Population control and the Peaks

Peak oil, peak food, peak water, global warming too. Is the root cause of all of these problems that there are just too many people on the planet?

The current world population is about 6.6 billion and growing fast. Yet suggesting that we need less people opens up all manner of ugly issues. Who gets to decide how to limit population growth? What will the rules be? Will it be voluntary? And in what countries?

Less Developed Countries are understandably highly suspicious of such proposals coming from the prosperous countries. There is also the undeniable problem of masked racism, with some using this as a pretext to get rid of Those People.

Malthusians say that limited resources on earth at some point will not be sufficient to feed the planet so that leaves us with what, that a good healthy die-off is what we need? This does present a teensy ethical dilemma, hoping for hundreds of millions to die so the rest may live better.

But the question remains: Are there too many people on the planet competing for too few resources?


  1. With genetic engineering and chemical farming we will have enough crops to feed everyone. Remember that the starving brown masses have used organic farming for thousands of years and they historically haven’t had enough to eat.

    The key to securing the future of humanity is further exploitation and destruction of the environment. We must replace natural varieties of food with modified varieties and must convert the land from pastures and forests to modern cropland.

    You have to make the choice, its us or the environment. I, for one, am on the side of the humans.

  2. Since homo sapiens resides in the fold between r and K reproductive strategies, we have the ability to either intelligently select either carrying capacity or boom and bust population. If we don’t nature will decide for us. We’re only one pandemic removed from serious population crash.

  3. According to the world population clock http://www.worldometers.info/population/ there are some 6.7 billion currently on earth. Difficult mental image: how much space is occupied by 6.7 billion souls?

    I know what an acre looks like, having lived on properties about that size. I know what the United States looks like, having wandered here & there across its surface.

    Let’s assume everybody on earth was given 1 acre to live on and subsistence farm. The U.S. has 3.79 million square miles. That’s 2,425,600,000 square acres. 2.4 billion square acres into 6.7 billion people equals about 3 solidly-populated United States.

    That’s a lot of people!

  4. I agree with Ace: I’ll never say a “good, healthy die off” is what we need, but it is what we’ll get if we don;t manage the problem ourselves.

    As for those claims of racism, some are valid. But it’s also interesting that the race most often accused of racism has the lowest birth rate. My wife and I have no children (and are now too old to have any). Many of my friends have no children (ditto). You won’t find that in less developed countries– not because of any race-based reason, but because economic security traditionally demanded lots of kids, and without education to the contrary (and rights for women) that doesn’t change.

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