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The Under-Population Challenge


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#31 Alex Libman

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 02:06 PM

Shouldn't the title of this thread actually be the Overpopulation challenge instead of the "under population challenge"


Underpopulation is a serious long-term crisis. The fact is that fertility rates in a secular post-industrial society are so low that population is cut in half with each generation. Needless to say, humongous economic potential is lost when you have a society of elderly people and prices for labor skyrocket, and, since not the whole world is depopulating at the same rate, a few centuries from now Earth could be renamed to Planet Mohammad.

Overpopulation is a theoretical problem that has nothing to do with the present reality.

Do you comprehend that we are using 1.5 times the long run productivity of the earth every year.


The same way I comprehend claims that the world is flat and rests on the backs of four elephants.


Do you know what is going and has happened to the earths biosphere, the levels of deseretification and serility. The Loss of Biodiveristy is so considerable, look at the sea for starters.


You seem to attribute infinite value to every little outcome of evolution that exists at present, even though 99% of all species that ever lived are naturally extinct, and all that species that exist today would, without human technology, eventually go extinct as well.

You seem to attribute very little value to the human civilization, and wish to violently clip its wings, while in reality the furthering of our civilization is the best thing that could ever happened to this planet. We create a lot more than we destroy! We can preserve each of the millions of species, genetically engineer millions more, and give them free transport far beyond this one little planet.


The Limits to Growth series could be useful.


Actual limits must be understood through science, not emotional hysteria and political bias, which is what drives the environmentalist movement today.

#32 robomoon

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 08:45 PM

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\\shortened quote\\ Underpopulation is a serious long-term crisis... Actual limits must be understood through science, not emotional hysteria and political bias, which is what drives the environmentalist movement today.


Actually, the term overpopulation is good to inform people about their society that is getting rather unable to solve their greatest existential risks - because there happen to be too many consumers who demand more limited resources than they provide for security. You named science, but can we understand it? The answer is: not anymore!

Science happens to be no longer understandable to people outside one closed group of experts, because of government-funded laboratories where researchers are gaining control over their experiments in a way like the software industry owns patents. They put a scientific theory about one specific research into a highly complicated set of dedicated mathematical calculations. Those calculations for one theory include a very high level of complexity. Only one closed group of experts can master their difficulty.

Only group insiders know about the most important details of that theory. So an experiment leading to a 10 percent risk of total human extinction can be called a zero risk by group insiders, because nobody outside their group understands enough about their theory anyways. Actually, there are too many people who want scientific progress and knowledge creation without responsible scientists who are, just independently from closed groups, not incapable of doing the mathematics for one specific research to reevaluate the greatest existential risk that happens from experiments.

Thus, emotions and politics belong to a sustainable concept of rescue measures when science alone has failed. So if there is no independent scientist right now to help us out of this dangerous situation, we need a scared political activist instead. There is no other way.

Do you tend to believe more people will be more sane with less motivated psychology scientists because natural science solves all mental problems physically?

#33 Alex Libman

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 06:39 PM

Some scientific issues are indeed very complicated, and in a free society people would rely on competing scientific institutions (ex. hired by insurance companies) to help them understand risk factors that could affect them. This particular issue, however, just isn't that complex.


If you actually look at the numbers, it's amazing how far "we" (meaning the human civilization) could increase sustainable food production - even without increasing agricultural space OR agricultural productivity! What does that leave? Eating habits.

A huge fraction of agricultural resources are being wasted by passing them through an animal's body prior to human consumption, with as much as 95% of the nutrients turning into environmentally hazardous byproducts rather than food. Most people in the "first world" eat huge portions of meat that provide more protein than their body can even utilize, leading to obesity and ever-large appetites. A lot of agricultural resources are wasted on producing unhealthy caffeine beverages, processed foods, alcohol, tobacco, etc. If everyone ate a healthy ~2000-calorie diet that centered on fresh vegetables and only drank water, then the same agricultural space / productivity we have today would feed ~20-40 billion human beings, and those people would be a lot healthier and live longer as well!

Of course most people would not want to make those changes, but in a freer society they would be more encouraged to do so through price and insurance incentives. The biggest enemy of agricultural efficiency is government, which subsidizes and propagandizes meat consumption, and discourages preventative health measures like healthy eating through socialized medicine. A lot of people would go vegan if it meant large savings off their health insurance. If artificially extracted hormone-induced cow puss (aka "milk") cost $30/gallon, a lot more people would drink soy milk instead! Governments are also guilty of mismanaging vast amounts of farmland with economically retarded programs like subsidy of bio-fuels. Socialist governments of the "third world" are keeping their farmers in an artificial state of backwardness. And of course governments stifle the agricultural accessibility of some of the most efficient plants, like hemp.

The fertility rates might have already reached the break-even point - the official global estimate of ~2.5 children per woman is misleading, because some indicators are lagging. More importantly, most of the world's children are born in extremely poor high-mortality countries where 3 or even 4 children may be needed to assure a steady population. If we didn't reach that point already, we undoubtedly will in the next couple of decades. Population growth will continue "running on fumes" for a few decades beyond that, due to demographic momentum and increases in longevity, but the human population will inevitably age and then begin to decline within the next ~30 years.

What happened in Iran (1.89 children per woman and falling, in spite of radical Islam) will soon happen in Afghanistan. What happened in Lebanon (~1.7 children per woman) will happen in Saudi Arabia. What happened in Trinidad and Tobago, Maldives, and Mauritius will happen in all of Africa and India as well. Etc. And eventually the rates in those countries will resemble those of South Korea and Italy (even though both currently still have religious people that have families). As the world becomes more educated, urbanized, and secular, people simply stop having enough children. We're headed for a civilization where population is cut in half with every generation - which leads to an inevitable economic collapse!

Even if by some miracle we managed to maintain the current ~2.5 fertility rate, while curing AIDS and otherwise reducing "third world" mortality to "first world" levels, it would still take us about ten long generations to exceed the aforementioned carrying capacity, which we can achieve by doing nothing more than eating a healthy diet. But of course agricultural productivity will continue to increase, with today's high-tech greenhouses and hydroponics already producing as much as 100 times more food per acre than low-tech farming that is still employed in many parts of the world today. What will happen in the next 300 years is speculative, but the craziest assumption of all is that technology will somehow simply stand still!

So overpopulation is a total non-issue, a crazy fantasy, like of a person who refuses to leave a rapidly burning house because it's raining outside and he might catch a cold!

Edited by Alex Libman, 11 September 2011 - 07:05 PM.


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#34 yorwos

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 11:59 AM

there is no such thing as over-polulation in nature .
animals eat from plants+other animals.
plants eat from animal shit and dead animals.
if u kill the pple , the plant life will die also eventually in a few yrs.
u cant reject our animal-side-nature.
the more pple we r, the more alive our planet is
and ofc, i dont think theres any need to mention how endagered the plants whould become without their gardeners :)

ps.even if balance is broken , this happens -> huge period lots of life with humas - huge period with no humans around -> circle
the best would be to start planting more green things if we wanna stick around longer i guess
less pple can plant less seeds than more pple

edit : ps2 : not to mention that the co2 is helping where our ozon has drove off , retaining our shield

edit2 : ps3 : not to mention its not in reality we humans polluting the enviroment anymore , but the current technologies.
eg.a human cant pollute . cars pollute . we need new tech on cars that dont pollute anymore
same with factories, etc.

Edited by yorwos, 18 December 2011 - 12:10 PM.


#35 Mind

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 12:21 PM

I blogged about this a little while ago.

I also heard some financial news and once again it was trumpeting a rise in housing starts during the past month – as something positive for the “economy”. I did a little reading and found some other articles talking about the housing “problem” here in the U.S. I am flabbergasted that there are by some accounts over 10 million empty and/or for sale homes in the U.S. and we are still building a half million new ones every month!

Now why would I be upset to hear that more houses are being built – that the housing sector might be turning around? I could go through the entire argument again but it would be better if you read this past blog post. The gist of it is that we should start looking to other metrics for judging how good the “economy” is. The main theme throughout the last couple of centuries (particularly here in the U.S.) is build build build! If there is more building, traveling, shipping, flying, and consuming going on then the economy will be “good”. If we aren’t out there paving over more of nature, then the economy is “bad”. I am saying that I have had enough with sprawl. I have had enough with expansion for the economy’s sake. If we want to have a better and cleaner place to live we should start focusing on different metrics to judge the health of the “economy”. We should stop judging our economic well being on growth alone. How about focusing more on quality instead of quantity? We can still enjoy great progress without constantly building more roads, more houses, more box stores, and more parking lots.



#36 hooter

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 03:01 PM

Overpopulation is a theoretical problem that has nothing to do with the present reality.


I guess Sir David Frederick Attenborough is just a clueless hack too, right? What could he possibly know that Alex Libman doesn't? There are far more variables to this than food. You are missing about half the picture.

Edited by hooter, 24 January 2012 - 03:03 PM.


#37 brokenportal

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 08:47 PM

I blogged about this a little while ago.
...


I agree, that reminds me of these lines and quotes from a blog that I wrote.


As Douglass Rushkoff points out, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that there is enough food produced to provide everybody in the world with over 2,500,000 million calories per day. A person needs an average of 2,000 per day. Even that, he points out, is after places like the United States dump tons of food in the name of higher market prices. Banks, he points out, tear down foreclosed homes for the sake of converting them back into the more solvent land capital.


Rushkoff further points out that, “Our problem is not that we don't have enough stuff -- it's that we don't have enough ways for people to work and prove that they deserve this stuff.” “I have to wonder just how truly bad is it for people. Isn't this what all this technology was for in the first place?” Most things, as the alpha thinker Tim Ferriss and others point out, are not productive, even when they may think they are. The old adage of keeping yourself with busy work is outdated. This is no longer a world where there is use in digging holes to fill them in, if there was ever even a use for such a work that consumed precious time.


As Tim Says, “Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.” “What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it. Efficiency is still important, but it is useless unless applied to the right things.” To put it most succinctly he says, “Focus on being productive instead of busy.”


Some countries have already begun adapting to this reality. For example, in 2000, France legislated the 35 hour work week. This is because over time we produce more and more with less and less. So to compensate for their 10% unemployment rate, they reduced working hours by 10%, thereby creating 10% more jobs in the market place. As the social and economic theorist Richard Florida says, “Technology and innovation are critical components in driving economic growth. To be successful, communities and organizations must have the avenues for transferring research, ideas, and innovation into marketable and sustainable products.”



#38 corb

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 07:03 AM

Disregard anything I had written before If you've read it. I actually read the thread.

The title made me think it was about trying the solve the depopulation of the western world...


Some of you think we actually have a chance of overpopulating ... well that's just ... amusing.
I actually laughed out loud a bit. :-D :-D :-D


There are far more variables to this than food. You are missing about half the picture.


There aren't really. People NEED food and water. Everything else is a luxury.

If the world population grows to 30 billion or more pure water might run out but that's a very big IF. And we have and abundance of salt water which can be purified easily enough so personally I'm not worried about overpopulation.

I'm more worried how we're going to keep our countries from being taken over (or bought) by China in a decade or two a lot more than overpopulation if we get afordable life extension procedures in the foreseeable future.

Edited by corb, 28 January 2012 - 07:59 AM.


#39 hooter

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 08:52 PM

Some of you think we actually have a chance of overpopulating ... well that's just ... amusing.
I actually laughed out loud a bit. :-D :-D :-D


Just curious, did you look at the actual data regarding availability of arable land and clean water? Do you know that there's portable water trucks in mexico and that many other countries buy and exploit water from eachother? Are you familiar with the fact that the quality of soil degrades over time? Do you assume everyone will just drop literally everything produced with water when its time?

Going from our psychological limit, Dunham's number, we are already vastly overpopulated. Psychological deficits from extreme population density is one result. Look up hikkikomori. I mean you might think it's just a joke and water and food is all you need, but our resource consumption isn't that simple.

If everyone has your attitude, then lets just be patient until people with enough money and zeal start enacting asymmetrical population control. Yeah let's look forward to this.

Do you think people in china and india just really really really love moving around in groups of 9000? I would love to get your opinion on that one.

Edited by hooter, 28 January 2012 - 08:53 PM.


#40 corb

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 12:34 AM

Some of you think we actually have a chance of overpopulating ... well that's just ... amusing.
I actually laughed out loud a bit. :-D :-D :-D


Just curious, did you look at the actual data regarding availability of arable land and clean water? Do you know that there's portable water trucks in mexico and that many other countries buy and exploit water from eachother? Are you familiar with the fact that the quality of soil degrades over time? Do you assume everyone will just drop literally everything produced with water when its time?

Going from our psychological limit, Dunham's number, we are already vastly overpopulated. Psychological deficits from extreme population density is one result. Look up hikkikomori. I mean you might think it's just a joke and water and food is all you need, but our resource consumption isn't that simple.

If everyone has your attitude, then lets just be patient until people with enough money and zeal start enacting asymmetrical population control. Yeah let's look forward to this.

Do you think people in china and india just really really really love moving around in groups of 9000? I would love to get your opinion on that one.



Of course they buy water from each other. They do the same with food, electricity, clothes, machinery and every other resource imaginable. If the planet can't recycle water fast enough we will have to help her along.

Soils don't tire if you do proper crop rotation. And hydroponics are going to eliminate soil quality as a factor in agriculture.

I'm quite aware of the term hikkikomori, in fact I'm sure I'm more versed than you on the topic considering my high school had an exchange program with Japan. That being said this has little to do with overpopulation and a lot more with romantic cultures like the japanese and northern europeans colliding with the harshness of materialistic pragmatics like the americans. Furthermore, Japan has a negative population growth so your point is moot and besides they haven't been overpopulated for a decade, they've been overpopulated pretty much since europe had a contact with their isles and teenagers started shutting themselves in home only recently.

India has always been arid and infertile, the fact they feed hundreds of cattle they don't slaughter for food doesn't help them all that much either.
China's problems are typical of a communist country - needles centralization, bad resource management, overpopulating some regions and leaving other regions to waste away, etc.

Your views are backwards and lazy. We have the answers to all the problems that can arise in the future, we're not implementing them because it's not beneficial at this point in time.

#41 hooter

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 09:00 AM

Yes, but eventually, when it's beneficial in a point in time. We will fix everything. Once the problems arise, they will all be solved and all countries will hold hands together to get through this crisis.

Edited by hooter, 29 January 2012 - 09:01 AM.


#42 Mind

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 07:49 PM

I'll just say it again. I don't mind "underpopulation". The world is crowded enough. The people worrying about underpopulation are government bureaucrats and banks that built idiotic economic models upon consistent population growth. If the population of the world declined because people were having less kids. Fine. In the future when we develop cheaper cleaner energy supplies and new technology to feed everyone (and quench everyone's thirst) then expansion can resume, preferably into space. That is more exciting.

#43 Brainbox

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:13 PM

I'll just say it again. I don't mind "underpopulation". The world is crowded enough. The people worrying about underpopulation are government bureaucrats and banks that built idiotic economic models upon consistent population growth. If the population of the world declined because people were having less kids. Fine. In the future when we develop cheaper cleaner energy supplies and new technology to feed everyone (and quench everyone's thirst) then expansion can resume, preferably into space. That is more exciting.





Regarding agricultural capacity in e.g. Africa, it is assumed that the increase of wasteland without any agricultural benefits is a major thread to our global capability to feed the earth's population. Desert lands are increasing, with the result that this feeding capacity will decrease even more over time. This does add to our fear of over population. In fact, large parts of the African population are starving due to this phenomenon. What is causing the increase of desert waste lands on earth? I did believe it was due to macro ecological effects, maybe climate change induced by our industrial carbon (CO2) producing activities. This might be true or it might not be. At least it is very difficult to find any scientific proof of this that is not flawed with the "we assume a causality because otherwise we do not have a case" syndrome. And consequently we pull the brakes, stop thinking and resort to political gameplaying.

But there seems to be another angle to look at how people's behavior is affecting the climate. We are used to think big. Macro effects are our hobby. Fortunately, it seems that all kinds of wastelands in different regions of our planet are caused by micro or local ecological effects. Caused by centuries of mismanagement of soil. Simple human mistakes that can be undone by simple measures.

Click

Degraded farmland in developing countries may be one of the best opportunities we have to reverse the trend toward reduced ecological function, says Mr Liu.
‘What human beings have done historically to damage the environment can be understood rather simply. We have interrupted evolutionary trends. This has resulted in reducing biodiversity, which has caused a reduction in biomass, which has in turn caused a reduction in the accumulation of organic matter. These changes have caused disruptions to fundamental systems that all life relies on."

‘If we return vegetation to degraded landscapes we can sequester large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. This is done through photosynthesis. If we return vegetation, we also can lower temperatures because of shade, and we can increase soil moisture and relative humidity by restoring microclimates below vegetated canopies.
‘The Global Partnership for Forest Landscape Restoration has roughly estimated that one billion hectares of the Earth have been degraded and could be restored. This represents a huge potential, through understanding and positive work, to improve what is now a quite bad situation.’



Posted Image

There are lot's of similar developments of knowledge and practical implementation of reversing just some of the simple mistakes that were made. This can result in reversing several threatening developments that ultimately will increase the reduced earth's capacity to feed people, remove CO2 and improve climate.

Attached Files


Edited by Brainbox, 30 April 2012 - 09:20 PM.


#44 Link

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 11:56 AM

I was thinking about this today. Overpopulation seems to be one of the most heavily used arguments against life extension. I found this site quite interesting.

http://www.globalrichlist.com/

This site tells you how you rank in terms of your income to everyone else in the world. I guessed that a person alive today who wants to be able to afford life extension technologies probably needs to be earning somewhere in the region of $50,000 US per year. That means according to the site there are only 59,029,289 people living today who could afford life extension technologies.

I think that given that the population growth of most western nations is predicted to slow dramatically or even recede over the coming decades, there is really a negligible risk of global over population.
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#45 robomoon

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 03:35 PM

Actually, this http://www.longecity...in-100th-years/ discussion about dwindling resources contains a certain terminology that appeared in discussions about overpopulation. They include birth- and death rates. With this in mind we need a further measurement too. How about the term "resource rates"?

If we are only measuring natural resources and energy, I'm sure that some combination of economic-, and technological progress goes on until a certain point. Greater resource acquisition to overcome the problem of population growth and overconsumption would require progress. But something might eventually be an illusion without including human- and automated services.

In theory, we could look at an economic model where the automatizing of production processes goes on being profitable, so there will be more factories with more machines and less humans. That sure looks like a trend towards underpopulation, but it might not be. Even if we would scale the economic model up to a point where we would only need to bring two human controllers into an economy with superior robots working in highly automated ways, there is only one measure that cannot be removed: the risk rate. As long as a group of three controllers would lower the major existential risks more than a group of two, three controllers count more as an underpopulation than only two. But in a different case, three controllers could also make more mistakes, leaving a greater risk for failures in, for e.g., the research industry.

Actually, an easy, but probably not the most dangerous example: an engineering success with the creation of a highly contagious flu-HIV hybrid that contaminates one of the three controllers who went greedy with the criminal service of stealing. Getting into hectic with stealing some lab equipment containing a flu-HIV hybrid could higher the risk. So the number of people says little about overpopulation, only the risk from criminal- or irresponsible antisocial action can be taken as the best measure to determine it.

#46 robomoon

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 02:47 PM

What a great luck that the Indians got a very large country on our world map. So would 1.8B Indians make up the highest population density among all countries, higher than Singapore or Monaco? That would be remarkable. With no remarkable assumption, the answer can be actually no. So 2B Indians would still not be the cause for the highest population density with their country. Would they be responsible for a much less desirable higher population density in the world? Perhaps, I have not read the statistics, but if the answer would be yes, could they be responsible for a much less desirable health condition an individual could have? If the answer would be yes, could a sustainable health of many intelligent beings in this solar system not be of much higher importance than that of an individual?

#47 kurdishfella

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Posted 06 March 2021 - 06:11 PM

So thats why I havent seen any threads about overpopulation on here. I always wonderd why chinese people have such high population in their country when we saw that as IQ increases people have fewer children.



#48 Karazantor

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Posted 13 March 2021 - 07:17 PM

So thats why I havent seen any threads about overpopulation on here. I always wonderd why chinese people have such high population in their country when we saw that as IQ increases people have fewer children.

 

China is still largely rural, with low education outside of the major industrial centres - and as you point out the IQ (or more specifically education level) is a major factor in number of children. The rural areas are still largely traditional as a result  i.e. children are there to look after you in age. The one child policy is still relatively recent so population growth hasn't really had much time to be affected - though there is major imbalance with the male to female ratio in society which has the potential to create serious issues.



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#49 Question Mark

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Posted 16 June 2021 - 08:48 PM

Overpopulation is absolutely going to be an issue in the long run. Anatoly Karlin has written about this extensively in his article series on the Age of Malthusian Industrialism. Since aspects of personality like fertility preferences, religiosity, etc. are heritable to some degree, we should expect that the "breeders" with the strongest desire to reproduce will eventually demographically overtake the rest of the population. This will inevitably cause fertility rates to rise again to pre-demographic transition levels in the long run. Karlin also argues that the world may be able to support 100 billion humans, equal to the biomass of all fish today, or almost half of the biomass of all animals today.

 

The demographics that consistently have the highest fertility rates are religious fundamentalists, such as the Old Order Amish and the Ultra-Orthodox Jews. Eric Kaufmann has talked about this extensively in his lecture "Why the religious will inherit the earth". There are estimated to be 7 million Amish by the end of the century, despite only having a population of about 350,000 today.






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