Should We Help People That Want Us Dead?

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    Nov 23, 2010 7:34 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    mocktwinkie said
    riddler78 said
    mocktwinkie saidBut the world is already headed toward unsustainable overpopulation -- there's no way around it.


    On this we definitely disagree - no, we're really not. It's this myth that gives birth to highly destructive policies that disadvantage most countries that seek to develop. In this zero sum world, it gives rise to downright evil ideas like forced sterilization / depo prevera in the developing world.

    A somewhat simplistic look - but it does illustrate the point:


    Yes, we certainly disagree on this. Which countries "seeking" development are being "held back"?


    I wouldn't and haven't said that it's overpopulation policies that are holding back development - that's strictly in the realm of bad governments/policies which may or may not be compounded by the rationale of overpopulation. (The history of depo prevera is widely known at least in development circles - and forced sterilization is evil). One obvious country though that will need to deal with significant issues as a result of concerns about overpopulation is China - but this is but a series of problems it will need to deal with.

    Incidentally, any arguments of overpopulation relate to projections based on current usage that have proven to be consistently wrong in hindsight. Do you have any other evidence that suggests overpopulation is a real concern? (as you note yourself however, this is an important argument to understand given the alternative is the "let them all die" attitude it gives logical rise to).


    I suppose exploring some real concrete evidence could be helpful in this case, but just from an observationally obvious standpoint there is limited land and water and differing degrees of consumption depending on one's lifestyle. To say that the earth can endlessly support population growth as well as high quality of lifestyle without some people dying of starvation or thirst along the way, just doesn't seem to make sense.

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    Nov 23, 2010 7:43 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie saidI suppose exploring some real concrete evidence could be helpful in this case, but just from an observationally obvious standpoint there is limited land and water and differing degrees of consumption depending on one's lifestyle. To say that the earth can endlessly support population growth as well as high quality of lifestyle without some people dying of starvation or thirst along the way, just doesn't seem to make sense.



    It's an assumption that you should explore further - given the implications economically and environmentally this should have on anyone's view of the world. As the video points out - "every family in the world could have a house and a yard in Texas". If we are running out of resources, we are very far from that point - and certainly a lot further than we are from the point where population is anticipated to peak in and around 2050. (Hypothetically we could feed the world by building one skyscraper that is devoted entirely to high intensity hydroponic farming - but that would be impractical)

    It's something that "doesn't seem to make sense" only insofar as technology remains static. This idea of overpopulation repeatedly debunked since the times of Thomas Malthus (long considered to be the father of economics), has been around for centuries - including the dire predictions of overpopulation and subsequent famines and disease that must therefore result. The earth can continue to support a high quality of lifestyle without deaths as a result of lack of physical resources.
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    Nov 23, 2010 7:50 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    mocktwinkie saidI suppose exploring some real concrete evidence could be helpful in this case, but just from an observationally obvious standpoint there is limited land and water and differing degrees of consumption depending on one's lifestyle. To say that the earth can endlessly support population growth as well as high quality of lifestyle without some people dying of starvation or thirst along the way, just doesn't seem to make sense.



    It's an assumption that you should explore further - given the implications economically and environmentally this should have on anyone's view of the world. As the video points out - "every family in the world could have a house and a yard in Texas". If we are running out of resources, we are very far from that point - and certainly a lot further than we are from the point where population is anticipated to peak in and around 2050.

    It's something that "doesn't seem to make sense" only insofar as technology remains static. This idea of overpopulation repeatedly debunked since the times of Thomas Malthus (long considered to be the father of economics), has been around for centuries - including the dire predictions of overpopulation and subsequent famines and disease that must therefore result. The earth can continue to support a high quality of lifestyle without deaths as a result of lack of physical resources.


    The 2050 is considering consumption and that some people are consuming a lot more than others and that there's only so much space to grow food, not space in terms of who could technically have a house on a plot of land in theory. How big would that house be? Are we talking about a mansion or a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom?

    Also, I am pretty sure the original argument is that the effects of a population arising without the support of resources is starvation and ultimately death in certain parts of the world, wherever and whenever that may be.
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    Nov 23, 2010 8:05 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie saidThe 2050 is considering consumption and that some people are consuming a lot more than others and that there's only so much space to grow food, not space in terms of who could technically have a house on a plot of land in theory. How big would that house be? Are we talking about a mansion or a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom?

    Also, I am pretty sure the original argument is that the effects of a population arising without the support of resources is starvation and ultimately death in certain parts of the world, wherever and whenever that may be.


    The 2050 is based on slowing population growth which comes naturally as we get wealthier for such reasons as kids become dependents and costs versus social security in developing countries - not because of natural resource limits. As noted though, we do have the resources to support much larger populations than currently exist and certainly past 2050. The view of overpopulation is not a new one - and it has a name - Malthusian that has been debunked because it repeatedly undervalues/underestimates the effect of technological growth.
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    Nov 23, 2010 8:47 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    mocktwinkie saidThe 2050 is considering consumption and that some people are consuming a lot more than others and that there's only so much space to grow food, not space in terms of who could technically have a house on a plot of land in theory. How big would that house be? Are we talking about a mansion or a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom?

    Also, I am pretty sure the original argument is that the effects of a population arising without the support of resources is starvation and ultimately death in certain parts of the world, wherever and whenever that may be.


    The 2050 is based on slowing population growth which comes naturally as we get wealthier for such reasons as kids become dependents and costs versus social security in developing countries - not because of natural resource limits. As noted though, we do have the resources to support much larger populations than currently exist and certainly past 2050. The view of overpopulation is not a new one - and it has a name - Malthusian that has been debunked because it repeatedly undervalues/underestimates the effect of technological growth.


    There are actually several predictions, I may be getting mixed up with another "study". I won't claim to be an expert and I understand your point about technological growth but keeping endless population growth sustainable would definitely require some kind of giant leap.
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    Nov 23, 2010 10:23 PM GMT
    http://www.overpopulation.com/articles/2001/could-the-entire-world-live-in-texas-part-ii/

    Everybody in the world can live in Virginia.
    Next thing you know it'll be Massachusetts. icon_razz.gif
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    Nov 23, 2010 11:05 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie saidThere are actually several predictions, I may be getting mixed up with another "study". I won't claim to be an expert and I understand your point about technological growth but keeping endless population growth sustainable would definitely require some kind of giant leap.


    Again, I question this resolute belief that "keeping endless population growth sustainable would definitely require some kind of giant leap" - when we already have the technology that would sustain what is projected to peak at 9.2 billion in 2050. This peak is calculated based on the fact that population growth is already declining - so it's just a question of when, not if, that growth will net to zero.

    Some simple metrics -

    - @ 9.2 billion, Texas has a physical size of 171.9 million acres which translates into a population density of 53.5 people per acre
    ref: http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0313-population.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependent_territories_by_population_density

    - for frame of reference, I'll assume you've been to Manhattan which has a population density of 112 people per acre; so 53.5 is still liveable at half the density of Manhattan.
    ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan

    - the reality is that we are not restricted to spaces the size of Texas though - we have the world - travel from say Manhattan to Toronto to Hong Kong to my current hometown and you realize quite quickly that the world can in fact sustain a heck of a whole lot more people and certainly 50% more.

    - we already have the technology to grow enough food to feed multiples of our population size within one massive skyscraper - but this leaves the rest of the world outside say Texas to feed the world or the consumption of it.

    For anyone to believe that we will "run out" of food or water, requires a deterioration or significant loss from our existing body of knowledge on agriculture (say nothing of the meat that will likely be grown in labs for example in likely a few years time and most certainly by 2050). It is only a zero sum world where advocacy for redistribution also makes sense. The reality though is that humans is the only terrestrial species that creates its own resources.

    (and for q1w2e3 - for Massachusetts to fit the population of the world would result in a density of nearly 1400 people per acre at world peak which is a bit much for my tastes though conceivably doable if you kept on building up and Virginia it would be 336 people per acre - also tight - effectively 3x the current density of Manhattan Island now).
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    Nov 23, 2010 11:17 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    (and for q1w2e3 - for Massachusetts to fit the population of the world would result in a density of nearly 1400 people per acre at world peak which is a bit much for my tastes though conceivably doable if you kept on building up and Virginia it would be 336 people per acre - also tight - effectively 3x the current density of Manhattan Island now).


    Who's talking about you or me? I'm talking about the future humans on Mars. icon_razz.gif