View Poll Results: Should we control the population?

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  • Limit the amount of children people can have.

    6 23.08%
  • Don't believe it there's enough food!

    13 50.00%
  • Don't care.

    2 7.69%
  • Other

    9 34.62%
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Thread: Eat well or Procreate?

  1. #11
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    Re: Eat well or Procreate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fisher View Post
    I am aware of the 75-200 year phosphorous supply issue. Man lived without mining it, and will survive not having a plentiful commercial supply. It is more of an issue for ADM than it is for somebody who is not a producer. People will have to grow their own food organically--how shocking. Critical mass will be around 20 Billion people.
    Well, and then there's fresh water and meeting the energy production needs of a growing population (and the effect that will have on the environment).

    It really isn't wise to have a growing population that plans for future possible developments in energy, fertilizer and water needs (among god knows what else, it seems like everywhere I look some resource is just about on its way out). The truly responsible practice would be to plan our population around existing resources. Otherwise it's like blowing your life savings in Vegas on the possibility that you'll figure out how to make more money later.

  2. #12
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    Re: Eat well or Procreate?

    We've been told that we're running out of resources since Ehrlich and his population bomb fanatics came about in the 1960's. Despite decades of predictions that we were facing peak production or supply/demand constraints in everything from copper, rubber, chromium, tin, tungsten, nickel, food, water, etc. Every time we've managed to not only avoid these dismal predictions but we exceed our ability to produce or extract them.

    The Simon-Ehrlich wager is an infamous example of this. It was a wager between Paul Ehrlich who was part of the resource calamity/overpopulation school who predicted that the price of "Copper, chromium, nickel, tin, and tungsten" would increase in price from 1980 to the early 1990's. Simon who was a famous critic of the malthusian resource scarcity crowd took the opposite approach. The result was as we all know that all of these resources decreased in price from 1980.

    The point is that every time we consider ourselves to be facing a resource crisis we create the means to extract more of that resource or fill it with a positive substitution.

    When we talk about food or water the same is true. Every decade that people have predicted mass scarcity, die-offs, starvation, etc due to lack of food or water resources has always been proven untrue. Even today as we talk about water scarcity we are making enormous breakthroughs in the field of desalination. Will it be the panacea to our potential water troubles? I don't know for sure, but I'm willing to side with precedent in saying that where there is a need we will find a way. We always have before.

  3. #13
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    Re: Eat well or Procreate?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    Every year, 15 million children starve to death. The World Health Organization estimates that 1/3 of the world's population is starving. One out of every eight children under the age of 12 -- in the United States -- goes to bed hungry every night. "It is estimated that some 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition, about 100 times as many as those who actually die from it each year."

    I'd say we've already reached critical mass. Wouldn't you?

    The world hunger problem: Facts, figures and statistics
    Depends. Is this a problem of not enough food, or a problem of access to the food?

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

  4. #14
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    Re: Eat well or Procreate?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckBerry View Post
    That's interesting...I wonder if there might be a way to recover phosphorus from human sewage?
    The Wiki article does cover multiple manners of recycling, such as the fact that currently known methods of recycling aren't geared well for large populations (such as ours, let alone 20 billion people).

  5. #15
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    Re: Eat well or Procreate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal View Post
    Well, and then there's fresh water and meeting the energy production needs of a growing population (and the effect that will have on the environment).

    It really isn't wise to have a growing population that plans for future possible developments in energy, fertilizer and water needs (among god knows what else, it seems like everywhere I look some resource is just about on its way out). The truly responsible practice would be to plan our population around existing resources. Otherwise it's like blowing your life savings in Vegas on the possibility that you'll figure out how to make more money later.
    Perhaps, but given that the people most vulnerable are not planning their population at all, it is better we not either as might makes right. Besides, given the human ability to kill each other with impunity, we do a better job at population control than mother nature forces upon us.

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    Re: Eat well or Procreate?

    I would rather not be born than live in a world where you can't hunt and fish for real food or where people are so crowded into urban areas that you can't raise your own veggies in your own garden. Having said that if that was the world you were born into you wouldn't know what you were missing so you would probably be perfectly happy or at least think you are. I'm just glad I won't live long enough to see that day.

  7. #17
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    Re: Eat well or Procreate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fisher View Post
    Perhaps, but given that the people most vulnerable are not planning their population at all, it is better we not either as might makes right. Besides, given the human ability to kill each other with impunity, we do a better job at population control than mother nature forces upon us.
    At lower, sustainable populations we won't have to resort to that option quite so frequently. 20 billion people is begging for frequent wars based on limited resources.

  8. #18
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    Re: Eat well or Procreate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal View Post
    Well, and then there's fresh water and meeting the energy production needs of a growing population (and the effect that will have on the environment).

    It really isn't wise to have a growing population that plans for future possible developments in energy, fertilizer and water needs (among god knows what else, it seems like everywhere I look some resource is just about on its way out). The truly responsible practice would be to plan our population around existing resources. Otherwise it's like blowing your life savings in Vegas on the possibility that you'll figure out how to make more money later.
    If the past century has proven anything in demographics it is how unrealistic population planning actually is barring draconian methods, and even then you subject yourself to terrible unanticipated side effects since this generally creates massive imbalances between the elderly bulge and the youth workers. My biggest problem with population control advocates (aside from the deeply immoral ways it has been implemented) is that they tend to only see humans as mouths to feed, bodies to clothe, and nothing more. Every additional human is also a mind, which when confronting resource challenges is our greatest natural resource. One of the greatest things of the past twenty years as been the re-emergence of a billion human beings onto the modern stage in the form of China. The burgeoning scientific research and great contributions emanating from India, China, etc are a crucial boost to our efforts to advance the species over the course of 21st Century.

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    Re: Eat well or Procreate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal View Post
    At lower, sustainable populations we won't have to resort to that option quite so frequently. 20 billion people is begging for frequent wars based on limited resources.
    But limited resources is relative. Our resources have remained the same (and they are enormous), it is our ability to access them that has continually increased. We haven't even begun to tap the gargantuan reserves of our earth's crust or our oceans, we aren't anywhere close to running low on resources.

  10. #20
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    Re: Eat well or Procreate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal View Post
    At lower, sustainable populations we won't have to resort to that option quite so frequently. 20 billion people is begging for frequent wars based on limited resources.
    That is why it is the tipping point. Regardless, humans will adapt faster than civilization will even if civilization as we know it falls. I do not subscribe to the philosophy that everyone is entitled to as good of a life or a better life than today's first-world enjoys and that we somehow have a duty to deliver it to them. Humans lived without petroleum products before and will do it again if necessary---if that means my great great great grandkids have to farm and hunt instead of surf the web looking for the best deals on vacation trips to Bora Bora, then so be it.

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