Monday, May 10, 2010

If All Men Were Created Equal

The United States Declaration of Independence states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...." This statement is not exactly self-evident.  One might even say it’s demonstrably false.  Even leaving aside an individual’s genetic variability, it doesn’t take a trust fund baby to see that we’re not all born on the same economic and social footing.  If we were all economically equal, how much land would we own?

According to Wikipedia,
“At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) and with over 309 million people, the United States is the third or fourth largest country by total area, and the third largest both by land area and population.”
Using this data, it’s easy to calculate the area per person,

( area ) / ( # of people )
= (3.79 million square miles) / ( 309 million people )
= 0.012 square miles.

That’s about 7.8 acres for each person.  Well played, Zack.  For extra points, see if you can calculate the rate at which it’s shrinking due to population growth.