Sign up FAST! Login

Humanity has wasted 16,000 years watching "Gangnam Style" What we could have done instead?

The hidden cost of Gangnam Stylebeeker muppet

What humanity could achieve if it weren’t galloping in front of computer screens

THE loony music video “Gangnam Style” surpassed two billion views on YouTube this week, making it the most watched clip of all time. At 4:12 minutes, that equates to more than 140m hours, or more than 16,000 years. What other achievements were forgone in the time spent watching a sideways shuffle and air lasso? It took 50m man-hours to complete the “supercarrier” USS Gerald Ford last year. Had people not been watching PSY—the South Korean pop star who released the song in July 2012—they could have constructed three such ships. Alternatively they could have built more than four Great Pyramids of Giza, or another Wikipedia, or six Burj Khalifas in Dubai (the world’s tallest building). The song’s nearest rival is Justin Bieber’s “Baby”, at a paltry one billion views. The opportunity cost of watching PSY’s frivolity is huge, but humanity has at least been entertained.

Daily chart: The hidden cost of Gangnam Style | The Economist

Stashed in: KPop JPop, Wikipedia, World Hunger, Shower Thoughts

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

We're not robots.  We need our diversions.

Mind you, The Psy video has almost a billion more views than the #2 video of all time:

I wonder how many of those "views" we're not watching the video but just listening to the song in the background while doing something else. 

Btw I'm impressed that it has taken 16,000 person years to build Wikipedia.

This in a world where 25,000 children still die of starvation daily. If humankind survives another five hundred years, they will view us as the barbarians that we are.

Well said. Although most current world hunger is caused by political reasons, not economic ones.

Hi Adam, I love your work - thanks for sharing.  (I can't believe it took me this many years to find you.)  If by "political", you include "culture", I agree wholeheartedly. I'm not referring to the economic system that a culture embraces, although that is definitely true, I would classify that as "political".  Instead I'm referring to how people actually live - the things that a society values, etc...  Of course, culture doesn't evolve in a vacuum. Nevertheless, apart from the obvious political issues (i.e. communism), I believe that these cultural norms are the primary reason that the remaining poverty is so difficult to eradicate.

It's why a country like China could rebound from its misery with astonishing speed: It has an underlying culture that values hard work and education; when combined with Capitalism, an unbeatable combination.Sadly, many cultures don't value either of these.

Yes, good to meet you!

My understanding of world hunger is that it's complicated.

That there are enough resources (money available and food available) to feed everyone, but there are not distribution systems in place, nor are regimes in several countries in the world willing to let humanitarian efforts come in and help.

Some political systems make sure everyone is fed -- China comes to mind -- whereas other systems seem to be okay with rampant poverty and starvation, as you point out.

Agreed that we have the resources, we merely lack the Leaders.  You know, people willing to sacrifice some of their life (their time...perhaps the time they spent watching Psy) in order to bring progress to our world. I'm all about the difference that individual Leadership can make. [Note: We won't end it all in our lifetime, there will always be the 'crazies' (i.e. dictators, mentally ill, etc...), but we can do a hell of a lot better than 25,000 deaths per day.

You make a good point, Dean.

It's a little more complicated than that since many people who suffer from hunger live in active war zones.

You May Also Like: