A. N. Chumakov
Golden Billion: + an allegory intended to designate the most wealthy part
humans living predominantly in the most developed countries and having all that is
needed for a secure and comfortable life.
The present stage of scientific and technological revolution that has grown into
informational and technological revolution contributes, on the one hand, to the
unity of humankind and, on the other hand, to its differentiation. For example,
while the level of social, political and ecological intensity in the world is growing,
the gap between rich and poor people, countries and regions widens; capital and
the newest technologies are accumulated in the most developed countries, entailing
the transfer of the intellectual potential and highly qualified specialists from the
poor states to the rich ones. Informational and technological revolution translates
into a more profitable and privileged position for the most advanced countries. For
example, at the beginning of the twenty-first century the overwhelming majority
(88%) of the 300 million Internet users live in “golden billion” countries.
The income gap between people in the rich and the poor countries is especially
striking. For example, while in 2000 one sixth of the planetary population (mostly
inhabitants of North America, Europe and Japan) were receiving nearly 80% of
world income (about 70 dollars a day for an average person), 57% of world
population from the poorest countries had only 6% of world income (meaning less
than two dollars a day for person). At the same time, 1.2 billion people having less
than 1 dollar a day were even in a worse situation.
Under the conditions of globalization the world as a whole becomes more and
more structured, first, in the field of communications and world trade. This, in its
turn, increases the specialization of specific countries and regions within the world
division of labor. For example, the percentage of the population of advanced
countries working in the sphere of service, science, education, art, light processing
and the electronics industry, that is, the ecologically secure industries, is much
higher than in the least developed or even developing countries. Considering more
severe environmental laws adopted by the most of developed Western countries,
most environmentally dangerous industries, such as chemical, metallurgic, mining
enterprises, are being moved to the less developed countries. In a very short time
such industries destroy traditional ways of life and create serious disproportions in
nature/society relations. The informational and technological revolution has also
fundamentally changed the directions of world financial flows: now capital mostly
goes to the developed countries, because high technologies require educated,
highly skilled specialists, high industrial culture and developed infrastructure.
Golden billion countries also become the main consumers of knowledge-oriented,
highly technological production leaving outsiders no chance to shorten the gap and
to reach the level of sustainable development. This is a serious contribution into
social and political instability in the modern world.