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Unicef report says five newborn babies die every minute across the world or about 2.6 million every year, an ‘alarmingly high’ figure as 80% of these are preventable. Across the world, babies born into the poorest families are 40% more likely to die in the first month than those born into the richest. The risk of dying as a newborn in the US is only slightly lower than the risk for babies in
9 hours 30 min ago
CHEESED-OFF BY “CHEDDAR MAN”! (A case in point to be caerphilly read) Recent DNA tests have shown that some of the earliest Britons were dark-skinned, blue-eyed and curly-haired. Oh woe to racists everywhere, There’s a gruyèresome smell; That’s not just a brie(f) quandary, In UKIP and the BNP, But in the EDL. Gorged on the news of their big cheese, The Brown-skinned Cheddar Man;
12 hours 30 min ago
It seems common sense that more people in the world must mean more resource use, therefore fewer resources to go around for everyone. It is a logic that has led to some highly unsavoury arguments and policy decisions, such as Ike's racist views. By arguing that population growth is the main cause of mass starvation and environmental ruin, we play into the hands of ruling class who wish to blame the victims. One such consequence is that helping the poor not only hurts them but also threatens to drag the well-fed down to their subsistence level. Under this hypothesis, no sharing is permitted, as it will only generalise starvation to the entire population because there is only so much to go around. So do asTrump say. Build the Wall and the fences. Keep the outsiders out and kick the newcomers out.  
But that sounds crass so some resort to a more sophisticated justification - the carrying capacity of the planet. We transform ecosystems to sustain ourselves. This is what we do and have always done. Our planet’s human-carrying capacity emerges from the capabilities of our social systems and our technologies more than from any environmental limits. There is no environmental reason for people to go hungry now or in the future. There is no need to use any more land to sustain humanity — increasing land productivity using existing technologies can boost global supplies and even leave more land for nature — a goal that is both more popular and more possible than ever. The only limits to creating a planet that future generations will be proud of are our imaginations and our social system. Societal collapses due to populations reaching “environmental limits” are not the norm. Existing technologies could sustain current and anticipated human populations while increasingly sparing land for nature.   Human well-being and improved stewardship of the biosphere are limited primarily by the type of social system and its technologies, not by population or environment.  
We have indeed spoken of socialism in terms of abundance and our   green critics claim that human wants are "infinite" interprets this as meaning that socialism will be a society of ever-increasing personal consumption, of people coming to consume more and more food, to take more and more holidays, and to acquire more and more material goods. If humans wants were "infinite" then this would be the result of a society based on free access and geared to meeting human needs, but human wants are socially-determined and limited. Humans can only consume so much food, for instance, and only seek to accumulate more and more material goods in a society of economic insecurity like capitalism. In a society, such as socialism would be, where people could be sure that what they required to satisfy their needs would always be available then we would soon settle down to only taking what we needed and no more. This is all we meant by talking of socialism as a "society of abundance": that enough food, clothing and other material goods can be produced to allow every man, woman and child in society to satisfy their likely material needs. It was not a reference to some orgy of consumption, but simply to the fact that it is technically possible to produce more than enough to satisfy everyone's material needs, thanks, we might add, to technology and mass production.  Meeting everybody's likely material needs will indeed involve in many cases an increase in what people consume.


This will certainly be the case for the millions and millions of people in the so-called Developing World who are suffering from horrendous problems of starvation, disease, and housing. So, yes, socialism will involve increases in personal consumption for three-quarters or more of the world's population.  
  Impossible, say many Green environmentalists, this would exceed the Earth's carrying capacity and make environmental destruction even worse. Not necessarily so, we reply.   They confuse consumption per head with what individuals actually consume. To arrive at a figure for consumption per head, what the statisticians do is to take total electricity or whatever and then divide it by the total population. But this doesn't give a figure for what people consume as, in addition to personal it includes what industry, the government, and the military consume. It a grossly misleading to equate consumption per head with personal consumption since it ignores the fact that consumption per head can be reduced without reducing personal consumption and that this is, in fact, compatible with an increase in personal consumption.
This in effect is what Socialists propose: to eliminate the waste of capitalism, not just of arms and armies but of all the overhead costs involved in buying and selling. It has been estimated that, at the very least, half of the workforce is engaged in such socially-useless, non-productive activity. In a socialist society all this waste will be eliminated, so drastically reducing consumption per head. This will allow room for the personal consumption of those who need it to be increased to a decent level. Diverting resources to do this and ensuring that every human on the planet does have a decent standard of living will be the primary, initial aim of socialism will put up consumption per head again, but to nowhere near the level now obtaining under capitalism.  
 The amount of so-called ‘arable land’ on the planet is according to Wikipedia about 14 million km2. If we only use this amount of arable land, we would have about 20 times the land we need to feed all of us on the planet. If we include permanent pastures, which amount to about 33 million km2 and is used for livestock, and grow vegetables there instead, we end up with more than 60-100 times of what we actually need. That is if we only eat veggies. But of course, we don’t need all that land so there would be plenty of room for some grass-fed beef or chicken with happy free-ranging animals that can be managed holistically.    
Our planet does possess limits.   However, the total number of people that can be supported by Earth’s resources cannot be predicted merely by knowing the total amount of matter or surface area on Earth. So indeed those analogies of everybody in the world can stand on the Isle of Wight is irrelevant.  Every time we get into a conversation with someone, and we hear “well, everyone knows the earth is over-populated” we can start by clearing up the misconception by showing it is directly contrary to the facts. Globally, women today have half as many babies as their mothers did, mostly out of choice. They are doing it for their own good, the good of their families, and, if it helps the planet too, then so much the better. Nothing the Catholic priests say can stop it. Women are doing this because, for the first time in history, they can. Better healthcare and sanitation mean that most babies now live to grow up. It is no longer necessary to have five or six children to ensure the next generation—so they don’t. Lower infant death rates mean families don’t need to have as many children in order to guarantee that some will survive. At the same time improvements in quality of life make it less necessary to have many children working to support their families. Greater access to contraception gives families more control over fertility.  
Today the reality is that the world is experiencing falling birth rates and rising life expectancy.  Countries with a fertility rate (FR) below replacement level (2.1 children per woman) now number more than 80 worldwide — and counting. Greece with an FR of 1.34; Italy has an FR of 1.4. The United Kingdom’s overall FR has risen to 1.98 due to Muslim baby-booming, but indigenous Britons’ FR is lower. The same demographic reality is evident in most of Asia, with China (1.7), Japan (1.4), Hong Kong (1.2), Singapore (1.3), and South Korea (1.2) being prime examples. And many developing nations are on the same trajectory, with  Uruguay (1.9) and Brazil (1.8), illustrating the point. Then there’s Mexico: While its women bore almost seven children each in the 1960s, the FR rate is declining fast and stands at 2.3 today. Overall, the world’s 1950 to  1955 FR of 4.95 has declined by more than half and now stands at 2.36. Professional demographers tell us this will continue and that perhaps as early as 2050 and no later than 2100, the Earth’s population will begin declining.   
The “graying” that has plagued Japan and Europe will envelop the planet.  The world population is getting much older: by 2050 the number of people over the age of 65 will triple from 531 million to 1.5 billion. In fact, perhaps the real issue of the world population is not those being born, it is those not dying. There is a growing life expectancy gap where the affluent may expect to live to 120 or more while the poor won't see 60. In most developed countries actual fertility is lower than desired. We should allow immigration from overpopulated countries to keep the ratio of working age to elderly dependents constant. Unfortunately, most immigration policies severely limit the migration of unskilled people.  
 If better survival rates for babies and longer lives for the elderly contribute to “over-population”, what is the eugenic social engineers' policy going to be infanticide and euthanasia? Let people die of epidemics and war?  
The exception to the drop in population rate trend at the moment appears to be Africa, a continent with a rich potential. Ethiopia is among nine African countries whose rate of population growth is declining. Others are Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda. Ethiopia has seen a massive cut in its fertility rate, from an average of seven children per woman in the 1990s to 4.6 currently. Experts say reducing poverty rates also leads to a decline in fertility. "It's not the population growth that is the problem - it's the extreme poverty that is the underlying reason," says Hans Rosling, professor of international health at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. "If you continue to have extreme poverty areas where women give birth to six children and the population doubles in one generation, then you'll have problems." A case in point is Niger, the country with the highest fertility rate in the world - 7.6. It is also one of the poorest  
On the question of resource, its availability or lack of it, and therefore its ability or inability to support the African population - another component of Africa’s ‘over-population’ fallacy -   well over 50 per cent of Uganda’s arable land, some of the richest in Africa, remains uncultivated. Were Uganda to expand its current food production significantly, not only would it be completely self-sufficient, but it would be able to feed all the countries contiguous to its territory without difficulty. Just about a quarter of the potentially arable land of Africa is being cultivated presently. Even here, an increasingly high proportion of the cultivated area is assigned to so-called cash-crops (cocoa, coffee, tea, groundnut, sisal, cut flowers, etc.) for export. As for the remaining 75 per cent of Africa’s uncultivated land, this represents 66 per cent of the entire world’s potential. This vast acreage of rich farmlands with the capacity to optimally support the food needs of generations of African peoples indefinitely. In addition, the famous fish industry in Senegal, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, for instance, Botswana’s rich cattle farms, West Africa’s yam and plantain belts extending from southern Cameroon to the Casamance province of Senegal, the continent’s rich rice production fields, etc. The current economic situation demonstrates that if the acreage devoted to cultivation is expanded and expressly targeted to address Africa’s own internal consumption needs rather than land use directed to the calamitous waste of cash-crop production for export there need be no food shortages. It is an inexcusable tragedy that any African child, woman, or man could go without food in the light of the staggering endowment of resources in Africa. Africa constitutes a spacious, rich and arable landmass that can support its population, which is still one of the world’s least densely populated and distributed, into the indefinite future.
It is clear that the factors which have contributed to determining the very poor quality of life of Africa’s population presently possess is to do with the non-use, partial-use, or the misuse of the continent’s resources year in, year out thanks to foreign capitalists and the native overseers - the national government and its indigenous domestic capitalists.   
When we look at the world around us we cannot fail to notice the extent to which nature is being ravaged in the name of short-term economic gain. It is all too clear that the prevailing economic system of capitalist competition is quite incapable of seriously taking into account the long-term considerations of a healthy planet. On a global basis, the alteration in the natural balance is taking place on a massive and unprecedented scale. One of the gravest criticisms that can be leveled against the capitalist system is that the application of the profit motive has been disastrous to the land. Throughout virtually the entire world, the land is not used to produce the crop best adapted to it on a permanent basis but to produce as much cash as possible, as cheaply as possible, and as quickly as possible - the same system exalted by the industrial manufacturer. Almost everywhere, the land is being impoverished; its fertility flushed down the world's rivers or blown away by its winds or simply buried under an expanding carpet of concrete. A socialist world would obviously want to halt and reverse the long-term decline in soil fertility by improving the humus content of the soil. Not only would this make for the more efficient absorption of chemical fertilisers but would help contain further topsoil loss as a result of erosion. Whilst this would involve more labour intensive work which would require a larger agricultural workforce it should be borne in mind that one of the greatest productive advantages of socialism over capitalism is that it would release a tremendous amount of labour for socially productive work.  
 Concentrating on population confuses symptoms with causes while simultaneously validating apologists for the system. Population growth arguments fit in with the ideological needs of the system rather than challenging them and is the primary reason that they receive so much publicity. It is completely acceptable to capitalism to place the blame for hunger and ecological crises on the number of people rather than on capitalism.  Anyway, MightY that is an adapted and abridged version of a reply offered to a prospective member who shared similar misgivings as yourself.   
 And apologies for the lengthy reply....but appreciate, it could have been a lot longer. The simple fact is that being apologists for over-population advocates makes us allies with the racists like Ike and the various Greens that accept capitalism.   
After clearing up the mess inherited from capitalism, then both consumption and production can be expected to level off and something approaching a "steady-state economy" reached. In a society geared to meeting human needs, once those needs are being met there is no need to go on producing more.   Population levels will stabilise too. This is a reasonable assumption and is already beginning to happen, even under capitalism, in the developed parts of the world.   Population growth is a feature of the poorer parts of the world, suggesting a link between it and poverty and the insecurity that goes with it (the more children you have the more chance there is of someone to care for you in your old age). If you reject socialism all that is left is to envisage either compulsory sterilisation programmes, the revival of eugenics or letting starvation, disease take their course. Socialists emphatically reject such an anti-human approach. If that's what an "Earth-centred ethics" teach then we want nothing to do with it. We'll stick to our human-centred approach, which embraces the view that the balanced functioning of the biosphere is something that humans should try to achieve since, as part of the biosphere, it is in our interest that it should function properly. There is, in fact, no antagonism between the interest of humanity and the interest of the biosphere. This system must go.   
The Myth of Carrying Capacity  
Many believe that we are undermining the very life support systems that sustain us. Like bacteria in a petri dish, our exploding numbers are reaching the limits of a finite planet, with dire consequences. Disaster looms as humans exceed the earth’s natural carrying capacity. Clearly, this could not be sustainable. Many have learned the classic mathematics of population growth — that populations must have their limits and must ultimately reach a balance with their environments, it’s physics, after all, there is only one earth! "Carrying capacity" refers to the number of individuals who can be supported in a given area, within natural resource limits, and without degrading the natural, social, cultural, and economic environment for present and future generations. The carrying capacity for any given area is not fixed. Carrying capacity is not a fixed number. Estimates put Earth's carrying capacity at anywhere between 2 billion and even 40 billion people. It varies with a wide range of factors, most of them fitting under the umbrella of "lifestyle." If humans were still in the hunter-gatherer mode, Earth would have reached its capacity at about 100 million people. With humans producing food and living in high-rise buildings, that number increases significantly .
 A good way to understand the flexibility of Earth's carrying capacity is to look at the difference between the projected capacities of 2 billion and 40 billion. Essentially, we're working with the same level of resources with both of those numbers. So how can the estimates swing so widely? Because people in different parts of the world are consuming different amounts of those resources. Basically, if everyone on Earth lived like a middle-class American, consuming roughly 3.3 times the subsistence level of food and about 250 times the subsistence level of clean water, the Earth could only support about 2 billion people. On the other hand, if everyone on the planet consumed only what he or she needed, 40 billion would be a feasible number. As it is, the people living in developed countries are consuming so much that the other approximate 75 percent of the population is left with barely what they need to get by. Ultimately, the idea is this: If everyone on Earth can manage to do more with less, we'll be back on track to Earth's indefinite carrying capacity. 
  The conditions that sustain humanity are not natural and never have been. Since prehistory, human populations have used technologies and engineered ecosystems to sustain populations well beyond the capabilities of unaltered “natural” ecosystems. We transform ecosystems to sustain ourselves. This is what we do and have always done. Our planet’s human-carrying capacity emerges from the capabilities of our social systems and our technologies more than from any environmental limits. The idea that humans must live within the natural environmental limits of our planet denies the realities of our entire history. Charles Maurice and Charles W. Smithson at Texas A&M University studied the history of natural resources over 10,000 years. They found that temporary scarcities in natural resources are the norm. They also found that same temporary scarcity always led to an improved substitute. The Greeks' transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age 3,000 years ago was forced by a shortage of tin. The rise of coal followed timber shortages in 16th-century Britain.The shortage of whale oil in 1850 led directly to the first oil well in 1859.
  The lesson?

  Human ingenuity has always been successful in overcoming crises that once seemed inevitable. That is why we have an optimistic hope for socialism... 

12 hours 30 min ago
With American workers already struggling against stagnant wages, declining union strength, and vicious attacks by the Trump administration, a new investigation by Politico published Sunday found that low-wage employees in the United States are also contending with wage theft on a massive scale. According to Politico's Marianne Levine, who examined state minimum wage enforcement protocols
18 hours 45 min ago
Poor job prospects and low pay in cities are pushing thousands of unemployed young people to return home and take up farming, said David Mugambi, a lecturer at Chuka University in central Kenya. "Young people are increasingly realising that farming can pay off," he explained. Kenyan youth are not only turning to farming, they are bringing their digital skills with them to rural areas,
18 hours 45 min ago