QUOTE(Abs like Jesus @ Apr 4 2003, 03:11 PM)
I haven't been able to find a link to the article, but if you'll trust me for a moment, I'll just type out some bits from the book on the subject of overpopulation...
Exponentials are also the central idea behind the world population crisis. For most of the time humans have been on Earth the population was stable, with births and deaths almost perfectly in balance. This is called a "steady state." After the invention of agriculture... the human population of this planet began increasing, entering an exponential phase, which is very far from a steady state. Right now the doubling time of the world populatino is about 40 years. Every 40 years there will be twice as many of us. As the English clergyman Thomas Malthus pointed out in 1798, a population increasing exponentially -- Malthus described it as a geometrical progression -- will outstrip any conceivable increase in food supply. No Green Revolution, no hydroponics, no making the deserts bloom can beat an exponential population growth.
[Edit: second paragraph dispels the notion of interstellar colonization]
...many countries -- the United States, Russia, and China, for example -- have reached or will soon reach a situation where their growth has ceased, where they arrive at something close to a steady state. This is also called Zero Population Growth (ZPG). Still, because exponentials are so powerful, if even a small fraction of the human community continues for some time to reproduce exponentially the situation is essentially the same -- the world population increases exponentially, even if many nations are at ZPG.
[Edit: two paragraphs about the worldwide correlation between poverty and high birthrates, with notable exceptions]
At present there are around 6 billion humans. In 40 years, if the doubling time stays constant, there will be 12 billion; in 80 years, 24 billion; in 120 years, 48 billion.... But few believe the Earth can support so many people. Because of the power of this exponential increase, dealing with global poverty now will be much cheaper and much more humane, it seems, than whatever solutions will be available to us many decades hence. Our job is to bring about a worldwide demographic transition and flatten out that exponential curve -- by eliminating grinding poverty, making safe and effective birth control methods widely available, and extending real political power (executive, legislative, judicial, military, and institutions influencing public opinion) to women. If we fail, some other process, less under our control, will do it for us.
Personally, I'd say these are the key points and I agree with them:It will be cheaper and more humane to seek solutions now.
Eliminate grinding poverty (easier said than done) and making effective birth control widely available.
"If we fail, some other process, less under our control, will do it for us."
(think ELE's, natural disasters and plagues)
Of course I ‘trust’ your link, Abs. Your posts are always informative, even if I do not always agree
I understand the basis for the concept of ‘exponential growth’. IOW..If I have two kids, and THEY have two kids, ect…as the life expectancy increases, my offspring alone would encompass at least 20 people by the time I’m 90. Greater numbers of children would equal an even greater amount, exponentially. In practical reality this is rarely the case.
Mathus’ theories were created before birth control or genetic crop engineering. His premise was based on the controls set forth during the 19th century, which have little relevance today. In fact, the very references you use indirectly ‘prove’ his theory false. His assumptions led to the belief that poverty and human suffering were necessary to COMBAT population growth…. Clearly, the opposite is true. In most developing nations, there is a Zero population growth (as you sited in your post), whereas developing third world countries are reproducing exponentially.
Regarding your finally statement, I agree that we should attempt to spread birth control and educate the ignorant because this is the humane thing to do. I don’t believe that the population growth of third world countries will result in worldwide problems related to them.
Sadly, nature has a way of taking care of itself. The life expectancies in third world nations are significantly lower than those of developed countries. In Africa, the life expectancy is about 30 years lower than ours! Rampant HIV infection, parasites, famine, and lack of adequate medical treatment run their course. As ‘civilization’ and education enter their environment, they will keep their populations down voluntarily too.