Friday, November 27, 2009

Too Many Malthusians

Since 200 AD, scaremongers have been describing human beings as ‘burdensome to the world’. They were wrong then, and they’re still wrong today.

...Malthusians always...underestimate the genius of mankind. Population scaremongering springs from a fundamentally warped view of human beings as simply consumers, simply the users of resources, simply the destroyers of things, as a kind of ‘plague’ on poor Mother Nature, when in fact human beings are first and foremost producers, the discoverers and creators of resources, the makers of things and the makers of history. Malthusians insultingly refer to newborn babies as ‘another mouth to feed’, when in the real world another human being is another mind that can think, another pair of hands that can work, and another person who has needs and desires that ought to be met.

Too many people? No, too many Malthusians


  1. The carrying capacity of earth may be as high as one trillion.

  2. There is strong argument for overpopulation, especially in certain pockets of the world where birth rates remain high despite abject povert.

    I don't think there would be nearly as many people today if the Americas had not been discovered. Sure there's less Indians, but there's a lot more people (largely because we utilized so much land for farming, which created a surplus for shipping overseas and fueling our own growth, which is much faster than in Europe currently).

    Honestly... if religions that encouraged procreationist views became less popular and if the pill became available to even more women (especially in poor, undeveloped areas), I'm pretty confident the development of our technology would probably outpace our population growth.

    Hell, we might be on other planets before we fill up... at the very least WWIII, IV, V, etc. would probably make some room (after the fallout cleared, of course).

  3. You guys need to read "Collapse" by Jared Diamond.

    Civilizations HAVE consumed their way to extinction before (Easter Islanders, Anasazi, Maya, Greenland Norse etc)and we see it happening again some parts of the world.

    There is a finite amount of resources on this planet. By finite, I include non-renewable resources, such as oil, gas, minerals, and renewable resources, such as fish, wild game, timber, medicinal plants, top soil, potable water. If we 'mine' the renewable resources faster than nature can replenish them, it could take hundreds if not thousands of years for them to recover, and in the meanwhile, our civilization will have collapsed.

    Technology can help us solve a lot of the man-made environmental problems, but up to a certain point. We have to consume less, and we have to recycle. But at the root, our present level of consumption is fueled by one major factor: population.

    Don't forget that the impact of society on the environment is the impact of each individual times the number of individuals.

    The goal should be to achieve zero net population growth, and the magic number to achieve that would be a 2.11 fertility rate.

    I am cautiously optimistic. If we do not take voluntary measures to solve the population problem, the solution will present itself in the form of warfare, when our grand children nuke the shit out of each other for their tiny piece of the pie.

    On the other hand, my evil twin sits back and says "Who cares? I'll surely be dead by then". And I wonder... why do we need a civilization? Why do we even need the human species to survive? The expanding Universe is headed towards thermodynamic entropy anyway... it is all in vain.


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