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Population Growth


{Nature_and_Environment.14.90}: ... {wren1111} Tue, 14 Dec 2004 13:46:45 CST (29 lines)

Again, how do we define "rich". In many places having clean drinking
water and access to basic health care (and I do mean BASIC) is to
be "rich". Being able to afford education for one's children is only
for the wealthy of that culture. Most places do not have free
universal education like Western countries.

"Wealth" is a concept that is usurped often to mean trifling
possessions. But it takes "wealth" of a kind to create the means for
the more meaningful things to appear, and be sustained. Things like
clean water, stable food supply, minimum education, minimum basic
health care.

The kind of wealth most people in developing nations need is
attainable, but not likely to be attained or sustained until their
cultures embrace things that have made the Western world "wealthy"
by comparison. (For example, the poorest American would be
considered rich in many places, based not on possesions per se ..
but on access to resources such as education, clean water, food,
basic health care). The things that make those items available for
the poorest American, are intrinsic to the culture which also
(whether we like it or not) embraces the concepts of consumerism,
even wasteful consumerism.

For the majority of our history, the vast majority of humans have
been decidedly unwealthy. "Wealth" for large masses of people has
been a relatively new occurance. And the fact that populations
DECREASES with wealth (wealth defined as education, clean water,
access to education, health care) should show that wealth is not the
culprit in overpopulation. It's quite the opposite.


{Nature_and_Environment.14.91}: Anita Keese {anodekraft} Tue, 14 Dec 2004 14:25:19 CST (14 lines)

I agree with much of your post.  But I do not see how you can argue
that populations decrease with wealth when overpopulation is such a
recent occurance.  There was only 2.5 billion people on the planet in
1950.  What decrease in population are you attributing to increased

So is poverty the culprit in overpopulation?

Your definition of wealth also brings about better health care and
better nutrition.  These things lead to decreased infant mortality,
increased life spans and decreased incidence of death due to
illness.  Also contributors to "overpopulation".   Five people who
die of malnutrition at 20 are equivilent in terms of population
growth to one guy who makes it to 100.


{Nature_and_Environment.14.92}: {bshmr} Tue, 14 Dec 2004 14:54:16 CST (5 lines)

>Five people who die of malnutrition at 20 are equivilent in terms of
population growth to one guy who makes it to 100.

In terms of consumption, I concur; in terms of growth seems flawed.


{Nature_and_Environment.14.93}: .... {wren1111} Tue, 14 Dec 2004 15:14:55 CST (5 lines)

The places with the highest infant mortality rates, and lowest
average lifespans, also happen to be among the fastest population
growth areas. "Poor" people simply procreate faster than they die.
Wealthy people, by any measure of "wealth" including my most basic
definition of wealth, do not.


{Nature_and_Environment.14.94}: Anita Keese {anodekraft} Tue, 14 Dec 2004 16:29:51 CST (6 lines)

We really should try and distinquish between population growth in
terms of number of people alive on the planet at one time and
population growth in terms of number of babies born every year.  I
think people living longer is a huge contributor to the population.
To speak of population only in terms of birth rates seems far too


{Nature_and_Environment.14.95}: .... {wren1111} Tue, 14 Dec 2004 18:18:46 CST (4 lines)

{94} I agree

However, when discussing proposals to lower population, it's hard to
make a case in favor of people dying at a more rapid pace.


{Nature_and_Environment.14.96}: Anita Keese {anodekraft} Wed, 15 Dec 2004 07:48:02 CST (27 lines)

The real touble with the discussion of overpopulation, is that how
can you discuss the "problem of people living" ethically?  It begins
to sound barbaric.

But the number of people alive is really not the problem.  It is how
much space and stuff each of us uses up.  How much this planet can
endure of our livestyles is certainly up for debate.

That is why I think the arguement of increased affluence (yes, even
in terms of education/clean living quarters/good food) reducing
population is a ridiculous arguement.  It only makes the problem of
over-population worse.  Considering how our international culture
goes about increasing affluence, it is in a way so wasteful and
ineffient that the end result is reducing the natural recources that
all of us depend on.

In an attempt to explain.  Clean water is a natural recource.  If
there was an unlimmited supply of clean water, human population
growth would not hinder it.  Nature provided clean water to us.  But
the reality (in rought terms) is that the "wealthy" steal the clean
water and throw out dirty water.  For the poor to obtain clean water,
they have to pay just like the rich does for filtration devices to
clean that dirty water.  If they cannot pay, they have to use the
dirty water, and they proceed to make it dirtier.  Overpopulation
caused this problem?  Or the fact that our international society
treats clean water as a disposable product?  It is not always easy to
tell which had a larger effect.


{Nature_and_Environment.14.97}: Richard Witty {gisland} Fri, 17 Dec 2004 07:10:51 CST (13 lines)

Information/education is the key word.

First piece: women are valid as people, not property, not merely as

Second: How to, what is needed to be known?

With information people won't waste as much, including their time.

People have children for reasons, some traditions, some as a social
contribution, some as joy, some for labor to work family enterprises,
some as a means for personal validity, some as a means to not be
thrown on the street as wasted property.


{Nature_and_Environment.14.98}: Helge Hafstad {hhaf} Thu, 23 Dec 2004 04:31:27 CST (8 lines)

Talked to a proud father of 10 children in the Middle East some
years ago. When I asked him why so many, he replied that it was
his and his wife's insurance for old age. With 10 it was his
belief/hope that at least one of them would support them.
The state would not.

I don't really think information is enough to rethink this type of


{Nature_and_Environment.14.99}: Richard Witty {gisland} Thu, 23 Dec 2004 05:34:05 CST (1 line)



{Nature_and_Environment.14.100}: Helge Hafstad {hhaf} Sun, 26 Dec 2004 15:43:50 CST (1 line)

Short and cryptic Richard. You where saying...?


{Nature_and_Environment.14.101}: Richard Witty {gisland} Sun, 26 Dec 2004 16:21:28 CST (2 lines)

Women being educated and the freedom to act for their best, will
choose differently often enough to change the norm.


{Nature_and_Environment.14.102}: Helge Hafstad {hhaf} Tue, 28 Dec 2004 15:38:04 CST (10 lines)

Quite possible, even likely. It does not, however, solve the vast
differences between nations able to have a welfare system (including
pensions) and the many who does not have the economic capability to
do that. In countries that does not, having miltiple children is a
safety net in itself. I'm not sure that women see that issue very
differently. They too would like someone to take care of them when
they grow old.

This is of course my own view, not supported by other than own


{Nature_and_Environment.14.103}: Richard Witty {gisland} Tue, 28 Dec 2004 15:50:27 CST (9 lines)

I don't know one way or another from personal experience. I've heard
references to studies that suggest that wherever women are able to
get educated (and I would assume have some freedom to apply it),
they tend to have a much lower birthrate (and a lower infant
mortality rate as well).

I think that poor cultures have adopted large families at least
partially because of the threat of infant and early childhood


{Nature_and_Environment.14.104}: Helge Hafstad {hhaf} Thu, 30 Dec 2004 04:53:17 CST (7 lines)

Yes, that is at least part of the answer in a complex web.

Mind you, in no way am I against better education or equality between
sexes. These are higly worthwile objects in their own rights.

It does not make the picture any easier that vast differences in
economic capabilities exist between both nations and individuals.


{Nature_and_Environment.14.105}: Richard Witty {gisland} Thu, 30 Dec 2004 06:41:25 CST (7 lines)

I agree very much. I think the problem is where people do not have
enough, enough to feel moderately secure that their family's future
is not in jeopardy. (Including food, shelter, health, education)

Beyond that, I don't really care if one country has amenities while
another doesn't, especially if they care enough to recycle thoroughly
(far far more than currently, 99% of material throughput as a goal).


{Nature_and_Environment.14.106}: {redmaple} Thu, 30 Dec 2004 06:58:03 CST (7 lines)

Ultimately, the issues always come down to the parity between a
nation's natural resources, and the population.  However, there
is little one can do regarding ultimate causes, and people have
to focus on contingency instead.  The reality is there are 6 billion
people in the world and growing.  Do we not have a social
responsibility as global citizens to deal with current crises, or is it
each nation for itself?


{Nature_and_Environment.14.107}: Anita Keese {anodekraft} Thu, 30 Dec 2004 07:47:35 CST (13 lines)

I still contend that the 6 (.44) billion people are not the problem.
It is how many resources that far fewer of this number use up.  I do
think that a certain amount of "redistribution" of wealth can help
women have more choices to their reproduction.  But if we had more of
an eye to sustainability of the people alive today, we could afford a
much MORE decent standard of living for MORE people.  Now of course,
how do you redistrubute wealth...that is a different question.  But I
don't think that limiting reproduction for the poor and expanding it
for the wealthy will "fix" the problem of overpopulation.  Poor
people do not cause the over-population problem.  Rich people do.
Poor people use far fewer resources than the wealthy.  If resources
were boundless, there would be no "problem".  I think we need to
rephrase the problem itself.


{Nature_and_Environment.14.108}: Richard Witty {gisland} Thu, 30 Dec 2004 10:05:14 CST (11 lines)

The hope among rich nations, is that they have the slack to be able
to choose their social design.

Whereas among poor, and/or uneducated, and/or aggressive, they don't
seem to have the slack to design their lives.

That seems to suggest a two-fold approach, uplift the poor so that
they do have some survival slack so that they may use their finite
time for other purposes besides desparation and boredom.

And, design the rich world to consume and contaminate less.


{Nature_and_Environment.14.109}: {redmaple} Thu, 30 Dec 2004 10:16:56 CST (4 lines)

Considering that rich countries have an abundance of natural
resources and capital, and the poor countries don't, what model
would you suggest that they use to uplift themselves and replace
their boredom?


{Nature_and_Environment.14.110}: Richard Witty {gisland} Thu, 30 Dec 2004 10:45:53 CST (19 lines)

I'm not certain as to what is the best method of development, or how
it would occur.

Its an old question.

There are many things wrong that require correction, that would
yeild conflict even after fixing.

1. Value the existential rights of wilds
2. Shift "enough" capital from individual to social control and use
3. Regionalize economies
4. Incorporate externalities into the prices of products

All difficult efforts, that are contrary to the current lazy
political winds. (Both republican big military/big corporation
values and democratic micro-management models conflict with these
objectives; though at least the democratic models acknowledge the
existence of the issues and authorize some reconciliation of them.
Republicans ignore them.)


{Nature_and_Environment.14.111}: {redmaple} Thu, 30 Dec 2004 10:51:18 CST (3 lines)

I agree mostly.  There is a very difficult practical and logistical
problem of incorporating ancillary costs of environmental values
and ecological function into the price of say, a bunch of bananas.


{Nature_and_Environment.14.112}: Richard Witty {gisland} Thu, 30 Dec 2004 11:21:55 CST (8 lines)

If there were a large tax on toxic fertilizers and pesticides that
dispose down the continental drain (er rivers), then organics might
be more competitive (at real costs).

Or, a large tax on all petroleum products, ignoring global warming
for the present, considering the toxicity caused in the supply chain
of crude to enduse.


{Nature_and_Environment.14.113}: {redmaple} Thu, 30 Dec 2004 11:29:59 CST (8 lines)

Yes I know but my question is how do you quantify the damage
or stress in monetary terms to the environment and how do you
arrive at an appropriate tax/penalty?  I think we all agree that
pollution and ecological exploitation for short-term gain is not in
the interest of long-term global sustainability, but politicians and
economists want discrete values - no ambiguity.  Unless
protocols and standards are developed things will continue on
as they are.


{Nature_and_Environment.14.114}: Richard Witty {gisland} Thu, 30 Dec 2004 12:10:44 CST (49 lines)

I don't have a specific answer.

The US government is structured on a statutory law basis and less on
a common law, so the political winds determine the extent of
regulation, taxation, etc. They attempt to base the assessments and
legislation on some rational criteria, but the theories applied
swing depending on political power.

The current swing is to reduce specific regulation (even as specific
privileges and subsidies ARE being enacted), and attempting to
reduce the legal reasoning that adjustments could ever be made on.
(There is always the reconciliation of conflicting property rights,
but that only applies to those able to sue, and excludes existential
rights and valuations and rights and valuations of posterity.)

My pet requirement is a restoration insurance, in which an audit
would be conducted of the cost to restore all land to qualitatively
original condition. Landowners would be required to fund either a
portion of that assessment, or insure against it, to retain
authorized exclusive property rights to the land.

Other methods not as unpalatable as taxation, are disclosure
requirements, say of the locus of a product (the mean latitude and
longitude of all value added activity to make the product, combined
with a variance to describe the average distance from the locus of
the value-addition). That would assume that people value more local
value-addition than remote, and would CHOOSE more local products
than remote.

From the business perspective, the Bush administration is described
as a "pro-business" one. But the reality is that is a "pro-currently
dominant business" one.

I use the analogy of a glass half full or half empty. Most call
a "positive attitude" regarding the glass as half full. ("Look what
we've accomplished", rather than complain about what we should have
done.) In contrast, I think a half empty glass is more positive, as
a half-empty glass there is room to add more water, room to effect
the world. Whereas with a full glass, there is no room to move, no
room to do.

Similarly with business. If the marketplace, the land represented by
real estate values, is full, its a cause (not just an indicator)
that less is possible in the future.

So, I call the Bush administration an anti-business administration,
for abusing future potential.


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