04 November 2011

The Overpopulation Myth

There are 7 billion people living on planet Earth, at least there will be by March 2012. There are many people that think this is a big problem, and that population control is the answer. Many of these people (typically leftists), also feel that there is no doubt that global warming is man-made, that Capitalism is evil (despite lifting huge amounts of people out of poverty), and also claim with conviction that they are humanists (yes I know, it bugs the hell out of me too). Oh, and apparently a tree has more value as a life than a foetus to the environmentalist/humanist crowd.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pro-abortion, but I’ve actually heard pro-abortionists suggest that late term abortions are morally acceptable. How ironic given that a foetus is no more sentient a life than a tree until it reaches the second trimester – a bit of consistency would be nice, though I have no doubt a relative argument would be the leftist’s reply, which of course means that anything goes, as long as it’s being said by those leftists agree with.

At the moment the media is all over the idea of overpopulation, pushing it into the psyche of the public without even a second thought for the counter evidence. If this sounds familiar it’s because it’s exactly the same tactic as the issue of global warming, and when you put all of this together you would surely conclude that it’s no wonder people are cautious of evolution on the religious right. How would anyone be able to distinguish between science fact or fiction given that there are so many that use confirmation bias to further their agendas?

The modern idea of overpopulation comes from Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus, a man that hypothesised that since food production increased incrementally, while population increased exponentially, there would cause a crisis the future. Time and again the armageddon of overcrowding has been foretold and, much like the biblical end of days, has been rescheduled to a later date when it amounts to nothing. This video is a great introduction into the history of overpopulation:

This sort of hysteria leads to what all people of influence seek - power! Money flows into organisations like the UNFPA via the United Nations, politicians get more control via the state to curb the problem, while ideologues get to bang their drums in a self-righteous crusade to “save the world”. Thanks to alternative media though, now it seems that people are able to examine the full picture, but it still takes an inquisitive mind to seek out the information because, unlike your TV, the information is not beamed into your living room via the BBC. So what about this 7 billion figure - is it a big deal? Is it even real given that, once your eyes are opened to one myth perpetuated by the mainstream media, you find yourself questioning everything? Well, while the world is hitting 7 billion, this is only part of the story:

Let me add something at this point: Anyone who is going to state that the two videos are by the Population Research Institute, started by Paul Marx (a Catholic priest), should examine the evidence first. I would also add that Malthusianism, the root of this overpopulation hysteria is a product of a man of the cloth too. Back to the 7 billion figure. The world will hit 7 billion, as the UN predicts. However, we need to consider that the population of the Earth is not increasing exponentially, and is actually increasing at a gradually lower rate. For example, the population of the Earth hit one billion in 1804.

Then by 1927 this doubled to 2 billion. Incidentally this coincides with the progress of the industrial era in the 19th Century, and was the most economically free Western era (particularly the US), often known as Laissez-farez. Lifespan has always been a leading indicator of quality of life too, and this increase can be demonstrated from the 19th Century onwards. By 1960 the population had only grown by half to 3 billion, and by 1975 this increased by a third, hitting 4 billion, followed by a fourth, and a fifth. The video then goes on to show that the global fertility rate has been decreasing in the last 40 years. For more information regarding why this is the case let’s take a look at this:

The global total fertility rate necessary to maintain the population of the world is 2.1, which roughly translates to one child per person, or two children per woman given that men can’t directly have children. Of course, not every woman will have children, and there will always be other factors weighing on population, like infant mortality rates or natural disasters. In less economically developed regions lifespan is shorter due to things like famine, disease, or war, which counteracts the higher birth rates in third world countries. As the quality of life in a region of the world increases so does the ability for women to live safely.

Women then enter the workplace as opposed to taking on the more traditional role of nurturer, also statistically having fewer children. This explanation perfectly encapsulates why Feminists are so disingenuous given that they regularly make claims of patriarchal oppression. In reality Western women would struggle to live the lives they do without the safety, comfort, and innovations of the developed world. Meanwhile men evolved to endure the harsh conditions of hostile environments like mines and the prairies when hunting for food, which is why they have always taken a more active role in the forefront of society.

The growth rate failing to keep up with the mortality rate causes economic problems like shrinking social security, and also leads to immigration policy to keep tax revenues and population steady. Sadly this often leads to hostility towards immigrants, though speaking as an anarchistic individual I see these issues as a problem caused by the closed borders of tax farms, otherwise known as states. Back to the myth of overpopulation: the UN’s current data shows that the population of the world will peak at around 8 billion in 2045. From here it will start to decrease, and by the end of the century we’ll be losing 1 billion people every 20 years, meaning that in 75 years we’ll actually be back to 7 billion! Isn’t it amazing what you don’t learn by watching TV?

This is RockingMrE – over and out!


  1. Excellent post. I have to disagree with you on the closed borders issue, but I think I know where you're coming from. I'd argue that boarders should be tightly closed as many immigrants simply have incommensurable political beliefs and no desire to conform to, or even consider, our own way of life. I too am intrigued with anarchic-capitalism but, in the end, I find it to be a dubious position. I'd love to hear your anarchist views regarding immigration hashed out further.

  2. Those videos seem to be saying that there can be more of us (true), but also that the total population that could live within Texas borders needs no agriculture, no roads, no other space for human activity, that this area is entirely suitable for humans to live in. Finally, that each one of us has either no impact on our environment or it is not an issue worth considering when talking about us growing in number. So for clarification purposes, how do you define overpopulation? Is it only that we will not grow any more that you argue against?
    As for Malthus, I am familiar with newer version of his equation, where it is the capacity of the environment to sustain us that might limit our growth, rather than a total amount of food. In this form, while it is still possible for it to be wrong, I think it is at least worth considering.
    I can say nothing of economic arguments for I know nothing about the economy, one question though, do we need a stable populace for "safe" retirement or constantly growing?
    As a side note, regarding trees/ kids. Whenever it was that I was surrounded by 10 children I wished there were 10 trees around me instead^^ Joking put aside, from my own experience/behaviour people raised in big cities tend to romanticise nature. At the same time seeing that 5-year-old kicking a dog or throwing rocks at cats, makes one wander if more people is something good in itself. I see it as a purely emotional reaction to the environment "we" live in, where we see fewer trees, but we deal with screaming kids on daily basis. Not that it validates this behaviour but makes it somewhat more understandable for me.
    I would also like to hear from you about global warming myth, for whenever something I believe in is being questioned I have to say I feel in need to hear why is that ( I become a bit threatened^^).
    Other than that, I enjoy your yt chanel/ blog a lot, cheers.

    1. "So for clarification purposes, how do you define overpopulation? Is it only that we will not grow any more that you argue against?"

      Overpopulation is a nebulous and loaded term. I doubt this planet will ever be overpopulated. As population goes up, resources will become scarcer, and thus will lead to people reproducing at a slower rate, eventually reducing in numbers. As the video above shows, population will most likely peak at around 8 billion

      I think it's an exaggerated problem designed by social engineers, who want more government bureaucracy.

    2. From your entry I already understood that you are against it. I did not catch what that "it" is. In my mind, definition would be helpful, so that I know what part of overpopulation do you consider to be a myth. Not that itr is not loaded but how do you understand it, and what follows, what do you see wrong with it.

      From your reply I understand that you reject the idea that we will go past 8 billion, which is not what is realy being argued. It is rather that it is not sustainable or/and not good in terms of well being of an individual.

      For example, I have heard it argued that even 6 billion people is too much. That when it comes to issues such as enviroment protection if you cut in half carbon footprint of lets say a fridge it does no good if twice as many people use them.
      An example that speaks to my imagination the most is that given that there is a finate amount of biomass on the planet every extra human takes away from that total amount.
      More humans = less frogs for example. If one cares about them, maybe because he simply likes frogs as pets, he might consider it not to be such a good thing.

      Given your take on global warming (I hope to hear more about it) I do see how you can consider those arguments as propaganda, still, there is an actual proposition given.
      "As we grow in numbers we affect our souroundings in a way "we" see as negative. Those changes can hit us back in the future which we would like to avoid".
      True, false, regardless, there is something to discuss. Videos presented above said only that a) we will eventually stop getting more numerous b) There is still a space for us to further multiply which is not negative.
      Which, again, is not realy an issue.

    3. "It is rather that it is not sustainable or/and not good in terms of well being of an individual."

      it's argued that we have enough resources for as much as 15 billion before things get problematic. But even then we have to factor in that we basically haven't even started delving deeply into the planet's surface for resources, so who knows what's down there.

      Your frogs point should take into account what I've said above. There's no point looking for problems where they don't exist. That's a waste of energy, and scaremongering. I'm not saying that you're doing those things, but that's something important to consider in this discussion.

      Check out my blog post "Why the Right is Right" for a brief insight into what I feel about global warming.

  3. Refreshingly Sane, and with the ability to understand a dynamic equilibrium you can't go wrong.

  4. What 'evidence' do you have to claim the maximum sustainable capacity of the planet is higher than 3-6 billion? And what number do you have in your head? Also, socialism's ideals would lift all out of poverty, as the wealth of the richest easily make up for their deficit. Poverty has fallen DESPITE capitalism, not 'because of'.

    1. That's a red herring argument. There's no evidence to suggest that the planet is in a crisis in this regard. It's pure conjecture by socialist/totalitarian control freaks trying to convince people to become neo-feudal serfs, for their own safety.