Proactive Human Population Reduction

Yithian

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Which proceeds from assumptions with which l take issue, and projects an idealised outcome with which ditto.

A thousand years ago we lived an outdoor life, in an unpolluted environment. We ate an organic, locally-sourced, mainly vegetarian diet, and took lots of aerobic exercise.

Life expectancy was 40.

;)

maximus otter
Winkie or not, this argument doesn't really work. That poor life expectancy had a lot to do with diseases that have been brought under control by antibiotics, surgery and medications.

More generally, however, I do find myself in agreement with the idea that there is a doom-mongering, modernity-hating element to some of those who want to limit the 'nice things' we have all enjoyed for a few generations at least. In general, the world's population is healthier, happier, freer and better educated than at any stage in history; it is true that it is also far larger and that this brings a whole new set of issues, but the emphasis seems to be far too heavily focused on not doing this and that, where our strength as a species has always been innovation. Renewable energy is clearly the way forward, cutting emissions and recycling ditto, but we should be plouging investment into technological solutions to counter both pollution and climate change and to mitigate their unpalatable impact on us and the environment.

You can't just 'ban aeroplanes', for instance, when you've spent a century developing a global society that depends upon high-speed global interconnectivity. Enola is quite correct that this system may not be sustainable in the long-term, but we're only going to be able to ease ourselves out of it and into a new one gradually, and there's plenty of work to be done in eking out the resources that remain and being less wasteful in the meantime.
 

Mythopoeika

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If we can't reduce the world population (because of opposition to the idea), then we must take a different tack. Accept that population will continue to spiral ever upwards and work together to turn humanity into a spacefaring species.
Colonies on Mars, the Moon and elsewhere. It is inevitable!
 

INT21

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And how do you think the problem of who goes and who stays will be resolved ?

INT21.
 

INT21

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So 99.9 % of the population would have to stay and put up with whatever was left.

But you are right about the money aspect.
 

INT21

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I suspect it could never fall low enough for the majority of the population to be able to buy a seat.

All one needs to do is look at the inequalities all around.

The only way a move to other planets will happen is by sending out a small colonising nucleus to any place found habitable and restarting the hums race there.

Also, as in the distant future the Sun will engulf the Solar system, the new homes will have to be a very long way away.

But in the meantime it is still possible to re-engineer the planet's population to make it far better here.

Wasn't it Asimov who wrote 'Earth is room enough' ?

INT21.
 

EnolaGaia

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And how do you think the problem of who goes and who stays will be resolved ?
The notion of a small number of 99th percenters (i.e., millionaires / billionaires) being shot off to take their chances in space strikes me as similar to the old gag about 10,000 lawyers lying on the Atlantic seabed ...

... a damned good start. :reyes:
 

blessmycottonsocks

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The problem is not that there are too many people, it's the resources they use. Rich people use up far more than poor people.

Frugal First World people who refuse to play the game by consuming more and more of everything are seen as, at best, eccentric.

Have to disagree, Escargot. China is the greatest polluter the world has ever known, not because the Chinese are particularly wealthy in global terms, but because an absolutely astronomical and unsustainable level of population demands a vast number of filthy, coal-fired power stations:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45640706

Whilst it's easy to think of the problem as a rich v poor or first v third world issue, the reality is more complex.
When people from developing or "third world" countries emigrate to the West, it isn't to convince us to follow a lower carbon ethos, it is because they want a slice of a more profligate lifestyle.

Finally, I'm not so sure Westerners who "refuse to play the game" are still perceived as eccentrics. I've been a vegetarian for most of my life - long before it bacame trendy for example and just look at the (deserved) adulation David Attenborough received at Glastonbury recently!

We come back to the point about leveraging technology. The UK leading the world in off-shore wind farms is something we can be justly very proud of.
 
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kamalktk

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A new life awaits you in the offworld colonies: Turns out living in space is AMAZING, and advanced technology such as space elevators make it very cheap and easy to leave. Everyone emigrates offworld, with only a small number remaining on Earth as caretakers/Luddites/park rangers/resort town employees. There are billions of people, but only a small number live on Earth itself, so the planet is depopulated.

I'll be back : It may not have time travel, but Skynet decides to start culling the human population. It doesn't need to build Terminators, Skynet just turns off the detectors in your smart house and then has the furnace pump out carbon monoxide. Eventually it decides Terminators are more efficient when people start fighting back.

12 Monkeys : technological advances moves world ending technologies (such as bio-engineered plagues) from the realm of "only governments have it", to "and non-state actors", to "and that whackjob standing on a box on the street corner yelling at people".

It's a cookbook! : Who said the proactive cullers had to be human? Aliens show up and they are Not Friendly. Why don't they just use resources in space, or just drop the giant meteor on us? They are sadistic.

Vote Giant Meteor! : Global level natural disaster such as Giant Meteor drastically reduces population. For social/religious reasons caused by the disaster, society decides to keep population at the new level . Deity of your choice "smote humanity for growing too big!"

The Matrix: Your virtual reality gets to be better than real reality, so birthrates drop because frankly, the virtual reality sex is better.

Life as a wirehead: Living in the Matrix is passé. Directly stimulate the brain's pleasure centers. And you thought crack cocaine was addictive...
 
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blessmycottonsocks

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Can't believe no one has yet menitioned the Georgia Guidestones, and their first 'rule'.

  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.

Which isn't a million miles away from the Ecology Party's original manifesto.

"The national aim is a replacement birth-rate in the short term, followed by a gradual reduction over the next 1 or 2 centuries to 20-30 million in Britain, achieved through education and popular consent."

This article in The Ecologist - a publication almost as close to my heart as the Fortean Times, is scathing about how the Green Party has sold out and now makes only the vaguest comments on overpopulation:

https://theecologist.org/2015/feb/09/greens-need-coherent-policies-population-and-immigration
 

Cochise

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No less idealised than smugly focusing on how good some of us have it today and assuming there's no need to consider how well the intricate web of mutual worldwide interdependencies affording us this relative luxury can hold together.

At least BMCS recognizes that things change, and there's an endless series of tomorrows within which such change can play out ...
I actually don't regard myself as responsible for the whole human race. If I can as far as possible look after my friends and family that's enough for me. After all, most of our contributors on here are atheists or agnostics, surely you understand 'survival of the fittest' ? And if you don't and there is really no God, be sure the planet will sort it out for you.

The only scientific solution that does not require eugenics or other forms of population control is to concentrate our efforts on space travel. At that point , with what we currently know about physics, I think God's intervention is the more likely result.
 

INT21

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Agreed ... This strongly suggests conflict and fighting is a symptom and side effect of excessive population in a given space..

In addition, we historically tend to devolve into conflict and fighting when someone believes they've something significant to gain or lose.

This strongly suggests conflict and fighting are inevitable side effects of any globally-scoped effort at restricting / reducing that excess population.
As all these 'let nature sort out the problem' scenarios generally invoke the Four horsemen in some guise or other, and this ALWAYS results in the mass destruction of infrastructure and society, a step back in civilisation, would it not be better to introduce compulsory small families ?

And it is agree that there are more tomorrows, but they all appear to be trending in the wrong direction.

INT21.
 

AnonyJoolz

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The problem is not that there are too many people, it's the resources they use. Rich people use up far more than poor people.

Frugal First World people who refuse to play the game by consuming more and more of everything are seen as, at best, eccentric.
Yep. Lots of people (but maybe not as many as might be thought) need to step down their relentless wasteful consumption. We don't need to return to mediaeval levels, but something akin to a Costa Rican, or south Indian, median standard of living.

People used to laugh at me 25 years ago for using a home-made fabric shopping bag, but maybe I was just ahead of the game! I don't know if it's just me but seeing stuff like the overblown luxury of Dubai, or the pointlessness of Formula 1 racing (using fossil fuels), or sandwiches sold in plastic boxes just makes me feel ill and guilty on their behalf.

The world's population is forecast to stabilise at around 10-13 billion within the next 100 years, then gradually fall. The main 'boom' in world population currently taking place is down to improved healthcare and not extra or multiple births [ie., folks are sticking around a lot longer] The global average birthrate per woman is almost down to 2 (replacement level), and then predicted to fall further. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_fertility_rate for the figures

Some nations are already seeing marked birthrate decrease (eg., Italy, Japan, Korea to name a few).

As education and information spreads, family sizes fall and there's some room for optimism here. The main issues facing us all in the 'first world' are how to care for elderly people compassionately when they are in the majority (Japan is already facing this demographic conundrum: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aging_of_Japan ) AND how to suppress the model of a constantly expanding economy and shift it into something much less wasteful and damaging.

It's not impossible that a pandemic will get some of us, leaving only the fittest, but the predictions of doom are a bit overblown. Each one of us that turns their back on rampant consumerism and waste is doing their bit, however small it may seem. We have that power! If the billionaire class wishes to zoom off to another planet and consume that, too, then let them.
 

Sid

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Yep. Lots of people (but maybe not as many as might be thought) need to step down their relentless wasteful consumption. We don't need to return to mediaeval levels, but something akin to a Costa Rican, or south Indian, median standard of living.

People used to laugh at me 25 years ago for using a home-made fabric shopping bag, but maybe I was just ahead of the game! I don't know if it's just me but seeing stuff like the overblown luxury of Dubai, or the pointlessness of Formula 1 racing (using fossil fuels), or sandwiches sold in plastic boxes just makes me feel ill and guilty on their behalf.

The world's population is forecast to stabilise at around 10-13 billion within the next 100 years, then gradually fall. The main 'boom' in world population currently taking place is down to improved healthcare and not extra or multiple births [ie., folks are sticking around a lot longer] The global average birthrate per woman is almost down to 2 (replacement level), and then predicted to fall further. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_fertility_rate for the figures

Some nations are already seeing marked birthrate decrease (eg., Italy, Japan, Korea to name a few).

As education and information spreads, family sizes fall and there's some room for optimism here. The main issues facing us all in the 'first world' are how to care for elderly people compassionately when they are in the majority (Japan is already facing this demographic conundrum: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aging_of_Japan ) AND how to suppress the model of a constantly expanding economy and shift it into something much less wasteful and damaging.

It's not impossible that a pandemic will get some of us, leaving only the fittest, but the predictions of doom are a bit overblown. Each one of us that turns their back on rampant consumerism and waste is doing their bit, however small it may seem. We have that power! If the billionaire class wishes to zoom off to another planet and consume that, too, then let them.
Maybe it's time we took control of our own behaviours instead of passing the blame on to everything else around us?
 

escargot

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Yep. Lots of people (but maybe not as many as might be thought) need to step down their relentless wasteful consumption. We don't need to return to mediaeval levels, but something akin to a Costa Rican, or south Indian, median standard of living.

People used to laugh at me 25 years ago for using a home-made fabric shopping bag, but maybe I was just ahead of the game! I don't know if it's just me but seeing stuff like the overblown luxury of Dubai, or the pointlessness of Formula 1 racing (using fossil fuels), or sandwiches sold in plastic boxes just makes me feel ill and guilty on their behalf.

The world's population is forecast to stabilise at around 10-13 billion within the next 100 years, then gradually fall. The main 'boom' in world population currently taking place is down to improved healthcare and not extra or multiple births [ie., folks are sticking around a lot longer] The global average birthrate per woman is almost down to 2 (replacement level), and then predicted to fall further. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_fertility_rate for the figures

Some nations are already seeing marked birthrate decrease (eg., Italy, Japan, Korea to name a few).

As education and information spreads, family sizes fall and there's some room for optimism here. The main issues facing us all in the 'first world' are how to care for elderly people compassionately when they are in the majority (Japan is already facing this demographic conundrum: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aging_of_Japan ) AND how to suppress the model of a constantly expanding economy and shift it into something much less wasteful and damaging.

It's not impossible that a pandemic will get some of us, leaving only the fittest, but the predictions of doom are a bit overblown. Each one of us that turns their back on rampant consumerism and waste is doing their bit, however small it may seem. We have that power! If the billionaire class wishes to zoom off to another planet and consume that, too, then let them.
Totally agreeing.
 

Krepostnoi

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would it not be better to introduce compulsory small families
I suspect plenty of Chinese couples might have differing views.

It's also interesting how, when people in this thread have mentioned the correlation between improved education for girls - which must be as close as we get to an unqualified good thing - and falling birth-rates, that more invasive/coercive policies are still being suggested instead...
 

AnonyJoolz

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I suspect plenty of Chinese couples might have differing views.

It's also interesting how, when people in this thread have mentioned the correlation between improved education for girls - which must be as close as we get to an unqualified good thing - and falling birth-rates, that more invasive/coercive policies are still being suggested instead...
Yes - when contraception and education is widely available, family sizes do tend to fall and even if one woman has 4 or 5 children there are others who have none. That's why the overall birth rate vs. overall death rate is important here, not individual family size.

However due to the population momentum effect and the tempo effect, these changes are only seen in generations, or centuries, and not decades. It's going to get a bit hairy around 2050 if consumption and environmental habits don't change!

An interesting article here about the various stages of demographic transition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_transition Most of the 'first world' is already in stage 4 - declining populations, catching up fast is China & India with most of Asia and southern Americas already in stage 3. To quote Hans Rosling: Don't Panic!

 
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INT21

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AnonyJoolz,

In an ideal world, maybe yes.

But a large percentage of the world is populated by people whos beliefes do not allow for this option.

INT21.
 

AnonyJoolz

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AnonyJoolz,

In an ideal world, maybe yes.

But a large percentage of the world is populated by people whos beliefes do not allow for this option.

INT21.
The point is, much of the world has already got to, or near the magic figure of 2.1, virtually all of the developed world already has a fertility rate of 2 or below. Beliefs or not! Even The Philippines, staunchly Catholic and with little access to contraception currently has a rate of 2.92 (2016, source: World Bank) compared to 1950-55's 7.4 (source: UN); roughly about 50 years behind the UK's own fertility rate drop in the 60's.

The main issue is resource use and consumption, not birthrates or family size. It's going to take a few more generations for the full effect of the 1950-1980 boom to pan out - the population momentum effect - but if we survive as a species we will then gradually become less numerous.
 

INT21

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Something not quite right about that.

Although the following list supports you.

http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/total-fertility-rate/

Maybe it is a locality thing, But everywhere I am looking around me the average appears to be closer to three. Approaching four.

If it's true then it's good news.

I find it interesting that the USA is 1.68, and the UK 1.73 (I think, would need to look it up again.

I'm wondering if it is allowing for many women not having any children. As that number increases it will give a false impression.
 

AnonyJoolz

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Something not quite right about that.

Although the following list supports you.

http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/total-fertility-rate/

Maybe it is a locality thing, But everywhere I am looking around me the average appears to be closer to three. Approaching four.

If it's true then it's good news.

I find it interesting that the USA is 1.68, and the UK 1.73 (I think, would need to look it up again.

I'm wondering if it is allowing for many women not having any children. As that number increases it will give a false impression.
The TFRs are indeed just that - the total fertility rate per woman. Many women have no biological children, and that number is increasing. Large family sizes in one area simply means family sizes of 2 (adults) or fewer in others when seen in the context of TFRs.
 
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