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Debate: Should we endlessly assist population expansion?

I was intrigued by Magnus Larsson and indeed other TED talkers about helping with the desperate plight of people in Africa, for example the chap assisting with clean water and his 15nm filter.

But being a long view sort of chap, I immediately wonder if the best thing for the dirt poor isn't contraception. This may sound harsh, but I am no eugenics nut, this is not about picking cultures or races.

Also I wish no ill to any living people, they should receive aid, but the biggest taboo in modern science and political strategy seems to be overpopulation.

For anyone not knowing, please look at the world population figures for the past few hundred years, they cannot be overstated.

Simply working on keeping communities alive, finding renewable energies and looking to feed people is treating the symptoms, not the plague. And people, human beings are the plague.

Why is nobody asking questions like, just how many people do we want to support on this planet? Not even - how many can we support?

Now think of a world with 1 billion people. Or less. How's about several hundred million. Those people can live spread across the world according to available resources. We could still improve on our pollutions but decreasing the population seems to me to immediately fix most of the world's problems, and I don't see a down side. Why do those that want children need more than two? And really, why more than one?

Then the other counter to initiatives like Magnus' is, SHOULD we interfere with nature on the scale that he proposes? Do we really think we know the true consequences of something like that? Ask yourself, why is the desert swallowing green belt? Is it because humans interfered?

I have grave concerns that if you feed everyone, and provide their other basic needs through technology, without any cultural revolution, that overpopulation will simply and VERY rapidly throw up the next major problem, and that this may risk life on this planet.


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  • Oct 27 2012: The difficulty with population controls is that those who are in a position to see the facts and imagine the consequence are all very well fed, have access to the necessary birth control measures etc. If you live on the margin of survival, as Maslow so carefully explained, you care for little else but the next meal or the nearest shelter. To give all of those who live today the surety of a fair chance of survival, is most probably within the ability of human race, but falls rather low on the "wish list" of most of us.. Ergo. Nature will have her way. As a now less than youthful woman who chose 45 years ago for many reasons not to bring any children into this world, only one ( fairly low priority reason) of which was I could see little reason to bring yet more of us into it, I understand both the overwhelming drive to do so and the economics of necessity that drive the population growth. I had a choice, but who amongst us are arrogant enough to believe we have the right to choose for others ?
    Yet if we do not do so the " others " essentially do choose for us. Nature is very clear, eventually she will do away with the excess of every species and any species that cannot or will not adapt to the changing planet will disapear. We are changing the planet and many do die, many humans and many more species. As a child a disaster ( flood volcano etc) killed or displaced 10s of thousands now it kill or displaces 100,000's. (eg. China 800,000 peasants displaced by the building of the 3 Gorges dam)
    What we can do is talk and explain, educate, explain the consequence. Change the thinking, change the benefits, change the values, change how we rescue, change how we provide for those unable to provide for themselves, change the expectations. It has to be persuasion . Open up the choices to logic and teach people the consequence for " following " instinct rather than logic. Start with YOUR children, and YOUR culture. Be willing to make your child a misfit!
    • Oct 27 2012: I have tried, in my mind for some time to try and put this in the least troll like manner possible, but basically my issue with your statement Karen, is that it portrays precisely the "western" attitudes I see as the problems for real change in the third world. Apologies in advance.

      It is supreme arrogance and folly to think in terms of "us" "westerners" controlling and assisting the third world like parents of helpless children. Even your term "population controls" is immediately repugnant to all, even me, the advocate here for population decrease.

      But you raise another interesting effect of overpopulation, it helps us dehumanise "these people", living in millions or so here and there in filth, breeding and living like animals, and of course, "we" have little sympathy for animals.

      The more of us there are, the less important we are, I truly believe that, as we are less unique.

      And like Stalin famously pointed out, the figures just numb people, 800,000 people displaced, I cannot connect to that, and how bad could it be if they were all together, right? Besides in my own country I have the distractions of my own 63 million British residence. Not to mention the forced media from the 300+ million folks in the states.

      With foreign aid, there are no moral imperatives. We are not obliged to help, but if we choose to, we take on the total responsibility of our actions, intended and otherwise. So if you provide the basic needs of life to people that then multiply to harmful figures, that is on you. Their children's suffering is on you also.

      SHOULD we help everyone, SHOULD people live in such places, SHOULD we prop up their societies of suffering and ignorance? I have as much sympathy for Darwinism as the third world if I am truly honest. Maybe that's why we only dabble there. Which is the worst idea.

      Finally, I think it is critical to see the truth of breeding in the third world. "Family planning" does not factor into rape. Beyond that, sex is currency and the Xbox

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