another way of estimating the GWP/c. In this one, I am just taking the GWP and extrapolating from that:
Now, if you use a linear fit to this data, then the GWP in 2099 should be about 469 trillion dollars, up from 41.6 trillion dollars in 2011. This is not a crazy number and is somewhat alright. If you use an exponential fit, then the GWP in 2099 is 12 sexdecillion dollars (12 with 51 zeros after it). That is, obviously, a crazy number, so a linear fit it is. However, if you take the 41.6 trillion dollars, then the GWP/c is $41,901. That’s not bad money for the average person on Earth. For two breadwinners, that’s a solid $82,000 annual salary, you can send kids to college on that money and still have room for vacations. And that would be an AVERAGE human’s take.
That said, I’m going to use the $12,135 for the rest of the analysis. But, listen, I really am spit balling here. The GWP/c number is a real tough one to create and measure. I think it’s likely that this number will be higher, but not by much. Still, I’ll be conservative and take the lower estimate.
Now, taking the lower estimate, let’s find out how much GDP each starshed has. Basically, we want to know how much money exists within each starshed. To do that, you take the population of each country in the year 2099, which is not a terrible estimate. For countries like India that have large populations and are in more than one starshed, I tried to divide up the population as best I could. Considering how wildly a population can swing in any given country, this is not the most accurate thing. Still, averaged over all the countries in the world, I feel this isn’t entirely off base. After I got the number of people per starshed in 2099, I just multiplied that number by the GWP/c number to get the GDP per starshed. Yes, that is also a troublesome calculation, but, again, I think the numbers are in the correct ballparks.
Now, that is a huge number. For the Kismayo starshed, the GDP is nearly 80 trillion dollars. About double the GWP today. Singapore’s starshed claims a GDP of about $35 trillion, nearly the output of the world today.
But these are the total GDPs of the each starshed. The real question is how much is going to be spent on space and space related industry? Well, that figure, like all the other figures here, is again, a real tough one to guess at. Currently, NASA estimates that the world spending on space is at 0.05% of the GWP. Today, that means we humans spend about $21 billion on space. That’s across all agencies and countries, China, Russia, the US, the ESA, etc.
Now, I am going to assume that this 0.05% spent on space is going to remain constant. Again, this is a conservative estimate. Honestly, I think it will increase before the end of the century. But, I’m going to go with the conservative number instead and say that spending on space is going to stay steady. If that is true, then the spending on space per starshed is:
Though the graph looks the same as before, pay attention to the numbers. The Kismayo starshed outputs about $40 billion per year, about double that of Earth’s current output. Singapore’s starshed is about that of Earth today. The total is 3.2 time the output of Earth today at $68 Billion.
For reference, the entire Apollo program, all 11 missions to put men on the moon over 10 years, was about $100 Billion dollars, or about one landing at $10 Billion per year. In 2099, the world’s output will be nearly seven times that. That’s not just one landing per year, but just over one every other month. But that is the conservative estimate. And remember, Kismayo’s starshed should take just shy of 60% of these launches. So, that’s just about four moon landings worth of space spending each year coming out of what is today a little Somali port.