Overpopulation: Time to panic, or false alarm?

posted at 3:11 pm on January 14, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

For decades now (centuries, really), Malthusian pessimists, environmental alarmists, and their doom-and-gloom ilk have warned that humanity will eventually reach a rate of both population and economic growth that cannot possibly last without unsustainably depleting the world’s resources. Ostensibly, the theory goes, our water, food, and energy supplies will not be able to keep pace with the planet’s inevitably exponential population growth, and that the planet won’t be able to take the strain of so much human output and waste. Ergo, we’re supposedly in for eventual dark ages of scarcity, famine, poverty, war, and disease that we’ll necessarily need to keep our population down.

I missed this story from Slate last week, but there’s plenty of mounting evidence that all of the naysayers are whipping up panic about nothing that’s all that threatening in the long run:

It took humankind 13 years to add its 7 billionth. That’s longer than the 12 years it took to add the 6 billionth—the first time in human history that interval had grown. (The 2 billionth, 3 billionth, 4 billionth, and 5 billionth took 123, 33, 14, and 13 years, respectively.) In other words, the rate of global population growth has slowed. And it’s expected to keep slowing. Indeed, according to experts’ best estimates, the total population of Earth will stop growing within the lifespan of people alive today.

And then it will fall.

This is a counterintuitive notion in the United States, where we’ve heard often and loudly that world population growth is a perilous and perhaps unavoidable threat to our future as a species. But population decline is a very familiar concept in the rest of the developed world, where fertility has long since fallen far below the 2.1 live births per woman required to maintain population equilibrium. In Germany, the birthrate has sunk to just 1.36, worse even than its low-fertility neighbors Spain (1.48) and Italy (1.4). The way things are going, Western Europe as a whole will most likely shrink from 460 million to just 350 million by the end of the century. That’s not so bad compared with Russia and China, each of whose populations could fall by half. As you may not be surprised to learn, the Germans have coined a polysyllabic word for this quandary: Schrumpf-Gesellschaft, or “shrinking society.”

Widespread prosperity may very well mean the consumption of more resources, but it also means that as more people enter the middle class and become better educated, we use our resources increasingly wisely and efficiently and that global population growth has started to flatten out — in fact, as the Slate article goes on to explain, there’s even the possibility in the next few centuries that we’ll be looking at a crisis of underpopulation. The point is, all the doom-and-gloomers disparaging humanity’s prospects too often overlook our remarkable capability to adapt and adjust to changing conditions, and our penchant for alarmist-hysteria comes a little too easily.


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Most of the people panicking about overpopulation are the flat-earther global warming types. The West, Japan, and China have been following their lunatic policy prescriptions for decades. Unfortunately, this is now why we are having a major population decline in all these nations right now.

The future belongs to those who show up. We forgot that somewhere along the way.

Doomberg on January 14, 2013 at 3:18 PM

Overpopulation: Time to panic

You never can tell and rather than risk it, I say we wipe out the Greenies and leftists just in case. They know it’s all for a good cause and will go willingly I am sure. /

sharrukin on January 14, 2013 at 3:21 PM

I personally think the planet is far too over-populated with Muslims.
We need to do something about that for the health and safety of the rest of the planet.

dentarthurdent on January 14, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Schrumpf-Gesellschaft, or “shrinking society.”

Sounds more like it should translate to “Needs Viagra”.

The Rogue Tomato on January 14, 2013 at 3:22 PM

STOP giving WIC and food -stamps. Without exceptions.
Period.
Problem solved.

burrata on January 14, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Overpopulation: Time to panic, or false alarm?

…Dems: We need to pay for more abortions!…World Wide!…Expand Planned Parenthood!

KOOLAID2 on January 14, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Schrumpf-Gesellschaft, or “shrinking society.”

Sounds more like it should translate to erectile dysfunction.

The Rogue Tomato on January 14, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Doomberg on January 14, 2013 at 3:18 PM

This.

INC on January 14, 2013 at 3:24 PM

I think it’s valid to panic about the exploding Muslim population.

Now – how many different ways can you read that statement? ;)

dentarthurdent on January 14, 2013 at 3:24 PM

There are too many liberals, and every time they breathe the expel more greenhosue gases into the atmosphere. It’s even worse when they talk.

malclave on January 14, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Don’t worry … progressives know how to deal with a lot of people. Starvation is usually their first choice, then mass executions and global war.

Progressives only want to keep enough people around to toil and serve.

darwin on January 14, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Population-wise, the entire world could live in the state of Texas at a density similar to NY City.
 
rogerb on May 23, 2010 at 10:09 PM

rogerb on January 14, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Overpopulation: Time to panic, or false alarm?

…Dems: We need to pay for more abortions!…World Wide!…Expand Planned Parenthood!

If we can’t make headway with abortions and people having fewer kids, other methods will be employed.

For certain environmental extremists, I understand the ideal world population is around 350,000,000 inhabitants, and those extremists won’t be satisfied until they find and use methods to get the population down to that number.

hawkeye54 on January 14, 2013 at 3:31 PM

The point is, all the doom-and-gloomers disparaging humanity’s prospects too often overlook our remarkable capability to adapt and adjust to changing conditions, and our penchant for alarmist-hysteria comes a little too easily.

As well as all other life on Earth.

Dr. Frank Enstine on January 14, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Starvation is usually their first choice,

Hence, for some, the desire to increase the use of food grains for biofuel to reduce food supplies inducing starvation in overpopulated and economically disadvantaged countries.

hawkeye54 on January 14, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Ultimately, rising population is the only thing that sustained the welfare/entitlement state, as there were always more people contributing to social programs than taking from them. The libs are going to wish population were still increasing, when the entire system, which is crumbling as we speak, goes completely bust.

Mr. Arkadin on January 14, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Overpopulation is about power
Gun control is about power
Immigration reform is about power
Feminism is about power
Obama care is about power
Social justice is about power
.
To liberals it’s NEVER about the subject it is about seizing more power for themselves.

LincolntheHun on January 14, 2013 at 3:39 PM

rogerb on January 14, 2013 at 3:27 PM

It works out such that each of those 7 billion people would have 1060 sq feet of living space. I haven’t done the math but imo that is less dense that NYC.

chemman on January 14, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Keep in mind that ALL of this info is self reported to the UN by individual states.

WryTrvllr on January 14, 2013 at 3:42 PM

hawkeye54 on January 14, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Considering the bitter clingers of America over the last couple of months have bought enough weapons to arm the Chinese and Indian armies to go along with the nearly 300 million already in their possession I believe it will be the greenies exiting the surplus population first.

chemman on January 14, 2013 at 3:42 PM

The biggest problem regarding over-population is that those over-populating are from third world countries (including those over-populating in the United States).

bw222 on January 14, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Thinning of the herd…

Seven Percent Solution on January 14, 2013 at 3:45 PM

UN Blueprint: Dismantle Middle Class, Build World Government

Within the article is a link to a UN planning paper that was leaked to Fox News.

As the opening session paper puts it: “The real challenge comes from the exponential growth of the global consumerist society driven by ever higher aspirations of the upper and middle layers in rich countries as well as the expanding demand of emerging middle-class in developing countries. Our true ambition should be therefore creating incentives for the profound transformation of attitudes and consumption styles.”

This is globalist talk for dismantling the middle classes by looting them with carbon taxes and consumption levies in the name of alleviating poverty in poorer areas of the world and stopping climate change. However, as we have already explained, this is merely a ruse. The money will not be “redistributed” to the poor, it will be swallowed up by the same globalist institutions running the scam.
The leaked document also discusses how the UN can exploit mass immigration to push for more global governance regulatory control, in focusing on, “How to capitalize on the global tide of migrants from poor nations to rich ones, to encompass a new “international migration governance framework.”

The paper makes it clear that the UN is about to adopt a new public relations ploy in pushing the phony and discredited global warming mantra, by re-branding it as the threat of overpopulation. The world’s population is set to hit 9 billion by 2050, and the strategy outlines the need to make that figure the key emphasis in an effort to browbeat people into accepting that an overcrowded planet causes environmental devastation.

Dante on January 14, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Islamization – Take over the world by maintaining a very high birth rate. Muslim Majority throughout all of Europe within 40 years.

Islamic birthrates are not down. This is the most likely to succeed Jihad currently practiced.

Steveangell on January 14, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Less people? But then, who would they tax?

As the serpent told Adam and Eve, don’t have more than one kid, God only has one and He’d get jealous.

By the way, have a bite of this forbidden apple and you can be like God or president of the United states or something important

Don L on January 14, 2013 at 3:47 PM

chemman on January 14, 2013 at 3:39 PM

My apologies Rogerb. I just did the math and if you include all 5 burroughs of NYC then for there 2011 population it works out to 1023 sq ft of living space.

chemman on January 14, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Stop all immigration to America, let other nations become self-sustaining instead of shipping their excess illiterate peasants here for the US taxpayers to care for.

Rebar on January 14, 2013 at 3:48 PM

What did Mark Levin have to say about commie Obama’s press coferance today?

http://www.marklevinshow.com

APACHEWHOKNOWS on January 14, 2013 at 3:48 PM

How long has overpopulation been a liberal nightmare that we’ll wake up to eventually? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Scopper on January 14, 2013 at 3:51 PM

I personally think the planet is far too over-populated with Muslims.

dentarthurdent on January 14, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Nothing a massive deportation, an ironclad immigration policy, and a few nuclear strikes cannot solve.

Archivarix on January 14, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Islamization – Take over the world by maintaining a very high birth rate. Muslim Majority throughout all of Europe within 40 years.

Islamic birthrates are not down. This is the most likely to succeed Jihad currently practiced.

Steveangell on January 14, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Wouldn’t it ALMOST be worth it to let the NAMBLAs and NOWs of the world have a taste.

…almost.

WryTrvllr on January 14, 2013 at 3:53 PM

The paper makes it clear that the UN is about to adopt a new public relations ploy in pushing the phony and discredited global warming mantra, by re-branding it as the threat of overpopulation.
Dante on January 14, 2013 at 3:46 PM

.
Not a new ploy. The Population Bomb was written in 1968.
The Club of Rome about the same time.
UN for years warned about exponential growth, only to have to revise downward the growth curve every 5-10 years.

LincolntheHun on January 14, 2013 at 3:57 PM

…Dems: We need to pay for more abortions!…World Wide!…Expand Planned Parenthood!

KOOLAID2 on January 14, 2013 at 3:23 PM

There’s the ticket – fund Planned Parenthood to set up shop in the 3rd world countries and those with an exploding Muslim population.
That should solve the excess population problem as well as make a pretty good impact on crime/terrorism, poverty, and starvation…..

dentarthurdent on January 14, 2013 at 4:05 PM

UN for years warned about exponential growth, only to have to revise downward the growth curve every 5-10 years.

LincolntheHun on January 14, 2013 at 3:57 PM

The same UN office is also responsible for explaining the lack of global warming.

“Uh…..its taking a timeout”

BobMbx on January 14, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Funny how the ED medicine triggers a hold on the post, but mentioning “erectile dysfunction” itself gets a pass. Spam filter, I guess.

The Rogue Tomato on January 14, 2013 at 4:10 PM

The population will level off. People are moving into the middle class in China, India, even Africa by the hundreds of millions a year. With even a some freedom you can accomplish a lot. With a lot of freedom we can do even better. Imagine Hong Kongs as far as the eye can see.

AshleyTKing on January 14, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Also, in the US, we already have a solid plan to cut back on the excess population. In very short order Obamacare will make sure we kill off the old and sick. So – hey – Obamacare is the perfect Darwinian predator – strengthen the human herd by eliminating the “undesirables” – right?//

dentarthurdent on January 14, 2013 at 4:12 PM

The “overpopulation” mantra was always nothing but hooey. There have been localized cases – but even those are just as accurately described as “undercapitalized” or “underproductive” instead, because those are really the problem, not the number of people itself.

For the left, of course, the nature of the supposed “crisis” is irrelevant as long as it sounds scary enough. The solution is always the same, whether we face global warming or a new Ice Age, over- or under-population, rising or falling agricultural output, etc.: greater government control over people and their wealth.

One size, it seems, really does fit all.

Adjoran on January 14, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Compare the quality of life in the highly dense area of Hong Kong versus many areas of Africa or Central/South America. The main problems are not based in population.

CW on January 14, 2013 at 4:33 PM

And then it will fall.

Like Global Warming…

right2bright on January 14, 2013 at 4:40 PM

LincolntheHun on January 14, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Yep. Exactly.

greater government control over people and their wealth.

Adjoran on January 14, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Both of you hit the nail on the head. Overpopulation (or global warming, or whatever) is never the real issue; garnering more power always is.

Hey, Lefties … where’s that old codger Paul Ehrlich? Shouldn’t we be hearing yet another tiresome lecture from him about now?

PatriotGal2257 on January 14, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Overpopulation: Time to panic, or false alarm?

Erika Johnsen

.
False alarm.
.

For decades now (centuries, really), Malthusian pessimists, environmental alarmists, and their doom-and-gloom ilk have warned that humanity will eventually reach a rate of both population and economic growth that cannot possibly last without * unsustainably * depleting the world’s resources.

Erika Johnsen

.
The politics of “sustainable vs unsustainable” as regards the environment and the earth’s resources, was started by Maurice Strong.

It’s all part of the “take down the United States” sub-agenda, which is necessary for the “advance the WCPA” agenda.

listens2glenn on January 14, 2013 at 5:06 PM

chemman on January 14, 2013 at 3:39 PM

My apologies Rogerb. I just did the math and if you include all 5 burroughs of NYC then for there 2011 population it works out to 1023 sq ft of living space.
 
chemman on January 14, 2013 at 3:47 PM

 
Thanks. That’s bigger than our starter home was. I’ll likely add your quote in the future overpopulation-lamentation threads, btw.

rogerb on January 14, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Eh. The lemmings have to have something to worry them. If it’s not A NEW ICE AGE, Global Warming, food shortages, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, floods, zombies…………….too bad that lemmings aren’t unsustainable. Sooner or later we’d catch a break.

GarandFan on January 14, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Funny… I’ve yet to see a satellite image of the earth where the human hordes have completely covered the land mass. If we were overpopulated… we’d be able to see it from space.

Instead.. look at all the land mass. And ocean. and then, of course.. we still have the moon.

Libs solution to so called overpopulation (which we aren’t) always seem centered around extermination of one sort or another. With them in charge of the extermination, of course. Why not focus on the obvious. Irrigation of the wastelands of the earth. Encourage farming instead of attacking farmers. Stop putting corn into our gas tanks so there is more for food. Don’t dismantle NASA… expand exploration in space and build a moon base. Colonize it.

But no… it’s so much easier to just kill people.

I have a hunch the libs of history have been whining about overpopulation since the beginning of time. Even Scrooge used overpopulation as a reason to let orphans die. Proof the libs of that day were whining about it then too.

JellyToast on January 14, 2013 at 6:23 PM

The US is about 4% of the world population. The problem isn’t ours unless we close the borders and stop funding illiterates to have babies at taxpayer expense. Our problem is funding population that won’t fend for themselves.

cajunpatriot on January 14, 2013 at 7:45 PM

The point is, all the doom-and-gloomers disparaging humanity’s prospects too often overlook our remarkable capability to adapt and adjust to changing conditions, and our penchant for alarmist-hysteria comes a little too easily.

What they really overlook is our ability to do so through what would be called “market forces”. That is, that we don’t need some elitist cabal of government nerds telling us to all lay off the baby-making. We just need as much correct information as possible to be out in the public sphere, and the people will – in the long run – begin to change their ways and adapt. No government nanny necessary.

GWB on January 15, 2013 at 2:47 PM

So – hey – Obamacare is the perfect Darwinian predator – strengthen the human herd by eliminating the “undesirables” – right?//

dentarthurdent on January 14, 2013 at 4:12 PM

I much prefer the idea of re-introducing bears and wolves to the urban setting. I guarantee that it will 1) cut down on any over-population issues, 2) take care of a lot of our welfare problem (that woman buying 40 bags of cheese doodles and 3 cartons of menthols will *not* out-run the bear), and 3) teach liberals to be self-reliant or die trying.

GWB on January 15, 2013 at 2:56 PM