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Is overpopulation cause for concern?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by LucyDuke, Feb 12, 2009.

?

So what's up?

  1. There's no such thing as "too many people". We gotta make more babies.

    7.6%
  2. There is such a thing as "too many people", but we won't reach that number because it's so high.

    4.2%
  3. There is such a thing as "too many people", but we won't reach it because of technology.

    7.6%
  4. It's a concern, but it's far off and not really worth worrying about yet.

    6.3%
  5. We should start thinking about the problem, but there's no need to panic.

    17.4%
  6. We need to start now with methods like birth control and sustainable development.

    43.8%
  7. We need to start now with methods like forcibly sterilizing andor killing people.

    2.1%
  8. There's only enough room for me. I'm going to be killing the rest of you now, if you don't mind.

    6.3%
  9. Let me explain why none of your poll options are good enough for me.

    4.9%
  1. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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    What were the arguments? Because Asia had much better starting position that Africa - thousands of years of centralized state rule, much better organized and stable governments etc. And even so it took drastic steps to prevent the worst scenario - China has adopted a strict birth control policy decades ago, whereas Africa is not even thinking about something similar - and even if it was, only few countries in Sub-Saharan Africa could enforce it.

    I am reasonably sure that 1st world countries can, if they decide so, reform themselves in such a way that will allow them to retain high living standards while reducing their impact on the environment to sustainable levels.

    The problem is that this cannot be said about the 3rd world, which is lacking even the basic prerequisites for similar development. In fact, the 1st world has already been through rapid pop. growth phase, it has been through heavy pollution phase and now, when it has accumulated enough wealth and knowledge, it can move towards sustainability. Poorer countries can't do that without first going through the bad phases, but the bad phases is what this planet can no longer afford.

    It's gloomy, but some countries are perhaps doomed to collapse no matter what they do.
     
  2. Verbose

    Verbose Deity

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    China wasn't the problem. Indian, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Indochina was.
    As soon as enough devlopment to pull them into 2nd world status is at hand, one can start turning things around. The might not be able to come up with every damn solution on their absolute own, but they do in fact have a bit of cash to spend on stuff, should technology be available. And what do you know, that's already happening.

    Africa is the problem, but outside of it, of major nations it's just India, Pakistan and Bangladesh that have GDP/capita income rates below 4000 USD/year. (And at least India looks like on a good run right now.) The only major population nations under 2000 USD/year are Bangladesh, Burma, Ethiopa and the Congo. Even Nigeria is at the 2000 USD/year mark right now, which removes a lot of Africans from immediate poverty. I'd put any of the +4000 USD/year nations in the 2nd world category at least. That's about the economic spot occupied by Brazil in 1970; not wonderful, but hardly some kind of 3rd world hell-hole.

    http://graphs.gapminder.org/world/#$majorMode=chart$is;shi=t;ly=2003;lb=f;il=t;fs=11;al=30;stl=t;st=t;nsl=t;se=t$wst;tts=C$ts;sp=6;ti=2007$zpv;v=0$inc_x;mmid=XCOORDS;iid=phAwcNAVuyj1jiMAkmq1iMg;by=ind$inc_y;mmid=YCOORDS;iid=phAwcNAVuyj2tPLxKvvnNPA;by=ind$inc_s;uniValue=8.21;iid=phAwcNAVuyj0XOoBL%5Fn5tAQ;by=ind$inc_c;uniValue=255;gid=CATID0;by=grp$map_x;scale=log;dataMin=194;dataMax=96846$map_y;scale=lin;dataMin=23;dataMax=86$map_s;sma=49;smi=2.65$cd;bd=0$inds=
     
  3. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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    Doesn't it depend more on how the wealth is distributed/used? A lot of the money is in fact made by foreign companies (Nigeria) and flow out of the country, while majority of people are rotting in deep poverty. Even when the money stays in the country, they're concentrarted in the hands of elites. Social differences are often the starkest in poor developing countries.

    India, for instance, is hardly one country - economically speaking there are middle class citizens of big cities (well educated, well paid) who are vastly outnumbered by poor people living in the countryside and the city slums. Especially the northern parts of India are experiencing rapid population growth and the government doesn't seem to be doing anything about it.

    So even though the GDP per capita grows, it tells us little about whether the situation is actually improving or not. Diamond made it crystal clear that the elites often ignore the looming disaster and focus on short-term gains. What I picture is Africa in chaos, with those who had accumulated enough wealth leaving it like rats, while the rest is left there to die.
     
  4. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Well, Bangladesh had a massive civilian slaughter since the 60s, so we know 'hellhole' is not too far off. Additionally, India is currently losing ~1 meter of aquifer every year (despite not being fully irrigated!) and we know their mountain glacier water is going to continue to dry up. Finally, most of India's productivity is due to fertilizer technologies (which are essential for pulling a country out of poverty, don't get me wrong), and that is not completely sustainable.

    Asia survived its potential wipeout, partially due to fertilizer inputs from the Western World. Fertilizer could really help Africa as well, but it's mainly a stopgap to allow some wealth building.
     
  5. Bei1052

    Bei1052 Emperor

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    The "problem" is that I'm not going to do your "job" for you. Why don't you post the relevant information instead of telling me how I need to go read Collapse? Hard, I know. You see, I don't need to go borrow the book, for it doesn't address anything I've written out thus far or answer any of the questions I asked you. Not a one. I ask you to prove your assertion; you tell me to read a book. Hmmm... Really?

    I'm thinking you do. Your entire "argument" is based on the fact that something bad happened in the past so we should takes steps to make sure it doesn't happen again, even if there is no reason to believe it will happen again nor any report from any international agency which states that there is cause for concern over it happening again. Do you not understand that? As it is, you are FEARMONGERING, basing any and all claims on events which happened hundreds of years ago to civilizations vastly different than ours, rather than on current events and current reports.

    If I've said it once, I've said it twice if not thrice: Human populations do not grow exponentially nor do they grow indefinitely. The more developed a country becomes, the lower fertility rates become. Even in developing countries, fertility rates are declining. Now, please, ignore this fact again and continue to spout off nonsense about exponential and unfettered growth some more.

    Oh, jeez. We're neither the Maya nor the inhabitants of Easter Island. What's so hard to understand about this?

    I don't know anything about the Maya but, then again, I don't really care about the Maya, because no one (Aside from you) really cares what happened to the Maya, as we're discussing society, today, in the 21st century.

    I'm wondering whether or how irrelevant continually mentioning Diamond is, since he-- Nor you-- Can provide any hard evidence to back your claims. As it stands, you're just all "Oh, look what Diamond said!" and I'm like, "Yeah, and...?", waiting for you to produce something which actually backs your claim and isn't just conjecture based on past proceedings.

    I have no reason to need it and nope, it won't be going anywhere :)

    Doesn't the U.N. sanction programs which are aimed at "controlling" population growth? What would they have to lose by stating as such, seeing as how they already promote such programs?

    I'm conviced you don't bother to read/click on any of the links I give you. Without chopping down any more forests/rain forests, worldwide we can raise our food output to the point where we can feed at least double the population, and even three to four times that amount, assuming that each government embraces advances in technology. I wrote this out before, but it was ignored, so let's try this again.

    Link

    Sure, such an approach would be costly, but it would cause food production to skyrocket while mitigating negative effects on the environment.

    No, you haven't. I'm still waiting for you to provide the sources.

    Rwanda "went to hell" once they gained independence and different groups began fighting for power, which set off years of military rule, violence and later genocide. Nothing to do with overpopulation.

    You seem to be ignoring the fact that when the government nationalized the agriculture industry, productivity went way done. You're engaging in faulty cause and effect here. It's akin to arguing that the sun rises every morning because the rooster crows.

    I have to quote Julian L. Simon here.

    "The world's problem is not too many people, but lack of political and economic freedom. Powerful evidence comes from pairs of countries that had the same culture and history and much the same standard of living when they split apart after World War II -- East and West Germany, North and South Korea, Taiwan and China. In each case the centrally planned communist country began with less population "pressure", as measured by density per square kilometer, than did the market-directed economy. And the communist and non-communist countries also started with much the same birth rates. But the market-directed economies performed much better economically than the centrally-planned economies. This powerful demonstration cuts the ground from under population growth as a likely explanation of poor economic performance."

    Link

    Look at the world's countries ranked by population density and you'll see no correlation between population and famine and poverty. Next, look at the world's countried ranked by government corruption and you will notice that the countries with the least corrupt governments have virtually no famine and relatively few persons living in poverty as when compared to those countries with relatively corrupt governments. The point? Population doesn't cause problems; the government's mismanagement of resources causes problem. Very nearly all our "problems" could be resolved if governments were made accountable for their citizen's welfare and embraced technology.

    But, alas, most of the population mythists would rather curb population growth then actually addressing the problem.

    Do you not read? One doesn't need to increase food output forever. As a country becomes more developed, population growth approaches zero. There is no "race".

    And, as stated above, not a single one of those problems is attributable to "overpopulation", but rather an inept government incapable (Or unwilling) to provide for it's populace.

    Yeah... You don't read. Copied and pasted AGAIN for your viewing pleasure:

    Emphasis mine.

    It's linked to the fact that India's agricultural systems are outdated, about half of their farmlands aren't irrigated and the ones that are irrigated are poorly irrigated while the infrastructure is crumbling away as they're so old. Did you not read the link I gave you?

    You... Didn't click on the link I gave you, did you? This all boils down to poor management of agricultural systems by the government, which is what I've said like a gazillion times now yet you've ignored.

    You mean damming the land and draining off the water, right?

    Because a declining population is a stable demographic situation.

    ...Oh wait. No, it's not.

    Every EU country has a sub-replacement fertility rate. Every one of them. Without immigration, they would all be in population decline. But I suppose your logic is that if Europeans don't exist, then they can't pollute :lol:.

    You know what I find to be totally hilarious? You're trying to pass off declining birth rates as a good thing while the majority of European governments (As well as the Japanese, Australian and Canadian governments, among others) are besides themselves in fear, trying to do everything to raise birth rates. So, you know, this leads me to having a question for you. Is the sky purple and do pink firebreathing ponies abound in your world?

    ...I'm not sure if you heard that sound, but it was me laughing profusely. This isn't the 17th, or 18th or even 19th century. The only thing Europe leads today is the march to irrelevency (And, no, that's not a cheap shot. It's the cold, hard truth). I don't know if it was you I said it to prior, but arguing that rapidly growing populations cause environmental problems and thus need to be reduced is like arguing that more cars on the road cause more accidents thus less cars on the road would mean less accidents. It's faulty cause and effect. More people do not lead to an increase in environmental problems; policies enacted by different regimes lead to environmental problems (As evidenced by the fact that the largest countries aren't even the per capita largest polluters). Just like more cars on the road don't lead to more car accidents; reckless or irresponsible behavior leads to more accidents.

    Your "solution" is like cutting off someone's arm after they broke it. It's, simply put, asinine.

    ... ... ...

    You do realize that China's "one-child" policy has been a dismal failure, since it's enforced for less than 40% of the population and has caused quit a number of social ills, right?

    (And, funnily enough, it didn't do a darn thing to help the environment (See: here).

    No, it didn't; no, it's not; enter free trade.

    Nineteen words: Instead of telling me to read the book, how about you provide some excerpts or something from the book?

    No, it won't. Read the link on India I provided you before.

    In Brazil? No, it's not.

    Really? Then, per chance, how do you expect to drop a population from 61M to 30M? Because there's only three ways to do it (As I said before).

    1.) Prevent all immigrants from entering the country.

    2.) Enact a strictly enforced one-child policy or create a system of vouchers in which the government sells a certain number of "rights" to have children per year.

    3.) Start killing people and/or sending them out of the country.

    How can you be sick of answering "all this" when you've yet to answer anything? Your arguing style is fairly odd. I ask you to prove an assertion and you tell me to read a certain book. Uh-huh... Right. How about you go and find the pertinent information, since it'd be easier for you to do that to prove yourself right than me to go do it to prove yourself wrong.

    Man, I could see how you write reports in school.

    Page 1: "Look up the information yourself"

    Do you ever get tired of being wrong? Let's look at the growth rate for those Pacific Island countries (Excluding Australia and New Zealand), based on U.N. estimates for 2005 to 2010.

    Cook Islands: -2.23%
    Fiji: 0.62%
    Kiribati: 1.58%
    Federated States of Micronesia: 0.46%
    Marshall Islands: 2.23%
    Nauru: 0.29%
    Niue: -1.85%
    Palau: 0.41%
    Papaua New Guinea: 2.00%
    Samoa: 0.87%
    Solomon Islands: 2.33%
    Timor Leste: -
    Tonga: 0.50%
    Tuvalu: 0.42%
    Vanuatu: 2.38%

    Only five countries have above average growth rates (The average is considered to be 1.17%).

    Link

    Now, let's look at where each country ranks in population density.

    Cook Islands: 120
    Fiji: 152
    Kiribati: 77
    Federated States of Micronesia: 70
    Marshall Islands: 30
    Nauru: 22
    Niue: 223
    Palau: 159
    Papaua New Guinea: 209
    Samoa: 131
    Solomon Islands: 197
    Timor Leste: -
    Tonga: 76
    Tuvalu: 25
    Vanuatu: 196

    The country with the highest population density is Nauru, but it only has a population growth rate of 0.29%. The next highest is Tuvalu, which has a population growth rate of 0.42%. Then comes the Marshall Islands, at 30, with a population growth rate of 2.23%. So, outside of the Marshall Islands, you're going to be hard pressed to argue that "many Pacific Island nations now face overpopulation issues", as that's a bold faced lie.

    Link

    Well, first of all, a stable population will be reached naturally as a country becomes more developed. Second of all, no, it's not. Sustainability is the ability for the current generation's to live without negatively impacting future generation's to live. If what you say is true, then absolutely no population at any time during the earth's history has ever lived sustainable, since they were growing.

    I don't know what you're talking about.

    This map really doesn't mean anything to me. Where'd you get it from?
     
  6. Huayna Capac357

    Huayna Capac357 Deity

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    @ Winner: I agree. Collapse was even more formative to my opinion, in fact much more so, than GGS, his most famous work.
     
  7. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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  8. The Imp

    The Imp Kinslayer

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    Hmm... peak-oil will be the "great" event that leads to a cull of the human population. However, even without peak-oil, I would think we would hit a peak-oil esque situation at a later point. Combine this with some of the worser effects of Global climate change...
     
  9. [to_xp]Gekko

    [to_xp]Gekko QCT junkie

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    wow that blondie's got the looks AND the wits. I wanna have a baby with her. oh wait...
     
  10. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    :lol:
     
  11. mrt144

    mrt144 Deity

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  12. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    :sleep:
     
  13. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    I voted, I'm gonna kill you all, just because I'm Domination (Times 3000) and because it seemed like a joke option anyway. (Muahahaha:mwaha:) however, in seriousness, I'd say we'll never reach the number. I mean, If we got a trillion people, yeah it would be too many, but there is no way this could happen.
     
  14. phoenix_sprite

    phoenix_sprite King

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    Yes. As for solutions, hopefully nature can do that for us. Thinking about this subject puts me in a bad mood, as it affects us all and there's also that one question: "What about me?", how does this affect me, etc. I get angry for even thinking about this subject since the only obvious solution would be the death of millions of people; I hate myself for even thinking of this. Hopefully I'm not alone.
     
  15. CIVPhilzilla

    CIVPhilzilla Reagan Republican

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    Population naturally levels off as nation's develop economically. The western nations and Japan had their growth spurts and aside from the US (still growing with immigration) have leveled or are declining in population. As the economy improves in poorer countries and having lots of children for work isn't necessary, population will level off. Hopefully the natural leveling off in individual nations will hit before the global carrying capacity is exceeded.
     
  16. JohnRM

    JohnRM Don't make me destroy you

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    Several comments...

    1. A population growth rate of even just one percent still leads to a doubling of population in just over 70 years.

    2. The Earth cannot sustain 7 billion or more people living as we do. China, India, and other peoples are trying to come up in this world and adopt the consumer lifestyle that Americans, Europeans, and the Japanese currently enjoy. It is doubtful that the resources exist to support our populations, living in that manner, over the long-term.

    3. The global production of oil will peak or demand will exceed production sometime over the next 20 years. The petroleum that we are pumping now is getting poorer and poorer in quality, harder to get, and therefor more expensive to refine. The units of energy recovered from petroleum extraction is a ration of 3 to 1, IIRC. It used to be 30 to 1, in the 1960s.

    When shortfalls begin to occur, the prices of a wide-range of goods will increase, along with energy. At best, the standard of living is going to have to change/decline in wealth western nations along with stagnant economic growth or recession. We're going to be forced into giving up a share of our consumption of energy. It either will not be there or someone else will be using it. At worst, prices will increase so rapidly that it causes a global depression, panic, civil disorder, and wars over the remaining petroleum reserves.


    The point? Our population levels are already a problem, at current levels. Our societies are ordered in a manner that we need to continue to increase the supply of petroleum just to sustain the populations living the way they do now. If China and India's middle classes continue to grow, we're going to run into serious trouble.
     
  17. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    Who says the world even exists in 70 years?
     
  18. PiMan

    PiMan Emperor

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    Without evidence to the contrary, assume current trends will continue.
     
  19. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    We'll be fine;)
     
  20. PiMan

    PiMan Emperor

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    I'm surprised you'd say that, since current trends signal an increase in what you consider to be socialism.
     

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