On overpopulation

by Edward O’Connor on 16 August 2007
In which I respond to the Malthusian points raised the discussions surrounding this old post of mine.

If you value quality of human life over quantity of humans, you should be just as rude as rms.

Ari Rahikkala

I’m confused. The quality of whose life? Happiness is a reasonable measure of the quality of life. The number and variety of sources of human happiness are as diverse as the world’s population. I wonder how Ari can be so confident that massive human depopulation is a necessary step toward our happiness (or at least the happiness of those few who remain). In fact, I don’t even see how quantity of life enters into it.

Ari continues (emphasis mine):

It’s worth it to get the point across: Human overpopulation is the root cause of every environmental problem in this world (not to mention quite a few wars), and there’s an enormously simple, painless and moral way to solve overpopulation: As many people as possible should stop breeding and live until they die of old age.

I guess I don’t really have that much to say about Malthusian worries such as these. I think people should give less credence to Paul Ehrlich and more to Julian Simon. Although, if you insist on believing such things, you might as well have a bizarre sense of humor about it (like the Church of Euthanasia). Ari’s own Voluntary Human Extinction Movement seems pretty stodgy.


Anyone interested in the intersection of happiness, optimism, and human population growth should check out this blog post from Will Wilkinson. Actually, you should read both his personal blog and his blog on Happiness & Public Policy. Will rules.

Comments

  1. Troll

    My PhD candidate friend from MIT's crypto-and DRM department reports that RMS vehemently supports unrestricted online copying of music, and vehemently yelled in public at his own peers doing research on Crypto and DRM, shouting that they don't deserve to get any funding.

    It appears to me that RMS, and Ari above are both currently of the accursed mindset, which supports abortion and liberal dehumanizing causes, and I am of the opinion that I would be happy to see RMS sued for intentional piracy and inducement of massive piracy, and finally put in his place, which I think is in jail or paying up the $3+ billion in damages the class of Composers and Artists, before he does more alleged damage to those of us who are potential-but-suppressed producer's of tomorrow's masterpieces like Bach's.

    I stress, that is my opinion, founded on the widespread public opinions that RMS is a jerk who in general doesn't appear to have much general care about the livelihoods (or lives) of other humans or fetuses, and only apparently cares for himself. Since RMS is very much a public figure, I would point out that there are strong Federal protections for those people lampooning public figures, and that cartoonists should caricature RMS for what he is. I believe that public castigation in front of the whole church under Matthew 18 is the only effective means of Deterrence, a check and balance, against those like RMS who think they can get away with (alleged) murder of artists and fetuses.

    It is my opinion that RMS is currently possessed by pure Evil, and should be named as an inducer of mass-piracy and income-loss to Authors, in front of the whole church as provided for under the legal protection of religious belief in Matthew 18.

    It is one of my goals to provide the means for enabling christians to do that kind of protected publication against a great many people of his kind.

    Living Chopin, 22 August 2007

  2. Sockpuppet

    See On Empathy what I think of Living Chopin's profound comments. If I recall from textbook classical Economics, the Economy grows with Population Growth. There are simply more people who can consume your product if it is a hit, and during his time, the widespread feeling of Overpopulation and Environmental balance wasn't as pronounced as today. But Ari's sentiment reflects millions of other misguided people, who act contrary to growth in our Economy. Let us imagine a future world whereby LC's valid points about Matthew 18 do enforce, by valid peer pressure, an increased resepct for Copyrights, which our current Legal system and DRM will never achieve.

    Let us assume that we've supported our Artists, (tomorrow's Jules Vernes and Bach's), who in turn inspired us to make more efficient clean use of our oceans, and vast open still unpopulated 99% of our available landspace, as well as space colonization.

    Let us imagine that we've populated the galaxies. Thence, well deserving talents like tomorrow's Bach's, will finally be able to become trillionaires from their Originality, and from the larger Trillions of Humans Consumer Base, unlike those of today who became Billionaires by to a large extent by copying other technology and gaining control of distribution channels (like allegedly Bill Gates?)

    Thus, there is no reason to exterminate fetuses if we expand our occupyable living space, or learn to "manage" it better. While a Tree can be regrown elsewhere, a fetus cannot. The key to economic growth is in resource management, not human genocide. A Tree, while deserving protection and allocation, is still less a priority to protect than a human being(s). But RMS and Ari disagree, and so they act counter to Economic Growth, and Counter to human ethics, and counter to nature.

    Thus, LC brought up many valid points which would likely lead to Economic Growth, by using valid means (Matthew 18) to offer up a currently non-existent check and balance against Pirates, who are destroying our Artists, who need your support in order to inspire us to populate the Galaxies in the next millenium.

    We're still in the Dark Ages, folks. LC is no Troll.

    Copyright Agent, 22 August 2007

  3. Sockpuppet

    See On Empathy what I think of Living Chopin's profound comments. If I recall from textbook classical Economics, the Economy grows with Population Growth. There are simply more people who can consume your product if it is a hit, and during his time, the widespread feeling of Overpopulation and Environmental balance wasn't as pronounced as today. But Ari's sentiment reflects millions of other misguided people, who act contrary to growth in our Economy. Let us imagine a future world whereby LC's valid points about Matthew 18 do enforce, by valid peer pressure, an increased resepct for Copyrights, which our current Legal system and DRM will never achieve.

    Let us assume that we've supported our Artists, (tomorrow's Jules Vernes and Bach's), who in turn inspired us to make more efficient clean use of our oceans, and vast open still unpopulated 99% of our available landspace, as well as space colonization.

    Let us imagine that we've populated the galaxies. Thence, well deserving talents like tomorrow's Bach's, will finally be able to become trillionaires from their Originality, and from the larger Trillions of Humans Consumer Base, unlike those of today who became Billionaires by to a large extent by copying other technology and gaining control of distribution channels (like allegedly Bill Gates?)

    Thus, there is no reason to exterminate fetuses if we expand our occupyable living space, or learn to "manage" it better. While a Tree can be regrown elsewhere, a fetus cannot. The key to economic growth is in resource management, not human genocide. A Tree, while deserving protection and allocation, is still less a priority to protect than a human being(s). But RMS and Ari disagree, and so they act counter to Economic Growth, and Counter to human ethics, and counter to nature.

    Thus, LC brought up many valid points which would likely lead to Economic Growth, by using valid means (Matthew 18) to offer up a currently non-existent check and balance against Pirates, who are destroying our Artists, who need your support in order to inspire us to populate the Galaxies in the next millenium.

    RMS and Ari are of the typical, predictable class of people supporting the Green party. Their common traits are: hostility to population, and to human fetuses, Feminism, hostility to Copyrights, which amounts to hostility to ancient respect for Nature (which includes human population growth) and Law (which includes Thou Shalt Not Steal or Kill ethics).

    We're still in the Dark Ages, folks. LC is no Troll. LC appears to me to be pro-population, pro-advancement of technology, using ancient biblical wisdom, that Abraham's Seed shall multiply greater than the stars and grains of sand. I see Matthew 18 as a technology and population enabler, once it puts RMS and Ari types into their place off in a sequestered corner somewhere.

    Copyright Agent, 22 August 2007

  4. sampablokuper

    On your original RMS/empathy post, "Andrew" posted a comment that there's a half acre of land in the US for every person in the world, and therefore the US can produce enough food for the whole world, meaning people should have as many kids as they want.

    He is wrong on all counts.

    There are 2.3 billion acres of land in the US, but over 6.6 billion people. So his first statistic is wrong. Worse, the US only has around 1.1 billion acres of land given over to food production. Credible self-sufficiency authors suggest people need around 3-5 acres to be reliably self sufficient. Even with intensive agriculture or other forms of co-operation, 1/6 of an acre per person - the amount of space available for food-growing if the world relied on the US - is insufficient. So Andrew's second premise is wrong too.

    His conclusion is, I would argue, false too. Children are expensive, environmentally and economically. Only the wealthy can afford to have many in the developed world, and the poor can only afford to have many in the developing world because of high child mortality rates and low minimum ages for working. When something is only affordable for the wealthy or the desperate, it isn't really very affordable at all.

    sampablokuper, 12 September 2008

  5. Troll

    Making children is an anti-social act. There are lots of humans around, and we don't need more. The excess humans only cause more poverty by depleting available resources and destroying the environment.

    George R. Alleman, 29 November 2008

  6. Bob O'Connor

    This question cannot be answered in a paragraph. Suggest anyone academically interested in the issue read the free ebook series "Overpopulation-- so Gulliver Returns to Help' at http://andgulliverreturns.info It is non-fiction in a sci-fi setting.

    Bob O'Connor, 30 November 2008

Add a comment

Posting...