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7 Billion people: no reason to celebrate


tombgrt
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Thoughtful indeed.  Let me summarize this neo-malthusian.  Too many people are living too well.  We need to either keep most people poor and starving or more preferably eliminate 2 Billion (yes that is 2 Billion) human beings from the earth.  Kind of makes Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot look like light weights.

 

--Eric

 

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I think the United States is a good example. 

 

The country with the most consumption doesn't have the largest population.

 

He has a Harvard education.  I saved my money wisely.

 

From my relatively low level of education (relative to his), I have learned that the answer is renewable energy technology, recycling, and conservation.

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Since when does population size equal consumption?  The differential rates of consumption are due differences in wealth and what its citizens can afford to buy.  Just because the rest of the world outside the rules-based nations (US, UK, Netherlands, Canada, Australia & Singapore) choose to hold back thier common people to protect thier priviledged class, does not make these nations consumption bad just because they have more of it due to their wealth.

 

Packer 

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Since when does population size equal consumption?  The differential rates of consumption are due differences in wealth and what its citizens can afford to buy. 

 

Packer

 

Consumption though is not a problem.  It's whether or not the consumption can be sustained without environmental collapse.

 

Today (for example say the Clean Air Act) we essentially bake certain external environmental costs into US manufacturing which has an effect of more accurately pricing finished consumer goods, but then we allow it to be undercut by products produced in foreign factories where such costs are not priced in by regulations.  The free market is not going to put external costs into finished goods without help from regulatory authorities.

 

He doesn't even touch on this.  Instead he's just taking a head count.

 

 

 

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I dont see the number as particularly relevant. 

 

Clean energy supply is the bottleneck.  Massive growth in clean energy sources translates to cleaner water, more agriculture, etc, etc, etc.  Solar energy manufacturing capacity is exploding worldwide.  If we got accurate numbers that included all the subsidies received by fossil fuel industry through the government infrastructures I am guessing solar may start to become cheaper than coal soon.  With coal, oil, and gas, you need roads, rigs, pipelines, etc. all paid for by government or tax protected utilities.  The externalities are never included in price comparisons.  Solar can be used anywhere, even up here in the great white north, to some extent.  Nat. gas can fill in the gaps. 

 

Even the Saudi's are promoting solar usage. 

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As to pollution, in those countries the regulations are unenforceable due there non rules based culture/way of doing business.  As to solar, China, a place where IP is commonly stolen due it's non rule based culture, is the best place to flatten out the pricing as the IP will be stolen and spread around to all competitors with lower prices for consumers as it will become a commodity.

 

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The article starts : "On October 31, the world’s seven billionth inhabitant will be born. This should be a matter for deep mourning. Not only does inexorably increasing population pollute the planet, and lessen the likelihood that the majority rather than a minority of the world’s inhabitants can achieve a Western living standard, it also hugely raises the probability of a crisis in which billions are killed."

 

I wholeheartedly disagree with the article.  There is absolutely no need to mourn the addition of another human being.  That is a disgusting thought in the first place.  More people does not inexorably mean increased pollution or a decreased standard of living.  In the US, our air and water are cleaner than they were 100 years ago.  We are more prosperous than previous generations.  This is true of most every major nation on earth. 

 

The writer argues that we should reduce population to below 2 billion.  How does he want to reduce/eliminate 70% of the people?  Who is going to prevented from having children?

 

The only value of the article is to remind us that there are still people who hold to a belief that is discredited.  Like taxes, it is another area where Buffett is way off as well. 

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Funny how different people can read something in a different way. Interesting posts tho and I appreciate them. I should also note that my English is far below par to start any meaningful discussion so I'll just post my short view on the subject.

 

I'm sure he is not simply mourning the addition of another human being or implying we reduce human population with drastic unhuman measures. Rather, in my view, he mourns the fact that we as a group are destroying the earth for future generations which ultimately will lead to more victims compared to coping with population growth by limiting it.

 

It is not about how our situation is now, it is about how substainable it is in the future. If we only do what we are doing now in terms of clean energy, water supply, waste management, ... we might not cut it as a group if we want to live on this planet with 10 billion in 2100. The US has 5% of world population and 30% of its pollution. I wouldn't call that a great effort.

 

The earth has been inhabited by over 108 billion human beings in 50,000 years. If we want to ensure the future of trillions of others and have high prosperity for the majority, this is a very real topic. One where measures like birth control maybe shouldn't be a taboo as long as the earth can't carry the pollution westernisation is causing.

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Thanks for the article Parsad.  I've always been more Julian Simon than Thomas Malthus in my thinking.  I view the human mind, much like Simon did, as the ultimate resource (i.e. the more the better).  It always amuses me to think that Ehrlich wrote his book and then spent the next 40+ years continuing to consume the earth's precious resources.  Even that guy Hutchinson who wrote the article that started this thread, I'm assuming he hasn't done himself in yet.  He'd like to reduce the population by 2 Billion humans "non-coercively".  That's a neat trick, I suppose he thinks people will line up by the billions for the gas chambers?  Even limiting births per family to do it long term isn't non-coercive, as infants floating down rivers in certain parts of the world can demonstrate.  Something tells me, like Malthus and Ehrlich before him, Hutchinson views himself as one of the people who should survive.  Every breath these clowns take tells me that they are not exactly men of conviction.  More "do as I say" than "do as I do".

 

Will they ultimately be correct, I don't think so. 500 years from now when there are countless trillions of humans (or of the beings that used to be humans) inhabiting not only this planet but other bodies in our solar system and others, these people will be looked at in the same amusing way we look at Malthus today. As hysterical and short sighted buffoons. But who knows, as Yogi Berra said "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."

 

--Eric

 

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Thanks for the article Parsad.  I've always been more Julian Simon than Thomas Malthus in my thinking.  I view the human mind, much like Simon did, as the ultimate resource (i.e. the more the better).  It always amuses me to think that Ehrlich wrote his book and then spent the next 40+ years continuing to consume the earth's precious resources.  Even that guy Hutchinson who wrote the article that started this thread, I'm assuming he hasn't done himself in yet.  He'd like to reduce the population by 2 Billion humans "non-coercively".  That's a neat trick, I suppose he thinks people will line up by the billions for the gas chambers?  Even limiting births per family to do it long term isn't non-coercive, as infants floating down rivers in certain parts of the world can demonstrate.  Something tells me, like Malthus and Ehrlich before him, Hutchinson views himself as one of the people who should survive.  Every breath these clowns take tells me that they are not exactly men of conviction.  More "do as I say" than "do as I do".

 

Will they ultimately be correct, I don't think so. 500 years from now when there are countless trillions of humans (or of the beings that used to be humans) inhabiting not only this planet but other bodies in our solar system and others, these people will be looked at in the same amusing way we look at Malthus today. As hysterical and short sighted buffoons. But who knows, as Yogi Berra said "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."

 

--Eric

 

It looks like you are making statements about the future as if they were facts already to prove the fallacy of (the theory of) unsustainable population growth. I'm not reading any real arguments to disprove it other than your hope that our innovation, economic capabilities, ... will increase as much as they did in the past to keep up with the constant pressure of our consumption. There is no prove this will ultimately be the case and therefor we should be very aware of the danger of mindless overpopulation.

 

Also, it seems very easy to call someone a hysterical and short sighted buffoon in hindsight. And no one, as far as I know, is proposing ending existing lives to meet certain goals they believe are more healthy for our species and the earth. Where the comparison with Stalin, Hitler and Pot Pol comes from is beyond me. It seems to me you are assuming they would consider mass execution as a proper measure, merely to strengthen your argument against population control.

 

I can relate with your vision and admire it, but I disagree with the specific statements you are making. Hope to hear from you. :)

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Thoughtful indeed.  Let me summarize this neo-malthusian.  Too many people are living too well.  We need to either keep most people poor and starving or more preferably eliminate 2 Billion (yes that is 2 Billion) human beings from the earth.  Kind of makes Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot look like light weights.

 

--Eric

 

The author didn't state that we need to eliminate two billion people.  He said we should "return global population to its natural level of under 2 billion."    That would be five billion people.  What a joke.

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It looks like you are making statements about the future as if they were facts already to prove the fallacy of (the theory of) unsustainable population growth. I'm not reading any real arguments to disprove it other than your hope that our innovation, economic capabilities, ... will increase as much as they did in the past to keep up with the constant pressure of our consumption. There is no prove this will ultimately be the case and therefor we should be very aware of the danger of mindless overpopulation.

 

Of course there can be no proof now of anything that will happen in the future.  But there is evidence of the same argument being made over and over again for at least the last 420 years and being wrong every time.  Malthus himself wasn't the 1st "Malthusian" btw, Giovanni Botero predated him by a few hundred years, publishing his population hyperbole in the late 16th century.  This nonsense has been going on a long time. There is no more reason to think that it is correct this time than there was 40 years ago, or 400 years ago.

 

In my opinion these Malthusians are putting the cart before the horse.  I think a careful study of history would show that population will tend to rise when it can in response to greater resources and economic activity and will fall when times are bad (i.e. oppression and lack of economic activity).  I don't think anything at all "needs to be done".  We will have 9 or 10 or 20 billion+ people or we won't.  There is no central plan that can change that, and even if it could it would be the most murderous genocidal blood-ridden plan humanity has ever put into action on itself.

 

--Eric

 

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Interesting view Eric, thanks for replying.

 

My only reason for believing this time could be different (a phrase we all deslike when it comes to investing) is the fact that Mathus' theory wasn't based on the extreme progress that came with the industrial revolution. It is only since a couple of decades we can say with certainty that eventually some natural resources will get depleted and it is still uncertain wether we will be able to provide sufficiently in alternatives or not.

 

But you are right in your reasoning imo that population size will move in relation with the underlying economic abilities. Which maybe makes it unnecessary to provide in somewhat drastic measures.

 

I'm going to let it sink in and follow again from here. ;)

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we can say with certainty that eventually some natural resources will get depleted and it is still uncertain wether we will be able to provide sufficiently in alternatives or not.

 

 

Just be open to the possibility that human ingenuity will solve that problem too.  There are already a lot of smart people thinking about these things and a lot of money to be made.

 

For a few examples.

No need to fight over mineral resources, says geologist

 

True Limits for food, energy and minerals are very distant

 

And don't forget long term, there is an almost limitless supply of every resource we could ever need (including living space) on other bodies in this solar system (the asteroid belt for example).  Again, none of this is proof, but the pessimists have a long track record of being wrong.  I'm not ready to short humanity just yet.

 

--Eric

 

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While our resources are finite our imagination and our creativity are not.  If we ever get to the point where our resources are no longer capable of sustaining a desireable existance I believe science and technology will allow us to populate other worlds and create new methods of utilizing existing resources. 500 years ago we had a wood based energy system it changed to coal then petroleum I can imagine easily developments in solar technology which make a solar powered future easily attainable, our coal and petroleum based energy systems are really solar based any way but it is highly inefficient to require 100 million years to pass to turn solar energy into something we can use. The present world that we live in would be considered a wonderland for the vast majority of earths inhabitants as little as 100 years ago, I have no doubt that the future will hold similar marvelous developments which will make daily existance for our species to be a desireable thing . I worry far more about nuclear weapons and large comets than I do about neo Malthusian issues, we are the species who are best at adapting and have the largest brain slow gradual changes we can deal with quite nicely thankyou.

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I can't think of where I saw this posted, but I found it again on YOUTUBE. Seems like this problem has been around for a while.

 

 

Lennon is someone who you can put together a video like this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lj0cCagyf_8#! where I agree with 90% of what he says, but other times he just didn't get it.  Take the lyrics to Imagine for example.  I'm with him 100% (No gods? Good.  No governments? Excellent),  until the last verse (no possessions? That's crazy).

 

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