02 November 2011

The Simple Math of 7 Billion

3 comments:

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

The basic answer is not that we are breeding like rabbits, but that we are no longer dieing like flies.

J Melcher said...

http://www.agoracosmopolitan.com/home/Frontpage/2007/01/08/01291.html

Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 rose by a record amount over the past year. It is the third successive year in which they have increased sharply. Scientists are at a loss to explain why the rapid rise has taken place, but fear the trend could be the first sign of runaway global warming.

Runaway Global Warming promises to literally burn-up agricultural areas into dust worldwide by 2012, causing global famine, anarchy, diseases, and war on a global scale as military powers including the U.S., Russia, and China, fight for control of the Earth's remaining resources.

Over 4.5 billion people could die from Global Warming related causes by 2012, as planet Earth accelarates into a greed-driven horrific catastrophe.

w.w. wygart said...

Have you noticed that the projections of maximum human population gets revised down by about a billion every couple of years?

Even then the projections we get can vary enormously, for instance the UN 2004 High Range Projection has the earth undergoing gravitational collapse under the weight of 14 billion human bodied by 2100, the Mid Range Projection has population peaking at around 9billion around 2080 and beginning a gradual decline thereafter, and the Low Range Projection peaking at a little over 7.5billion in 2040 leading to a precipitous drop there after. How do you choose what to believe? - the process does not seem to be a very rational one.

What I will point out first is that the "mean green" [to borrow a term from Ken Wilber] weenies, is that whenever they get on the subject of population growth they always completely ignore the subject of the accelerating decline world wide of fertility rates and its causes, and always leaves the trend running a steep upwards slope at the maximum projection - and they always end on a note of panic and fear.

What is particularly of interest to me is that the set of assumptions about what fertility rates will be world wide, birth and death rates & etc. are a constantly moving set of targets which, at least in the case of fertility rates are undergoing rapid societal evolution, as well as the prospect of other unpredictable evolutionary changes, the 'black swan' events [positive and negative] that await us in our ever compressing future, may make all of these predictions completely obsolete anyway.

I just finished reading David P. Goldman's [the online columnist 'Spengler' over at Asia Times Online], "How Civilizations Die, (and why islam is dying too)", a must read for people interested in the geo and socio-political implications of demographic trends. You can subtract out the entire Islam aspect and you still come up with a fascinating thesis - which I will let you read to discover.

However the take away I will leave you with is the radical decline in fertility rates in the Western world in the last three centuries and the currently collapsing fertility rate in the muslim and much of the developing world requires a radical rethink of the neo-Malthusian paranoia we have been force fed since the Ehrlichs and their ilk came onto the scene.

What I find particularly ironic is the zero population growth crowd is also the ideological group most likely to find itself in the Shakerite dilemma, facing near term extinction due to an ideological unwillingness to propagate itself through any means other than ideological conversion [or coercion]. It's too bad, in other respects they are often such nice people.

As my buddy φ said recently:
"Have children. You vote for your vision of the future with your children - and the number of times you vote counts."

Regards

W^3

PS. for more from Spengler you can visit http://www.atimes.com/atimes/others/spengler.html

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