Results are out! Find what you need...fast. Get quick advice or join the chat
Hey there Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Is there any point thinking about overpopulation?

Announcements Posted on
Got a question about Student Finance? Ask the experts this week on TSR! 14-09-2014
    • 2 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    You're all talking about morality.

    You need to be talking about mortality.

    We can't talk about drastic population reductions, whilst we still have infirm elderly people demanding care. These people are unproductive and a weight around societies neck. New people are needed in order to support the ageing population. If we can solve the disease of ageing, or at least drastically reduce the ageing related damage then the demand for new humans will be dramatically lower. This isn't just a problem in the west, often the driving motivator for large families in third world countries is that children are seen as a pension.

    Talking of the morality of forcing people not to have more children is futile whilst the state requires new citizens to drive its economy. This driving imperative needs to be removed first for serious population reductions to be made feasible.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by silver9)
    Ok I take your point but if the population stays constant at 11b this is still unsustainable. The sustainable human population is closer to 2b. If any part of global warming can be attributed to humans then this is already evidence that the human population is too high.
    A population of 11 billion will certainly be sustained with 22nd century technology. Global warming is a result of the use of fossil fuels but by the 22nd century they will be obsolete; hydrocarbons will only be used to make plastics.

    It is very selfish and sad that humans think this way about other life forms imo I understand what you are saying but I just disagree with it-and why should sentience make something more or less worthy of life?
    Because most wild animals have stressful lives and painful deaths. And humans are the only species which actually empathises with and helps preserve other species (even when natural selection is killing them rather than human intervention); all other animals are quite happy to murder the hell out of eachother for all eternity.

    Again we need negative population growth for the population to reach sustainable levels (overpopulation is certainly not a myth! please ask for clarification on this). I just want to point out that the governments of the world are extremely aware of the problem of overpopulation-that is why I believe that the US govt. has been declaring so many wars. They just don't talk about it because it's taboo to tell people we want to reduce population growth.
    Overpopulation is a myth; we could produce enough food, water, energy, metal and other resources to afford everyone a lifestyle similar to that of the average American. All of the problems facing humanity are political.

    I should also point out that the number of people killed in wars over the past ten years is less than the number of people killed in wars in most decades of the 20th century and that the effect of war on population growth has been negligable. If the US government wanted to reduce the world's population it would need to use nuclear weapons.

    Also soft solutions to population growth will in my opinion fail. The only effective solutions are the so called 'immoral' solutions. The problem is everything we deem immoral solves population problems, everything we deem virtuous exacerbates population problems. I think here it is important to realise that being 'immoral' in the short-term is more than outweighed by the benefits of a reduced populaton to future generations.
    But the population isn't a problem. Killing/sterilizing billions of people because of some imagined problem is not moral. Even if the icecaps melted the number of people killed would still be less than the number of people you want to get rid of.

    As Dr Albert Bartlett said "Can you think of any problem in any area of
    human endeavor on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally? It makes everything worse and nothing better"
    Easily; if the human population was 100,000 then the quality of life of the average human would be terrible. Therefore decreasing the population does not necessarily lead to an increase in prosperity nor does an increase in the population always lead to an increase in strife.
    • 6 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I agree with you OP, it seems instead of actually stopping (or trying to stop) overpopulating, they just think "right, we'll cut down more animal habitat's in order to house these people" which is a quick fix - but it's obviously not substantial because eventually they're going to run out of space and then what? And I think it's incredibly selfish and quite disgusting really to take away animal's habitats because some people don't know how to properly use contraception.
    • 42 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by silver9)
    Overpopulation really bothers me because I feel that all the species of the world are being destroyed because of human selfishness. I live in London and thousands of new people enter the capital every day and I feel that this is destroying my quality of life and also the entire planet. People say things like we can simply cut down more woodland to make room for more people but I feel that this is a really ignorant and somewhat selfish solution (on the part of human beings) to the problem of overpopulation. I don't feel the environment should have to pay for the human desire to procreate beyond reason. Is there any point in thinking about this issue or is population growth and the destruction of our environment simply inevitable and therefore not worth thinking about?
    Overpopulation bothers me too. However there was a video clip which was on the bbc news website (when it was announced that there was over 7 billion people on Earth) that if everyone lived in one place which had the population density of Paris, that the total area they would use would be equivalent to slightly more that the size of France (maybe the size of France and Switzerland combined ish).
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I think the main problems are:
    Governments who put such a plan into action are unlikely to get elected/re-elected.
    Birth rates are still very high in developing countries.
    Population size, even if we have a 1 child policy will keep increasing because life expectancies are rising quickly. (birth rate may still be higher than the death rate because many people are living into their 90's, this will only get worse)
    Most people are ignorant and don't want to know/care about the future (and current) problems so they can keep living their lives selfishly.

    Solutions?!
    All are pretty drastic, but I suppose they have to be...:
    Forced sterilisation,
    1 child policy,
    Mass genocide/increased war (not an option!)
    I don't think we can count on things getting better if countries were more developed, if anything it would just mean more people would live longer.
    Neither can we count on 'space colonies'. They would require even more of the earths resources and are unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future...

    I personally think the best plan is to give compulsory contraceptive implants to all under 25yr old women (and possibly sterilise after first child), and focus on education in developing countries. This would make them less likely to have large/early families. And use vasectomy as a crime punishment in court.
    But I doubt even this would make much difference in the next 50years til the older generations begin to get replaced by the new smaller populations. And in the mean time you'd have the problem of less younger people having to support more retirees...

    Wow long post :eek:
    TL;DR There is no easy solution, we're all screwed
    • Thread Starter
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    A population of 11 billion will certainly be sustained with 22nd century technology. Global warming is a result of the use of fossil fuels but by the 22nd century they will be obsolete; hydrocarbons will only be used to make plastics.
    Overpopulation is a myth; we could produce enough food, water, energy, metal and other resources to afford everyone a lifestyle similar to that of the average American
    What if you made these claims 20 years ago? How about 40 years ago? Despite these claim our quality of life has diminished since then and environmental destruction has been unprecedented. Why do you expect this trend not to continue into the future? Why do you expect the world to suddenly switch to renewable energy? Why do you expect population growth to suddenly stall at 11b despite the fact that it has been increasing for the last 100 years?
    • 6 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by silver9)
    Surely we could limit each woman to one child-obviously this should be strict unlike in China where you can pay a few thousand to have an extra one. This cannot be immoral! It's just stopping people from being excessively greedy.
    Personally i don't view it as unethical, organizations like the FAO have already expressed concerns for the future about the effect overpopulation could have on mainly African and Middle eastern countries. It is estimated that by 2050 we will have to produce around 70% more food to feed an extra 2+ billion people and although it is hypothetically possible it would be far from secure and for instance currently there is a nasty case of stem rust spreading through Africa and Asia which has already lead to shortages, it is more than possible that a nasty disease could spring up in one of the big suppliers of the world and without adequate reserves there could be a huge increase in the amount of people becoming malnourished and dying from famine. But keep in mind that the countries that are currently popping out babies like tick tacks are mainly poorer, limiting our population at the moment wouldn't really have any serious positive effects and due to the way our economy works it could end pretty badly for us (the whole reason for multiculturalism/importation of workers was that after WW2 European birth rates were to low to keep our welfare state model working)

    I think limiting the amount of kids people have particularly in under developed countries is a good idea but the logistics of something like that seems impossible at this time.

    (Original post by Psyk)
    I think increasing living standards across the world could help to reduce the population. At least eventually. Generally speaking, developed countries have lower birth rates. Some even have shrinking populations. The UK has a fairly low birth rate.

    I don't know if there's any evidence this is a causation rather than just a correlation, but if you want to tackle overpopulation it would be a prime candidate for further investigation.

    As for how this could help limit the population growth in the UK, increasing quality of life in other countries would also reduce net immigration into the UK. Obviously fewer people would want to move to the UK if their home country was just as good a place to live.
    It is true that developed nations don't have a massive problem with overpopulation and are not really the countries that need to concern themselves an awful amount but currently the global situation doesn't look like many poorer countries are going to become a great deal better any time soon and although we can currently provide them with a decent amount of food if they continue to grow the global food security will become increasingly weaker and it could just take one nasty outbreak in a big producer country like the USA to start a massive famine in African and Middle eastern countries. On top of this we have to take into account that food prices are directly related to the cost of oil (machines, fertilizer, factories) which will probably increase a fair bit over the next 20 years and at some point it is going to get very expensive, as a result poorer countries won't realistically be able to continue to produce large amounts of agricultural produce.

    We already saw in 2007/8 what happens when the price of oil begins increasing in regards to the effect on the global food situation and that was a mild crisis yet still resulted in food riots and a big increase in famine. For developed countries it won't be a big problem, we already have tech that will allow us to continue our production of agricultural products if oil become financially unsuitable and although changing our infrastructure to a non-fossil based one would cost an arm and a leg we would manage and no one would starve. Under developed countries such as those in central Asia and Africa would not have the financial or technological ability to adapt a new infrastructure and would have to rely even more on imports for their food and an increase in the price of food or a global shortage could result in serious problems for them.

    In principle i agree with you, if less well off countries improve and are able to set up a relatively strong systems to look after their citizens we would probably see a reduced birth rate from those countries and less immigration to the developed world, but in reality we are no closer to a lot of the problem countries becoming any more developed than we were 50 years ago and there really isn't much to suggest there will be any real change in the next 50.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by silver9)
    What if you made these claims 20 years ago? How about 40 years ago? Despite these claim our quality of life has diminished since then and environmental destruction has been unprecedented.
    That just isn't true; the average human today earns 70% more than the average human in 1970. In the west the air and water are cleaner and pollution is lower, CFC production has dropped by a huge amount, and human life expectancy has increased from 55 years to 70 years over the last 40 years. The average human is richer, lives longer, and has more freedom than at any previous point in history. We've also eradicated smallpox and we have the vaccines available to wipe out polio, measles, mumps and rubella; we will also have the means to eradicate malaria and HIV too.

    Why do you expect this trend not to continue into the future? Why do you expect the world to suddenly switch to renewable energy? Why do you expect population growth to suddenly stall at 11b despite the fact that it has been increasing for the last 100 years?
    I didn't say we would suddenly switch to renewable energy, only that we would switch to it (and other types of energy). We will switch to renewable and nuclear energy because it will become economical to do so as technology improves (which it is already doing). In the more distant future nuclear fusion and space-based solar will probably be the dominant forms of energy production.

    The population of Europe grew massively over the course of the 1800s and 1900s; its growth has now stalled. The same will happen to the population growth rate of Earth (and any other planet we settle). And I didn't say it would suddenly stall; I said that it would stall. The decline in the growth rate will take decades.
    • Thread Starter
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Human happiness has decreased. In which time there will be a lot of damage inflicted.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    IMO until every last inch of the Earth's surface has been built upon to a height of 0.5-2 miles (or as high as we can build in the future) you can stop moaning about overpopulation. The Earth can support up to 500 billion people quite easily just so long as we can become more efficient in our management of resources.
    • 10 followers
    Online

    ReputationRep:
    Surely the problem is not just birth-rates OP but the fact with modern medicine people are living a lot longer. That's the bigger problem really, we have an ageing average population in the UK. This is not a good thing to have as it means that basically we when in work, help fund the pensions etc. of the older generation who will just swell further and then when we get to that stage, we shall leave those younger in the same situation.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    my knowledge on7 this subject is pretty limited but i thought i'd come in with what i know or at least what i think i know.

    it's a bit early to be thinking of over population of the earth itself considering there's so much empty space that's been built on and people just don't live there eg.http://www.indyscan.com/wordpress/wp...3/Bayannao.jpg

    i believe that's a city/town in china that's hardly populated and whilst looking for that picture i came across a website that a had quite a hefty list(pretty sure it was over 200) of abandoned towns (http://www.ghosttowngallery.com/) and this was just gathered by somebody who goes around the states for fun-pretty sure the actual amount will be that times 10 or even 100 and that's only in one country, every country has ghost towns

    now i know nobody would actually want to live there for obvious reasons however when the time comes i'm sure something can be done about it such as businesses opening branches and schools opening and eventually a stable community/economy being built (and yes i know these things can't be done overnight).

    point is it that there's no need to cut down trees and migrate to mars or w/e until we've actually explored our options which wont be done until governments or w/e decide that enough is enough.

    correct me if i'm wrong-and i wont be surprised if i am tbh
    • Thread Starter
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I'm not sure why a lot of people can't see the flaw in continued population growth. Clearly this will have many negative consequences. I don't want to keep quoting people and critiquing their viewpoint but to me the only legitimate solution is population reduction. Feel free to continue debating...
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    The percentage rate of population growth is gradually slowing. The concern is whether we can meet the demands of the 9-10ish billion people it will probably peak at.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by silver9)
    I'm not sure why a lot of people can't see the flaw in continued population growth. Clearly this will have many negative consequences. I don't want to keep quoting people and critiquing their viewpoint but to me the only legitimate solution is population reduction. Feel free to continue debating...
    I've explained to you why it isn't a problem; because growth is projected to slow down (like it has done in Europe, Japan, and South Korea) and our technology will keep pace with the growing population and will be able to sustain 11 billion people. Hence we shouldn't be discussing "solutions" which involve subverting our rights, reducing our liberties and reducing our wealth.
    • 4 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by silver9)
    Surely we could limit each woman to one child-obviously this should be strict unlike in China where you can pay a few thousand to have an extra one. This cannot be immoral! It's just stopping people from being excessively greedy.
    :facepalm: if you know anything about Chinas one child policy, you'll know it completely failed and has had devastating consequences.

    There are now way more males than females.

    There won't be enough people of working age to generate enough taxes.

    There won't be enough adults to look after all the old people.

    It forced many women to have abortions which is dangerous and traumatic for them.

    Plus if there was no punishment for having more kids then it wouldn't stop people.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    To those who have mentioned sterilising women after their first child, I'm assuming you'd be for sterlising men as well?
    • 166 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Darth Stewie)
    unless we get to the point where we are willing to use less than moral tactics there is nothing we can do about it. People in richer countries have kids because they want to and for the most part there are systems in place to ensure you will gain financial aid for your children. People in poorer countries have kids because they want workers and because at some point they will be to old to work and need people to take care of them and make money. Neither group is really willing/able to change.

    The most sensible thing to do is release a pack of flesh hungry ninja tigers into cities to thin the herd a bit but apparently that's "immoral"
    If people in third world countries want to have kids, they have to pay them off their own packet. I'm sick of aid going to people who cannot afford to have kids in these countries - all for selfish reasons - "I want someone to look after me".
    • 166 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Miraclefish)
    You've got the wrong end of the stick.

    The more a nation develops, the lower its population growth becomes. Developed nations have much fewer children, and longer lives (as well as taking longer to start families) than developing nations, where they have little or no birth control and larger families can work more and thus bring in more food.

    If the world wants to slow growth down (and that is by no means required, overpopulation is a myth), then the way to do it is to provide more aid and help, not less.

    If you cut back on aid, people will have bigger families than ever.
    How can someone have a large family if they receive no aid whatsoever?

    Good luck trying to have a family with no food and no water.
    • 2 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by RyanT)

    We can't talk about drastic population reductions, whilst we still have infirm elderly people demanding care. These people are unproductive and a weight around societies neck. New people are needed in order to support the ageing population. If we can solve the disease of ageing, or at least drastically reduce the ageing related damage then the demand for new humans will be dramatically lower. This isn't just a problem in the west, often the driving motivator for large families in third world countries is that children are seen as a pension.
    Theoretically this seems sound, but I think it's unfair to reduce reasons for childbearing as a substitute for the aging.

    Speaking of the west and developed countries, people don't build families because "the economy needs a fresh labor force"; In less developed countries people have larger families to support their work even when they're at the prime of their careers, not only as a source of pension after they're too old to work.

    There are far more factors going into why people choose to have large families, so I don't really think this is a solution. Although I totally support extending support to the elderly as a solution for other social issues.

Reply

Submit reply

Register

Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?
  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?
  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. By joining you agree to our Ts and Cs, privacy policy and site rules

  2. Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: May 28, 2012
New on TSR

Writing your personal statement

Our free PS builder tool makes it easy

Article updates
Useful resources
Reputation gems:
You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.