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(Slate)   World's population may soon start declining; feel free to start screwing like rabbits   ( slate.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, incentive programs, Stony Brook University, demographic trends, Census Bureau  
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9564 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Jan 2013 at 7:27 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-09 07:50:05 PM  

dericwater: We've never had a population explosion. We had a death implosion. Lifespans have increased from 50 years in the early 1900s to 78 or higher at the end of that century. We didn't have more babies than previous generations. We just didn't die as quickly as previous generations.


Obesity has reversed that trend, however.
 
2013-01-09 07:50:30 PM  

whidbey: World's population may soon start declining

They touched on India, but didn't really address the rapid birthrates in SE Asia or most of Africa.

Kind of a WTF attempt at touchy-feeling goodness I guess. I don't get it.


Birth rates in Africa have been declining for the past 50+ years. It used to be around 7 kids per family, and now it's down to around 3. Yes, 3 is greater than the 2.2 replacement rate, but it's much smaller. That's balanced with lower child mortality and longevity.
 
2013-01-09 07:51:59 PM  
dericwater: "We've never had a population explosion. We had a death implosion. Lifespans have increased from 50 years in the early 1900s to 78 or higher at the end of that century. We didn't have more babies than previous generations. We just didn't die as quickly as previous generations."

Um, the Nobel Prize laureates and PhDs right here on Fark have told me (when they took a break from 3D printing trinkets and masturbating over pictures of Mars) that we don't live longer than before.
 
2013-01-09 07:52:08 PM  
If it wasn't for Latin America, Catholicism and immigration would be non-existent in the United States

/a quote from my very Catholic grandmother
 
2013-01-09 07:52:15 PM  
it's cause fo the gays they're not eating enough chick fil a
 
2013-01-09 07:52:28 PM  
Godscrack:

Um ya, this sky does not look right!!
/and don't try to tell me, that's the way it's always been.
 
2013-01-09 07:52:58 PM  

Dinjiin: GAT_00: Besides, who knows what kind of technology is around the corner that could extend lifespans.

Figuring out how to extend lifespans to 150+ years or more while keeping our bodies young is going to be one of those paradigm shifts in society that nobody living today is going to accurately be able to predict.


It's an aweful idea that I guess is inevitable. People need to dye so that new ways of thinking can emerge. What if the generation of the Salem witch trials just kept on living? Or the slave masters? Or if we were stuck with the Baby Boomers FOREVER.
 
2013-01-09 07:53:02 PM  
Ok, single professional, middle-aged woman seeks blue state rabbit.
 
2013-01-09 07:53:08 PM  

macadamnut: [www.capitalnewyork.com image 400x300]

"There will be much time and little to do!"


Pretty much hit the big one here. I'm done.
 
2013-01-09 07:53:33 PM  
So I can stop growing anthrax in the bathtub?
 
2013-01-09 07:53:40 PM  
World's population may soon start declining; feel free to start screwing, like, rabbits...opossums, sheep, horses...whatever you can find to help this trend along.
 
2013-01-09 07:53:59 PM  

EnglishMajor: Ok, single professional, middle-aged woman seeks blue state rabbit.

How You Doin'?

 
2013-01-09 07:55:06 PM  
Good. More people isn't always a higher quality of life, especially with 7 billion and finite resources.
 
2013-01-09 07:55:13 PM  

mbillips: dericwater: We've never had a population explosion. We had a death implosion. Lifespans have increased from 50 years in the early 1900s to 78 or higher at the end of that century. We didn't have more babies than previous generations. We just didn't die as quickly as previous generations.

And with the draconian birth control methods of China, we will see a government inducement for citizens of other countries to set up shop in China in about 20 years. That 1.6 billion people will drop precipitously in the next 20 years. It will be smaller than India's population in about 30 years.

I don't think you understand how geometric progressions work. Yeah, modern medicine increased survival rates, but of CHILDREN. Life expectancy didn't go up so much because adults live longer; it went up because children don't die like flies any more. And regardless, when you start with 2 billion people, it's really easy to get to 7 billion.


I believe life expectancy factors in child mortality. Remember, it wasn't unusual back in the early 1900s for families to have 5 to 10 kids (all passed the infant mortality portion of life), each living to about 50 years of age or so, and also having 5-10 kids (fewer numbers in subsequent generations, of course). Now, people have 2 - 3 kids and they live to 70+ years of age.

Bottom line, there has not been a population explosion. The number of children (survived past infant mortality periods) per family has been steadily decreasing for much of the past century. As noted in the article, some countries are seeing a direct shrinking of their population as the number of children per family is hovering at around 1.4. 1.4 kids per family does not even replace the previous generation.
 
2013-01-09 07:55:52 PM  

Xythero: Dinjiin: GAT_00: Besides, who knows what kind of technology is around the corner that could extend lifespans.

Figuring out how to extend lifespans to 150+ years or more while keeping our bodies young is going to be one of those paradigm shifts in society that nobody living today is going to accurately be able to predict.


It's an aweful idea that I guess is inevitable. People need to dye so that new ways of thinking can emerge. What if the generation of the Salem witch trials just kept on living? Or the slave masters? Or if we were stuck with the Baby Boomers FOREVER.


I have this really bizarre feeling that if death wasn't an advantage to the overall survival of our species, we probably already wouldn't die.
 
2013-01-09 07:55:53 PM  

Girion47: Dinjiin: GAT_00: Besides, who knows what kind of technology is around the corner that could extend lifespans.

Figuring out how to extend lifespans to 150+ years or more while keeping our bodies young is going to be one of those paradigm shifts in society that nobody living today is going to accurately be able to predict.

Are we going to have a dystopian future as depicted in Logan's Run where you surrender your life at some fixed point, say 250 years? Do we add a plutocracy twist where the rich can essentially live forever by purchasing life credits as depicted in In Time? Maybe wars regarding finite resources will lead to periodic cullings that keep the population in check.  Regardless, it will mean huge changes (or lack of change) in culture and work.

It would also encourage space exploration.


Peter Hamilton strongly agrees with you.
 
2013-01-09 07:56:10 PM  
I already do. I already do.
 
2013-01-09 07:56:22 PM  
Thomas Malthus chuckles somewhere
 
2013-01-09 07:56:58 PM  
I regret to inform Fark that the phrase screwing like rabbis produces zero hits on either Google Search or Google Images.
images.clipartof.com
 
2013-01-09 07:57:05 PM  

dericwater: But we need people as consumers to buy the stuff we make.


In the present consumer-oriented, planned-obsolescence, marketing-driven economy, sure. There's no reason it has to stay that way, though.
 
2013-01-09 07:57:17 PM  

EnglishMajor: Ok, single professional, middle-aged woman seeks blue state rabbit.


How "middle"? Like upper middle? Lower middle? Middle lower? Middle upper? Middle middle? Do you have herpes?
 
2013-01-09 07:57:53 PM  
From 1960 to 2009, Mexico's fertility rate tumbled from 7.3 live births per woman to 2.4, India's dropped from six to 2.5, and Brazil's fell from 6.15 to 1.9.

Wow those are some huge drops.

Overall long term it's probably but it will still bring problems. Governments and people have to look about solving these problems. One thing it will mean that the population of countries will be more older.
 
2013-01-09 07:57:59 PM  

God-is-a-Taco: dericwater: We've never had a population explosion. We had a death implosion. Lifespans have increased from 50 years in the early 1900s to 78 or higher at the end of that century. We didn't have more babies than previous generations. We just didn't die as quickly as previous generations.


Obesity has reversed that trend, however.


That may very well be true. I believe there are experts claiming that my generation (baby boomers and beyond) may live shorter life spans than their parents'.
 
2013-01-09 07:59:09 PM  

Xythero: Dinjiin: GAT_00: Besides, who knows what kind of technology is around the corner that could extend lifespans.

Figuring out how to extend lifespans to 150+ years or more while keeping our bodies young is going to be one of those paradigm shifts in society that nobody living today is going to accurately be able to predict.


It's an aweful idea that I guess is inevitable. People need to dye so that new ways of thinking can emerge. What if the generation of the Salem witch trials just kept on living? Or the slave masters? Or if we were stuck with the Baby Boomers FOREVER.


I think this is a job for John Boehner.
 
2013-01-09 07:59:43 PM  

mbillips: All the low-hanging resource fruit is gone.


People say that, and it's true, we don't have easy deposits of naturally-occurring primary ores any more. However, we have something even better than that: landfill. Thousands and thousands of cubic meters of landfill.

If this world system collapses, the next renaissance will be built on our garbage.
 
2013-01-09 07:59:57 PM  
I've had a vasectomy so I'm getting a kick out of this.
 
2013-01-09 08:00:09 PM  

birdboy2000: Good. More people isn't always a higher quality of life, especially with 7 billion and finite resources.


How do you know resources are finite, or even effectively finite?
 
2013-01-09 08:00:27 PM  

StopLurkListen: theorellior: You realize, if productivity goes up, fewer people are needed to do the same amount of work, so the population can shrink for quite some time without adversely affecting anyone's quality of life. Also, with fewer people chasing after the same resources, prices will go down.

Yup. And it's not the total number of humans that are stressing the planet's resources, it's the few hundred million wealthy ones consuming the vast majority of resources. If every human consumed like the average American, well, it just wouldn't be possible, but if they did there'd be massive ecological destruction. But good luck asking Americans to do with less, since our definition of wealth is tied closely with the amount you consume. And good luck asking the Chinese or Indians to do without, as they become wealthy and want to live like the rest of the modern world.


That's not completely true. Bangladesh is an ecological hellhole, because WAY too many people live there. They've cut down most of the forest for farking FIREWOOD. This is a problem in China, India and much of Africa, too. People living a subsistance lifestyle become a plague when they get modern medicine combined with their high birth rates.
 
2013-01-09 08:02:17 PM  

mbillips: Once the population starts to fall, you get in a negative feedback loop -- fewer people equals less technology, plus environmental degradation equals less easily arable land and fertile fishing grounds equals fewer people, etc.


Sure, if your population numbers in the thousands, a loss in population will mean a high probability of losing knowledge and culture. With 300 million people and thousands of libraries, the US alone could lose 70% of its population and still have more people and knowledge than the Roman Empire had at its height.
 
2013-01-09 08:02:47 PM  

dericwater: birdboy2000: Good. More people isn't always a higher quality of life, especially with 7 billion and finite resources.

How do you know resources are finite, or even effectively finite?


Well, because the universe began with an absolute amount of energy, and eventually it will all be evenly distributed as useless, low grade background radiation, sterile rocks, and lukewarm heat. All the resources will still, you know, technically, kinda be there. They'll just be in a worthless form.
 
2013-01-09 08:02:50 PM  
I'd say let it decline. It might be rough for a generation or two on the way down, but a world population of 1-2 billion could likely exist on Earth with minimal conflict almost indefinitely, especially when you consider widespread use of modern and very foreseeable technologies. We would be talking about a golden age of unprecedented length and scale.


Then just let the people of the 23rd century worry about how to get birth rates back up to a more stable level.
 
2013-01-09 08:02:55 PM  

Skarekrough: I've had a vasectomy so I'm getting a kick out of this.


She'd get better, if you hadn't...
 
2013-01-09 08:03:00 PM  

dericwater: How do you know resources are finite, or even effectively finite?


Because we're not mining asteroids yet.
 
2013-01-09 08:03:01 PM  
Ok, but I'll be needing a volunteer or five.
 
2013-01-09 08:03:42 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: Um, the Nobel Prize laureates and PhDs right here on Fark have told me (when they took a break from 3D printing trinkets and masturbating over pictures of Mars) that we don't live longer than before.


DRINK!
 
2013-01-09 08:04:17 PM  
Suddenly we need more gay sex. Who'd a thunk it?
 
2013-01-09 08:04:48 PM  

MrHappyRotter: I already do. I already do.


"like rabbits" not "like, rabbits"

/So sorry
 
2013-01-09 08:05:47 PM  

cold_war_relic: No one?

<scene from Children of Men>


While there are some fertility issues going on in some countries due to pollution (mostly estrogen mimicking chemicals), it hasn't reached CoM levels. At worst at the moment, you have to go through expensive IVF treatment. But you still end up with a kid.
 
2013-01-09 08:06:24 PM  

dahmers love zombie: I would bet that we'll have a worldwide pandemic of something seriously antibiotic resistant within 20 years or so.  It'll knock off around 1-2 billion of the world's population, mostly clustered in the areas like Mumbai, or Bayonne, or anywhere else they routinely chuck corpses into the river to dispose of 'em.


20 bucks says it's man made/engineered. Monsanto, Pfizer, any number of these bastards will be our downfall.
 
2013-01-09 08:06:29 PM  
Your blog sucks.
 
2013-01-09 08:07:55 PM  

Duke Phillips' Singing Bears: dericwater: birdboy2000: Good. More people isn't always a higher quality of life, especially with 7 billion and finite resources.

How do you know resources are finite, or even effectively finite?

Well, because the universe began with an absolute amount of energy, and eventually it will all be evenly distributed as useless, low grade background radiation, sterile rocks, and lukewarm heat. All the resources will still, you know, technically, kinda be there. They'll just be in a worthless form.


That's my "effectively finite" clause. Yeah, in 15 billion years, we're all going to be nothing but inert blobs of solid rock at 0K (or, we're plasma stuck inside a black hole).

But between now and the death of the sun, how are you claiming we have finite or effectively finite resources?
 
2013-01-09 08:09:12 PM  

bearded clamorer: MrHappyRotter: I already do. I already do.

"like rabbits" not "like, rabbits"

/So sorry


/Don't apologize anymore. Grammar works.
 
2013-01-09 08:09:30 PM  

cold_war_relic: No one?


I think that Alfonso Cuarón did an excellent job of filming that scene and the scenes prior to it. His take on urban warfare was nasty, loud, confused and pointless. No war porn or soldier glamor shots. Just the basic depiction of organized bloodshed done with machines.
 
2013-01-09 08:09:36 PM  
Yeah the drawing a straight line is pretty stupid, but I think it's a trend. I think thought the rate will be more asymptotic to about 1, or a little over 1.
 
2013-01-09 08:10:05 PM  
It seriously annoys me how every time people talk about birthrates, they get stuck on irrelevant shorterm problems.

The real question is: What is the ideal population of Earth?

It shouldn't be to small, so that pandemics or inbreeding becomes a serious risk. On the other hand it should leave plenty of space for natural resourses like rainforrests. I think 100-500 millions would be a good number.
 
2013-01-09 08:11:04 PM  

Non-evil Monkey: I'd say let it decline. It might be rough for a generation or two on the way down, but a world population of 1-2 billion could likely exist on Earth with minimal conflict almost indefinitely, especially when you consider widespread use of modern and very foreseeable technologies. We would be talking about a golden age of unprecedented length and scale.


Then just let the people of the 23rd century worry about how to get birth rates back up to a more stable level.


Right because wars often happen over battles for limited resources. Decreased population will make that less likely to occur. However it still would but at a lower rate.
 
2013-01-09 08:11:31 PM  

Non-evil Monkey: I'd say let it decline. It might be rough for a generation or two on the way down, but a world population of 1-2 billion could likely exist on Earth with minimal conflict almost indefinitely, especially when you consider widespread use of modern and very foreseeable technologies. We would be talking about a golden age of unprecedented length and scale.


Then just let the people of the 23rd century worry about how to get birth rates back up to a more stable level.


I have a hypothesis, completely untested, that the optimal population size for humans is somewhere around 9 billion. At that number, it's possible to achieve economic stability while not worrying too much about overall carbon footprint (or any other environmental footprint) of the whole population. I have no computed basis for that number, but am dabbling at making that claim work. It may come out that a more accurate number would arise.
 
2013-01-09 08:12:07 PM  

ultramarinblaa: It seriously annoys me how every time people talk about birthrates, they get stuck on irrelevant shorterm problems.

The real question is: What is the ideal population of Earth?

It shouldn't be to small, so that pandemics or inbreeding becomes a serious risk. On the other hand it should leave plenty of space for natural resourses like rainforrests. I think 100-500 millions would be a good number.


But that number also changes with technology. The world now can probably support more people then it could with technology of 100 years ago. Productivity is much much higher.
 
2013-01-09 08:13:09 PM  

LewDux: As you may not be surprised to learn, the Germans have coined a polysyllabic word for this quandary: Schrumpf-Gessellschaft, or "shrinking society."

SHRINCIETY!!


Schtroumpf -Gessellschaft: The population not only gets smaller, but bluer. Finally, there is only one female for every 150 males.

www.washingtoncitypaper.com
Welcome to the Gay Paradise
 
2013-01-09 08:13:34 PM  

dericwater: But between now and the death of the sun, how are you claiming we have finite or effectively finite resources?


Well, because the earth only has so much stuff in it and on it. There's a measurable amount of things. The point of the "vast universe is still finite" thought exercise is to demonstrate that, since all things scale, you can assume the Earth is also effectively finite in terms of stuff.

Will it matter in our lifetimes? That's the question I can't answer (and the question you're asking - but this is Fark, I don't like to answer the questions people are actually asking, that's no fun)
 
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