One day the premise of this movie might not be too far from reality.
Thomas Robert Malthus was an 18th century British economist who is best known for his theories and views on population growth. Malthus’ writings – An Essay on the Principle of Population — warned that overpopulation would bring severe poverty and shortages to societies and inevitably the entire planet. A crowded planet would stretch the limited resources of Earth – the only home we can ever have – to a breaking point or even a point of no return.
The way in which, these effects are produced seems to be this. We will suppose the means of subsistence in any country just equal to the easy support of its inhabitants. The constant effort towards population… increases the number of people before the means of subsistence are increased. The food therefore which before supported seven millions must now be divided among seven millions and a half or eight millions. The poor consequently must live much worse, and many of them be reduced to severe distress
For you math people, Malthus believed population increased at a geometric rate (1,2,4,8,16), while food supply increased at an arithmetic rate (1,2,3,45). Guess which grows a lot faster?
The theories of Malthus (Malthusian economics) have had considerable influence over many philosophers and scientists and are still used in many analyses. Charles Darwin incorporated the doctrines of Malthus in his work on evolution. Many people believe that there is a limit to how many people the earth can support from an economic and vitality point of view. In 1968, Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb – which re-examined the issue of population outstripping food supply. Population theory has also been applied to political change and violence – and demographic factors strongly influence the roads a society takes. Of course there are detractors, but there is no doubt that the growth in the sheer number humans is dramatically changing a planet that is quickly being drained by its inhabitants.
Lets look at some facts and figures:
It took 123 years for the population to double to 2 billion in 1927. It took 47 years to double again to 4 billion, and 51 years to double to 8 billion. While it seems that growth has slowed – from a percentage point of view – we are growing astronomically in absolute numbers. A low percentage growth does not mean the planet can continue to absorb, feed and house all these inhabitants.
Eleven countries have over 100,000,000 people – which is over 2/3 of the world’s total
19 cities have over 10,000,000 in the urban areas (top 10)
So is there an overpopulation problem? Many have argued that the world has been able to develop new technologies and methods to increase the food supply, find more energy and purify more water. But there has to be a limit – and when is that limit reached? And what of the other “side effects” from overpopulation
- the spread of disease and the mutation of other bacteria and viruses
- the destruction of ecosystems in the name of development
- the disappearance of plants and animals
- the change in climate
- increase in mental stress
- increase in violence
- increase in unsanitary living conditions
- decrease in non-renewable resources
- decrease in the availability of potable water
- decrease in living standards for all societies – the haves and have-nots
The idiot wing of the Republican Party (and maybe even some non-Republicans) believe the ‘market’ will correct itself out of this mess. Mutated viruses? Well someone will want to make enough money to discover the right vaccine/cure/panacea that will heal the world. Non-renewable resources running out? The ‘market’ will push people to develop substitutes – after all you will get rich!. Disappearing wildlife? The ‘market’ says who needs them – they are competing for the same things humans are – when was the last time an animal produced a car?.
You know what – the market is working. Since there are just too many people competing for too few things (like water, food and energy) – prices are rising and the limited resources out there are getting reallocated.
Problem is, this time around — the world cannot possibly support all the have-nots that are resulting from the combination of Malthusian population growth and capitalist economics. We are running of potable water, out of easy energy, out of clean air, out of stress-free psyches, and out of time. There are just too many people, and way too many of them have absolutely nothing – nothing but misery and hunger and despair – and now perhaps nothing to lose. We live in a country that often demands certain conditions (like the end of abortions) when doling out monies to help this crowded world improve. We have religious body with over 1,000,000,000 adherents that spurns birth control. We have extremely wealthy individuals who turn their backs on helping the very people who have made them wealthy. We have a population mess with no clean end in sight.
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