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What's the Over/Under on [Population]?

AstaerethAstaereth In the belly of the beastRegistered User regular
Initially I was worried about making this thread, because some might argue we have too many threads in D&D already. An additional thread might use up too much of the forumers' limited attention resources.

On the other hand, a new thread could also generate some exciting new ideas, maybe even bringing in more forumers and resulting in increased attention overall! Also it might pay taxes or something.

Anyway, let's talk about population--should we be worried about overpopulation (globally, in the developed world, in the US specifically) or underpopulation? Are concerns about a decreasing birth or replacement rate legitimate or a racist dogwhistle? How should individuals, politicians, or policies address these issues?

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Posts

  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Entirely too many people to guarantee a quality of life and sustainable agriculture. We can probably handle more with a drastic drop in first world quality of life.

    Wealthy countries will start shooting people at the border over food/water/arable land within my lifetime I think.

    More people probably means more aggressive disease due to increased population density, food production practices and medical care shortage.

    It's really not in anyone's interest to continue growing out of control in the countries with the highest poverty. Though pregnancy rates track really well to women's rights/education so if you care about the environment or overpopulation, you should be investing heavily in women.

    I don't expect anything to change. As with climate change, we know what has to be done but definitely won't do it. We've set course into a concrete wall and the wealthy are busy arguing that we will be fine, because they bought airbags.

    zepherinSmrtnik
  • TryCatcherTryCatcher Registered User regular
    TryCatcher wrote: »
    I'm 100% against any argument that starts with the assuption that "overpopulation" is a thing since it always leads to turbo creepy pro-eugenics arguments from NIMBY assholes wanting to Final Solution the "poor people problem".

    Fuck. That. Shit.

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  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    I am just making educated guesses here, but I've always assumed the problem was twofold:

    First, the resource footprint of your average developed country citizen is simply too large to be applied to everyone on the planet. So if you want a planet of 7 billion people, basic reality requires that most of those 7 billion live in destitution.

    Second, to the extent we expect citizens in developed nations to provide aid to those in undeveloped nations, we need a certain ratio of developed to undeveloped individuals to make that feasible. Maybe an America (for example) with 300 million comparatively well off individuals can hypothetically help out a global population of 5 billion impoverished citizens, but that doesn't mean it can help out a population of 15 billion impoverished citizens, or that an America of 50 million people will have the same resources to provide. In that sense, if the population of developed countries is shrinking while that of undeveloped countries is growing, that's a problem.

    Those are not ideas formed of thorough research, those are just some baseline assumptions. It also doesn't include any data about what the actual numbers might look like, even if the basic principles are accurate. (So maybe the second assumption is technically true, but only applies if the global population of impoverished citizens hits 15 billion, which it is unlikely to hit, for example.)

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  • MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    TryCatcher wrote: »
    I'm 100% against any argument that starts with the assuption that "overpopulation" is a thing since it always leads to turbo creepy pro-eugenics arguments from NIMBY assholes wanting to Final Solution the "poor people problem".

    Fuck. That. Shit.

    This just seems like guilt by association, which is not a good general form of argument. Hitler built a lot of freeways, but that doesn't make roads bad. Similarly, the fact that eugenicists had an intense but deluded interest in overpopulation doesn't mean that there aren't any other, legitimate reasons for legitimate people to be concerned.

    zepherin
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Malthus was wrong as hell.

    We don't have too many people on the planet, and we don't need to reduce them in order to be 'sustainable'. We already grow insanely more food than we need on this planet, globally we have plenty of water. Our problems in this regard are cultural, logistical, and political.

    There is no 'overpopulation problem'. It just doesn't exist.

    "The wealthy" in this context includes nearly every single person living in a western democracy, trying to make this about class is off base.

    Investment in women's health and reproductive rights leads to a boom in economies where it's successful, and also to a lower birthrate AND a sharp increase in consumption. Investing heavily in developing-nations-women doesn't solve environmental problems, it creates new and worse ones that have to be planned for and solved at the same time, or else the increase in quality of life also brings an increase in climate damage.

    While there are abundant moral reasons for increasing the quality of life in developing nations, there is no moral argument that begins with "We have too many people... ".

    TryCatcherBigJoeMKipling217monikerelectricitylikesmeDehumanizedFeralredxEddyAstaerethAridholShadowfireLord_AsmodeusJebus314LoisLaneRchanenHefflingSparvyMegaMekZilla360DouglasDangerMrVyngaardStabbity StyleHappy Little Machine
  • MazzyxMazzyx Comedy Gold Registered User regular
    I was at work but I have had a huge demographic OP ready for a bit but I was still editing some data. I am going to post it below btw. Just some background. I have an MA in international studies which is kind of a broad field but my advisor was a demographer and my work was focused on the demographic curve and revolutions and migrations. So one thing I noticed also that I was missing was the curve itself. So I am going to put that here. This is background information btw and I am happy to provide a lot more. I also for work am a social scientist and part of my work is diversity and inclusion for the US military which is basically my job is monitor demographic trends (population growth/shrinkage/changes in make up) and provide analysis to help the US military cope.

    It has been an underlying foundation of many political speech, theory, or rhetorical argument that if A works in this country, why won’t it work in this country? This rather reductive analysis tends to be used for everything from healthcare to gun control to race relations. But this tends to underestimate the complexities underlying the demographic pressures on countries/cities/communities. At the same time many also use this as an excuse why some things will not work without adequately examining them from many different angles or expectations. And the last thing is we assume that others, especially in the West, should act and live to our expectations.
    In many cases this can be called American Exceptionalism or Colonialist lens or the White Man’s Burden or (fill in any country you want here being better at X).
    So, this thread is the idea of discussing the world through a demographic lens but with the understanding demographics are not destiny. And no country is just its demographics but like no person is a person without blood or a skeleton no country is a country without demographics.

    Also to do comparative analysis of countries and policies. Shifts in policies that seem to trend around the world and similar divergences.

    The frameworks:

    The unplanned heterotopia: For this I will use the US. It is demographically one of the most diverse if not diverse countries when it comes to ethnic makeup, languages spoken, and cultural influences. This has led to a varying level of social and economic issues. Structures of society that are built on separation and “better than us” thinking. And, in some ways has played into the US’s ability to build itself into a world power on top of having other advantages such as abundant resources and relative safety from external threats. Still the US demographically is become more not less diverse. It is a country that in our lifetime will go from majority to plurality white. Its demographic breakdowns are also geographically diverse as the demographics itself. And even beyond the current white nationalist charged politics it is also very much always had a history of trying to figure out what a human multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society looks like.

    The western homogenous society with recent influxes: This is Germany. But a lot of Europe. Germany is ~89.7% European. That does not mean they are all German. About ~78% of those living in Germany are German. ~9% are ethnic minorities mostly from North Africa and the Middle East. Germany like much of the world faces a demographic cliff. Population is flat/shrinking. Germany has till recently been more open to allowing migrants not just from Turkey and the Mid-East but EU and Eastern European countries to help fill this gap. These choices have had lasting effects on German politics. Yet in reality Germany is still very much a homogenous country demographically.
    The Developed Cliff Jumper: I am going to just put a lot of East Asia in this. Japan, Korea, and Taiwan are leading the way on this joint demographic cliff jump. Population growth in all three countries has been below to as low as half of replacement. Some estimates put them at losing as much as 25% of their population in the few decades to old age with no one to fill in the gap. To top it off these countries also don’t have immigrant policies to pull in workers. Where Germany and some other countries have turned towards immigrants to shore up work forces many of these countries are instead looking towards automation.
    The population growers: This is a shrinking group contrary what you would guess. Nigeria is a great example. By 2040 they shall surpass the United States as the third most populous country in the world. The largest country in Africa with a resource rich country and one of the largest mega-cities Nigeria along with a lot of the developing world have hit the demographic curve where they have large populations of young people as health interventions reduced maternal and child mortality, but the society hadn’t moved to less children per couple. This has been seen in the late 1800’s through early 1900’s in Europe. The mid 1900’s in much of Asia. And most recently North Africa and the Mid-East leading to the Arab Spring.

    And this is just touching on a lot of the demographic pressures. Much of the issues in the Northern Triangle can be tied to similar pressures that were occurring in Africa.

    Also for this specifically I think people need to understand what I mean with the demographic curve. So below is the curve as a graph with stages:

    z7wc46whk2fk.png

    A lot of the countries we are talking about are going be stage 4 and stage 3. Some maybe early stage 5. The US and Europe are more like stage 4 while a lot of the Mid East is stage 2/stage 3. In short what that means:

    Stage 4 countries-Older populations start outnumbering the young. Growth stabilizes but births can be below replacement. We think births will rise but really we aren't sure on this as that is more a theory. This Europe, the US, and East Asia.

    Stage 3- Growth is stabilizing but you have a huge group of people usually age 18-30. More than a country normally handles. Think the baby boom after WW2 in Japan which radically changed their school system or the Mid East where you have a huge group of educated young people with no prospects because the society hasn't caught up due to the effects of the huge population increase in stage 2.

    Stage 1/2-These are more rare usually the least developed countries. Also places without a central government yet. Mostly where maternal and child health have not caught up.

    One of the biggest predictors for the shift from 1/2 to 3 is child and maternal health. Once these drop you have a huge boom but late stage 3/4 occurs because people realize they don't need 6 kids to keep the farm going since the mom and 2 of the kids don't die early in life. This is well documented.

    External events can effect this. The fall of the Soviet Union has destroyed Russia's population in a way that isn't predicted. Syria went from stage 3/4 to stage 1/2 via the war due to a lack of access. And really maybe not that but some where else.

    Okay I will post more thoughts but I hope this helps folks with population/demographics. Because we can't talk policy on populations without the make ups of the population either.

    u7stthr17eud.png
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  • Knight_Knight_ Dead Dead Dead Registered User regular
    there is probably something to be said for a world with less people in it, but at the same time, there's no way to have that conversation without

    coming out of someone's mouth 5 minutes in.

    the problem is mostly a solved one for developed nations, who generally barely get to the replacement rate. growth is slowing throughout the world as places become more developed as following the trend in developed nations. we did hockey stick pretty hard as a planet after we all stopped killing each other en masse and developed modern medicine and agriculture though, which certainly freaked a whole bunch of people out but i think it's mainly used as a racist dogwhisle these days. 4 billion or 7 billion or 10 billion we're all going down together if we don't take big leaps on climate, you're just choosing the rate at which we get there.

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  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    Damn, I love a good effort post. This thread is worth it for that effort post from @Mazzyx all by itself.

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  • NobeardNobeard North Carolina: Failed StateRegistered User regular
    For America at least, the issue is not overpopulation but overconsumption. The solution is clearly to consume less, but I don't know how to make that happen.

    I'm not saying we are going to have an autocratic dystopia, but things keep happening that look like they come from an autocratic dystopia.
    Feral
  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    I was at work but I have had a huge demographic OP ready for a bit but I was still editing some data. I am going to post it below btw. Just some background. I have an MA in international studies which is kind of a broad field but my advisor was a demographer and my work was focused on the demographic curve and revolutions and migrations. So one thing I noticed also that I was missing was the curve itself. So I am going to put that here. This is background information btw and I am happy to provide a lot more. I also for work am a social scientist and part of my work is diversity and inclusion for the US military which is basically my job is monitor demographic trends (population growth/shrinkage/changes in make up) and provide analysis to help the US military cope.

    It has been an underlying foundation of many political speech, theory, or rhetorical argument that if A works in this country, why won’t it work in this country? This rather reductive analysis tends to be used for everything from healthcare to gun control to race relations. But this tends to underestimate the complexities underlying the demographic pressures on countries/cities/communities. At the same time many also use this as an excuse why some things will not work without adequately examining them from many different angles or expectations. And the last thing is we assume that others, especially in the West, should act and live to our expectations.
    In many cases this can be called American Exceptionalism or Colonialist lens or the White Man’s Burden or (fill in any country you want here being better at X).
    So, this thread is the idea of discussing the world through a demographic lens but with the understanding demographics are not destiny. And no country is just its demographics but like no person is a person without blood or a skeleton no country is a country without demographics.

    Also to do comparative analysis of countries and policies. Shifts in policies that seem to trend around the world and similar divergences.

    The frameworks:

    The unplanned heterotopia: For this I will use the US. It is demographically one of the most diverse if not diverse countries when it comes to ethnic makeup, languages spoken, and cultural influences. This has led to a varying level of social and economic issues. Structures of society that are built on separation and “better than us” thinking. And, in some ways has played into the US’s ability to build itself into a world power on top of having other advantages such as abundant resources and relative safety from external threats. Still the US demographically is become more not less diverse. It is a country that in our lifetime will go from majority to plurality white. Its demographic breakdowns are also geographically diverse as the demographics itself. And even beyond the current white nationalist charged politics it is also very much always had a history of trying to figure out what a human multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society looks like.

    The western homogenous society with recent influxes: This is Germany. But a lot of Europe. Germany is ~89.7% European. That does not mean they are all German. About ~78% of those living in Germany are German. ~9% are ethnic minorities mostly from North Africa and the Middle East. Germany like much of the world faces a demographic cliff. Population is flat/shrinking. Germany has till recently been more open to allowing migrants not just from Turkey and the Mid-East but EU and Eastern European countries to help fill this gap. These choices have had lasting effects on German politics. Yet in reality Germany is still very much a homogenous country demographically.
    The Developed Cliff Jumper: I am going to just put a lot of East Asia in this. Japan, Korea, and Taiwan are leading the way on this joint demographic cliff jump. Population growth in all three countries has been below to as low as half of replacement. Some estimates put them at losing as much as 25% of their population in the few decades to old age with no one to fill in the gap. To top it off these countries also don’t have immigrant policies to pull in workers. Where Germany and some other countries have turned towards immigrants to shore up work forces many of these countries are instead looking towards automation.
    The population growers: This is a shrinking group contrary what you would guess. Nigeria is a great example. By 2040 they shall surpass the United States as the third most populous country in the world. The largest country in Africa with a resource rich country and one of the largest mega-cities Nigeria along with a lot of the developing world have hit the demographic curve where they have large populations of young people as health interventions reduced maternal and child mortality, but the society hadn’t moved to less children per couple. This has been seen in the late 1800’s through early 1900’s in Europe. The mid 1900’s in much of Asia. And most recently North Africa and the Mid-East leading to the Arab Spring.

    And this is just touching on a lot of the demographic pressures. Much of the issues in the Northern Triangle can be tied to similar pressures that were occurring in Africa.

    Also for this specifically I think people need to understand what I mean with the demographic curve. So below is the curve as a graph with stages:

    z7wc46whk2fk.png

    A lot of the countries we are talking about are going be stage 4 and stage 3. Some maybe early stage 5. The US and Europe are more like stage 4 while a lot of the Mid East is stage 2/stage 3. In short what that means:

    Stage 4 countries-Older populations start outnumbering the young. Growth stabilizes but births can be below replacement. We think births will rise but really we aren't sure on this as that is more a theory. This Europe, the US, and East Asia.

    Stage 3- Growth is stabilizing but you have a huge group of people usually age 18-30. More than a country normally handles. Think the baby boom after WW2 in Japan which radically changed their school system or the Mid East where you have a huge group of educated young people with no prospects because the society hasn't caught up due to the effects of the huge population increase in stage 2.

    Stage 1/2-These are more rare usually the least developed countries. Also places without a central government yet. Mostly where maternal and child health have not caught up.

    One of the biggest predictors for the shift from 1/2 to 3 is child and maternal health. Once these drop you have a huge boom but late stage 3/4 occurs because people realize they don't need 6 kids to keep the farm going since the mom and 2 of the kids don't die early in life. This is well documented.

    External events can effect this. The fall of the Soviet Union has destroyed Russia's population in a way that isn't predicted. Syria went from stage 3/4 to stage 1/2 via the war due to a lack of access. And really maybe not that but some where else.

    Okay I will post more thoughts but I hope this helps folks with population/demographics. Because we can't talk policy on populations without the make ups of the population either.

    Spoiled for scrolling, but are there any "Stage 5" countries where birth rate increases or is that mostly theoretical? At some point I'd theorize you'd see labor shortages or some such that would reduce quality of life and thus possibly increase birth rates "naturally" or through targeted programs, but I wasn't aware of any existing examples. Its my understanding that immigration basically fills that need.

    11793-1.png
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    QEDMF xbl: PantsB G+
  • MazzyxMazzyx Comedy Gold Registered User regular
    PantsB wrote: »
    Mazzyx wrote: »
    I was at work but I have had a huge demographic OP ready for a bit but I was still editing some data. I am going to post it below btw. Just some background. I have an MA in international studies which is kind of a broad field but my advisor was a demographer and my work was focused on the demographic curve and revolutions and migrations. So one thing I noticed also that I was missing was the curve itself. So I am going to put that here. This is background information btw and I am happy to provide a lot more. I also for work am a social scientist and part of my work is diversity and inclusion for the US military which is basically my job is monitor demographic trends (population growth/shrinkage/changes in make up) and provide analysis to help the US military cope.

    It has been an underlying foundation of many political speech, theory, or rhetorical argument that if A works in this country, why won’t it work in this country? This rather reductive analysis tends to be used for everything from healthcare to gun control to race relations. But this tends to underestimate the complexities underlying the demographic pressures on countries/cities/communities. At the same time many also use this as an excuse why some things will not work without adequately examining them from many different angles or expectations. And the last thing is we assume that others, especially in the West, should act and live to our expectations.
    In many cases this can be called American Exceptionalism or Colonialist lens or the White Man’s Burden or (fill in any country you want here being better at X).
    So, this thread is the idea of discussing the world through a demographic lens but with the understanding demographics are not destiny. And no country is just its demographics but like no person is a person without blood or a skeleton no country is a country without demographics.

    Also to do comparative analysis of countries and policies. Shifts in policies that seem to trend around the world and similar divergences.

    The frameworks:

    The unplanned heterotopia: For this I will use the US. It is demographically one of the most diverse if not diverse countries when it comes to ethnic makeup, languages spoken, and cultural influences. This has led to a varying level of social and economic issues. Structures of society that are built on separation and “better than us” thinking. And, in some ways has played into the US’s ability to build itself into a world power on top of having other advantages such as abundant resources and relative safety from external threats. Still the US demographically is become more not less diverse. It is a country that in our lifetime will go from majority to plurality white. Its demographic breakdowns are also geographically diverse as the demographics itself. And even beyond the current white nationalist charged politics it is also very much always had a history of trying to figure out what a human multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society looks like.

    The western homogenous society with recent influxes: This is Germany. But a lot of Europe. Germany is ~89.7% European. That does not mean they are all German. About ~78% of those living in Germany are German. ~9% are ethnic minorities mostly from North Africa and the Middle East. Germany like much of the world faces a demographic cliff. Population is flat/shrinking. Germany has till recently been more open to allowing migrants not just from Turkey and the Mid-East but EU and Eastern European countries to help fill this gap. These choices have had lasting effects on German politics. Yet in reality Germany is still very much a homogenous country demographically.
    The Developed Cliff Jumper: I am going to just put a lot of East Asia in this. Japan, Korea, and Taiwan are leading the way on this joint demographic cliff jump. Population growth in all three countries has been below to as low as half of replacement. Some estimates put them at losing as much as 25% of their population in the few decades to old age with no one to fill in the gap. To top it off these countries also don’t have immigrant policies to pull in workers. Where Germany and some other countries have turned towards immigrants to shore up work forces many of these countries are instead looking towards automation.
    The population growers: This is a shrinking group contrary what you would guess. Nigeria is a great example. By 2040 they shall surpass the United States as the third most populous country in the world. The largest country in Africa with a resource rich country and one of the largest mega-cities Nigeria along with a lot of the developing world have hit the demographic curve where they have large populations of young people as health interventions reduced maternal and child mortality, but the society hadn’t moved to less children per couple. This has been seen in the late 1800’s through early 1900’s in Europe. The mid 1900’s in much of Asia. And most recently North Africa and the Mid-East leading to the Arab Spring.

    And this is just touching on a lot of the demographic pressures. Much of the issues in the Northern Triangle can be tied to similar pressures that were occurring in Africa.

    Also for this specifically I think people need to understand what I mean with the demographic curve. So below is the curve as a graph with stages:

    z7wc46whk2fk.png

    A lot of the countries we are talking about are going be stage 4 and stage 3. Some maybe early stage 5. The US and Europe are more like stage 4 while a lot of the Mid East is stage 2/stage 3. In short what that means:

    Stage 4 countries-Older populations start outnumbering the young. Growth stabilizes but births can be below replacement. We think births will rise but really we aren't sure on this as that is more a theory. This Europe, the US, and East Asia.

    Stage 3- Growth is stabilizing but you have a huge group of people usually age 18-30. More than a country normally handles. Think the baby boom after WW2 in Japan which radically changed their school system or the Mid East where you have a huge group of educated young people with no prospects because the society hasn't caught up due to the effects of the huge population increase in stage 2.

    Stage 1/2-These are more rare usually the least developed countries. Also places without a central government yet. Mostly where maternal and child health have not caught up.

    One of the biggest predictors for the shift from 1/2 to 3 is child and maternal health. Once these drop you have a huge boom but late stage 3/4 occurs because people realize they don't need 6 kids to keep the farm going since the mom and 2 of the kids don't die early in life. This is well documented.

    External events can effect this. The fall of the Soviet Union has destroyed Russia's population in a way that isn't predicted. Syria went from stage 3/4 to stage 1/2 via the war due to a lack of access. And really maybe not that but some where else.

    Okay I will post more thoughts but I hope this helps folks with population/demographics. Because we can't talk policy on populations without the make ups of the population either.

    Spoiled for scrolling, but are there any "Stage 5" countries where birth rate increases or is that mostly theoretical? At some point I'd theorize you'd see labor shortages or some such that would reduce quality of life and thus possibly increase birth rates "naturally" or through targeted programs, but I wasn't aware of any existing examples. Its my understanding that immigration basically fills that need.

    Mostly theoretical because you need an extended increase over time to effect not like a single year. As far as I know no one has hit stage 5. So it is theoretical. As far as I know. Though it is going to probably get complicated with migration and the fact for a while deaths will probably outnumber births.

    u7stthr17eud.png
    Feral
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2019
    Mazzyx's post is excellent. I feel like anything else we can say here pales in comparison.

    I'm going to keep going anyway and ask for forgiveness rather than permission.

    Another way to look at it, bouncing off of ElJeffe's post:
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    First, the resource footprint of your average developed country citizen is simply too large to be applied to everyone on the planet. So if you want a planet of 7 billion people, basic reality requires that most of those 7 billion live in destitution.

    Basically. The other option is to find a way for people to live sustainably with a good quality of life.

    A simplistic, but still useful, way to look at the problem is if N = number of people, F = ecological footprint by whatever metric we want to use (greenhouse gas emissions is an easy one) then we need to keep N x F below the global sustainable limit.

    You can do that by reducing N or by reducing F.

    Realistically, the best strategy for humanitarian and ethical reasons is to reduce F.

    Greenhouse gas emissions is a well analyzed example. Note that you can do this for other aspects of sustainability (water use, pollution, overfishing, etc) and you'll come to relatively similar conclusions just with a few countries shuffled around.

    A common rule of thumb is that we need to limit global GHG emissions to 750 billion CO2-equivalent tons from 2000-2050., or 15 billion per year. With 7.5 billion people on the planet, that's 2 tons per person per year. There's another common rule of thumb that we need to stay under 21 billion CO2-equivalent tons per year to limit warming to a total of 2 degrees C, putting us at 2.8 tons per person per year.

    Let's take a quick look at GHG emissions per capita by country. I'm not going to post the whole list, just a cross-section. Metric tons of CO2-equivalent GHG per capita per year:

    Australia: 25.06
    Canada: 20.94
    United States: 19.9
    Japan: 10.55
    Denmark: 9.38
    China: 8.49
    Switzerland: 6.34
    World Average: 6.27
    Sweden: 5.29
    India: 2.28
    Bhutan: 1.91
    Liberia: 0.5

    Obviously, GHG emissions increase with economic development. Impoverished countries emit less GHG. However, there's an enormous gulf between the US and most other developed countries.

    Now let's look at birth rates (births per woman). Again, not the whole list, just the same cross-section.

    Japan: 1.4
    Canada: 1.5
    Switzerland: 1.5
    China (mainland): 1.6
    Australia: 1.8
    Denmark: 1.8
    United States: 1.8
    Sweden: 1.9
    Bhutan: 2.0
    India: 2.3
    World Average: 2.4
    Liberia: 4.5

    What's a sustainable replacement rate? Well, lets assume we wanted to keep global average emissions the same (6.27 per capita per year) and the same global emissions limit of 15 billion tons per year. That means we'd need to reach 2.4 billion people on Earth by 2050 - a reduction of 68%. In other words, a Thanos snap wouldn't even do it - he'd miss by over a billion people.

    In order to reach N = 2.4 billion by 2050, we'd need to reduce the population of the earth by 3.6% every year. That works out to a birth rate of approximately 2.0 - 2.2 births per woman per year.

    The developed world is already there. The only reason we haven't hit globally that is the developing world. (In fact, the population growth rate of the US, Canada, Japan, and most of Western Europe would be negative were it not for immigration.)

    So this should take us in a few directions:

    A) We could reduce the average quality of life in the US to that of, say, Bhutan. Bhutan is a least-developed country, with roughly half of the population involved in subsistence farming, a 60% literacy rate, about one-third of their population is food insecure. That said, they've done particularly well with their situation - they're developing rapidly and they have pretty good health outcomes for a country so poor. They even achieved 100% electricity access in 2016!

    But outside of some anarchoprimitivists, I don't think we want to go back to subsistence farming. So let's scratch that idea.

    B) Since it's only the developing world whose population is growing, let's make sure they don't increase their GHG emissions. Let's stop all immigration from developing countries to developed world. US and Europe's population growth will go negative, we'll hit our 2050 population target, and we can keep emitting lots of GHGs per capita. We just have to lock out the majority of the world from the economic development that we benefit from.

    Maybe we can build a wall.

    C) We can figure out why there are such wild swings in GHG emissions between developed countries and work towards reducing our emissions even more. For example, why is the GHG-per-capita of Switzerland one-third that of the US? Well, almost all of their electricity is hydroelectric or nuclear, their electricity-use per capita is lower than ours, they have lower rates of car ownership and more bicycle & rail use, the Swiss eat half as much meat as we do, and Switzerland has no petroleum industry to speak of.

    That sounds like a pretty palatable prescription. Granted, that doesn't get us all the way there. However, many developed countries do have viable plans to get to GHG-sustainability by 2050, by taking all of those techniques and adding a few more, like converting all cars and trucks to electric or at least hybrid, increasing public transit use, replacing whatever fossil fuel burning electricity plants are left with renewables or nuclear, reducing fossil fuel use in agriculture, building more energy-efficient buildings, and carbon sequestration. Plant a shitload of fucking trees.

    And again, you can make similar calculations for other metrics of sustainability. I pick on GHGs because they're well-studied. But for just about any other aspect of ecological footprint, the prescriptions are usually similar. More efficient buildings, power, and transportation. You don't have to go vegan, but eat less meat. Restore some of the natural habitats we've encroached upon.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    MazzyxAridholMrMisterspool32HefflingRchanenshryke
  • Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    Nobeard wrote: »
    For America at least, the issue is not overpopulation but overconsumption. The solution is clearly to consume less, but I don't know how to make that happen.

    A pretty easy great start would be for meals in general to come in sizes other than "insanely ridiculous". I travel a ton for work and I have to throw away a lot of food just because absolutely fucking nobody offers reasonably-portioned meals. Literally every place that serves food has meals twice the size they should be, and it gets rapidly worse if you try to add variety to a meal besides an entree, fries, and a drink. And even at the places with something approaching a reasonable portion size, they always try to fucking upsell you to the ludicrous meal size.

    The amount of food discarded or wasted in the US in restaurants is just disgustingly absurd, not to mention the enormous health problems inflicted on the population because every meal is some 1500-2000 calorie monster.

    EddyIncenjucardispatch.oGennenalyse RuebenMegaMekadejaan
  • Captain InertiaCaptain Inertia Registered User regular
    Astaereth wrote: »
    Initially I was worried about making this thread, because some might argue we have too many threads in D&D already. An additional thread might use up too much of the forumers' limited attention resources.

    On the other hand, a new thread could also generate some exciting new ideas, maybe even bringing in more forumers and resulting in increased attention overall! Also it might pay taxes or something.

    Anyway, let's talk about population--should we be worried about overpopulation (globally, in the developed world, in the US specifically) or underpopulation? Are concerns about a decreasing birth or replacement rate legitimate or a racist dogwhistle? How should individuals, politicians, or policies address these issues?

    I see what you did there

    spool32Jebus314
  • Lord_AsmodeusLord_Asmodeus goeticSobriquet: Here is your magical cryptic riddle-tumour: I AM A TIME MACHINERegistered User regular
    I mean depending on our how far out/unlikely suggestions proposed can be, it might be an unlikely pipe dream to suggest that many of our emissions and ecological issues could be helped along if we shifted some of our more harmful/emissions heavy infrastructures like mining and heavy industry (possibly even some farming, if we could make effective enough indoor-agricultural spaces) to space/orbit

    but I'm going to suggest it anyway. Of course, this pipedream requires us to solve a number of issues regarding orbital launch capacity and the like, and while a neat idea our ability to construct something like a space elevator seems far off if it's even physically possible.

    I will admit that, no matter how unrealistic it seems I'm still one of those devoted sci fi nerds who earnestly believe we should be looking to expand beyond our planet to help solve some of our problems. There's a lot of space... in space, and a lot of resources that are limited and becoming rarer and more ecologically damaging to obtain here on earth, and it doesn't matter nearly as much if you dump greenhouse gasses or excess heat into the vacuum.

    Again, I acknowledge none of this is likely, but to be fair a lot of suggestions on how to solve these issues are unlikely and/or rely on assumptions about advancing technical capability, and I maintain that shifting to an increased focus on space-based infrastructure isn't as wild and preposterous as it seems on first contact, so to speak.

    Lord_Asmodeus.gifLord_Asmodeus2.gifz1i30sg.png
    spool32xraydogelectricitylikesme
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Astaereth wrote: »
    Initially I was worried about making this thread, because some might argue we have too many threads in D&D already. An additional thread might use up too much of the forumers' limited attention resources.

    On the other hand, a new thread could also generate some exciting new ideas, maybe even bringing in more forumers and resulting in increased attention overall! Also it might pay taxes or something.

    Anyway, let's talk about population--should we be worried about overpopulation (globally, in the developed world, in the US specifically) or underpopulation? Are concerns about a decreasing birth or replacement rate legitimate or a racist dogwhistle? How should individuals, politicians, or policies address these issues?

    I see what you did there

    I HAVE actually seen the suggestion, in multiple places, that the best way to solve overpopulation is for developed nations to make as many babies as possible, because then we're more likely to get some really smart person who'll come along and solve overpopulation.

    It's... certainly a theory.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
    Feral
  • HefflingHeffling No Pic EverRegistered User regular
    It amazes me how every time some conservative member of my family complains to me about overpopulation, they aren't receptive to my suicide solution. Overpopulation is just a buzzword for racism.

    If a movement doesn't have someone that can sit down opposite those in a position of power and strike a deal, how can that movement achieve success?
    BigJoeMSleepredxelectricitylikesmeHacksawStabbity Style
  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    The reason to provide birth control and sex education to developing nations is to increase the rate at which their birth rates fall during stages 2 and 3 meaning their population in stage 4 is smaller.

    This is rich nations giving resources to poor nations to mean there is more for everyone down the line. Right now the rate of population growth is exceeding the rate of improvement in technology. There are indeed many ways to fix the issue, but the MORE people there are, the less resources there will be to share between them. And since the discussion here is "Should women in poor countries have fewer children, be happier, richer, and make everything better for everyone in the entire world without hurting anyone" then yes. Absolutely we should have fewer children. We should have started doing it as soon as we found out how amazing contraception and family planning is.

    Contraception, family planning and access to abortions is NOT killing people. It is giving people the tools they need to advance.

    "That is cool" - Abraham Lincoln
    Feraldispatch.orahkeesh2000Heffling
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    tbloxham wrote: »
    The reason to provide birth control and sex education to developing nations is to increase the rate at which their birth rates fall during stages 2 and 3 meaning their population in stage 4 is smaller.

    This is rich nations giving resources to poor nations to mean there is more for everyone down the line. Right now the rate of population growth is exceeding the rate of improvement in technology. There are indeed many ways to fix the issue, but the MORE people there are, the less resources there will be to share between them. And since the discussion here is "Should women in poor countries have fewer children, be happier, richer, and make everything better for everyone in the entire world without hurting anyone" then yes. Absolutely we should have fewer children. We should have started doing it as soon as we found out how amazing contraception and family planning is.

    Contraception, family planning and access to abortions is NOT killing people. It is giving people the tools they need to advance.

    Female literacy and education has a synergistic effect with access to contraception that improves human flourishing in surprising and dramatic ways.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    electricitylikesme
  • RT800RT800 Registered User regular
    I'm not saying that references to "overpopulation" don't sometime have racist undertones.

    But it doesn't seem all that dissonant to me for someone to be both concerned about overpopulation, and un-receptive to the idea of suicide as a solution.

    MrMisterPhoenix-Dshryke
  • Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    Yeah, reeeeaaallly important to keep in mind that a huge, huge part of this issue is that several major religious factions push large families as a moral duty while also condemning contraception as damning and immoral. The production bases for the contraception exists pretty much everywhere in the world at this point, or at least near enough to not be an unbearable expense in the vast majority of places, but we're talking about at least a couple billion people all around the world whose religious leaders forbid them from having even that basic level of control over reproduction.

    There are still large chunks of the world where the notion of a woman getting a say in whether or not she has a kid is considered laughable, and there's no way to push back against it without a lot of people screaming about religious intolerance or persecution by outsiders.

  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    That's cause we are outsiders. Telling another country what to do is hard.

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
    Heffling
  • RT800RT800 Registered User regular
    I mean it seems like you can certainly argue that overpopulation wouldn't be a problem if we all just lived more sustainably.

    But we don't, so it is.

    xraydog
  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Mazzyx's post is excellent. I feel like anything else we can say here pales in comparison.

    I'm going to keep going anyway and ask for forgiveness rather than permission.

    Another way to look at it, bouncing off of ElJeffe's post:
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    First, the resource footprint of your average developed country citizen is simply too large to be applied to everyone on the planet. So if you want a planet of 7 billion people, basic reality requires that most of those 7 billion live in destitution.

    Basically. The other option is to find a way for people to live sustainably with a good quality of life.

    A simplistic, but still useful, way to look at the problem is if N = number of people, F = ecological footprint by whatever metric we want to use (greenhouse gas emissions is an easy one) then we need to keep N x F below the global sustainable limit.

    You can do that by reducing N or by reducing F.

    Realistically, the best strategy for humanitarian and ethical reasons is to reduce F.

    Greenhouse gas emissions is a well analyzed example. Note that you can do this for other aspects of sustainability (water use, pollution, overfishing, etc) and you'll come to relatively similar conclusions just with a few countries shuffled around.

    A common rule of thumb is that we need to limit global GHG emissions to 750 billion CO2-equivalent tons from 2000-2050., or 15 billion per year. With 7.5 billion people on the planet, that's 2 tons per person per year. There's another common rule of thumb that we need to stay under 21 billion CO2-equivalent tons per year to limit warming to a total of 2 degrees C, putting us at 2.8 tons per person per year.

    Let's take a quick look at GHG emissions per capita by country. I'm not going to post the whole list, just a cross-section. Metric tons of CO2-equivalent GHG per capita per year:

    Australia: 25.06
    Canada: 20.94
    United States: 19.9
    Japan: 10.55
    Denmark: 9.38
    China: 8.49
    Switzerland: 6.34
    World Average: 6.27
    Sweden: 5.29
    India: 2.28
    Bhutan: 1.91
    Liberia: 0.5

    Obviously, GHG emissions increase with economic development. Impoverished countries emit less GHG. However, there's an enormous gulf between the US and most other developed countries.

    Now let's look at birth rates (births per woman). Again, not the whole list, just the same cross-section.

    Japan: 1.4
    Canada: 1.5
    Switzerland: 1.5
    China (mainland): 1.6
    Australia: 1.8
    Denmark: 1.8
    United States: 1.8
    Sweden: 1.9
    Bhutan: 2.0
    India: 2.3
    World Average: 2.4
    Liberia: 4.5

    What's a sustainable replacement rate? Well, lets assume we wanted to keep global average emissions the same (6.27 per capita per year) and the same global emissions limit of 15 billion tons per year. That means we'd need to reach 2.4 billion people on Earth by 2050 - a reduction of 68%. In other words, a Thanos snap wouldn't even do it - he'd miss by over a billion people.

    In order to reach N = 2.4 billion by 2050, we'd need to reduce the population of the earth by 3.6% every year. That works out to a birth rate of approximately 2.0 - 2.2 births per woman per year.

    The developed world is already there. The only reason we haven't hit globally that is the developing world. (In fact, the population growth rate of the US, Canada, Japan, and most of Western Europe would be negative were it not for immigration.)

    So this should take us in a few directions:

    A) We could reduce the average quality of life in the US to that of, say, Bhutan. Bhutan is a least-developed country, with roughly half of the population involved in subsistence farming, a 60% literacy rate, about one-third of their population is food insecure. That said, they've done particularly well with their situation - they're developing rapidly and they have pretty good health outcomes for a country so poor. They even achieved 100% electricity access in 2016!

    But outside of some anarchoprimitivists, I don't think we want to go back to subsistence farming. So let's scratch that idea.

    B) Since it's only the developing world whose population is growing, let's make sure they don't increase their GHG emissions. Let's stop all immigration from developing countries to developed world. US and Europe's population growth will go negative, we'll hit our 2050 population target, and we can keep emitting lots of GHGs per capita. We just have to lock out the majority of the world from the economic development that we benefit from.

    Maybe we can build a wall.

    C) We can figure out why there are such wild swings in GHG emissions between developed countries and work towards reducing our emissions even more. For example, why is the GHG-per-capita of Switzerland one-third that of the US? Well, almost all of their electricity is hydroelectric or nuclear, their electricity-use per capita is lower than ours, they have lower rates of car ownership and more bicycle & rail use, the Swiss eat half as much meat as we do, and Switzerland has no petroleum industry to speak of.

    That sounds like a pretty palatable prescription. Granted, that doesn't get us all the way there. However, many developed countries do have viable plans to get to GHG-sustainability by 2050, by taking all of those techniques and adding a few more, like converting all cars and trucks to electric or at least hybrid, increasing public transit use, replacing whatever fossil fuel burning electricity plants are left with renewables or nuclear, reducing fossil fuel use in agriculture, building more energy-efficient buildings, and carbon sequestration. Plant a shitload of fucking trees.

    And again, you can make similar calculations for other metrics of sustainability. I pick on GHGs because they're well-studied. But for just about any other aspect of ecological footprint, the prescriptions are usually similar. More efficient buildings, power, and transportation. You don't have to go vegan, but eat less meat. Restore some of the natural habitats we've encroached upon.

    This bit is wildly wrong. I'm not going to figure out the % decrease on my phone (3ish seems fine) but that's net -200 million/year to start. 55 million die every year worldwide. To reach this rate we need to not only halt all births but kill an extra 150 million. We are currently net +80 million a year and have been for decades

    Japan, one of the most shrinking countries, is expected to contract by only 25% by 2050 and has hilariously low immigration so none of that is immigrants propping it up

    If we had half the current population sure a few things would still need to be done but it wouldn't be an immediate existential crisis and the solutions would be orders of magnitudes easier and could be implemented over much longer timeframe

    It's great that a couple of countries at least have required some plan to eventually be put in place, but to limit warming we need worldwide net emissions to be below that amount. China can nearly blow the budget by itself and all they've done is raise per capita emissions to EU levels. China + India is the budget with a little bit left over for aviation and shipping

  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Japan, one of the most shrinking countries, is expected to contract by only 25% by 2050 and has hilariously low immigration so none of that is immigrants propping it up

    It's immigrants propping it up.

    https://www.ft.com/content/29d594fa-5cf2-11e9-9dde-7aedca0a081a
    The native populace fell by more than 430,000 people last year, according to new figures published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

    That was partially offset by a record net inflow of more than 161,000 migrants but the overall pace of decline still hit a new high of minus 0.21 per cent. That has left the population at 126.4m, down from a peak of 128m in 2010.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    Incenjucar
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    BTW, Japan is a bit exceptional in that it is one of the rare countries that needs fewer than 2 births per woman to achieve a replacement rate. In most developed countries, the replacement rate is estimated to be 2.05 - 2.1 because you have some infant mortality and because slightly more births are male.

    Japan not only has very low infant mortality, it's also one of the few countries that has the opposite gender balance in births. Japan has 95 male births for every 100 female births.

    However, @Phyphor, you are correct. I did wildly miscalculate the relationship between fertility rate and population decline. I conflated a lifetime fertility rate and an annual fertility rate. That is my mistake.

    I'd argue that your (valid) criticism emphasizes my conclusion, though. Killing off people to get faster population decline would be wildly inhumane.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    Heffling
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    I used to have a reputation for always being right. I'm fine trading that in exchange for a reputation that I admit when I'm wrong.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    MrMisterDevoutlyApathetic
  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Japan, one of the most shrinking countries, is expected to contract by only 25% by 2050 and has hilariously low immigration so none of that is immigrants propping it up

    It's immigrants propping it up.

    https://www.ft.com/content/29d594fa-5cf2-11e9-9dde-7aedca0a081a
    The native populace fell by more than 430,000 people last year, according to new figures published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

    That was partially offset by a record net inflow of more than 161,000 migrants but the overall pace of decline still hit a new high of minus 0.21 per cent. That has left the population at 126.4m, down from a peak of 128m in 2010.

    Okay yes they have some immigration. Canada has 33 migrants per 1000 people over a 5 year period. Germany has 15. Japan has 2

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