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What is better than Capitalism?
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Dog 3000
Dog 3000
4611 posts

Re: Technology!
Sep 09, 2003, 22:39
The death rate as a whole has gone down -- a lot. Industrial accidents don't come close to killing as many people as small pox, dysentery, lack of food, etc.

Although I think you're wrong about the finite limits on energy (it all comes from the sun, and she's still pumping it out) it is true that there is a finite amount of space on the earth. "Living in boxes" sucks, but it's hard to see where else we're going to put all these people. Western cities are one thing (you can always move out to the countryside), but in East Asia they really don't have a choice in the matter. Before you know it there will be 2 BILLION people living in China . . . and most of the western part of the country is uninhabitable deserts and mountains (the vast majority of Chinese live in the Eastern part.)

The "good news" (wink) is that even in a worst-case scenario overpopulation is a self-correcting problem; when we do overpopulate the world people will start dying until equilibrium is attained (almost true by definition -- if we can support the current population then it's not overpopulated.)

Something else to think about is declining birth rates -- in a lot of central Europe (Germany in particular) the birth rate is below replacement level. In other words, the only reason the population there continues to grow is because people are living longer. This has it's own short-term demographic problems (aging population, who's going to pay the pensions?) but long-term it indicates that populations can level off to an equilibrium point with time.

Of course most of the babies being born live in the "third world" where birth rates are very high (for cultural reasons) while life spans are getting longer (due to medicine, better agriculture, etc.) It seems that the educated-city-living-"first world" lifestyle leads to lower birthrates, but obviously if that's the cause then by the time the "third world" gets there they'll be consuming tremendous quantities of resources like we are here in the "first world."

This seems like the potential crisis to me -- and ideas like mass sterilization, permanent poverty and destroying people's cultures from the outside are not appealing.

Pretty scary huh!

The best halfway solution I can see is for places like Europe to take in a LOT more immigrants than they have been. Doubt that would go over too well though.
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