Saturday, December 22, 2018

Numbers don't matter, the system matters 3

People worry about overpopulation because they look at the numbers and they are big so they conclude that we cannot feed them all. People worry about these population numbers. People have been worried about the population numbers for hundreds of years. And they are supported by many alleged experts who tell us, "We will not have enough food or water or resources for too many people." Many have spent a long time scaremongering about the supposed threat of overpopulation. There are too many people in the world making demands on the world's scarce resources, the story goes, and so there is an urgent need to limit population growth. however, the overpopulation narrative can lead to embracing authoritarian policies that limit fertility. However, no country has increased its birthrate since 1950.

The world has a far more margin for keeping people fed than people realise. Food production is increasing by a lot. The productivity of agricultural land will expand.  Building greenhouses can boost productivity as can increased irrigation, just as changing agricultural methods does. Over-population is not the main cause of the present environmental crisis. Many people perceive the overpopulation issue as a simple one. They see the pictures from Africa and it becomes obvious – we can't feed those who are already here, therefore we need to reduce the population, or at least control the population to ensure we aren't overwhelmed.  Yet Africa has one of the world's lowest population densities.

Feeding 10 billion people in 2050 instead of 7.7 billion there is now we are told by the pessimists that 2.3 billion people would starve and die. However, by just reducing food waste we feed these extra billions. India allows about 2 million tons of grain in massive warehouses of food to rot and to go bad. Around the world, ethanol, and biofuel use crops and agricultural capacity to generate fuel for cars. Cars can be powered in far better ways that do not involve taking away food for people. This is a huge amount of agriculture which should stay agriculture.

Africa is still unfortunately filled with poor people. They use fewer resources overall. Africa will double 1.3 billion by 2050 and then will double again by 2100. People start having kids at 18 in Angola and start having kids in the USA at 26. Go back to 1900 and most Americans are having kids at 19 or 20. Agricultural yields in Africa are woefully low. There is a great opportunity there to double or treble yields. Due to disease, lack of irrigation, agricultural inputs, etc. African agriculture has yet to be fully utilized. Africa is a good example - inputs (excluding labour) are expensive, and productivity is low. Use of low-intensity low-labour agricultural practices may expand the amount of land viable for production.

Every human being uses resources to survive, but they also create resources. We have one mouth to eat with, and two hands and a mind to work with. .A society with a large number of working age people can give a lot more support to those who are no longer able to work. But in many western societies with declining birth rates, less support is available to seniors because there aren't enough workers producing to provide for them. At the level of individual countries, the problem of underpopulation (low birth rates leading to a higher proportion of seniors and fewer workers to support them) can be solved through immigration. But immigration can only solve the problem up to a point, and certainly cannot solve the problem if the pressures of underpopulation become global in scale. ‎

Let's face facts, it is not overpopulation that is the problem, but only the only ineffective management of resources and irrational distribution methods. The solution is not to restrict "those" people” who are threatening "our" future an way of life. Indeed, the solution does not include restrictions at all but instead greater resourcing, not limits onto vulnerable populations but rather providing underprivileged communities with better education, technology, and healthcare.

Karl Marx viewed Malthus's theory as "an explanation for poverty that absolved economic systems, political structures or the actions of the wealthy elite from fault." , and this was by no means inaccurate. Malthus's arguments supported the emerging capitalist system which directly contributed to further worsen environmental degradation and poor economic conditions, ever perpetuating this cycle in a clear example of what can only be described as the two contradictions of capitalism. The premise of Malthus's argument was both false and alarming, and the solutions he proposed ignored the real problem - the capitaist system

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