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Population Control, anyone?

Discussion in 'News & Current Events' started by doubtingmerle, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

    +1,837
    Humanist
    There are now 7 billion of us on planet earth. (see 7 billion people fuel concern over world resources - SFGate ).

    Some day we will reach the limit of how many people can live on this planet, yes? We cannot continue to add people indefinately, can we?

    There are a limited amount of renewable resources on earth. The problem is that, when we run low on resources, we can continue for a while in an "overshoot" condition, in which we draw down on available reserves at rates greater than what could be sustained. It can be argued that we are already in overshoot, that it would would require 1.3 planets the size of the earth to maintain the demand of our current population on the renewable resources of this planet. (see Ecological Footprint)

    Let's assume we have 50 years to bring our population down to the point that it requires only 1.0 planets to maintain our population. That means we need to reduce our population to 7 / 1.3, or 5.4 billion. Suppose we were to take the huge worldwide step of requiring every couple to have on the average 1 child. Then each successive generation will be 1/2 the size of the previous generation. How long will that take to fix the problem?

    Let's simplify and do a quick calculation. Assume there are currently 2 billion people over 50 (call them "generation 1"), 2 billion between 25 and 50 ("generation 2"), and 3 billion people between 0 and 25 ("generation 3"). Now assume that in 25 years, everybody over 50 will die, everybody in generation 2 lives on, and everybody under 25 lives on and will have their 1 and only allowed child on their 25th birthday. Then, 25 years from now, there will be 2 billion people of generation 2, 3 billion of generation 3, and 1.5 billion of the new generation 4, for a total of 6.5 billion people on earth.

    Repeat the same assumption 25 years later. Generation 2 then dies, the 3 billion people of generation 3 and 1.5 billion of generation 4 live on, and generation 5 is added with .75 billion. Now we have reached 5.3 billion, just under our 5.4 billion limit.

    The problem is worse. Most of our agriculture depends of oil and natural gas, much of which will be gone in 50 years. If much of the green revolution is lost, because we no longer have the petroleum to fuel it, must we cut down much more than the back-of-the-envelope calculation here?

    Enforcing an average of no more than one child per couple is a huge undertaking, but the calculations show something like that may be necessarily. The alternative is a huge die-off, as we would then depend on a rising death rate to bring population down to manageable levels.

    Should we be asking our governments to study this problem in detail, and if we really need to reduce to 1 child or less per family for the next 50 years, to begin a program to enforce that?
     
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  2. Defensor Fidei

    Defensor Fidei Well-Known Member

    +108
    Atheist
    US-Green
    There is no population growth problem. There is only a resource distribution problem.
     
  3. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

    +1,837
    Humanist
    And there is no limit to the population? Could the population of your town or your state increase by a factor of a million, and there still be no problem?

    If you agree that there must be a limit beyond which we should not let the population increase, then how do you know we have not reached that limit already?

    And how can our problem be a resource distribution problem? For we are already distributing things like fish and fresh water in excess of earth's ability to replenish them. So how exactly is it that we have a distribution problem?
     
  4. ACougar

    ACougar U.S. Army Retired

    +1,163
    Pagan
    Married
    US-Democrat
    I agree that we should be struggling to stabilize our population as quickly as possible, however I find the idea of a government telling people how many kids they can have repulsive. I think Europe is proof that government should never have to restrict peoples liberty to have children. Instead government should focus on improving education, opportunity and quality of life... once those three areas reach western levels, the population will stabilize.

     
  5. Defensor Fidei

    Defensor Fidei Well-Known Member

    +108
    Atheist
    US-Green
    First of all, the population won't keep increasing like it is right now. There are a lot of countries going through industrial development right now and going through the same population growth we went through in the West. Right now many European nations along with Japan are barely breaking even or have negative growth. The U.S. has a lot of immigrants, but its birthrates aren't very high either. The dramatic population growth is going on in the Third World, and it will eventually level off just as the West's did.

    Secondly, people like you have been predicting doom due to population growth since the time of Malthus. Your predictions have always been proven wrong. There is more than enough resources on the planet to sustain our population. Right now the First World nations consume- and waste- far too large a share of the world's resources. If Americans were able to cut back on their decadent lifestyles and adopt a more sustainable resource usage plan, it would go a long way toward solving these problems.
     
  6. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

    +1,837
    Humanist
    Well of course, nobody want to have to do that. But if the alternative is that billions die of starvation then wouldn't forced reduction of average family size be better?

    If you had to choose one or the other which would you choose? Billions dying of starvation, or governments uniting in a plan to control population size?
    Those things tend to limit population growth, yes, but will they produce the kinds of reductions we need? If we really need to drop from 7 billion people to 4-6 billion people in the next 50 years, and if that requires limiting the average reproduction rate to 1 child per couple, will education, opportunity and quality of life meet our needs? I think not.

    The opening post was a plea to study the problem, and respond as needed. Do you agree?

    If your plan works to trim the population at the desired rates, I am in favor of it. But if it is not working, then we had better have a plan B that will work.
     
  7. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

    +1,837
    Humanist
    And yet we have still been adding about a billion people worldwide every 12 years. So worldwide growth rates have not stopped.

    And if we are currently in 30% overshoot or worse, as some have calculated, then simply stopping growth is not enough. Are you in agreement with finding out if we are indeed in overshoot, and making plans to reduce birth rates if needed?
    Are you assuming that the Third World will eventually reach the levels of the West? How do you know that? For much of the Third World has struggled over the last decade, and the whole world has struggled economically in the last four years. Will it be possible for Third World countries to ever reach the quality of life enjoyed by the West?

    Uh, no, predictions of doom have not all been proven wrong. Many societies have collapsed in the past.

    And predictions of future progress have often proven wrong. We haven't been flying around in space ships while robots did the house chores as predicted for the 21st century.

    If we want to look at whether the population is in overshoot today, then we must look at the data today, not at some prediction somebody may have made wrong in the past.

    Then why are world fish supplies in serious decline? Why are world aquifiers being depleted? Why are topsoil levels in serious trouble? Why are forests disappearing?

    How do you know there is enough resources to sustain the current population?

    I agree. :thumbsup:
     
  8. Defensor Fidei

    Defensor Fidei Well-Known Member

    +108
    Atheist
    US-Green
    And? I did not deny that they did.

    Nope.

    Perhaps they won't. Perhaps industrial capitalism as an ideology will fail and collapse before then. But we cannot speculate.



    Nope, you guys are pretty much always wrong. From Malthus's nonsensical predictions, to the Simon-Ehrlich wager, you fearmongers have always been proven wrong.

    Yep, predictions are often wrong. Like those of you and Tommy.

    Those have to do with the actions of individuals and particular societies. Not population growth.

    There is no doubt about this fact. If Americans did not feel the need to drive Cadillac Escalades for no reason, this "crisis" would be solved.
     
  9. Exiledoomsayer

    Exiledoomsayer Only toke me 1 year to work out how to change this

    +56
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    Yes I do think this is an issue that warrents being studied and discussion should follow based on the results. If action is suggested to be needed more studies should be done to determine what kind of actions would solve it, and which are the most feasible to pull off.

    I'd imagine you can rank them in order of desirablity and start with plan a, if that doesnt work drop down to plan B, something like.. (these are examples off the top of my head.)

    Plan A: Work to support the factors that have been found to naturally lead people to reproduce less (education, wealth, etc)
    Plan B: Have a rally and discussion to encourage everyone to join in 'saving the future'
    Plan C: Give tax cuts to people who have a single child / childless.
    Plan D: Ban having more then 1 kid.
    Plan E: Nuke africa
    Plan F: Go to war. (Never fails. Probably would follow after plan E anyways)

    Ofcourse its possible such a study would find we have no problems. that would be the best result.
     
  10. Exiledoomsayer

    Exiledoomsayer Only toke me 1 year to work out how to change this

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    I'm sorry but..
    Did you just say "I dont want to find out if we have a problem" ?
     
  11. Defensor Fidei

    Defensor Fidei Well-Known Member

    +108
    Atheist
    US-Green
    Correct, there is no "overshoot". Let people have as many children as as they wish. Children are a blessing. The Malthusians can whine in the corner.
     
  12. Exiledoomsayer

    Exiledoomsayer Only toke me 1 year to work out how to change this

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    But, how would you know there is no "overshoot" without checking?
    If you just decided there is no overshoot, what do you base that on if you refuse to have a study done to see if you are right or wrong?

    Edit:
    It just feels to me as if I'm saying "I know I dont have cancer." And refuse to ever step into a doctors office for routine checks. While for all I know I might have a cancer developing inside me that is perfectly threatable if only Id know about it it before it becomes too big. Maybe I don't have cancer, Heck I feel I probably dont but what harm could it do to have a simple examination every so often?
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011
  13. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

    +1,837
    Humanist
    Wow. So you are not in agreement with finding out if we are indeed in population overshoot? Why not? What is wrong with finding out if we are indeed in overshoot? How can you possibly be against finding out if we have overreached?

    And you are against making plans to reduce birth rates if needed? I can understand being against birth rates reductions if such reductions are not needed. But my question was a hypothetical question. If reductions in birth rate are needed, then are you in favor of reducing them? Are you sure your answer to that question is "nope"?

    Excuse me, but just several minutes ago you wrote, "The dramatic population growth is going on in the Third World, and it will eventually level off just as the West's did." [emphasis added]

    Were you not speculating that the Third World will undergo changes? And now you say you cannot speculate about the Third World?

    Were you for speculating about the Third World before you were against it? ;)

    Interesting. So Rome did not collapse? And the Easter Island population did not collapse? And the Maya civilization did not collapse?

    And here I thought collapses have happened in the past.

    Why do you concentrate on judging somebody's predictions of the past, rather than looking at the data relevant to today?

    And predictions are sometimes right.

    If forecasters are predicting a category 4 hurricane will hit your location on the beach in 2 days, will you just laugh and say predictions are often wrong?

    The fact that some predictions are wrong does not prove that all predictions are wrong.

    Uh, what you said is that cutting back would go a long way to solving our problems. I agree with that.

    How do you know that no longer driving Escalades will solve the potential problem of population overshoot?
     
  14. AceHero

    AceHero Veteran

    +430
    Non-Denom
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    US-Others
    If I ever have a family, I only want one child. There's my contribution. :thumbsup:
     
  15. Daniel25

    Daniel25 Well-Known Member

    733
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    US-Democrat
    any sort of ecological problem is one of consumption, not of population. The family of 8 in India who consumed $10,000 puts much less strain on the enviroment than the western couple w/ vanity child who consumed $120,000 a year.
     
  16. Exiledoomsayer

    Exiledoomsayer Only toke me 1 year to work out how to change this

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    How are you certain both are not factors?
    But just go with the hypothetical. If the population keeps increasing you'd eventually reach a limit (Even if we are living on 1$ a year or something). What do you think should be done then?
     
  17. Autumnleaf

    Autumnleaf Legend

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    Yes, there is a population control problem. Do your part and never have children, consume as little as possible and live a very spartan lifestyle.

    Or worry about yourself instead of how many babies some lady in Africa is having. Its true people have been whining about this topic for eons and every gloom and doom prediction about it has been proven wrong. There is more than enough to go around, as was said before its a distribution problem. Food aid to Africa actually rots on the docks often because the governments in the African countries are starving one group or another to maintain power.
     
  18. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

    +1,837
    Humanist
    Uh, I believe I have been talking about everybody, not just babies in Africa. Where did I say anything about only being concerned about babies in Africa?

    Uh, people were wrong about overpopulation when there was 1 billion, so they are wrong when there are 7 billion? What kind of logic is that?

    And would you also say it would be wrong to warn about overpopulation even if the population grew to 20 billion people? What if it grew to 20 billion people per square mile? For your logic says that, if there are 20 billion people per square mile, then we should not worry about that, for people were wrong about overpopulation in 1800.

    Can you see how saying that people were wrong about overpopulation at 1 billion does not prove the capacity of the earth is unlimited?

    And predictions about peak oil, and other warnings, have proven to be remarkably accurate. It is the naysayers about peak oil that have been forced to constantly modify their utopian predictions downward.

    Uh, there is a lot of food now, but as was mentioned before, we are doing that with tremendous drawdown of ocean fish supplies, water aquifiers, topsoil levels, etc.
     
  19. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

    +1,837
    Humanist
    Cutting back consumption will certainly help, and is a good idea, but even that will eventually reach the limit if population continues to grow.

    Do you have a plan to get most families that are consuming $120,000 to cut back to $10,000 per year? If you have such a plan, please share how it will work. If you have no such plan, then it really does not address the problem.

    Which is a better plan: Trimming the birth rate now, or cutting people back to $10,000 a year spending until that no longer works, and then trimming the birth rate?
     
  20. Autumnleaf

    Autumnleaf Legend

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    They are part of everybody. So keep them in mind too.

    The carrying capacity of the world is much more than 7 billion. Go run the numbers if you don't believe me.

    What if it did? Start that thread when we get there.

    When they do it over and over again throughout history their argument sort of loses its steam. Especially among those of us who have a scientific background and understand how to estimate the world's carrying capacity.

    No they have not. They have proven to be wrong time after time.

    Some places are being over fished and others are not. There are fish farms now where there were none before and they are farming huge numbers of fish. Topsoil can be fertilized, fresh water is limitless and energy is also limitless because the sun isn't going anywhere anytime soon. If oil ever gets tapped out you will see huge innovation in solar and other energy areas because the oil companies will start using all those patents they've been buying up.
     
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