When I grew up in the 1970s, it was common knowledge that the U.S. had 5% of the world’s population, but used 50% of the world’s energy resources.
This has changed. We still have 5% of the world’s population, but our share of energy consumption is now about 25% and still declining. This is not because we’re conserving more energy. It is because the emerging nations like China, India, Brazil and Russia are using an ever-increasing share, and that presses back the size of our slice in the total energy pie.
Here is another statistic:
Today the U.S. still has 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners. That surprises me, and I don’t know why.
- Do we breed more bad guys than other countries?
- Do we incarcerate more people for stuff you can get away with in other countries?
- Are our laws stricter?
- Perhaps we imprison people for minor stuff that other countries just chuckle about, like possession of marijuana?
I don’t have the answer.
We always pride ourself of being an angel of freedom around the world. Except that we take away the freedom of a disproportionate percentage of our own citizens by locking them up.