Steve is a left-leaning commenter who posted a video with a deceptive title that nevertheless has some interesting things to say about overpopulation – namely, the global birth rate is at replacement, all nations are trending downwards, and many 3rd World countries are trending towards replacement level also. Global population, instead of growing exponentially, will instead hit 11 million around the year 2100 and will level off after that.
However, I disagree with the scientist who made this video that world overpopulation is therefore no big deal. This is simply a Pollyanna view of things.
This is in HD and the real title is ‘don’t panic- the truth about population’.
There are two sources of some very crazy views about overpopulation, one from the Right and one from the Left. A third view held by elites and even US liberals, is not much nuts as it is just wrong. The fourth view, which is portrayed in the Steve kindly linked to, is the most rational anti-overpopulation view of all. While certainly positive and hopeful, this view founders on the shoals of blind optimism.
. Hard rightwing economic liberals or Libertarians who believe that in order for capitalism to succeed, you need a population that grows forever. These nuts, one of whom is named Simon (some Jew, figures), offer the Netherlands as an example. As if the whole world could be as overpopulated as the Netherlands and still function!
The other nutcases are on the Left. These loons hate all talk of overpopulation because it shuns aside the causes of poverty, instead blaming poverty on poor people “having too many kids!” This is true to some extent, but it glosses over the fact that overpopulation is indeed a horrific problem in the Third World for many reasons, not least of which is the destruction of ecosystems, species and whatnot.
And many 3rd World countries are not the slightest bit overpopulated. For instance, Bolivia is not the slightest bit overpopulated. If anything, they are underpopulated. Bolivia is one of the most underpopulated places on Earth. Why are they so poor? Because income is distributed so poorly.
Others have high incomes but distribute wealth very poorly. For instance, Mexico, with a PCI of $15,000/yr, is a relatively wealthy country. Many nations with PCI’s like that are nice, modern and pleasant places to live. Not 3rd World at all. In fact, $15,000/yr is approaching 1st World incomes. Yet recently up to 50% of Mexicans lived in poverty, and 28% have no sewage treatment and presumably have no access to safe water either.
Mexico City’s slums are horrifying. There is so much shitting outside going on that there are tiny bits of toilet paper and shit floating around in the air of Mexico Shitty all the time. I call this phenomenon “shit air,” and I assume Mexico Shitty is not the only place where even the very air you breathe is literally full of shit.
The argument here is, “Mexico has too many people!” Actually they do not. California is more crowded than Mexico. Anyway, at $15,000 PCI there should be plenty to go around.
There is a third false view about the overpopulation problem. This view is not so much crazy as it is simply self-serving and false. One group (often Democratic Party liberals and liberal or elite types in other nations) likes to put all the blame for 3rd World poverty on poor people having too many babies. If you mention that Bolivia is actually underpopulated, you get a wild argument that, “They have too many kids!” Yet with such an underpopulated country, even a fairly high birthrate should not be a major problem. They do not wish to discuss distribution problems because presumably they don’t really support redistribution of income.
The other group (the Leftists) says that overpopulation is not a problem and anyway, saying 3rd Worlders have too many babies is racist. They also say that focusing on overpopulation takes away focus on income maldistribution, which is true.
The third group is simply insane. High birth rates? No problem, good for growth. Overpopulated countries? Cool, the better to grow your economy with, my dear. The whole world can easily be as overpopulated as the Netherlands with no issues whatsoever. This argument is so insane that there is no use refuting it.
These arguments are a bit circular. Poor people tend to have lots of kids. Telling them to stop making kids doesn’t really work. They rely on kids for labor and social security when they get old because the state has no elderly pension program. Until you distribute income better, you will never get low population growth. And as you stabilize incomes the way the loony Leftists want, the population naturally stabilizes anyway as women who have stable lives prefer not to have lots of children.
Really all four of these groups are just wrong.
- The whole world cannot live like the Netherlands. Explosive birth and growth rates are hardly good for growth. Look at Latin America, the Philippines, India and sub-Saharan Africa. Babies popping out all over the place. See any growth there? Of course not. Exploding population growth seems to coincide with mass poverty.
- Overpopulation is indeed a problem in many ways. If you are a blind Leftist and can’t see that, there’s no hope for you. You are simply an irrational ideologue.
- Maldistribution is indeed a problem and it needs to be fixed, whether you liberals like it or not. Income inequality is a terrible thing, and it causes a whole witches brew of problems in and of itself.
- It is very positive and hopeful that the world’s birth rate is at replacement level, the birth rate is trending down in most nations, and even 3rd World countries are now at or near replacement birth rates. Nevertheless, this rose colored glasses view glosses over the problem that 7.2 billion people is already far too many for our carrying capacity and is causing many problems in the world in and of itself to both human and nonhuman life and environments. If 7.2 billion is already disastrous, one can imagine how much worse 11 billion is going to be. This false view seems to be that “a positive trend equals a positive result.” That is very tempting thinking, but the more you think about it, the more you realize its fallacious nature.