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Author Topic: What population can the world take?  (Read 3929 times)

Offline thedoc

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What population can the world take?
« on: 18/05/2016 09:40:13 »
Regarding "Ideal Human Population", no one seems to really answer the question, taking into consideration the land needed for houses, stores, roads, animals that need forests to live, water (lakes, ponds) forests for lumber to build these homes, stores etc. what about the farmland needed to raise the cattle, pigs, chickens we need for survival. Land for factories....get my point.  All they talk about is land for growing grains. 15 years ago economists and scientist estimated the max human population to be 4 billion...

We are in big trouble, we are destroying the earth more everyday, and we are  too egotistical, and stupid to realize it and do something to correct it.  Just requiring two children per couple would start reducing the problem.  You want more than that... adopt...
Asked by MLG


                                        Visit the webpage for the podcast in which this question is answered.

 ...or Listen to the Answer or [download as MP3]

« Last Edit: 18/05/2016 09:40:13 by _system »


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: What is the maximum human population?
« Reply #1 on: 25/09/2014 19:28:42 »
Maximum human population...

ONE

Just look at all the chaos that happened once Eve showed up!!!

I firmly believe in the policy of one child per person, two per couple, which if strongly enforced would give a gradual population reduction.  In the USA there are many tax and other incentives for large families.  Tax deductions are fine for the 1-2 children, but after that, there should be severe tax increases (starting with future births, and perhaps immigrants).

At this point, we certainly are living beyond our means, and the world is suffering. 

Perhaps one should ask if the world could support 7 billion Africans living in slums...  vs 7 billion "Americans".

I'm not sure what the answer (in excess of ONE) would be for human population.  A gradual reduction to 3 or 4 billion would be a good start.  Doing so should cut greenhouse gases in half, perhaps allow growing more fuel crops, and digging up less fossil fuels.  And, reduce the human pressure on the world's water resources.

Many religions consider humans as the "good shepherds" of the planet...  but are doing a poor job at caring for anything but themselves.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is the maximum human population?
« Reply #2 on: 25/09/2014 19:52:28 »
Not sure about the rest of the world, but the UK could be indefinitely sustainable at well above the present quality of life with about 10 - 20% of the present population. There's no problem achieving it: if we pay every woman 500 every 6 months if she isn't pregnant, and abolish all child support payments, the birthrate would surely fall very quickly.

At 1 child per woman we would reach the required level within 80 years without anyone doing anything. The interesting consequence is that everyone's quality of life would improve from the outset because the working fraction of the population would increase from the present 55% to well over 60% and we'd be spending less on child health and education, so pensions would increase or we could retire earlier.

Why won't it happen? Because current economic theory is all based on growth of the industrial sector (which means you need ever more consumers to buy the stuff) and 30% of the UK's GNP consists of selling houses to each other, which you can only do at a profit if there is a shortage of houses (i.e. too many people).

What is required is a good sales pitch. How about this: "You can have 1000 a year for doing nothing. You can retire earlier, with a bigger pension. Your children and grandchildren can have all the space and material goods they could possibly need with no dependence on fossil fuels or nuclear power and no need to import food. No congestion, no overcrowding, less pollution - but you and your descendants will still be able to drive and fly anywhere, any time. For ever. All you have to do is...nothing!" Sounds good to me.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: What is the maximum human population?
« Reply #3 on: 27/09/2014 13:44:52 »
At 1 child per woman we would reach the required level within 80 years without anyone doing anything. The interesting consequence is that everyone's quality of life would improve from the outset because the working fraction of the population would increase from the present 55% to well over 60% and we'd be spending less on child health and education, so pensions would increase or we could retire earlier.
Those reductions are pretty drastic.

Are you sure about the "working fraction"?  I suppose if you consider both the under 20 and over 70 populations, it might even out.  However, the retirement group would cause a significant burden to society.

A strict 1-2 child limit, as well as limiting immigration from any nation that doesn't have its population under control would cause a more gradual decrease due to the number of individuals or couples that don't have their 1 or 2 children respectively.

However, perhaps one should consider rapid depopulation as an answer to our heavy fossil fuel dependence before we are either limited by resources, or atmospheric change.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is the maximum human population?
« Reply #4 on: 27/09/2014 17:48:01 »
I can't upload the graphs but the model is simple. Divide the population in to "under 20", "working fraction" and "60 - 100" and assume that we die off linearly from 60 to 100. Then if we have a simplfied stable replacement (2 children per female aged 20 - 60)  we have 25%, 50% and 25% in each cohort. 

The working fraction has to support the pensioners and the children.

Now reduce the birthrate to 1 instead of 2. After say 10 years the child cohort obviously contains rather less than 25% of the whole population, so there is more money available to support the pensioners (and fewer working hours lost to maternity).

After 20 years the number of working people decreases but so also does the number of children (remember you only reproduce, and only once, after age 20 in this model), and after 60 years the number of pensioners begins to decrease too. In fact the working fraction wobbles a bit over time but never falls below 50%. More to the point, everyone is increasingly wealthy because there are continuously fewer people living on the same amount of natural resources.   

On this model the UK population falls from 65,000,000 to just over 12,000,000 in 110 years, with personal wealth and comfort increasing throughout the period. Far from drastic, the process requires nobody to do anything except enjoy the extra space and increased pension.
« Last Edit: 27/09/2014 17:51:12 by alancalverd »
 

Offline RD

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Re: What is the maximum human population?
« Reply #5 on: 27/09/2014 19:41:35 »
... On this model the UK population falls from 65,000,000 to just over 12,000,000 in 110 years, with personal wealth and comfort increasing throughout the period. Far from drastic, the process requires nobody to do anything except enjoy the extra space and increased pension.

and wait for and an overpopulated neighbouring country to invade to utilize UK resources , analogous to "Lebensraum".
 (smaller population has smaller armed-forces ).
« Last Edit: 27/09/2014 19:47:15 by RD »
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is the maximum human population?
« Reply #6 on: 27/09/2014 22:55:36 »
and wait for and an overpopulated neighbouring country to invade to utilize UK resources , analogous to "Lebensraum".
 (smaller population has smaller armed-forces ).

"Invadeability" is not related to population density or individual wealth: Canada, USA and Australia all have a tiny population per unit area or per mile of coastline, vastly more per capita resources than anywhere else, and have only ever been invaded by Britain. Nobody in their right mind would have voted for Scottish independence if they thought that a third of the British mainland could not be defended by a twelfth of the population (with no navy or air force). Ireland has pretty much the same population density as Scotland, a comparable standard of living to the UK, has not been invaded (except by Britain) since the Romans left, and has retained political neutrality south of the border for nearly 100 years.

Our neighbouring countries (France, Holland, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Iceland) are neither overpopulated nor starving, and are quite likely to follow the UK's lead in population reduction anyway: the principle applies anywhere, and can be put into action most easily in a broadly socialist democracy.The prewar population density of Poland was similar to that of Germany and per capita resources were far less: lebensraum isn't based on rationality. 
 

Offline RD

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Re: What is the maximum human population?
« Reply #7 on: 28/09/2014 02:25:18 »
"Invadeability" is not related to population density

"Invadeability" is related to the total population in a territory. If population was continuously decreased there must come a cut-off point at which it cannot defend itself from invasion.

Our neighbouring countries ... are neither overpopulated nor starving 

The invaders don't necessary have to be neighbouring , it's just less of a commute if they are. In the fullness of time China might fancy a new colony , ( they've already invaded the the UK high-street :)

"Nobody in their right mind would have voted for Scottish independence ..."

IMO Nobody in their right mind did.

My main point was history has shown invasions of under-defended lands are standard-practice, and that perspective was not included in your plan to reduce the UK population to 1/4 of its current value in a century. Supposedly Britain only had a population of about a million in 1000AD,
if it ever went that low again Britain would become a colony of another European country to exploit its resources.
« Last Edit: 28/09/2014 02:27:41 by RD »
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is the maximum human population?
« Reply #8 on: 28/09/2014 12:06:47 »
"Invadeability" is not related to population density

"Invadeability" is related to the total population in a territory. If population was continuously decreased there must come a cut-off point at which it cannot defend itself from invasion.
but nobody is going to invade a territory for the fun of it - there has to be a profit motive. When was your house last invaded? Very few people in it, I suspect, but unless you have a gold mine or an oil well in your back yard, no point in even trying. Massive civil disruption in Kenya and Sudan, fairly small population, but no Western invasion, air strikes or military advisers, because there's no oil and very little food. Mainland Britain no longer has any exportable natural resources since Thatcher destroyed the coal mines. As you say, China now sees the UK as a profit center (since the EU destroyed our manufacturing industry). You don't invade your customers, you bleed them.   

Quote
"Nobody in their right mind would have voted for Scottish independence ..."

IMO Nobody in their right mind did.
When I say things like that my Scottish friends accusse me of racism.
Quote

My main point was history has shown invasions of under-defended lands are standard-practice, and that perspective was not included in your plan to reduce the UK population to 1/4 of its current value in a century. Supposedly Britain only had a population of about a million in 1000AD,
if it ever went that low again Britain would become a colony of another European country to exploit its resources.
if we had any - see above - and if they needed any - they'd be better off following my example and reducing their population to the point where they were not dependent on the charity of Islam to maintain their standard of living. As it is, we are already a colony of Germany, China and Saudi Arabia: they take our money without having to put up with our weather.
 

Offline Don_1

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Re: What is the maximum human population?
« Reply #9 on: 21/10/2014 14:17:59 »
A huge population is certainly handy when defending yourself against an aggressor, as Hitler discovered when he invaded Russia and Britain discovered in the Zulu wars. But, it does not necessarily discourage an invader to give it a go.

But I think the question was more directed at whether Earth has a limit to the number of humans it can sustain.

The current population of 7.2bn could be fed easily, IF, and its a BIG 'IF', the distribution of food and wealth was more even.

In the UK there are families with both parents working who struggle to be able to afford to buy food enough even for a family of 4, while there are others who enjoy an annual wage packet equal to that poor family's entire lifetime's earnings. In fact there are some who's annual income may be 5, 6 or even 10 times that of the average lifetime income.

Note I say 'income', not 'earnings', since many of these super-rich do little or nothing to 'earn' their income.

Financially, the world needs to equalise remuneration and cost-of-living. (ARE YOU LISTENING EU COMMISIONERS???)

But there is another problem which we face when trying to sustain the population, and that is population distribution. There are almost 8.5m people live in London and roughly the same in New York. These cities cannot produce or provide the food, water, oxygen, energy and raw materials required by those who live there. These cities excerpt huge pressures upon vast swathes of land, many, many times greater than the area they cover, to provide for them. They also cost dearly when it comes to getting the produce from producer to consumer. This puts inordinately high costs on providing for the populous.

And if you think that's bad, Shanghai, Karachi and Beijing all have populations' in excess of 20m, while Dhaka, with more than 12m, has a density of almost 40 people to the Km2. London has just 5 and NY, 10.

Then, of course, there are those who live in regions which simply cannot sustain even fairly small populations because the climate or geological situation is simply not favourable to agriculture and may struggle to provide anything natural in the way of food.

I think our problem is that we have become too interdependent on each other. I seriously doubt many would take too kindly to reverting to the old days when small villages provided for themselves, so we seriously reduce the sustainable population capacity of the world.

If you lived in some parts of the world, you could be forgiven for thinking that we have already passed the limit. In others, with more than 20% of food going to waste, you might think we have a long way to go to the limit.

 

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Re: What is the maximum human population?
« Reply #9 on: 21/10/2014 14:17:59 »

 

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