Democracy & Technology Blog Milken surveys the world

Globalization, health care, human capital — the supposedly infamous and definitely ingenious Michael Milken covered it all in a wideranging presentation at Telecosm X, his first return to the conference since Telecosm I in 1997. A few weeks ago we cited a great Wall Street Journal column he wrote, and here are a few related morsels from his speech:
— Global life expectancy has grown from 31 years in 1900 to 66 years in 2005.
— It will probably grow 30 more years in the 21st century.
— A child born today will, on average, live to be 110.
— There will be more English speakers in China by 2025 than in all other nations.
— In 1820 China was the world’s largest economy. India was No. 2.
— In 1820 China, India, and the U.S. accounted for 50% of the world economy, dipped to 30% in the early 70s, with the U.S. representing most of that, and will again hit 50% in about 2050.
— You are 3 times more likely to die from heart valve replacement surgery in the U.S. than in India, where it costs just one-tenth the price. 150,000 American “medical tourists” went abroad for major surgery last year.
— Egypt has $241 billion in dead capital because they don’t have the property rights necessary to securitize mortgages. Mexico has $315 billion in dead capital.
— Residential mortgages worldwide approach $50 trillion.
— Compound interest, as Einstein said, really is the most powerful force in the world.
Savings rates are meaningless. Rates of return are the key.
— The real U.S. balance sheet could be said to contain some $227 trillion in assets: 26% financial and real assets; 74% human and social capital.
-Bret Swanson
Here I am with the biggest financial innovator of the 1980s and one of today’s most important innovators in health care and education.

Bret Swanson

Bret Swanson is a Senior Fellow at Seattle's Discovery Institute, where he researches technology and economics and contributes to the Disco-Tech blog. He is currently writing a book on the abundance of the world economy, focusing on the Chinese boom and developing a new concept linking economics and information theory. Swanson writes frequently for the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal on topics ranging from broadband communications to monetary policy.