Google “population control” and you’ll return 5.32 million results. Most of these seem to advocate limits and artificial controls to stem the growth of the human population. I am no fan of this kind of thinking.
The enduring aspiration these days is that we continue to grow – the economy, technological advancement…. Failure to grow equates with stagnation, or recession in the global economy. These are terms we have learned to fear. So the soft way of saying we must limit (technological) growth is to say we must “grow sustainably”, “reduce our environmental footprint”, do more with less. However, a little bit of arithmetic shows this to be bunkum, unless you don’t really mean “sustainable” – something that can be sustained for a very long time.
Fear-mongering of “running out of…” some raw material, or access to clean water, or energy is another familiar refrain these days. It’s possible to think that human ingenuity, technology and market forces will combine to find new ways of doing whatever limits us, yet limited, at some stage, we must be. Something, sometime will limit human numbers.
The following is a series of eight videos from a retired Professor of Physics Albert Bartlett. This runs for over an hour, yet is strangely compelling.
There’s more here too – an essay. I find this all rather uncomfortable and I’ve had a few email exchanges about it. There’s no getting away from the maths. I’ve done quite a bit of thinking about this, but for the moment I’m just going to see what others think.