The Thirst for Economic Growth is Normal, But It Increases Overpopulation Risks


People all over the world want economic growth, believing it will make them better off, and who can blame them?  But how much bigger can we grow before our global systems begin to come apart at the seams?

It is human nature to want to be better off, and to want children.  The planet is finite, however, and we can quite feasibly keep having children and adding to the global population until we can’t feed, house, and clothe them all.  All our creativity and inventions so far only address the symptoms of the problem: pollution, energy supply depletion, agricultural improvements – and addressing the symptoms does little to mitigate the growing and already-huge problems of overpopulation.

Any success we achieve at minimizing the symptoms only makes it possible for more people to have more children.  At some point the skyrocketing upward spiral will hit a limit – it must – and the longer it takes to get to that point, the less resources we will have left to help deal with our problems.  For this reason, our efforts at conservation and being ecologically responsible only make things worse.  The underlying problem of overpopulation will be dealt with, one way or another, but it will be much worse if we continue to plunge mindlessly ahead, having more children and living longer than ever before.

Will we curb our own population … the hard way?  Perhaps the damage we are doing to the planet and almost all life forms on it will drag us down, cause shorter lifespans, and curb our population in a gradual, semi-orderly way?  I don’t think so.  The global population curve is still nearly vertical, going straight up, and only a very slight decrease in the birthrate has been observed to date – not enough to say that people are beginning to make smarter decisions about having children.

Still, that will change.  The big questions are how soon, how fast, and to what extent.  Will the population growth rate begin to tail off before the ocean covers the southern half of Florida, and Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and many other major cities are partially or entirely under water?

It will be interesting to observe.  Thanks for reading.  — Tim

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