TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

How many people can Planet Earth support?

Poverty comes from an unfair sharing of resources. Bono's naive idea to eliminate poverty to the benefit of mankind flies in the face of the fact that we live on a finite planet. Historically the world has been able to support around 1.5 to 2 billion people, The age of oil changed that 150 years ago and we now have nearly 4 times that. The resources to support 7-9 billion people will have to continue to impact on nature to the detriment and eventual extinction of both.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Mar 15 2013: A man that owns nothing in a city is a bum.
    A man that owns nothing in a forest is a tribesman. Indian. Possibly very highly looked upon.

    Our society has constructed the walls of our reality to be one where only farmers grow their food, and that the only wealth is that of possession of an arbitrary currency from which luxurious leisure can be purchased. The more you break down our system, the less it makes sense.. if we must use the same currency to purchase land, entertainment and food, why not buy land, grow food, and build entertainment? Can a man who owns an iPhone be considered happier or better off than a man who willingly has no phone and lives in his private country home?

    I believe we are victims of our expectations, for if the poor man from the streets were to walk to a forest with an axe and a bow, set to build his life in the wild, he would no longer be poor. In summary, I am in fact "surprised" that poverty still exists.
    • Mar 18 2013: Are you proposing that if the poor in the city became like tribesman in the forest there wouldn't be poverty?

      Because there isn't enough forest to sustain that many poor.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.