Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Uncertain Future of Global Population Numbers

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the let's-see-one-two-three-four-five-six-a-kabillion-and-one dept.

Earth 279

An anonymous reader writes "The question of global population is a pretty crucial one; how many people will there be in ten years? In forty? The New York Times notes research done by a group called the Worldwatch Institute, research that concludes world population figures are too fluid to make any sort of educated guesses. Childbearing populations combined with severe resource shortages in some parts of the world make pinning down a global headcount unfeasible for ten years from now, let alone out to 2050. The article continues beyond its original borders, as well, with commenters in the field of population studies noting we don't even have a good grasp on how many people were alive in 2007."

cancel ×

279 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

after years (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22763724)

FINALLY

FP

Easy question, easy answer (5, Insightful)

ViX44 (893232) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763726)

2007: Too many.
Future: Way too many.

Re:Easy question, easy answer (5, Insightful)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763730)

Far future: none.

You forgot the last one, which shows we should take more notice of the preceding figures.

Re:Easy question, easy answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22763742)

The best way is to educate these Asian/African 3rd world countries with birth control. Their population is spiraling out of control and some countries average 5, 6, or even 7 births per woman!

Re:Easy question, easy answer (0, Flamebait)

utopianfiat (774016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764912)

It doesn't matter if you educate them. They avoid birth control because the catholic church has moved in in the name of God and told them they'll burn in hell if they use condoms.
Basically, the catholic church is responsible for the persistence of AIDS.

Re:Easy question, easy answer (4, Informative)

leenks (906881) | more than 6 years ago | (#22765128)

It is worse than that. The Catholic church in Africa has told people that condoms do not help in stopping AIDS as the rubber allows the HIV virus to pass through (http://media.www.westerncourier.com/media/storage/paper650/news/2003/10/29/Opinion/Catholic.Church.Claims.Condoms.Dont.Protect.Against.Aids.Virus-542117.shtml) because it is so small, and that many condoms from Europe are laced with the virus to kill off Africans (eg http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20999747/ [msn.com] )

Re:Easy question, easy answer (3, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763936)

if you really think there are too many people in the world, then why not shoot yourself right now and stop contributing to the problem?

Re:Easy question, easy answer (5, Funny)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764090)

if you really think there are too many people in the world, then why not shoot yourself right now and stop contributing to the problem?
That would only get rid of one person. It would be far more effective to shoot many other people.

Re:Easy question, easy answer (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764104)

if you really think there are too many people in the world, then why not shoot yourself right now and stop contributing to the problem?
That would only get rid of one person. It would be far more effective to shoot many other people.

Getting shot in the process would make it a killer.

Re:Easy question, easy answer (4, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764364)

They are working on that issue in many US schools and post offices and apparently the terrorists are willing to help out as well.

So the real terrorists are the people preventing all this.

Re:Easy question, easy answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764126)

It would be easier for me to shoot you, the person standing to you and the next .......

Not the best thinking in the world is it?

Re:Easy question, easy answer (3, Insightful)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22765068)

Future: Way too many.


People have been saying that since Malthus and predicting a massive population collapse. The funny thing is, civilization keeps finding ways to accommodate larger numbers.
 
You should also note that most industrialized countries are pretty close to zero-population growth without immigration -- Europe is a little below ZPG, America a little above. You want to stabilize the population, focus on industrializing the Third World.

Second (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22763728)

Post

Almost 7 Billion People... (5, Interesting)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763734)

... and all still on the same rock.

We need to get out more.

Re:Almost 7 Billion People... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764080)

It's not clear if sending one person to another world will ever cost less resources than what's needed to sustain that person on Earth for a lifetime.

Re:Almost 7 Billion People... (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764110)

It's not clear if sending one person to another world will ever cost less resources than what's needed to sustain that person on Earth for a lifetime.

Sending two persons to another world at once would cost less than sending them separately.
It is a matter of building a big enough ship. And of not only removing those persons from Earth, but all their future population as well.

Re:Almost 7 Billion People... (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764136)

It is a matter of building a big enough ship

One of the major themes of Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy (namely the volume Blue Mars [amazon.com] ) is that immigration into outer space cannot solve Earth's population problems. You could never move enough people off at once to counter the people being born at that same instant.

Re:Almost 7 Billion People... (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22765144)

You could never move enough people off at once to counter the people being born at that same instant.

Sure you can. It is just a question of dedication. If the ancient greeks could found colonies to solve their population problems and create trading partners at the same time, then we can do it.

The major difference between then and now is resources devoted to the task. I mean if everyone on the planet was in some way contributing to the space effort, I'm pretty sure we could shift some of our population.

Admittedly it would an on going process and we couldn't limit ourselves to sol colonies. We'd have to think bigger and develop generational spacecrafts to send to other solar systems. Send a few men with a ton of women and include a genetics bank to draw on once the colony is established. Sending more women would solve issues on earth and space.

Or better yet, develop artificial wombs and send unmaned spacecraft with only genetic samples. The ones providing the dna can then be sterilized on earth knowing that they have contributed.

The chief obstacle is our own genetic heritage. There are many traits that have been useful over the eons, but will be a problem in the future. One example I can give that is current is garbage. In the past we could make a mess and walk away. Now we have to do something with it. Lucy [wikipedia.org] didn't have those issues and no other primate other than man has this issue.

There are others...criminal activity probably gave us an advantage in the past, but if we want everyone to survive we are going to have to work towards the common good...

   

Self limiting to a certain extent? (4, Insightful)

slap20 (168152) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763736)

As populations grow out of control, lack of food and resources in some parts of the world will limit population growth, and as diseases and virus' change, our antibiotics are becoming less effective. I think the issue with population levels, and the rapid rate of growth that we are seeing, is far more worrysome than global warming. At least in my opinion. I think we are starting to approach a critical mass point, where we are going to have to start doing something, start making large changes soon. Whether it be global warming, over-population, or some other issue, each is only one of many "Holy crap what are we going to do?" problems. I would love to see the release of Duke Nukem Forever, but will we really be around to see it? :-)

-Eric-

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (2, Insightful)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763816)

I think the issue with population levels, and the rapid rate of growth that we are seeing, is far more worrysome than global warming.

Then I must notify you that you are thinking an unacceptable thought. With all the fluidity and complexity and variables in population change, it's okay to admit we can't predict, but with all the fluidity and complexity and variables in climate change, we can be certain of Global Warming.

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (5, Insightful)

countvlad (666933) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764060)

I'm sure the population numbers are "fluid" but I think sure we can safely say it's monotonically increasing (albeit not in a strictly mathematical sense).

No, the GP is right on this one. I'm far more concerned with overpopulation, because it's a driving force for the causes of global warming. As grossly overpopulated areas industrialize - and grow - so to will CO2, CFC, et al, emissions. And that's aside from the other obvious impacts on the environment overpopulation has, including the need for vast amounts of natural resources, which has and will lead to the destruction of the largest forests on this planet.

Growing populations are clearly more of a detriment to the environment than global warming, which is still arguably "part of nature". By your own admission, there are many variables in climate change, and given our inability to determine even the most basic weather phenomenon or reach consensus on global warming, the *certain* effects the overpopulation are far greater AND more likely.

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764424)

You should read the global baby bust [foreignaffairs.org] . Under-population threatens to be a serious problem to developed economies in future - this is partly why immigration is allowed in such large numbers. I'm not saying it'll happen for sure, but I can well believe that in 30 years we'll look back on worries about over-population the same way we look at 70s worries about global cooling today.

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (3, Insightful)

sudo (194998) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764558)

From that article ... "But having averted the danger of overpopulation, the world now faces the opposite problem: an aging and declining population." (Written by another corporate sponsored lapdog working for the "New American" think-tank)

In the article, it was estimated that the U.S. was going to reach a peak of 1.1Billion ... where a city the size of New York is built every 10 months.

Yeah, sounds like an underpopulation problem to me. The article had very rose colored glasses on and completely ignored major factors, like overcrowding and deterioration of available physical resources.

Overpopulation is not just a problem in the future, it's a problem now, dammit.

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (1)

hawkfish (8978) | more than 6 years ago | (#22765096)

Under-population threatens to be a serious problem to developed economies in future - this is partly why immigration is allowed in such large numbers.
Assuming we ever get there. Have a look at Jared Diamond's Collapse [newyorker.com] . I agree that it could be an issue if we do get there, but it is not clear to me that we will.

I'm not saying it'll happen for sure, but I can well believe that in 30 years we'll look back on worries about over-population the same way we look at 70s worries about global cooling today.
Plese stop repeating this meme - it is simply not true [realclimate.org] .

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (2, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763820)

Maybe I'm too hopeful of humanity, but if there's more people born and surviving in general, wouldn't that mean that those more people will be able to somehow INCREASE the world capacity of human life on earth in some way? Or better yet, maybe those people will help us in some other way, like inventing neat things for us, useful or just fun in general. For example, cheap space travel or terraforming. I say we should do nothing about the population problem except increase the capacity in all ways possible.

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22763924)

Yes, but just because c(p) is an increasing function of p, it doesn't imply that c(p) >= p for all values of p.

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764290)

nor are we guaranteed c(p) = c(p)

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (2, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763892)

What I'm worried about is a perfect storm for a disease to hit. First, people are moving into more densely packed areas where human contact with many others is a must for most of the day. Second, with the wide ranging of travel, a bug which started in Arizona can make it to Berlin in a matter of hours and start infecting people. Lastly, even existing bacteria and viruses seem to be giving us trouble, as they mutate into strains resistant to known antibiotics.

Its theorized that diseases that hit a high population tend to mutate into more lethal forms because it helps them spread more easily.

I just hope that modern science could defuse a pandemic before it turned into the next black plague.

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (1)

MindPhlux (304416) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763896)

what the heck is a 'perfect storm'

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (1)

WaltBusterkeys (1156557) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764012)

The expression "perfect storm" was popularized by the 2000 movie [imdb.com] of the same title.

The idea is that two or more bad things that are both rare individually happen at the same time, so that any response system is overwhelmed. In the movie, it was a typical Nor'easter (a big winter storm off the coast of Massachusetts) that was given additional fuel by the remnants of a hurricane moving in from the south. A fishing boat is big enough to handle either one of those, but not both.

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (2, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763958)

most reputable models point to a leveling out of the worlds population at 10 billion. personally seeing as we are at 6.6billion now i think we will pass that point by another 5.

The reason we will peak is because if it wasn't for immigration developed countries would have had a negative growth rate, that coupled with the AIDS virus and effective birth control. poor countries will develop and large families will not be needed anymore. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1108-global-population-to-peak-in-2070.html [newscientist.com]

no doubt there will be alarmists that claim there is already too many people in the world, but that's their bullshit code for "we are more important than everyone else"

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (2, Interesting)

Spitfire75 (800119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764998)

"If all living things strive to satisfy their innate urges, none ever forgets to go forth and multiply. They can't: wild creatures are programmed to breed for nothing, certainly not for old-age care. Homo sapiens, exceptional by its brain, broke this rule. Though sex remains one of the most powerful human instincts, intelligence, or the contraceptives it invents, allows people the fun without the function. Evolution has made us the thinking beings who know how to trade blind multiplication for the good life. This unique intelligence could also, however, make us the only species to vanish on its own, smoothly, without any ecological disruption typical of all previous extinctions. This most-evolved animal constitutes, in many ways, evolution's end of the road. The moment a wave hits its shore, it swiftly disappears."

From this. Long, but very worth the read if you find this stuff as interesting as I do.
http://endofspecies.com/?page_id=10 [endofspecies.com]

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (0, Offtopic)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22765012)

As populations grow out of control, lack of food and resources in some parts of the world will limit population growth, and as diseases and virus' change, our antibiotics are becoming less effective
Yup. Eventually the problem will take care of itself in the form of plagues, mass famines and so on. Having been fortunate enough to be born into one of the more affluent parts of the world, most of this will probably not affect me directly, but I'd still rather we avoided it globally. Arthur C. Clarke probably had it right with his prediction of the burning of the Vatican in 2015 - without the Catholic church opposing birth control the situation in a lot of parts of the developing world would be a lot better.

Re:Self limiting to a certain extent? (1)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22765092)

As populations grow out of control, lack of food and resources in some parts of the world will limit population growth, and as diseases and virus' change, our antibiotics are becoming less effective
Thank you, Malthus, but in the 210 years since you first made that prediction, it hasn't come true.

And your evidence is...? (3, Interesting)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763738)

Optimists cite plunging fertility rates in some countries as evidence that Earth's human passenger list will not reach 9 billion. Pessimists see a chance of zooming well past that mark, and they add that with all the signs of strained resources (what's the price of oil today?), this trajectory will lead to some hard knocks. Some say we've already shot over the edge of the cliff and, like Wile E. Coyote in the old cartoons, simply haven't noticed.

Looks to me like the optimists actually have some evidence behind them. The more crowded the world gets, the more expensive it will be to have many children, and the fewer people will have.

-Grey [silverclipboard.com]

Re:And your evidence is...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22763780)

Looks to me like the optimists actually have some evidence behind them.

like what? well other than it just feels like 7B is a lot of people.

Re:And your evidence is...? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22763802)

Population is tied in with technological advancements which allow for the natural equilibrium to be artificially shifted. Overpopulation leads to conflict which leads to technological advancement and population reduction. The technological advancement resulting from the conflict enables future generations to strain the earth's capacity to unprecedented levels.

Re:And your evidence is...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22763860)

Why is this modded -1? It's an insightful analysis of human population growth. Does ANYONE think the earth could sustain 7 billion people on 1800's farming technology? War is without a doubt the biggest driver of technological advancement. Nothing has started more wars than empty stomaches.

Guns don't kill people, Banks do (-1, Flamebait)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763960)

Empty stomaches haven't started wars for years. It's done by the International Banks.

Re:Guns don't kill people, Banks do (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22765130)

I think you're both wrong.

Strife and even war has historically been caused by men wanting more, the kind of more (gold, fur, shiny stuff, bigger SUV) that woman expect him to deliver.

So behind every war there is an greedy woman...
:/

MODS (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764744)

As the other reply said the parent is not flamebait, a healthy population (and indeed the whole biosphere) is in dynamic equilibrium. Whack the dynamics too hard and it MUST find a new equilibrium, or cease to exist.

Re:And your evidence is...? (3, Insightful)

HeLLFiRe1151 (743468) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763868)

Population has always been tied to economic and survival factors. When you see famine in Africa, you think why do they have more kids? They think they need more kids so that one or two might survive. It's exactly the same for most animals.

Re:And your evidence is...? (5, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764210)

Yes we are all organic, the input of energy from oil and coal over the last 100/200 yrs has been reflected in a food and population explosion (germ theory was an added bonus). However, the byproducts from that energy boost have screwed up the environment to such an extent it will show up in the fossil record as 'the sixth great extinction' (along with a global layer of plastic dust). Vast tract of ocean are no longer productive, changes in storm tracks are screwing with harvests, even Santa's castle is melting.

Econimists are now saying we must account for waste as a cost (insurance underwriters were saying it first), we need them (among others) to find a 'soft landing' for when oil declines and coal becomes expensive (due to sane emmision controls). However when I look at the politics and past civilization that have succum to rapid environmental change, I think it's more than likely that we will see a global population crash this century. Of course we will call the crash a war and blame the whole thing (including the initial shortage of resources), on the loser's nastyness.

Re:And your evidence is...? (4, Informative)

hawkfish (8978) | more than 6 years ago | (#22765122)

Of course we will call the crash a war and blame the whole thing (including the initial shortage of resources), on the loser's nastyness.
One of the most interesting (and chilling) sections of Jared Diamond's Collapse [newyorker.com] was the studies of the Rwandan genocide that documented how the same level of "genocide" occurred in tribally homogeneous areas. One particular area had a single Tutsui, but the death ratio was comparable to the rest of the country. To a large extent, the patterns of murder in this area appeared connected with land disputes caused by overpopulation.

Re:And your evidence is...? (3, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763974)

I can't even tell if I'm an optimist or a pessimist by this standard, since it seems clear that both cases are true. I don't know why it is pessimistic to believe population will grow to 9 billion, I'd think that was the "good news" scenario, where mortality declines and resources are used more effectively, the way both trends have gone for the past several hundred years.

Sure, when a society gets to a certain economic and technological stage, your birth rate declines (and in some first world countries is already below the replacement rate). So as the rest of the world catches up to our standard of living, we'll eventually reach some sort of rough global population plateau, but I seriously doubt we're going to hit that limit in a matter of decades. Africa could easily hold another one or two billion people with no new technology, just economic maturity.

Yeah, peak oil and whatever other resource issues crop up will be a pain in the butt to deal with, but eventually they will be dealt with and the population will keep growing. Even the looming global disaster of fresh water is just a single technology breakthrough away from being an interesting historical footnote.

Re:And your evidence is...? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764278)

I'm more on the pessimistic side as to how things will sort themselves out but I agree, the only way to save a faltering industrial revoution from imploding is to apply more science.

Re:And your evidence is...? (3, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764754)

Yeah, peak oil and whatever other resource issues crop up will be a pain in the butt to deal with, but eventually they will be dealt with and the population will keep growing. Even the looming global disaster of fresh water is just a single technology breakthrough away from being an interesting historical footnote.

For the life of me I can't remember or find the source, but a particular person in the field of sociology had figured out if the current rate of population (which is still exponential) there would be more humans than atoms in 17,000 years which he concluded something has to give at one point between now and then.

The fact of the matter is that someday humans will have to stop having kids in order to make life comfortable for the living. In fact its arguable that mass death is often followed by times of economic prosperity such as the emergence of the middle class and renaissance after the black death of the middle ages. Now I'm not arguing for humans should die off but rather they should focus on accepting birth control as a societal norm until the individual is ready to actually have a child.

Re:And your evidence is...? (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764350)

Thats bull, really.

The pesimists use the same data than the optimists, with different interpredation:
Richer people have less kids.

Just the optimists think everybody will get rich in the future, while the pesimists think that the dropping in resource availability will cause countries to tumble down to a pre-developed state at some time (including those nice 7.x children per woman rates we can still see in some african countries).

Nope (3, Informative)

SpeelingChekka (314128) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764940)

The more crowded the world gets, the more expensive it will be to have many children, and the fewer people will have

If that were the case, then wealthier people would be having more children and poorer people would be having fewer. In fact it is the EXACT opposite; the people who can afford the least children, have the most, and vice versa. There are many reasons/factors that come into play, e.g. cultural (it's become "socially unacceptable", for example, amongst the "educated class" to have lots of children - you are considered low class now if you have lots of kids, this was not true even just a few generations ago in our own culture, e.g. my gran was one of over a dozen kids and that was 'normal' then; conversely in many African cultures here, for example, having many children IS regarded as 'wealth'). Another factor I believe is a kind of instinct present in many animals too whereby when times are tough and infant survival rates thus lower, more offspring are produced to increase chances of survival.

The biggest drop in fertility rates amongst the world's wealthy educated minority did not actually coincide with education though, it coincided with the development and widespread availability of 'The Pill' in the late 60s / early 70s. Most of the world's poor either can't afford good contraception or aren't terribly interested in it.

For various reasons the poor are still able to survive in big numbers - their basic needs, like food, are mostly taken care of. In some cases this is thanks to welfare and AID, in others thanks to industrial agriculture allowing the earth to produce a lot of food at low cost. Also things like basic medicines/vaccines are comparatively widely available now globally. So average infant survival rates are MUCH higher than they were even fifty years ago. People just aren't dying much, even in poor countries, so producing children IS very cheap UNLESS you actually want to house and educate them properly, but most do not do this.

Re:Nope (3, Informative)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22765038)

I believe research has shown that the single biggest factor in fertility levels is the educational level of women. In general the areas with the highest population growth are the areas where women are the least educated.

Ah, well, this one's easy. (0)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763806)

Only Cowboy Neil's alive. He's imagining the rest of us.

One way to be sure.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22763808)

Nuke from orbit.

Don't know about 2050, but in 2063.. (3, Funny)

scsirob (246572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763870)

In 2063 there will be 30 billion.. All Borg. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_First_Contact [wikipedia.org]

Re:Don't know about 2050, but in 2063.. (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764914)

More precisely there will be 15 billion Republiborgs and 15 billion Demoborgs.
You may think voting is futile, but you wouldn't want the wrong borg to get in would you?

Carrying capacity overshoot (4, Interesting)

rseuhs (322520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763914)

What few people realize, is that the earth can support more people than what is commonly called the "carrying capacity" - temporarily.

Of course when you look at some examples:

Easter islands, where the polynesians peaked at about 10000 inhabitants before falling to about 2000 because they chopped down all trees. (no more boats -> no more fishing, no more houses -> starvation, disease)

Haiti, where the population has stripped their half of the island almost literally bare (almost the complete population survives on food-aid, now you can imagine what happens when the food-aid stops.)

China, where groundwater continues to fall and many areas are already dry.

Great Britain, which is extremely densely populated, has to import about half of it's food and is stupid enough to let half a million immigrants in every year.

It becomes clear that the world just can't go on like that forever. It probably can't even go on like that for more than a couple of years. The green revolution has been made possible by oil and gas and both are getting much more expensive each and every year now.

And no, it's not a "global problem" like the one-worlders want us to believe. Some countries will be able to manage well (like Iceland which with almost zero immigration and geothermal energy plants is well prepared), some will be average (like France which can keep the lights up with nuclear power, but has a huge 3rd-world immigration problem on the other hand or Japan which is overpopulated but may solve that problem with low birthrates and not mass-famine), some will turn into hell-holes (like England which has an even bigger trade deficit than the USA per capita and cannot feed it's population even now while oil and gas is still cheap and there is still some coming from the North Sea oilfields. On top of that immigration has transformed a once cohesive population into a society that with a huge potential for civil strife or even civil war, London is already one of the most crime-ridden cities in the world.) or continue to be hell-holes (like most of the 3rd world)

I would be very surprised if there will be more than 3 billion people living in 2050.

Of course the human species will carry on, future historians will probably think of the 20th century as some crazy period full of socialist (in the late 20th/early 21st-century USA usually called "liberal") experiments.

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763932)

Well at least now we know.

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (1, Offtopic)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763978)

all of these problems would have occurred 2 decades ago if they were a real problem. we aren't running out of oil anytime soon inspsite of what the rabid global warming nutters want you to think. most of the price rises are due to artificial restrictions on supply.

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (3, Informative)

rseuhs (322520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764058)

all of these problems would have occurred 2 decades ago if they were a real problem.

Maybe the Polynesian who chopped down the last tree on easter island had exactly the same thoughts? Who knows?

First of all, many of these problems DID already occur, the easter island die-off occoured before the island was descouvered by Europeans, probably somewhen around 1500 AD.

Second, many problems occured (like Haiti's complete lack of forest despite being a tropical half-island) but are merely covered up. (The do-gooders are sending food aid to Haiti to make sure the population continues to breed like crazy)

Third, problems occur when they occur. To say they never occur because they didn't occur 2 decades ago is just plain nonsense.

we aren't running out of oil anytime soon

True, but the oil will be harder to get, more expensive to extract and there will be less of it.

inspsite of what the rabid global warming nutters want you to think.

Global warming has nothing to do with the end of cheap oil.

most of the price rises are due to artificial restrictions on supply.

It's true that the oil industry has shown a general lack of interest in building new refineries in the last years. (and that was a problem during Katrina because refinery capacity was not enough)

However the reason for that is that the oil industry knows very well that oil and gas will peak (or already has peaked) and it doesn't make any sense to build a refinery which needs 10 years to pay itself when there won't be any fuel for it after 5 years. (Not because we are "running out of oil" but because the old, refineries can manage the slowly declining supply)

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (0, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764206)

As far as i was aware no one really knows why easter island was abandoned? so it's not a great analogy to use.

"Third, problems occur when they occur. To say they never occur because they didn't occur 2 decades ago is just plain nonsense."

no it's nonsense to claim something which has been the status quo for decades (england importing most of it's food) is suddenly going to become a major problem for no reason.

"Global warming has nothing to do with the end of cheap oil"

HA! not if the cult and it's carbon credits insanity is implemented. The idea that oil is going to dry up in 5 years is just nonsense. I hear crap like this all the time (i work in the resources industry) and i just shake my head and laugh.

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (4, Informative)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764814)

The idea that oil is going to dry up in 5 years is just nonsense. I hear crap like this all the time (i work in the resources industry) and i just shake my head and laugh.
However, the idea that oil is going to sharply decline in net production (because of the "easy" oil being tapped out), while becoming quite a bit more expensive as a consequence, is not nonsense.
      I have done research (serious, major oil-company-funded research, so you know where the money lies) on some new ways to find, extract, and process oil. The oil companies are VERY interested, mainly because the future looks pretty bleak. The very fact that Shell is considering as "promising" their MASSIVE in-ground processing, sandwiched between two groundwater reservoirs in the lamosite Green River formation in Colorado and Utah should tell you something about desperation.

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764040)

Here is the link to the most definitive Youtube-Video on the topic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY [youtube.com]

Best Regards,

Juergen

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (5, Insightful)

seyyah (986027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764062)

... let half a million immigrants in every year ...

... a huge 3rd-world immigration problem ...

... immigration has transformed a once cohesive population ...

... Iceland with almost zero immigration ... is well prepared ...


So, Mr. Huntington, what do you think is the world's greatest problem today?

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (1, Insightful)

YU5333021 (1093141) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764174)

Eliot Spitzer? Is that you?

The topic at hand here is GLOBAL population, not the British immigration policy. I can't figure out if if you are a British or an American troll, you seem to fit both categories well. Let's assume you could be either...

Are the midwestern youngsters moving to NYC seeking career opportunities otherwise unavailable in their hometowns part of your evil immigration problem, or is it only the Mexicans? Or is it the Canadians moving to London vs. all the Polish people who moved there in the last few years?

...I really wanted to write counterpoints to everything you said, but it's a total waste of breath.

You threw in a "liberal" or socialist or whatever cheap-shot crap at the end of your post, and since the discussion at hand is about uncertainty of future population estimates, I have one question for you: what is the "liberal" stand on abortion?

To be more crass, go fuck yourself because no-one else will, (thus not contributing to the solution of overpopulation cause).

Also fuck everyone who moded the parent insightful. It's hate speech at best...

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (3, Insightful)

chrispalasz (974485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764356)

I would be very surprised if there will be more than 3 billion people living in 2050.

That's quite an exaggeration. I would be surprised if there will be less than 8 billion. After doing extensive world traveling in 2007, I think non-travelers forget exactly how absolutely huge the earth is. Of course there will be some individual nations (like China, to name just one) that start to give us a window into what happens to an overpopulated land area, but I don't believe it will become a global problem before it's too late.

And it doesn't matter what kind of government you have. China is having ground water problems. They're currently working on a huge river project to redirect one of their major rivers to go north. They're cutting through mountains to make it happen. http://www.icivilengineer.com/Big_Project_Watch/China_River_Diversion/ [icivilengineer.com]

In a socialist government, they can say, "hmmm, this is a problem. Everyone stop what you're doing and fix it." Much like what Brazil did to restructure their use of fuel. Now they're using E10, and now they're oil independent.

In a capitalist government, can't predict when it would happen... but SOME day people will say, "WAIT A SECOND! People don't LIKE the effects of overpopulation! If we think of a way to solve that... I bet we could make some money!"

In any case, predictions that there will be a global problem anywhere near 2050 are entirely premature; and people that don't think mankind will find a way to survive (if survival is threatened) are naive.

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (5, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764410)

What few people realize, is that the earth can support more people than what is commonly called the "carrying capacity" - temporarily.

You state that as fact, but as far as I know the concept of "carrying capacity" is not defined or even studied. Whilst it makes intuitive sense that there must be some limit, it also makes sense that this limit would itself be fluid - changing with the march of technology and changes in living standards. I've never seen anybody calculate a carrying capacity for 21st century Earth, especially not scientifically. People who use the term invariably assume it must be lower than our current population - how much lower is usually pulled out of thin air.

It becomes clear that the world just can't go on like that forever. It probably can't even go on like that for more than a couple of years. The green revolution has been made possible by oil and gas and both are getting much more expensive each and every year now.

Your list of societies is disingenous - you list a primitive, fully collapsed society like Easter Island right alongside Great Britain, which last time I lived there imported half its food because you can't grow strawberries there year round, not because it was about to collapse. Britain could feed itself tomorrow simply by converting some of its farming capacity from meat production to cereal production.

Also, the green revolution was triggered mostly by the development of nitrogen fertilisers, weed killers and crop varieties that could handle being treated with them. Although we use hydrogen from natural gas to make nitrogen fertilisers today, you can produce it using electrolysis without problem. And whilst it's true that today farm machinery is mostly gasoline powered, that's something independent of the green revolution. If you haven't already read it, I suggest checking out Stanifords Food to 2050 [theoildrum.com] for a data-based analysis of whether the green revolution can be sustained.

And no, it's not a "global problem" like the one-worlders want us to believe. Some countries will be able to manage well (like Iceland which with almost zero immigration and geothermal energy plants is well prepared)

Only a small proportion of Icelands power comes from geothermal. Most of it is hydro. Iceland has much bigger problems than electricity anyway - there's basically nothing there, and whilst it has energy in abundance the economy is mostly based on industrial fishing. Once the fish stocks are exhausted, there'll be little left to sustain it.

I would be very surprised if there will be more than 3 billion people living in 2050.

Ah ha, I knew it. As soon as I read the term "carrying capacity" I was waiting for the ass-pulled number. Why 3 billion? Why not 2, or 4? Or 100 million? I don't see any particular constraints on slow population growth - it's been boringly linear for most of the 20th century in most developed countries, and in large parts of Europe is going to head sharply downwards soon due to natural demographic trends anyway. Whilst places like Africa or Chian might get miserable, Africa is already miserable and there's no obvious reason why in the long term China would see different population trends from other developed countries.

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764984)

You make rather bold assertions without any supporting evidence. I'm not going to do the work for you but;

* 'carrying capacity' is studied as part of economics, social geography, anthropology etc.
* The current GB population cannot be sustained even if everyone could live on grass.
* Immigration is a large driver of population increase, even if the local birth rates fall.
* The UK's birth rates are actually increasing so where's your trend there?
* The largest contributor to Iceland's power is geothermal (about half).

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (1)

Epistax (544591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22765010)

Wow. You pwned him.

I tip my hat to you.

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764460)

"Of course the human species will carry on, future historians will probably think of the 20th century as some crazy period full of socialist (in the late 20th/early 21st-century USA usually called "liberal") experiments."

I think they'll rather see the idiotic idea of basing a society on greed and how primitive all human beings of the era were. I'm sure they'll see simplicity and responsible forward looking cultures as geniuses and capitalists, communists, et al, as all fucking crazy.

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (1)

renoX (11677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764552)

>What few people realize, is that the earth can support more people than what is commonly called the "carrying capacity" - temporarily.

Uh? Why do you claim that few people realize this?
It's quite obvious, except that of course the "carrying capacity" depends a lot on the technology and the way of living of the people..

[cut]
>some will be average (like France which can keep the lights up with nuclear power, but has a huge 3rd-world immigration problem on the other hand

This show quite well your bias: the 'immigration problem' in France is not a huge problem, it is a problem mainly because our society isn't well adaptated for this, not because there is a ressource issue: we have lots of (unused) fields to grow food..

Re:Carrying capacity overshoot (3, Interesting)

arpad1 (458649) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764564)

Yeah, Easter Island, a geographically isolated, stone-age culture with a total population that would give it "small town" status today has a lot to teach us about the dangers that face a globe-spanning economy with resources the Easter Islander's would dismiss as fantasies and technologies they'd scarcely understand.

The rest of the post consists of either misrepresentation of the current situation as in your use of England as an example of the dangers of overpopulation or clear repudiation of the beliefs of Malthusian fear-mongers as in China which is economically in vastly better shape then it was when its population was significantly less then it is now.

It becomes clear that the world just can't go on like that forever.

On the basis of the examples you offer, it's quite clear that the world can go on like this forever since your examples are either a) inapplicable or b) unsupportive of your claim.

In fact, history does provide a guide to the way the future's likely to unfold. When incomes rise to a certain level the population increase grinds to a halt.

All the wealthier nations, once you subtract the population additions made by recent immigrants, have either very low population growth or a shrinking population. Japan's robotic technology expenditures are driven by a combination of their aging (shrinking) population and a refusal to allow immigration. Who's going to take care of Japan's rapidly increasing geezer population? The U.S.'s population increase is driven by immigration.

If you look at the trends in global per capita income the conclusion to be drawn is that the global population increase will start slowing down within twenty years and top out about 2050 with global population decline to follow. I know that's the sort of thought to fill the zero-population racists hearts with glee but they'll have about as much to do with it as a rooster's crowing does with the rising of the sun.

Of course the human species will carry on, future historians will probably think of the 20th century as some crazy period full of socialist (in the late 20th/early 21st-century USA usually called "liberal") experiments.

Not just historians and there's no need to wait till the future. You can offer examples to the contrary but I'm unaware of any "socialist experiment" that can be deemed a success. With utter uniformity socialism's been either a failure or a disastrous failure.

They plan to kill of 80% of us (1, Interesting)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763948)

probably in the next 2-3 years. I'm serious. Look at the Global 2000 plan or read the Georgia Guidestones if you don't believe. Alternative 3? Maybe.. I'm not going to provide the links. You'll have to do some actual research.

If you don't have an Infragard membership or a place secured in [the real] Iron Mountain, you are like me and are fukced.

Why is FEMA building all these prisons that remain empty? When you drive down the street, look at the backs of the signs on the opposite side. Do you see all the stickers? Those are tactical markers. Not in any language since they are designed for UN (Chinese? Russian? blankaznian?) troops to direct them to the local resources. Just start looking.

Still the Sarah Connor Chronicles is entertaining. Don't pay attention to the banks beginning to crumble. The Visa check card is here so why use cash?

Re:They plan to kill of 80% of us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764086)

and you suckers still use tinfoil for your hats. aluminium is the only metal that works!

Re:They plan to kill of 80% of us (1)

Kelz (611260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764190)

It must be nice to know what the future holds. I'm curious how your internet connection is in your concrete/steel bunker 100 meters below the earth.

Re:They plan to kill of 80% of us (1)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764762)

I took your bait and read up on those. Hate to tell you guy, but the level of complicity for either plan to work borders on ludicrus. You would literally need billions of people in on the conspiracy for it to work, and as the end target is 2 billion, well guess what, the math does not add up. Add in that the only way for three people to keep a secret is for two to be dead, well, sorry dude, doesn't work.

But go on believing the paranoia kool-aid. I'd rather deal with real problems rather than ghosts and jumping at shadows.

The "It's 2008" Troll (0, Troll)

HeX314 (570571) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763950)

"we don't even have a good grasp on how many people are alive in 2007." I have an answer: none. It's 2008. There needs to be a (-1; Nitpicky).

666 x 10^7 people after Good Friday March 21 2008 (1)

mashiyach (757252) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764024)

To be more precise about a week after according the governmental POPClock [census.gov]

Anyone knows about the actual accuracy of the clock?
Mashiyach

PS: This is about the time people claim that this world, or at least this run, will end or change (parameter change?) significantly.

Re:666 x 10^7 people after Good Friday March 21 20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764148)

And the importance of it happening about a week after a holiday is...?

666 is a number with significance attached to it. 666x10^7 is a separate number, quite distant from it on a number line, with no special significance to anyone.

Re:666 x 10^7 people after Good Friday March 21 20 (1)

mashiyach (757252) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764326)

Sounds like you have never used a slide rule?

For an engineer, who was originally trained on a slide rule, 666 x 10^7 is as special as 666 x 10^-2 or whatever 666 x 10^n.

However, any measurement also has a certain accuracy, you can almost never measure anything exactly. Regarding people, even if in theory you could count each person when they are being borned or when they die, you would not know for sure how many they were at a precise moment. Regarding the population clock I just wonder how large this uncertainty is.

Re:666 x 10^7 people after Good Friday March 21 20 (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22765042)

If you're going to bring logs into it then any number is 666 x n^m for some value of n and m. Even restricting it integer values of n and m we've passed quite a lot of such points already. Exactly how many is left as an exercise to the reader.

What is certain - change will happen (1)

Memroid (898199) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764048)

As population continues to increase, the hectares of land devoted per person for food production will continue to shrink. This will mean that traditional diets will need to change - meat requires a lot of land to produce, and wastes a lot of energy in its production. People will have to eat lower in the food chain to prevent as much energy loss as possible. Limits to genetic/Green Revolution style crop improvements will be hit. Eventually humanity will reach its carrying capacity (no more resources available to allocate to additional survival) on earth. This actual limit is unknown, but suffice to say that we will probably expand greatly upwards, into towering buildings. There probably won't be much in regards to a 'back yard' existing on soil. Earth could possibly be described as a giant feedlot for humans. Climate changes could cause human migrations which we are not prepared for - even more so with modern infrastructure. Furthermore, continued population growth will lead to reduced agricultural and wildlife biodiversity, further use of pesticides to sustain the population for as long as possible, and numerous water-related issues.

From the Neo-Malthusianism perspective there is a limit to the amount of resources available, and that population can increase faster than food production can increase. From the opposite perspective (Cornucopian), the supply of resources is infinite. We can exploit outer-space, or use as resources things we can't imagine now.

Which viewpoint is humanity's future? You decide.

Re:What is certain - change will happen (1)

rcastro0 (241450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764666)

As population continues to increase, the hectares of land devoted per person for food production will continue to shrink.

Food, or land for growing it, will not be the upper bound for population. Think about the ocean, think about the underground and vegetation growing under lamps. Using the "harder to use" or less hospitable food growing areas will take a lot of work or, more precisely, energy. Energy sources could provide a boundary, but from the atom or from the sun we should have plenty of energy. Infinte? No, of course. But large enough to be roughly equivalent to infinite.

Also, as you indicated, there are different ways to feed a person, Meat being less environmently efficient. But the ultimate efficiency comes from not eating. I mean, it is possible to survive having nutrients directly delivered to the blood. This is even more efficient than a fully veggie diet. Personally I think it abominable. But I am sure once humanity reaches a food limit, if we ever do, then choosing between "feeding without eating" and "dying" will be the fork on the road.

Me, I think the the size of the future population will be much more determined by culture, or the collective state of mind, as when people stop being interested in having kids. Though as a Darwinist I think the ones interested in having kids will tend to outbreed the others (logically) and dominate, so we should not expect population to dwindle because "nobody cares".

Re:What is certain - change will happen (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764778)

his will mean that traditional diets will need to change - meat requires a lot of land to produce, and wastes a lot of energy in its production.

Why not grow meat in vats? Its already being done in experiments and if you don't mind the thought of it, it will generally taste just as good as the real thing.

The problem is that most people never think out of the box on these issues because they see problems as something that can only be solved with today's technology and not realize that in 5 years things will be completely different.

this problem is actually pretty easy to solve. (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764072)

the answer is simple.

Stop brining people back from the dead.

When somebody dies don't strap electrodes on them and shock them back to life. When somebody dies don't give them mouth to mouth and bring them back to life.

Leave the dead alone.

Now I know this will be difficult if your child has died from drowning or your grandpa died from a heart attack but we as a society must accept that people are going to die eventually. No matter how many times you bring them back to life they are going to die anyway.

Maybe new stigmas can be attached to people raised from the dead. Maybe if people started shunning the living dead and called them zombies and such the relatives would refuse to bring dead people back to life.

Re:this problem is actually pretty easy to solve. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764116)

When somebody dies don't strap electrodes on them and shock them back to life. When somebody dies don't give them mouth to mouth and bring them back to life.

You can't be serious... can you? You honestly think that banning CPR is going to make a dent in the death rate? Not only is that pretty cold hearted, but it doesn't even make any sense; I'd bet that CPR (and other related last-ditch life-saving efforts) prevent less than 0.0001% of all deaths every year, and that wouldn't do much to slow exponential population growth.

Re:this problem is actually pretty easy to solve. (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764286)

Perhaps not everyone shares your definition of death, which is why many will see your post as advocating a form of murder.

What if that person is hanging off the edge of a cliff, sure to lose his grip at any moment. Are you going to pull him back from the dead?

Re:this problem is actually pretty easy to solve. (1)

balloonhead (589759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764402)

Around 1% of people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest to discharge from hospital.

The vast majority of these are outside their breeding years.

This has no bearing on birth or death rates - they rarely last too long anyway.

There are few people medically worth resuscitating due to the futility of it anyway. But we do it because society demands we try, and we can't predict which ones will be successful too well.

Why not advocate getting rid of antibiotics? That would be about the most significant medical input of the last 1000 years - adds about 10 years onto life expectancy. If we cure cancer, we might add about 2 (most cancer deaths are elderly).

Hell, why not get rid of the big problems with population? Fresh drinking water, immunisation, good nutrition, shelter, perinatal care? We might all have to have more babies, but they won't last too long anyway.

Re:this problem is actually pretty easy to solve. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764692)

The answer is simple.
Stop brining people back from the dead.
When somebody dies don't strap electrodes on them and shock them back to life. When somebody dies don't give them mouth to mouth and bring them back to life.

Not sure if you're trolling, but that only changes a small constant factor in the total population, and barely affects the growth rate at all. Think about it: most people who are "brought back from the dead" are already past the age of having children, so whether they live or die doesn't matter in the long run. Sure, it means a few more people live, but if you look around and see how many people are alive today because their live has been saved by an emergency treatment, you'll see that it's less than 10% (?) even in western countries. (If you take the entire world population in account, it's a lot less!)

Re:this problem is actually pretty easy to solve. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764752)

Actually, a better solution is to stop giving aid to countries that already cannot support their baby-factory population.

Re:this problem is actually pretty easy to solve. (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764792)

Stop brining people back from the dead.

What? Do they even have the medical means to do this in countries where overpopulation is the worst?

What you are saying is like going to a starving country in Africa and telling them they shouldn't eat so much because it causes obesity. Its not the problem! The problem is that there is no food!

meh (0)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764096)

Let's be a bunch of overpopulation alarmists. Oh no, better yet, let's look at some facts: In most 1st world countries, you have tons and tons of people who are more interested in their career than in having children, so they're either single, or they're married with one or two children. Compare to the way things used to be, where people would have as many children as possible. So the population in these areas will either stay about the same or actually decline over time. Now let's talk about places where people still have a lot of children. They'll immigrate to the places where people have fewer children. No big deal. Besides, people in 3rd world countries have just as much of a right to live and procreate as do overpopulation alarmists. Oh, and the world could easily support a trillion people, and we're only at 6 billion right now.

3 choices, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764138)

The way I see it we have 3 choices. Continue on like normal and die out (if not from disease and famine then most likely war). We can limit our population to what the earth can sustain. Or we can continue to expand (terraforming worlds or building them from scratch).

Global Population (-1, Troll)

Creaturee (1257114) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764224)

he world population is the total number of humans on Earth at a given time. In February 2008, the world's population is believed to have reached over 6.60 billion.[1][2] In line with population projections, this figure continues to grow at rates that were unprecedented before the 20th century, although the rate of increase has almost halved since its peak, which was reached in 1963, of 2.2 percent per year. The world's population, on its current growth trajectory, is expected to reach nearly 9 billion by the year 2050. Different regions have different rates of population growth, but in the unusual case of the 20th century, the world saw the biggest increase in its population in human history due to medical advances and massive increase in agricultural productivity made by the Green Revolution. In 2000, the United Nations estimated that the world's population was then growing at the rate of 1.14% (or about 75 million people) per year,[9] down from a peak of 86 million per year in 1987. In the last few centuries, the number of people living on Earth has increased many times over. By the year 2000, there were 10 times as many people on Earth than there were 300 years ago. According to data from the CIA's 20052006 World Factbooks, the world human population currently increases by 203,800 every day.[10] The 2007 CIA factbook increased this to 211,090 people every day. Globally, the population growth rate has been steadily declining from its peak of 2.19% in 1963, but growth remains high in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.[11] In some countries there is negative population growth (i.e. net decrease in population over time), especially in Central and Eastern Europe (mainly due to low fertility rates) and Southern Africa (due to the high number of HIV-related deaths). Within the next decade, Japan and some countries in Western Europe are also expected to encounter negative population growth due to sub-replacement fertility rates. Population growth which exceeds the carrying capacity of an area or environment results in overpopulation. Conversely, such areas may be considered "underpopulated" if the population is not large enough to maintain an economic system; however, many who do not view overpopulation as a serious problem fail to consider the sustainability of economic systems, the environmental degradation caused, and the ecological footprint of the existing population. http://airlines.hostingweb.us/ [hostingweb.us] http://airlineticket.greatnow.com/ [greatnow.com] http://airlineticket.xcx.pl/ [airlineticket.xcx.pl]

maybe J. Stalin had a point? (2, Insightful)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764250)

"When you kill one, it is a tragedy. When you kill ten million, it is a statistic."

Doom (1)

XB-70 (812342) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764266)

Mother earth is up against the toughest problem ever faced: the fact that females are 'programmed' to want to procreate. This most basic of instincts - coupled with deep, deep yearnings makes it impossible for us to put any realistic check on population growth.

We are doomed.

The solution is obvious (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764342)

For once, porn really is the answer!

Environmental extremists (2, Informative)

Simpatico (1225856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764352)

Environmental extremists have been controlling the population for years by banning DDT.

The solution (3, Funny)

underpants_gnome (1226602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764522)

I heard that a dude called Xenu knows the solution to the population prob...

Oh wait, someone's knocking on my door. BRB.

Infuriatingly presumptuous bastards (2, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 6 years ago | (#22764788)

This whole approach irritates me.

Thirty-five odd years ago, there was a similar group of scientists trying to figure the same thing out (or so they said). They made some crazy predictions; namely, that the world would be over-populated, and primarily due to the heat put off by large cities, the global temperatures would result in us all looking like overdone chicken. TEOTWAWKI kind of stuff, all largely targeted at the gas guzzling, "consumerist" way of life.*

Or, at least, that's how the policy and information filtered down to school-aged kids in the late 80's/early 90's, and how it was communicated through laws and national/international (US and other Western countries) efforts to sap some of the world's hunger - primarily in Africa - to hopefully offset the problem now, so maybe in the future they could take care of themselves. Problem: Africa's population exploded, as did the disease and warfare. And the West is still funding this destructive cycle today, even though it's been proven - time and time again - to make the situation immeasurably worse, not better.

The supporters of these policies would say "oh, but this just proves the policies were effective!" (with regard to the initial population decines after those seminal works were published) - but they would be wrong. The world population was already in decline before these "runaway population" projection supporters tooted their horns. And since then, world population increase has been anything but exponential. China's population shrank markedly due to birth control; the Western countries (including Russia) have all shrunk substantially in population, and India is moving that way now.

What we should be trending and looking at predicting is what the next politically-foisted, crack theory will be. Just look back over the past 5 years, and you'll see an obscene amount of variance in just the "global warming/cooling/etc." argument; look back 30 years, and they're using the same models to predict something different still: the globe is cooling, new ice age - oh wait, it's warming, and we'll all look like overdone chicken by 2010... oh, what's that? 2008 is the coldest year on record in 30+ years so far?

And the same thing applies to population hokum. You can not predict something this complex: there are simply too many factors, internal and external, which have sway. It is significantly more complex than the global warming/cooling argument, because it directly depends (and bases most of its assumptions) on the global warming/cooling expectations. Then you've got cultural changes (ie, women having fewer/almost no children - which is exactly what happens when countries become "westernized", and what was directly overlooked/unknown in the "explosive population" projections), wars, famines, poor land management, extinction of bees (needed to fertilize all flowering plants), epidemics/panemics, and any number of other things.

* while some of it was noble, it went about it in such a reckless, dishonest manner that the message was largely discredited through the approach. yet enough was absorbed by members of my generation that much of the stupid policies and beliefs impregnated in our minds at a young age, and have taken root now that we are adults. yay, brainwashing.

Georgia Guidestones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764828)

If it's up to the people who made the Georgia Guidestones, only 500.000 people will be left on this planet. And many people do agree with that figure. Like Jaques Cousteau and others.

- Unomi -

holy shit this is so easy! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22764946)

just count everyone's fingers and divide by ten!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>