BIG BALLPARKS

Much gets said about over-population, but not much gets said about inflation of population figures. It seems almost no one is content to give accurate figures for anyone’s population. If all the ‘ball-park’ estimates of population were added up, the world would have at least ten billion souls. No ballpark in the world is that big. Admittedly it’s difficult to maintain accurate information with situations like the Thai futile system in which people are counted as residents of their ‘home of birth’ regardless of where they actually live. Still there seems to be a natural tendency to exaggerate figures wildly, as if that were some kind of editorial machismo: “My city’s bigger than yours.” Mexico City had ten million, fifteen, twenty, and now it’s back to fifteen if you count all the suburbs very carefully. It seems it was never really the biggest city in the world after all, despite all the press. Or if it was, it’s since been surpassed, sort of like skyscraper races. Somebody puts a microwave tower on top to take the lead. Who cares? Half those buildings are empty anyway. I would confess to some vicarious satisfaction at seeing the Twin Towers fall, to be honest, if no one had been inside. No one needs that big of an erection.