Unprecedented growth in human power


The last 500 years have witnessed a phenomenal and unprecedented growth in human power. In the year 1500, there were about 500 million Homo sapiens in the entire world. Today, there are 7 billion. The total value of goods and services produced by humankind in the year 1500 is estimated at $250 billion, in today's dollars. Nowadays the value of a year of human production is close to $60 trillion. In 1500, humanity consumed about 13 trillion calories of energy per day. Today, we consume 1,500 trillion calories a day. (Take a second look at those figures — human population has increased fourteen-fold, production 240-fold, and energy consumption 115-fold.)

From the Book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Harper Collins, 2015, ISBN 0062316095