World Population

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Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 02:08 am
Suppose that "by 2600 we would all be standing literally shoulder to shoulder" Prof Stephen Hawking - The Universe in a Nutshell (2001), is unavoidably true. That the human population will contiune to grow exponentially without being stopped or reduced by any forseeable means such as lethal pandemics, impact event etc.

What is the best practice for reducing the human population near the year 2600 or hindering its exponential growth a few hundreds years before this date?

What should be considered in such a decision?
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 03:12 am
@validity,
The most practical thing to do is to make a personal decision not to have children.

As an aside though, exponential population growth until 2600 - without any sort of intervening disaster - is a complete fantasy. We will run out of the resources needed to sustain ourselves long before that. Biologists such a James Lovelock predict that the human species will probably peak in number at around 2050 if current population growth continues, and then we will undergo a sharp decrease in number.
 
boagie
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 03:56 am
@Dave Allen,
Hi Y'all,Smile

Does it not say something about the intelligence of humanity, that control must be excercised by nature or natural circumstances. Reason just will not do here, not because it would be inadequate in itself, but because it cannot be evoked from humanity, so we are to be governed in the same manner as any other species, by natures harsh hand. So much for man's pride in his powers of reason, his destiny is to be left to the fate of prevailing conditons-nature. The frightful plight of the individual is that his destiny is tied to species, a species incapable of conscious action in the face of particular longterm dangers. It is consume until nothing is left, not such a high ideal, mindless in fact.:brickwall:
 
Khethil
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 06:06 am
@boagie,
Excellent topic.

I think it undeniable that overpopulation (and the resultant depletion of resources) is a problem. To what extent may be up for debate, but to my mind it is a dire issue indeed. The ethical stickler here is that, as other have mentioned, humans won't curb their own reproduction for the good of the species. The only other way such a curbing could occur is for it to be imposed; which is clearly an ethical mess.

I haven't an answer. I fear the only outcome, likely to result, is the continued exponential growth - along with all the consequences that'll come with it. Unless someone else can forsee a favorable outcome <?>

Thanks
 
William
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 08:21 am
@validity,
I was driving in southern California and after driving for miles and miles in an arid, desert like part of that state and I notice a speck of green about 5 or 6 miles ahead of me. It was an orange grove in the middle of the barrenness. Many thoughts went thr0ught my head as to just how that happened. I have never discussed it with anyone and reasonably thought it might be some kind of experiment dealing with hydroponics wondering how they got water out here. That was about it.

Believe it or not during the first Gulf war I heard the word desalination for the very first time and have since come to realize this technology is common in that part of the world. The biggest deterrent to this process is "costs". Most of the world's desalination plants are in the middle ease and of course "money" is not a problem. There are something like 1500 such plants operating that supply fresh water from sea water.

I have often wondered how much of what we need to do is thwarted by costs. As I have mentioned more than once to have an objective value system based on rarity in a growing population is absolute stupidity. Anyone with half a brain can predict what will eventually happen. Some will no longer have the "money" to live on this planet. What is the hell do we do then?

In another post I noted most of the people on this planet live in "economic" centers that allow them to make the money they need to survive. Much of the land has been abandoned simply because it is too expensive to supply the necessary technology to make it inhabitable for human survival or there is no way the human can find a way to earn a living so they crowd into these economic centers.

In ancient times it was understandable how having something of value such as food or gold or whatever as a bartering vehicle made sense as there was no other way to exchange resources whether it be food, clothing, housing or labor. Have we not slept since then. We have the technology, certainly the manpower and the knowledge to "change" our "primitive economic system" to one that is not based on rarity. Something as simple as credits that would be unlimited in abundance but controlled that would allow us to do what we have to do to remedy the problems we are faced with.

So much of what we need to do is determined by what we can afford to do. Putting people back to work and have an economic system that can reward them for their efforts is the answer. Educating them to the enormous responsibility of bringing children in this world and utilizing safe natural birth control methods will work. Of course it will take time but it can be done if we take economic limitations out of those equations. We will be able to do what we need to do. Once we spread people out and give them something to do along with valuable education procedures we will curb population growth as we learn we are not as "crowded" as we think we are. IMO

Now I could be all wet and there are just not enough resources, existing or developing, to go around. I have no idea whether that is true or not. I just know there is a tremendous amount of waste and once we begin to do the "right" thing, rather than the "profitable" thing we will solve most of our problems. We will spend billions putting in oil transmission lines, what about water transmission lines. Traveling much of the United States I have noted hundreds of thousands of acres of land not being used for anything. Put water there and watch it grow. Along with stifled alternative, natural energy sources and I think we will find we have more than enough room for every soul on this planet and then some.

I'm looking of some help here. Is this thinking off the wall or is there some truth to it. I so very much hope there is some validity to it, for if there isn't, were screwed if we continue with the primitive economic system we have used since we drew on cave walls. Like I said, we have slept since then. I think we have the technology and if we use it to do the right thing then it will all be worth it. IMO

Ok, time to beat me up. Please tell me where I am all wet.

William
 
Khethil
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 09:04 am
@William,
William wrote:
... Once we spread people out and give them something to do along with valuable education procedures we will curb population growth as we learn we are not as "crowded" as we think we are. IMO


You may very well be on to something here. Could there be more capacity and potential than what is readily apparent?

William wrote:
...I just know there is a tremendous amount of waste and once we begin to do the "right" thing, rather than the "profitable" thing we will solve most of our problems.


This is, of course, true. Wherein there is no potential for profit, therein it won't generally get done
[*]. But the amount of waste is truly daunting; with less waste, more smart land-management, I wonder if we could support more (and even in so restructuring, support better).

William wrote:
Traveling much of the United States I have noted hundreds of thousands of acres of land not being used for anything. Put water there and watch it grow.


This is also true. Having also traveled much, the amount of acreage out there is simply overwhelming. Further, I don't think the land need be broken, bled and raped in order to be livable. I could forsee thousands upon thousands of loosely-packed communities living simply, without decimating the ecology. Hmmm

Perhaps the problems we associate with overpopulation don't have as much to do with numbers, per say, as they do in the way we've managed our resources and communities. This whole notion of these large, behemouth population centers has always baffled me (ok, I just lied, when I was young I thought they were cool), urban flight and disproportionately population centers strain the paultry lots on which they lie. And given the immense resource and energy needs of such gross population centers, this necessitates far-reaching distribution methods.

Yea... I think you could be onto something here.

Thanks


~~~~~~~~
[*] I am Jack's Sad Panda-face; mourning the snail's pace of space exploration, for just this reason
 
William
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 09:24 am
@validity,
Khethil your comment:

"This is, of course, true. Wherein there is no potential for profit, therein it won't generally get done"

That is the scary part. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, at least of me, is easy. To what extremes are we willing to go to maintain a very sick "status quo". Most who have "raped" this land of her resources and have the wealth of that carnage will not step down from their thrones easily unless they are forced to and that is the scary part, such as the axiom "better to rule in hell, that to serve in heaven" illustrates. Surely, I am not the only one who realizes the dead end street we are traveling on.

Thanks for your thoughts,
William
 
OctoberMist
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 09:44 am
@validity,
validity said:

Quote:

What is the best practice for reducing the human population near the year 2600 or hindering its exponential growth a few hundreds years before this date?


China faced a similar crisis in the past century and implemented their One Child Policy. This is done through forced abortions and forced sterilization, dramatic encouragment of birth control measures, and both criminal and civil charges for those who violate it.

While controversial, it has been effective in dramatically slowing the population growth in their country.

In India, only people with two or less children are eligible to participate in politics as elected officials.

In Iran, all couples must take mandatory contraceptive training in order to obtain a marriage liscence.

In time, it may come to pass that stronger measures, perhaps combining several of these options (including those of China) will be neccessary in order to reduce populations.

In countries where there is a completely lack of contraceptive use and knowledge (primarily in many part of Africa, South-East Asia, in Mexico, and many South American countries), there is also tremendous economic insecurity due to lack of jobs; there is significant (and sometimes severe) starvation as well.

"Lack of an effective birth control policy is the number one source of misery in societies." -- Aristotle

Clearly something needs to be done, but I am afraid that the problem will continue to escallate until it is simply too late to do anyting about it.

Great thread concept, V.
 
Salo phil
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 09:53 am
@validity,
I think the human population will simply exceed it's capability to provide sufficient food and health-care for itself and it will decline as the average lifespan falls. There will come a point where there are no longer sufficient food and fuel resources to support everyone, and people will simply starve, and die from lack of medical care. Some would look at the state of the Third World and believe that point has already been reached, but I think in time it will spread further.
 
validity
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 01:48 pm
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen wrote:
The most practical thing to do is to make a personal decision not to have children.

As an aside though, exponential population growth until 2600 - without any sort of intervening disaster - is a complete fantasy. We will run out of the resources needed to sustain ourselves long before that. Biologists such a James Lovelock predict that the human species will probably peak in number at around 2050 if current population growth continues, and then we will undergo a sharp decrease in number.


Personal decision to reproduce is being finacially encouraged in Australia, which I understand for economic reasons but I do not think this practice is environmentally sustainable. Is personal decision not to reproduce being encouraged in England?

Could you please elaborate on the cause of the sharp decrease in number as predicted by James Lovelock.
 
validity
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 01:54 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Hi Y'all,Smile

Does it not say something about the intelligence of humanity, that control must be excercised by nature or natural circumstances. Reason just will not do here, not because it would be inadequate in itself, but because it cannot be evoked from humanity, so we are to be governed in the same manner as any other species, by natures harsh hand. So much for man's pride in his powers of reason, his destiny is to be left to the fate of prevailing conditons-nature. The frightful plight of the individual is that his destiny is tied to species, a species incapable of conscious action in the face of particular longterm dangers. It is consume until nothing is left, not such a high ideal, mindless in fact.:brickwall:


I do not know about the intelligence of humanity in these terms, but our genes have a very powerful tool at their disposal in order to ensure their continual survival, an organism that weilds a conscious choice to avoid extinction.

Our genes are laughing at extinction, in a metaphorical sense that is Smile

Khethil wrote:
Excellent topic.

I think it undeniable that overpopulation (and the resultant depletion of resources) is a problem. To what extent may be up for debate, but to my mind it is a dire issue indeed. The ethical stickler here is that, as other have mentioned, humans won't curb their own reproduction for the good of the species. The only other way such a curbing could occur is for it to be imposed; which is clearly an ethical mess.

I haven't an answer. I fear the only outcome, likely to result, is the continued exponential growth - along with all the consequences that'll come with it. Unless someone else can forsee a favorable outcome <?>

Thanks


The answer will not be a reflection on those who provide it. I would like to explore the details of this ethical mess ie what is the best means to impose controlled reproduction? Is it best to randomise the selection of forced sterilisation in the form of some lottery? Or to skew the selection to those countries that have a higher rate of exponential growth? Or do we strive to preserve life at leave it?

What are the available ethically sound options?

William wrote:
I'm looking of some help here. Is this thinking off the wall or is there some truth to it. I so very much hope there is some validity to it, for if there isn't, were screwed if we continue with the primitive economic system we have used since we drew on cave walls. Like I said, we have slept since then. I think we have the technology and if we use it to do the right thing then it will all be worth it. IMO

Ok, time to beat me up. Please tell me where I am all wet.

William


I certainly wont beat you up. It is a well thought out idea and is sensible. The distribution of population in Australia, http://www.planetware.com/i/map/AUS/australia-distribution-of-population-map.jpg fits well with your idea.

Let us assume your idea is successful, even to the extent that the nutrient poor soils of inland Australia are capable of producing crops and to support meat farming. Communities are sustainable in the most remote areas of the earth. Population continues to grow in this favourable conditions. The inevitable is delayed but not removed. There will come a time when over population is not sustainable.

What do you think the population should do, with consideration to the ethical implications?

OctoberMist wrote:
In countries where there is a completely lack of contraceptive use and knowledge (primarily in many part of Africa, South-East Asia, in Mexico, and many South American countries), there is also tremendous economic insecurity due to lack of jobs; there is significant (and sometimes severe) starvation as well.

"Lack of an effective birth control policy is the number one source of misery in societies." -- Aristotle

Clearly something needs to be done, but I am afraid that the problem will continue to escallate until it is simply too late to do anyting about it.

Great thread concept, V.


It may be wrong of me to assume, but is the lack of contraception use and knowledge related to religious disposition? Or would education be absorbed and use?

I do not think world population will be left to its own devices. I would expect populating the moon is being explored in the light of world population crisis. I am sure it can be done, but will it, or can it, occur before the dire predictions eventuate.
 
boagie
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 02:32 pm
@validity,
validity wrote:
I do not know about the intelligence of humanity in these terms, but our genes have a very powerful tool at their disposal in order to ensure their continual survival, an organism that weilds a conscious choice to avoid extinction.

Our genes are laughing at extinction, in a metaphorical sense that is Smile


validity,Smile

I would think our genes have a limited focus, the radius of our conscious horizon, it is up to the function of our frontal lobes to save us from a wretched future, not sure humanity is up for the big game. Soon we will be fighting for those limited resources, war is looming on the horizon. With continued population growth everyone loses, it is an unfolding nightmare, will humanity wakeup or slumber into total devastation.
 
validity
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 02:33 pm
@Salo phil,
Salo wrote:
I think the human population will simply exceed it's capability to provide sufficient food and health-care for itself and it will decline as the average lifespan falls. There will come a point where there are no longer sufficient food and fuel resources to support everyone, and people will simply starve, and die from lack of medical care. Some would look at the state of the Third World and believe that point has already been reached, but I think in time it will spread further.


Another dire prediction would be overcrowded developed countries cutting all foreign aid to sustain their own population. Is the concept of "us and them" worth maintaining or should it be dissolved?
 
William
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 05:18 pm
@William,
validity wrote:
I certainly wont beat you up. It is a well thought out idea and is sensible. The distribution of population in Australia, http://www.planetware.com/i/map/AUS/australia-distribution-of-population-map.jpg fits well with your idea.

Let us assume your idea is successful, even to the extent that the nutrient poor soils of inland Australia are capable of producing crops and to support meat farming. Communities are sustainable in the most remote areas of the earth. Population continues to grow in this favourable conditions. The inevitable is delayed but not removed. There will come a time when over population is not sustainable.

What do you think the population should do, with consideration to the ethical implications?

I know this is out in left field, but I think the reason why we are experiencing the growth we are is because we have never really focused on the education aspect. We have steered away from the subject simply because of the degree of emphasis we put on "civil liberties" that has all but labeled that type of education "taboo". I, personally think it can be done if we go about it in the right way. But still there are "financial" implications that are involved in obtaining the manpower needed to provide that education in the 3rd. world.

That is why I outlined my post as I did. We need to change the way the world functions "economically". That is the root of "ALL" our problems. If we don't do that, IMO, we are screwed. We are different from the animal and we know were babies come from and can adequately educate these communities in such a way that I think will not be construed as an infringement on civil liberties if we do it the right way and emphasize what is at stake. The desire to procreate carries frustrations that can be curbed without participating in sexual intercourse. We are smart enough to realize that. Of course there are some alternative method's that are dangerous and we can perhaps put more stress on those practices as well. IMO.
William
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Mon 17 Nov, 2008 10:50 pm
@William,
Imagine the income tax if capitalism existed in 2600.

And I have to agree completely with educating. But I think we may see a decrease in population trends as the western greed engulfs the world (more than now). Right now it is financially applicable for third world countries to have children. In western society it just isn't so. So the birth rate decreases.

Which makes the world go round; love or money?
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 18 Nov, 2008 08:18 am
@validity,
validity wrote:
Personal decision to reproduce is being finacially encouraged in Australia, which I understand for economic reasons but...


No kidding? Would you mind elaborating? I'm curious as to the methods of compensation.

Thanks
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 18 Nov, 2008 08:29 am
@validity,
validity wrote:
... I would like to explore the details of this ethical mess ie what is the best means to impose controlled reproduction? Is it best to randomise the selection of forced sterilisation in the form of some lottery? Or to skew the selection to those countries that have a higher rate of exponential growth? Or do we strive to preserve life at leave it?

What are the available ethically sound options?


If you were to ask "What are the options" for forced growth deceleration, I could come up with a bunch! Asking what might the "ethically sound" options be puts another spin. [INDENT]PRO-REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: On first blush, I don't think there's any ethical way to curb reproduction. To my way of thinking - on the individual level - reproduction is very-nearly a "right" of person-hood. To forcibly limit or prohibit reproduction strikes me as wrong, on a fundamental level. The Ends we're Trying to Attain would have to be indisputable, quantifiable and of sufficient force to actually revoke one's right to what they do with their body.
[/INDENT][INDENT]PRO-POPULATION CONTROL: If the human race - and our planet by association - are in *that* much trouble - *that* much dire risk - forcibly curbing reproduction could theoretically be justified. If forced to choose, I'd opt for limiting the number of offspring one could have rather than prohibiting en-masse. But once again, how might this be done? Do we imprison folks? Start executions? Forced abortions? Yes, I could forsee a situation where this might be necessary, but I find the position very hard - even playing devil's advocate - to successfully work through.
[/INDENT]Perhaps there are others out there whose sense of single-answer is greater than mine. This is am ethical pandora's-box; one with big teeth that'll bit anyone attempting to go one way or another.

Thanks
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 18 Nov, 2008 08:37 am
@validity,
The easy answer for addressing today's population problem is to hit it right at its heart -- infant and child mortality in poor countries. That is one of the strongest of all predictors of population growth. If you combine effective measures that improve child survival with efforts to educate women and make birth control available to them, then population growth demonstrably slows. (The hard part is how to actually accomplish that).

The reason human populations won't ever reach 15 or 20 billion is not one of resource availability (at least not resources per person globally). Remember that resources are already unavailable to many people on earth, and the resources that exist are used disproportionately in wealthy countries.

The limiting factor on population growth will be the fact that the vast majority of the global population will be utterly impoverished and living in crowded conditions, and this will be (as it's been many times in the past) the breeding ground for pandemics. The Black Death, pandemic influenza, cholera, yellow fever, measles, etc are all examples of diseases that without modern medicine would thrive and spread like wildfire in such conditions.
 
sarek
 
Reply Tue 18 Nov, 2008 04:05 pm
@validity,
The big problem in controlling population growth is a chicken and egg problem. As long as the growth continues it will be harder to provide people with adequate standards of living and especially education.

If OTOH those adequate standards can be met, the bonus will be reduced population growth. If you look at Western Europe for instance natural population growth is almost zero. The real power behind this slowing down of population growth is not government coercion but improved living conditions.

But as long as the present inequality on a worldwide scale remains the resources to bring this change about will not become available. We really need to turn around and rethink the structure of our economies.
 
validity
 
Reply Tue 18 Nov, 2008 10:59 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
No kidding? Would you mind elaborating? I'm curious as to the methods of compensation.

Thanks


The baby bonus scheme introduced by the Federal Government of Australia under John Howard and Treasurer Peter Costello in the 2002 budget was aimed at offsetting the expenses associated with rearing a child. The scheme was also introduced as a means of increasing Australia's fertility rate and to mitigate the effects of Australia's ageing population. In the 2004 budget the bonus was raised from $3,000 effective 1 July 2004 to $4,000 payable in 2007 but indexed to inflation so that in October 2007, the amount receivable per eligible child was $4133 dollars. The bonus is paid in a lump sum to a nominated financial institution. The receivable amount from July 2008 is $5000 dollars. Baby Bonus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Or have fun with the Baby Bonus Calculator Tax Tools
 
 

 
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