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Author Topic: World population, will it be going up, or down?  (Read 4055 times)

Offline yor_on

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World population, will it be going up, or down?
« on: 29/09/2013 16:17:42 »
The seeming consensus those days is that it will go down, as we seem to making less babies. But if you look at it historically then? Think there is some calculation considering 1400 ad stating that the global population was either 400 or 700 million people at that time, compared to 7 billions today. Then we have this.

"Since I first started making programmes 60 years ago, the human population has tripled."

Two striking claims.
Let's take the second one first - that the world's population has tripled in 60 years.

In 1950, around the time Sir David began his broadcasting career, there were 2.53 billion people in the world. Sixty-three years later and the latest estimate of world population is 7.16 billion.

That is a little shy of tripling - more like a factor of 2.8 - but it's not far off.

The "out of control" claim is less easily measurable, but perhaps it could be interpreted as the idea that the population will continue to grow at the same rate, roughly tripling in 60 years.

If this happened, the world population would reach almost 40 billion people by the end of this century. " from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24303537

So history do not support this claim, as a simple guess. What about chaos mathematics then?

Population Models: Periodicity and Chaos.


No easy answer there either, although I tend to believe that this type of predictions, if we can find the right parameters should come closer to the truth than us just presuming that we all are 'environmental'. Too much proving that environmentalism is one of the claims placed at the bottom of each ones personal list, no matter what one are told by media etc.

We could look at other animals and see how their growth and decline are controlled to make a guess, maybe?
 
« Last Edit: 29/09/2013 16:46:48 by yor_on »


 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: World population, will it be going up, or down?
« Reply #1 on: 29/09/2013 16:25:23 »
The seeming consensus those days is that it will go down, as we seem to making less babies.

But life expectancy A is increasing pretty much everywhere, and age at first pregnancy B is also increasing. If B increases year on year, the apparent birthrate decreases, but if A increases faster than B, the total population increases, even if the surviving birthrate per female (rather than per year) remains constant.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: World population, will it be going up, or down?
« Reply #2 on: 29/09/2013 16:59:32 »
Nice point Alan, and one of the parameters I would guess that has to go into it. We are changing the definitions of birth giving age. But if we say that each persons alloted life span is 100 y, which should be generous by us :). At least it makes it easier to count on for me. Then, will it matter when someone gives birth under that period?

How many kids coming from one person under one life span, and, under what period of her life will a woman be fertile? But before all, how do we know that the decline of births isn't just a cyclic phenomena, and unstable too?
==

There is 'think tanks', getting payed for laboring with the humanly unimaginable, as how to limit populations, by war or other means. To me that sort of thinking is part of the human hubris we all share, already before discovering non-linearity, just have a look at Jules Verne, or modern space opera. One of the things we find hardest to accept is that there might exist circumstances outside of our control.

In short, I expect us all to be 'control freaks' :)
Looked at it from that angle this one becomes a interesting modern 'non linear' take on such a statement.
Bug Dynamics: An Example of Chaotic Population Growth and Collapse.
« Last Edit: 29/09/2013 17:49:22 by yor_on »
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: World population, will it be going up, or down?
« Reply #3 on: 29/09/2013 18:00:23 »
I don't think there are circumstances beyond "our" control here. Making babies is (or should be) a voluntary process. The trick is to find something more profitable or less harmful (I can't think of anything more enjoyable) than making more babies than we can feed.

War is a fatuous means of controlling populations. At most, you might kill a few million per year, but mostly fit young male adults - the very people who are useful to society and not responsible for the problem. All-female armies might solve the problem by having fertile females kill each other, but I can't think of any species that does this on a large scale. Disease does a much better job, and mostly kills the very old and the very young, at no cost to society and without the material and political disruption of war.  Alas, civil engineering has almost eradicated such useful plagues. 

My solution is for the state to offer all females a simple bribe, say £500/$1000 or whatever fits the local economy, every 6 months, if they are not pregnant. No child benefits or state support for mothers, and the bribe is withdrawn after the first child is born. Then the only women who will have babies are those that can afford to feed them. Not a direct control or coercion, but a market choice that will probably have the desired effect. Once the population has reduced to say one fifth of the present level (at which point the UK, at least, could be indefinitely sustainable at our present standard of living) , we can tweak the bribe a bit until we breed at the replacement level only.   
« Last Edit: 29/09/2013 18:02:12 by alancalverd »
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: World population, will it be going up, or down?
« Reply #4 on: 01/10/2013 14:02:07 »
All wars I know of are fought by young men Alan, and women too, at times. War is a question of gains to me, what one expect to be gained by it. Those that expect those gains may formulate it as 'it is for the nation', also believe it to be so themselves. Although, let's not forget to scrutinize who individually will come out ahead in this game, if that war goes 'their way'. Before, and after, a war. Statistics and 'individual spotlights' are a wonderful thing :)

Read a discussion about Hitler, and the American movie industry btw. Did Hollywood studios help the Nazis? that I though highlight that view of mine (gains). If you read it you will see a counterargument being that it wasn't Hollywood adapting to Nazi Germany as much as it was their self imposed 'code of conduct'.

" Steven J Ross, Professor of History at USC, who is working on a book called Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews and their Spies Foiled Nazi and Fascist Plots Against America, argues that it wasn’t George Gyslling who had the power but local American officials enforcing the Motion Picture Production Code. The Production Code was a set of self-imposed guidelines that Hollywood adopted.  Its stipulations governed how filmmakers could cover a wide range of subjects – everything from sex, drugs and murder to the depiction of American flag. Ross notes that it also “prohibited any studio from making a film that denigrated any foreign country or leader. So that meant that most of the efforts to produce anti-fascist films didn’t get produced not because of Gyssling but because of the Production Code censors simply refusing to allow it to be made because it violated the code.” "

I would say such a code would be needed to show themselves that they weren't 'influenced', myself :), at that place and time. The interesting part, to me that is, is that a contemporary 'historian' finds it necessary to argue that such a code is disconnected to the politics and views of that time, as in being some unconnected 'idealistic view' of the world, defining policy's. It's so that history often are written by the winners, as well as seldom portraying ordinary men and women.

What I find interesting is the way we center ourselves, defining the world from our terms. Chaos mathematics is in that motto fairly objective to me, as it describes numbers, not discussing individual choices being made, although ideally all should be part of the mathematic, as in defining initial parameters. Then again, it's a ever changing game individually.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: World population, will it be going up, or down?
« Reply #5 on: 01/10/2013 21:08:23 »
My solution is for the state to offer all females a simple bribe, say £500/$1000 or whatever fits the local economy, every 6 months, if they are not pregnant.

Whew, it sounds EXPENSIVE.  So I have to pay someone else to keep their pants on?  Can I just buy them chastity belts instead?

Of course, this just encourages delaying starting the family, say till age 30 or so.  And perhaps family planning.  One could still have 10 kids between age 30 and 40. 

One of the issues that may come up is the cost of delaying pregnancy.  There is some evidence that the babies are healthiest if born to healthy mothers between ages 20 and 30 or so.  Of course, there are economic benefits of older and more stable families, but it may increase the prevalence of some genetic diseases.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: World population, will it be going up, or down?
« Reply #6 on: 02/10/2013 07:03:44 »
    20:08:23

   
Quote
Whew, it sounds EXPENSIVE.

It's actually considerably cheaper than all the costs of child benefits, tax reliefs, child health provision, education, youth unemployment, policing and other public services associated with under-20's.  Maybe kids have less impact on central finances in the USA but somebody has to pay for all these things.

Having kids at 30 still costs money, and you lose the bribe. Raising 10 children to age 20 will cost you (or the state) something like £1M. Why should the state pay for things it doesn't need? 
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: World population, will it be going up, or down?
« Reply #7 on: 02/10/2013 12:35:04 »
In Australia, they are paying a "bribe" to have babies. The cost of this "visible" bribe was tiny compared to the "invisible" costs of government funding of medical care in Australia, sponsorship of childcare & education, paid parental leave and various taxation rebates for families.

I think that this bribe was useful, in that it lent an official view from the top that children are important; my impression is that it actually encouraged some women to have children who may otherwise have put off motherhood until much later in their career - when pregnancy becomes more difficult, with greater probability of needing expensive fertility treatment (which represents a government cost in Australia, but a cost to the individual in some other countries).

The system was being abused by some people who had a baby to get the payment, so they changed it from a lump sum to a periodic payment, and put an income test on it. See: http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/baby-bonus

I think that it makes sense to have something like this, but it should just be for (say) 2 babies, which is slightly below replacement level.

In most Western countries, population growth tends to be imported, rather than home-grown.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: World population, will it be going up, or down?
« Reply #8 on: 02/10/2013 17:50:09 »
Is it really the job of government to make meaningless statements like "children are important"? And to use taxpayers' money to say so?
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: World population, will it be going up, or down?
« Reply #9 on: 03/10/2013 21:57:19 »
Quote
meaningless statements like "children are important"

We are all influenced by the views of those around us, whether we recognise it or not.
If we are surrounded by people who uniformly believe that career is all-important, then we are more likely to believe that, too.

Some random reasons why having children should be considered "important":
  • As mentioned above, women are more fertile under the age of 30.
  • A recent study showed that children pick up an average of 2 extra mutations for every year of the father's age.
  • Like many human traits, intelligence shows both genetic and cultural heritability.
  • So if we are to develop the next generation of scientists, inventors, artists etc then we need to ensure that having children is given an appropriate weighting along with other goals like career & leisure (...and world peace).
  • Identifying a sensible weighting amongst many competing interests is in the interests of government, religion, media, and discussion forums like this one.
  • In the past, having both a career and children was practically impossible for a woman, leading to many inequalities
  • Redressing this imbalance requires government encouragement - and probably outright government support, such as seen in many Nordic countries. 
IMHO, we should not have the attitude that "having children is best left to those with nothing better to do...".
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: World population, will it be going up, or down?
« Reply #10 on: 03/10/2013 22:09:45 »
Good points Evan,

I don't believe there is any reason for any country to blindly try to increase their population.  While one may need a certain population as well as a high urban to rural ration to become an industrial powerhouse, there are advantages of maintaining open spaces, and not having people absolutely everywhere.

I agree with you that the brightest people need to be raising and educating the brightest children.  Unfortunately, in some societies, the number of children may be inversely proportional to wealth and education.  And the educated people may also be delaying starting families which may bring with it greater risk to the children as mentioned.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: World population, will it be going up, or down?
« Reply #11 on: 03/10/2013 22:28:47 »
Quote
IMHO, we should not have the attitude that "having children is best left to those with nothing better to do...".

But for as long as we encourage women to have continuous professional careers, and pay those who don't in proportion to the number of children they bear, that's the way things will go.  Hence my radical suggestion of paying women not to have children.
 

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Re: World population, will it be going up, or down?
« Reply #11 on: 03/10/2013 22:28:47 »

 

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