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Paul Farrell pens his most apocalyptic vision yet of U.S. and global decline, as denial and...

Paul Farrell pens his most apocalyptic vision yet of U.S. and global decline, as denial and greedy addictions render us unable to deal with the biggest bubble ever: an exploding population that could hit 10B by 2050. "Already too many people in our world. Adding too many more every day. Not enough resources." Among his solutions: "Rapid and wholly voluntary reductions of fertility."
Comments (34)
  • I tend to agree, my wife and I are actually talking about it... do we really need more people? Maybe better to adopt one, especially after she heard a story on a radioshow called 'lost in translation'
    25 Oct 2011, 06:35 PM Reply Like
  • Wow, that article is depressing, even to a believer in science.

     

    But I don't think it's that bad. Population growth will likely slow due to increasing poverty, shorter life expectancies, etc.

     

    Wars, too. I bet there will be a couple nasty ones before too long. WMDs are still out there, and you can be they'll be used one day.

     

    And many cultures currently embrace the notion that you don't have to feed everyone, just the rich. It worked out great in France a few hundred years back.

     

    See? The world will be just fine. :)
    25 Oct 2011, 06:41 PM Reply Like
  • Population growth will slow for a much simpler reason: the world is becoming more prosperous. Look at just about any country in western Europe, flat to negative populations trends that are only compensated because of immigration. There's a pretty strong negative correlation between prosperity and birth rates. As the world becomes more prosperous, population will flatten out and we'll hit a steady state solution that doesn't require mass death and destruction. Getting there might not be all fun and games, but I really doubt that we've hit anywhere near the carrying capacity of the earth.
    25 Oct 2011, 06:54 PM Reply Like
  • This is one strong argument against limiting carbon emissions -- let China and India become as prosperous as possible as quickly as possible.

     

    The downside is that negative population growth has never correlated with good economic outcomes.
    25 Oct 2011, 07:02 PM Reply Like
  • Hypnos

     

    Actually the Black Death which wiped out 1/3rd of the population enabled the remaining workforce to demand higher wages as they hired out as laborers. The size of families also bounced back as it seemed like a lot of breeding was going on to replenish their families. So standards of living actually improved!
    25 Oct 2011, 10:17 PM Reply Like
  • Rapid and wholly voluntary reductions of fertility? Yea right, more like increase in fertility due to need for home defense? aka building a small army
    25 Oct 2011, 06:44 PM Reply Like
  • We must realize a Star Trek-like universe where we have not only limited population growth, but amazing new sources of energy, machines doing all the grunt work, and humans being content to gain knowledge instead of material goods.

     

    Yeah right.
    25 Oct 2011, 06:50 PM Reply Like
  • As a techie I must correct you about the possibilities you shoot down so flippantly.

     

    As everyone educated in the sciences knows, the Star Trek universe had nothing like limited population growth. Captain Kirk alone probably had dozens of children with dozens of women. And don't count out Commander Riker, either, you know he got himself some.

     

    See, it's not that they limited population growth, it's that they grew the supply of inhabitable planets.

     

    So, in conclusion, this proves that supply side economics is obviously the stuff of science fiction television. :)
    25 Oct 2011, 06:55 PM Reply Like
  • "As a techie", wow you must have all of the answers. Why don't we just ask you to tell us what to do to solve all of the world's problems. "asa a techie."
    25 Oct 2011, 08:25 PM Reply Like
  • I do have all the answers. About Star Trek. :)
    25 Oct 2011, 08:31 PM Reply Like
  • DV,
    So what are Kirk and Spock saying about the markets these days? Up? Down? Trading Range?
    25 Oct 2011, 10:31 PM Reply Like
  • Markets are trading in a range, they might break any time now, but it all depends what happens with the Klingons.

     

    And don't forget to hedge for Trouble with Tribbles!!!
    25 Oct 2011, 10:36 PM Reply Like
  • Then shouldn't you have stated, I am a Trekie? Live long and prosper. D_Virginia.
    26 Oct 2011, 05:17 AM Reply Like
  • space exploration is our only hope.
    25 Oct 2011, 06:54 PM Reply Like
  • Complete idiocy.

     

    People have been saying the world is overpopulated for at least 70 years now as the world population has continued to double several times over.

     

    Even if we are up against resource constraints, then free moving prices in a free market will force us to conserve, be efficient and deal with the resource constraints (as is happening now with higher prices for oil & commodities).

     

    And then there are possible technological innovations that may make the whole point mute.

     

    Oh and finally, and probably most importantly, as societies get more materially rich, people chose to have less kids anyway.
    25 Oct 2011, 07:09 PM Reply Like
  • I wonder if Easter Islanders ever thought they were overpopulated, especially given they cut all their trees down.
    25 Oct 2011, 08:52 PM Reply Like
  • The best population control is education and hopes for a career.
    It's only the poorer countries that have too many children.
    25 Oct 2011, 07:34 PM Reply Like
  • Seen form the Eastern view the now obvious structural problems of the west are lifestyle oriented . No individual savings , family wealth not passed on to children , borrow to spend , high expectations from the government to fix it and bring the past back without any individual sacrifice. The model worked when demographics & economic growth was favorable & competition was from a high wage lazy Europe . Equity & savings got created . Trillions in cheap drug, corruption & crime money stashed in Swiss Banks other tax havens & cheap oil & then oil money surpluses helped.

     

    Warren Buffet admits as much , said here he was lucky , a well educated , white male in the center of an economy that grew & grew for decades.

     

    If the western governments can't fix the broken structure , the obvious solution of increasing family saving , working harder for less for some time has no takers among voters , the rise of Asia & Africa in the next few decades will automatically reduce the wage disparities , bring back the manufacturing jobs , bring in more tourists , and create demand for expensive products.
    25 Oct 2011, 08:03 PM Reply Like
  • KaviVerma i enjoyed your comment, thank you. I am also interested in the rise of Asia and Africa. I have read a lot about oil off of much of the African coastline. I also have an interest in Vietnam companies, more specifically the machinery sector. Do you have a pick of US folks who seem to be positioned to benefit over the next few decades?
    26 Oct 2011, 05:11 AM Reply Like
  • Just more fear mongering and blustering about why the world is going to end. Markets unencumbered by government market distortions (but catalyzed through increased transparency, which government can provide) are pretty effective at dealing with problems such as this. I will not lose a second of sleep over this.

     

    Far more pressing are solutions to problems such as climate change and long-term unemployment.

     

    The Economist posted an article recently that effectively quashes this topic as well:
    http://econ.st/tmxBC6
    25 Oct 2011, 10:08 PM Reply Like
  • I think we should place "climate change" back up in your first sentence, where it belongs.
    26 Oct 2011, 08:25 AM Reply Like
  • The demise of the human population has been predicted for a long time and especially around 200 years ago when arable land calculations showed that there was not enough land to feed a growing population. But then improvements in farming took over.

     

    We can probably take a larger population but at what cost? Wipe out all the wilderness? Live on top of each other? The earth can only take on so much stress.
    25 Oct 2011, 10:21 PM Reply Like
  • What is it with the apocalyptic vision thing?

     

    Malthus did it and yet somehow we're still here.

     

    40 years ago it was a new fad with Ehrlich, Club for Growth and "The Population Bomb". Every measure of human health has improved from that time period and every time period since records have been kept. Julian Simon proved it. Technology has and will solve any problem we face.

     

    Not a single doom prediction proved accurate. The radical environmentalists just don't like human beings and would like to see the world depopulated so that we stop harming Gaia and the "elites" can have their playground unspoiled by the human masses.

     

    Paul writes some interesting stuff from time to time but the guy is clearly off his meds in the last few months.
    25 Oct 2011, 10:44 PM Reply Like
  • CW

     

    Generally agree with you but a doomsday prophet only has to be right once.
    25 Oct 2011, 11:27 PM Reply Like
  • Those who openly advocate others to die so the 'humanity' can be saved should first commit ritual sacrifice themselves.
    25 Oct 2011, 11:56 PM Reply Like
  • apocalyptic.....seems like logical obvious.
    26 Oct 2011, 12:37 AM Reply Like
  • I believe that overpopulation is the biggest threat to this planet.

     

    The philosophy of growth,growth,growth, as the only solution for a better economy, has to be changed so that continual growth is not absolutely necessary for our constant economic improvement.
    26 Oct 2011, 03:21 AM Reply Like
  • I don't know about you. But when I see op-eds. Written in semi-complete sentences. I think "nutter".

     

    Paul Farrell made the front of DrudgeReport last week, congrats on all the extra tin-hat traffic!
    26 Oct 2011, 05:01 AM Reply Like
  • So, I guess you guys are all standing in line for a vasectomy then right?
    26 Oct 2011, 08:30 AM Reply Like
  • Obviously, those that believe the Earth is a small, crowded place have not travelled very widely. The Earth is mostly empty, undeveloped, even unexplored...even today. People choose to huddle together in masses. This density is hardly imposed by the confines of available space or resources to support existence. When technology and actual available resources (many yet to be discovered) and space are considered, the idea that man is exhausting the planet's ability to sustain human life is patently absurd.

     

    But, there are always those whose lives revolve around pessimism and fear. It's its own form of religion.
    26 Oct 2011, 08:31 AM Reply Like
  • Tack

     

    Agree with your observation about huddled masses as I do travel all over. Most cities were settled by water for transportation reasons and also as a necessity. If we decide to take over every inch of the globe and clear forests and rearrange the ecosystem we will lose a lot of wildlife and we will have other unforseen consequences. And what is the point of that?
    26 Oct 2011, 09:59 AM Reply Like
  • They are huddled because they cannot afford to build and maintain roads and buy cars. So, they have to use public transportation. It wouldn't hure US to get a little bit more "huddled" and stop wasting its resources as much )). It you live close to your familyb they can help with childcare and such. If you don't then you have to pay someone a wage (and taxes on top of it and paperwork) to do that,
    26 Oct 2011, 10:06 AM Reply Like
  • I think the key to what Tack is proposing is sustainability. Using Technology to live with nature. If we were to reduce harmful emissions and build more energy efficient homes etc. we could easily have way more people on this planet. Especially nowadays were the internet has reduced the need of sitting in an office in the center of a city.
    26 Oct 2011, 11:55 AM Reply Like
  • inthemoney

     

    Your cause and effect are not correct although your overriding point is fine. Cities exist in their current locations for very valid reasons and access to water was key for the founding of cities for many millenia. As they grew they became regional centers of trade and culture and that continues to sustain them today.
    26 Oct 2011, 02:39 PM Reply Like
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