Addressing overpopulation chatter

June 2024 Forums General discussion Addressing overpopulation chatter

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    J Surman

    I guess I’m not the only one to find the topic of overpopulation somewhat tiresome. Below is a link to a clear and easy argument against those who offer the standard mantra ad infinitum:

    Blaming the COVID-19 Pandemic on Too Many Humans: A Critique of Overpopulation Ideology


    The blog has already posted it, Janet, to give it a wider audience and agree with you on the clarity and the relevance of its explanation.

    Some our worse enemies, the Malthusians, are the among our supposed closest friends, the environmentalists.


    Even more evidence that over-population crisis doesn’t exist. But the ageing of population is a problem.

    The number of people will peak at 9.7 billion around 2064, before falling down to 8.8 billion by the end of the century.

    While the numbers of over-80s will go from 141 million in 2017 to 866 million in 2100.




    Another informative article debunking over-population fears


    I made a topic, here about this.
    I responded to someone on Facebook that the birth rate was falling in some countries. Only to be: it’s not about countries?

    Prince Harry gave a lecture on global overpopulation. While he and his wife were expecting their 3rd offspring? No leading by example?

    What are these people argument?  Setting an example themselves, no children basic living? Birth control of the poor? Eugenics?

    The problem is Malthusian catastrophe began in 1798, by Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus.  I see the problem.


    The BBC had a follow up article on what they see as the implications of falling fertility rates and we witness them even now.

    It is not mentioned but the rise in the number of elderly is the reason why the BBC ended its free tv licences for the over-75s. They saw the rise in numbers  and the future cost.

    People see poverty and they see slums and they see disease and they see wars and some  like Attenborough whose expertise is with animal populations project all that on to human populations as if we have no influence or control on our own numbers. They are oblivious to the fact that we ourselves determine our conditions and surroundings.

    It is difficult to deny facts that we have been brought up to believe is true. Personally, for instance, i find it difficult to accept that certain foods i was told were healthy for me as a child, are now the cause of lifestyle illnesses.  not to mention part of the climate problem. Milk was good for me. I went to work on an egg. It is easier for society to prescribe a statin for high cholesterol than actually change a diet pattern.

    I think it is a similar problem. We live in a over-crowded highly competitive world and we see other people as a threat and it is expressed in racism, nationalism and over-populationism. It is easy to instil fear when all the evidence of the evils are so evident around us. Pointing out those as problems exacerbated by capitalism is not as simplistic as pointing a finger at a “culprit”

    As Jimmy Reid said and it is a message worth conveying “A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings.”

    All we can do is keep challenging those who explain our misery by stating the facts and we have sufficient authorities to cite. Our SOYMB blog is a useful resource.

    As for family planning, the best contraceptive is female empowerment.



    How we can provide sustainable energy for 10 billion people at the same level as the world did for 3 billion people back in the 1960s

    A useful link for challenging those over-population alarmists.

    The ball is in their court to change the system if they want a solution.


    The other scenario which the Guardian doesn’t discuss is the socialist one. That the division between town and country dissolves.

    Every large city is made originally up of separate villages and hamlets. We can envisage the de-urbanisation. Isn’t there many town-dwellers who aspire to a cottage in the country? With industry more easily de-centralised in socialism, retail and commerce competition of the High St shopping reduced and more sustainable public transport links developed, concentrations of population can be avoided.

    The greening of the cities with parks and gardens.

    My home city had city-farms, sheep grazing in its centre. It also had a wide network of allotments. We already have urban foxes and a few badgers plus other wild-life. On more than one occasion while walking the dogs early morning i have come across deer.

    We are often described as an over-crowded, crammed-close planet but when people and suitable land are looked at in proportion, there is plenty of room for all of us and plenty to spare.

    J Surman

    re Matt’s link to the Guardian piece, it’s interesting how much emphasis there is in the article on negative aspects of population reduction just as it always was when addressing increasing numbers. We had to rid ourselves of too many but now it seems there won’t be enough! Nothing to do with the profit motive and how to reorganise state coffers etc – – –


    “it’s interesting how much emphasis there is in the article on negative aspects of population reduction”

    For capitalism a fall in numbers but accompanied by an ageing population is a problem.

    Less people means a smaller market to sell to but it also means less people of working age supporting more who aren’t being productive.

    China suffered it with their one-child policy and call it the 1-2-4 problem…one worker supporting his or her parents and also grandparents. It being made worse by the lack of an effective state welfare system in China to take up the burden of looking after the elderly.

    Capitalism does offer solutions to this under-population. Increased productivity of those who are working. Reducing the dependency by raising the retirement age. Encouraging more immigration of younger healthier workers. To some degree or other, all three options are being introduced but not with equal priority. Japan, for instance, has done very little to invite immigration.

    But we also have to note that even with fertility drop the population still grows because of what is called population momentum

    Socialism will not suffer any unwelcomed consequences of a reduced population and we would welcome it, in general.

    But our current political problem are those who wish to embark upon eugenic programmes supposedly to protect the environment. Delve a bit deeper and it is racist family-planning policies aimed at the undeveloped and developing countries with the purpose to protect the high levels of, and very profitable for capitalism, consumption and GDPs of the industrialised developed nations. Also with the land-grab and the mechanisation of plantation farming and high-tech extractive idustries, much of the labour-force is superfluous and surplus to requirements so push them into the mega-city slums and engage in service work.


    Nations are debating what part of the population should priority of the coronavirus vaccine be given to the vulnerable elderly or for the essential workers.

    Here is an article that stripped down to its essence is suggesting euthanasia of the aged but done with dignity.

    “…today it is irrational prolonging of death which is increasing longevity, at the cost of quality of life and benefitting only the medico industrial complex. We suggest replacing expensive and irrational geriatric care with rational palliative care where old people live in comfort with reduced suffering and die peacefully at home with their family…”

    “…today old age is not healthy people naturally growing old. You may still see some such people, particularly those who used a bicycle all their life. Today by and large old people are from relatively affluent families. Majority of them are not in good health but are kept alive because of modern health care system. These old people and their families suffer a lot in terms of agonies, harassment of frequent hospitalisation and drain of money. The doctors have forgotten the wisdom of their seniors, like, ‘Any medical intervention is advised only if it improves the quality of life’. Today, saving life at any cost is the mantra. It would be alright if the patients were young but in the case of senior citizens the mantra should be reducing suffering…”


    This is already on offer to a limited extent, for elderly patients in poor health already, but now with a terminal illness.

    That is palliative care versus potentially hazardous treatment. A decision made after consultation.

    Doctors and patients are humane and want positive outcomes.

    I don’t accept the following conclusion,

    Today, saving life at any cost is the mantra.


    In Japan, the population is declining because peoples are overworked and they do not have time and desires to have sex and the whole population is getting old.

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