How many people would it take to crowd our planet?

Discussion in 'The Cesspool' started by charles brough, Mar 22, 2011.

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  1. charles brough Registered Senior Member

    We already have too many and are crowding it . .

    One measure of that is that it is unsafe to live in the cities. When I was a kid, we never locked the back or front door. Now, we have to have bars on the windows and double cylinder deadbolt locks on the doors.

    What was causing the change? When the Earth becomes over-crowded, it presses upon our natural resources and they become depleated. We sense that over-crowding. As we all know in economics, when something becomes too abundant, it loses value. It makes no difference what it is; it applies to people as well as all else. As we become more crowded, we each intuitively view the others with less compassion and more disinterest, even hostility. We resent the hostile driver who crowds us from behind or cuts in too close up ahead. We both feel hostility.

    And it is a hostility that grows. Now, we see "the too-many other people" as having less value. What will it be like in years or decades to come when we become even more crowded? We will see "the other people" as having zero value. But it follows that things can grow even more crowded. Then we must reach the point where we see "the other people" as having NEGATIVE VALUE. Is that improbable?

    It is already happening! Why else do people break down emotionally under the strain, pick up a weapon and go out seeking to kill as many people as they can? They are so stressed that they have no further interest in living and want to die wrecking as much vengence as possible on "the others" (society) which they blame (not unjustly) for their misery.

    Anyone interested in broadening their information on this subject can find it in the the science of social evolution available by way of: civilization-overview dot com
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I've been saving an article from the April 1964 issue of New Scientist which asked and answered this question. At that time the earth's population was doubling every 37 years, so it seemed like a question that had to be asked.

    No one realized that prosperity is the most effective contraceptive. They could not foresee that a mere twenty years later the second derivative of population would become negative, and that the planet's population would peak at around ten billion before the end of the 21st century and then start decreasing.

    At any rate, the physicists who did the extrapolation determined that without any startling advances in science and technology, the population could continue to double every 37 years and with merely cooperation and good leadership (did I say "merely"?) we would be able to maintain civilization and keep everyone fed, clothed, healthy and entertained... up to a point, which I'll get to in a minute.

    We will solve the energy problem by building huge solar collectors in high orbit, which beam the energy in microwave form down to receivers on the planet. Of course this will be the biggest project humanity has every attempted, by at least two orders of magnitude. It will take several generations and massive capital to achieve, which means international cooperation and public commitment on a scale never seen before. In the meantime we'll have no choice but to build nuclear generators and try to keep them from blowing up or burying us under their waste.

    We will solve the population density problem by building warrens hundreds of levels deep, essentially reconstructing the earth's entire surface as an apartment complex. Each human would have about twenty square feet of living space with another twenty required for energy, plumbing, food delivery, waste and travel--horizontal with limited vertical. Social class will be defined by depth.

    We will solve the food problem with hydroponics. Meals will be boring but nutritious. There will be no room to raise animals for their meat or to grow crops to feed them; in fact there will be very little room for any species of animal besides ours or any species of plant not providing food. A few zoos, parks and pets in the upper levels for the aristocrats and an occasional field trip from the lower warrens.

    Humans adapt so each generation will not be terribly outraged by their circumstances. They will probably recoil in horror from photos of our world, in which one of us might be half a mile from the nearest human being, there are lots of places where there's no ceiling, and several times every day we have to make complicated choices about what to eat and where to go.

    Today's youth have already become adapted to a sedentary life, communicating with each other electronically and getting all their information and entertainment from a computer.

    The intractable problem turns out to be the waste heat from our own metabolism and from our supporting technology. Low frequency electromagnetic radiation cannot be transformed and manipulated like light and radio waves; it just starts to take over its environment as it slowly dissipates into the surrounding vacuum. We can allow the temperature of the earth's surface (which will already have been abandoned by anything alive) to reach about 2000 degrees, which will expedite the radiation of all that low-frequency energy. But if we try to go beyond that, it can't help but raise the temperature of the living quarters below, beyond our ability to tolerate it. Presumably by this time only humans who can survive at 140F will be alive, but as they keep reproducing the temperature will rise to 140 and a half and they will start dying of heatstroke before they reach puberty. A rather uncomfortable but stable equilibrium--administered by a lucky group of mature, educated older people living in air-conditioned apartments.

    This thermodynamically enforced hard limit on population will be somewhere between 10^16 and 10^18--ten quadrillion to one quintillion, more than one million times its current value.

    That's the absolute limit on what it will take to "crowd the planet." Fortunately this dystopia is now obsolete. You younger people will live to see the population reach ten billion and then start to drop back.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
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  5. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

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  7. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Actually...what seems to be crucial is empowering women to take control of their own lives and bodies.

    I've said it before and will keep saying it...if you teach a woman how to control her fertility, give her the means and more importantly the freedom to do so, and insure that most of her babies will survive...the women will usually ( but not always) voluntarily stop having so many children.

    So give women an education and at least some ability to make their own decisions, improve infant mortality-and the birth rate drops.

    I skimmed this, seems to support my point: Does Education Lead to Lower Fertility.pdf
  8. jmpet Valued Senior Member

    It may be possible that YOU might need to get away from other people and find your own place. America is a biiiig place and there's lots of room in it.

    I moved from a very urban place to a very rural place and there is a big difference and it is noticable. I live in a tiny town surrounded by a big forest and there's lots of room here for everybody to get along.

    Town's population was 6,000 during the coal years, it's 2,000 today. Lots of room for everyone.

    And this is one tiny little corner of America. If you're interested in getting away from it all, I suggest you go ahead and get away with it all.
  9. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    Here in New Zealand, homicide rates are higher per capita in small communities than in cities. This trend is also true of other countries. This whole business of violence, murder, and progress is rife with urban myths. Get away from preconceptions. Much better to get the data and work from that.
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    One reason is that as the birth rate drops and medical miracles develop, the population is aging. We older people are a little more likely to solve problems with words than guns. Notice that when we think guns are the only way we always send young people out to use them; we never actually go do the killing ourselves.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    "Send a boy to school and you'll have an educated man. Send a girl to school and you'll have an educated village."

    We support Greg Mortensen's Central Asia Institute. He's been building schools in the backwaters of the Middle East for twenty years, and the only condition they come with is that they have to admit girls. They can be coed or girls-only.

    I read a report by some people who had been studying the roots of terrorism, and they were especially interested in the young men who left the movement and went home. It turned out that in something like 90% of the cases, they gave up the violence because their mothers were ashamed of them.
  11. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    3 is a crowd.
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Closure and redirect

    Mod Hat — Closure and redirect

    Cross-posted topic. Spam. Locked and redirected. Done.
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