P.C. Globe 4.0 (Software Review)

By John Rohe
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 1, Number 3 (Spring 1991)
Issue theme: "A world without borders?"

PC Globe version 4.0 is a menu-driven software that can be accessed by even the incorrigible computer illiterate.

Maps and data for 190 countries are incorporated in PC Globe. The Social Contract enthusiast will find the Database and Country Comparison menu items of particular interest. Statistics for the 190 countries can readily be contrasted. Statistics include, among others, the following population, age distribution, population growth, population density, population doubling time, percentage of urbanization, literacy rate, area, GNP per capita, percent of GNP for defense and education, languages, ethnic groups, religions, health statistics, resources, government, culture, education, energy, agricultural products, manufactured goods, population per physician and hospital bed, tourist information and others. The statistics have been gathered from reference works, encyclopedias, publications of various agencies such as the United Nations, CIA and numerous other sources. The information is not unique, but the ease with which statistics can be compared is.

PC Globe's anticipated shortcoming for the person wandering through its menus is that questions emerge more rapidly than answers. For example Why would Italy (seat of the Roman Catholic church) double its population in 347 years, while Mexico (93 percent Catholic) in only 32 years? Why did Poland and Czechoslovakia show a decline in birth rate 20 years ago, while showing an increase in birth rates 10 years ago? Since the per capita GNP in many European countries with stabilizing and aging populations is over 100 times that of many African countries with burgeoning, youthful populations, is a massive integration of cultures on the horizon? Since many European countries are already more than 90 percent urbanized, will they be willing to further surrender natural havens to accommodate an immigrant work force to support an aging population? Alternatively, will more Europeans and their resources migrate to African countries? Why do many of the countries spending the highest percentage of their GNP toward defense also have the highest population growth rates? What, if any, is the relationship between population stability and literacy rates? Why are only five of the ten countries with the highest GNP per capita among the ten countries with the highest literacy rate? How do we reconcile ethical considerations between our concern for individuals alive today and concern for our planet when population density and growth rates of Central American countries are often three times that of the US, while our GNP per capita is 11 to 23 times theirs? Why are none of the ten countries with the highest percentage of GNP for education among the ten countries with the highest literacy rate?

As the fate of fragile Spaceship Earth continues to unfold, I heartily recommend that concerned passengers acquire the fingertip-availability of facts and figures in PC Globe's menus and grapple with its resulting questions while awaiting the next issue of The Social Contract.

PC Globe is a registered trademark of PC Globe, Inc. of Tempe, Arizona. The program retails for $69.95.

About the author

John F. Rohe is an attorney in Petoskey, Michigan who is active in the enviromental movement.

Copyright 2007 The Social Contract Press, 445 E Mitchell Street, Petoskey, MI 49770; ISSN 1055-145X
(Article copyrights extend to the first date the article was published in The Social Contract)