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View Diary: Overpopulation and Energy Consumption (29 comments)

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  •  At Least You Did Something (1+ / 0-)
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    I don't agree with you that it doesn't matter what the individual does. If everyone decided that it was okay to have a crop of carrots because they didn't see any central planning, then we'd be in much worse shape than we are. Suppose I'd decided to have five carrots instead of none. Those carrots would be out there competing with your carrots. It just makes it a whole lot worse to try to solve the problem.

    Also, individual choice is much better than government policy. We won't be able to get away without government policy on this one, but what that amounts to depends on our individual choices.

    Look what happened in China. At a certain point, it wasn't feasible to leave it up to the individual. In another couple of generations, that could be true in this country. I'd much rather see individuals take the lead now than just wait until it becomes a huge problem.

    •  I sort of agree... (1+ / 0-)
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      Liberal Thinking

      I mean, it's better to have individuals make these decisions than the government, but... I wonder if this would lead to a bumper generation of evangelicals who are ideologically committed to ignoring population growth as a problem and thus have large families that oppose abortion and even birth control.

      Also, I think there is public policy that can be done here.  We could make contraception more available.  And we could encourage family planning for people's own good.  I mean, sometimes, I've read articles about people in 3rd world countries that are so poor and they have 9 kids. Surely, their large family size contributes to their poverty.

      Also, perhaps there are even tech advancements that can be made. I read a blog entry by one tech guru Marshall Brain that dreamed about contraception being as easy as flipping a switch.

      Also, maybe we could try to understand why this population growth is occurring.  There could be economic reasons for it.  This guy (who writes "The Bear's Lair") theorizes that large families are what the 3rd world uses for social security.  So, if we could address their economic needs, then maybe they'd choose smaller families.
      The Bear's Lair: Zero Growth Is Too High by Martin Hutchinson - Jan 03, 2005 - read the whole article, it's really good

      Since the impoverished normally have large families in order to provide for their old age, it would provide a modest old age pension for the over-70s in the Third World, of whom there are not very many, which would be administered by a body independent of the local government.

      In the same way as President George W. Bush's Millennium Challenge plan, it would provide for foreign aid payments only to those countries that established appropriate anti-natalist policies, and preferential trade treatment for such countries.

      Also, I've heard that "Italy is dying", which is what the MSM says whenever a country's population is stabilizing. Perhaps, we should study countries whose population is naturally stabilizing and try to replicate that.

      Also, I wonder how much immigration increases birth rates? When people move from a poor country to a wealthy country, I believe they have larger families. So, reducing immigration could help.

      Also, immigration is like a safety valve that allows 3rd-world countries to not have to deal with the problem. For example, oligarchic countries may not not have to create a safety net like Social Security, because immigrants are sending back remittances.

      And the Found of Earth Day, evidently thought there was something we could do, as he says here:

      Earth Day founder sees some progress ---------------------------------------- (warning, this page takes a long time to load)
      Q. What is the number one environmental problem facing the earth today?
      A. If you had to choose just one, it would have to be population. . . . The bigger the population gets, the more serious the problems become. . . . We have to address the population issue. The United Nations, with the U.S. supporting it, took the position in Cairo in 1994 that every country was responsible for stabilizing its own population. It can be done. But in this country, it's phony to say "I'm for the environment but not for limiting immigration." It's just a fact that we can't take all the people who want to come here. And you don't have to be a racist to realize that. However, the subject has been driven out of public discussion because everybody is afraid of being called racist if they say they want any limits on immigration."

      Reduce guest worker visas: Congress Grades

      by Quequeg on Sun Apr 22, 2007 at 02:26:30 PM PDT

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      •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
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        I agree with all that. There's a lot to be done by society acting through government. I'd especially like to see a humane policy that ties the value of foreign aid to the value of reducing population growth, and then radically increases that aid to poor countries, with an intelligent program for cutting population growth. Improving jobs in those countries, improving local infrastructure, improving the prospect of retirement on a pension without having nine kids to feed you, those would be real gains that didn't just cut population growth but made the lives of those who were living there much better.

        Of course, we'd have to convince a few Luddites that population growth isn't good before they'd buy in. That's why this diary is about personal responsibility and population growth. I think it has to hit people emotionally that this is not a problem they can let other people take care of. Out of that might come a generation of leaders who really make a difference.

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