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View Poll Results: Should breeding be limited legally to stop massive overpopulation?

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  • Yes.

    5 41.67%
  • Maybe to a certain degree.

    2 16.67%
  • No, never.

    3 25.00%
  • I dont think overpopulation is the main problem.

    2 16.67%
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Thread: Overpopulation root of all evil?

  1. #1 Overpopulation root of all evil? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Living in Norway with a population of 4 million people, we all take good care of eachother and have good living standards. But i still think theres too many people around here.

    In other countries theres 10`s and 100`s times more people in pretty much the same space. What does this do?

    More poverty, worse health and many other negative things. The value of each citizen is lower and lower and when visiting these countries - instead of being a person, i feel like a number.

    In china i think they have a 1 child only policy, did it really had to get to billions before this got enforced legally?

    I think for humanity to progress we need to control breeding so our race gets more quality than quantity. It would be for the better good of our species in the long term in my opinion. Note that i dont mean we should be to few either, but in to many places in the world - the population is to big to support itself. Would you want 1 son and 1 daughter to live a respectable life? Or 4 sons and 4 daughters wich you couldnt afford an education and ensure a worthy life?


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  3. #2  
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    meh, over population only causes problems because of the way wealth is spread out.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redrighthand
    meh, over population only causes problems because of the way wealth is spread out.
    I guess, but human greed - can that ever be controlled? Limiting exessive breeding would force the problem to lessen. But human greed and power hunger thats a tough one.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Norway is a democracy. Do you think you could ever get the people of Norway to vote for legal limits on having babies? How about India, also a democracy?

    As far as I know the only country to have imposed a limit on having babies is China, a communist dictatorship. If you wish to force people not to have babies you will first have to throw away your democracy.

    It seems to me that the way to reduce population growth is to increase prosperity, since a comfortable standard of living and a good education in general seem to result in a leveling off of birth rates.
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  6. #5  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redrighthand
    meh, over population only causes problems because of the way wealth is spread out.
    No. It causes problems because to create current wealth levels we are depleting our natural resources faster than they are regenerated. In this regard oil is almost the least of our worries.
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  7. #6  
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    The question is poorly phrased as an absolute. Of course overpopulation is not the root of all evil, and the concept of evil is problematic at best.

    Nonetheless, were we to control our reproduction (and more importantly our consumption) we would not be, on average, losing forested lands, losing topsoil, increasing atmospheric CO2, and these things drive problems for the population, so I'd say yes.

    Wars occur for resources more often than not, and overpopulation contributes to dwindling resources as well, and increased likelihood of war as a result.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    so I'd say yes
    How would you do it?

    This is what bothers me about all the discussions about forcibly controlling birth rates - it is totally impractical except in a dictatorship, so it's a pointless hypothetical discussion.
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  9. #8  
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    Do what? Control birth rates? I wouldn't. Education is a good idea however. And if we are going down due to population then we ought to understand the issue.
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  10. #9  
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    It doesn't have to totally draconian. In a country like the USA that has social security, you could simply pay out smaller social security benefits to breeders (IE. people who had a lot of kids when they were younger) than to people who re-produced more conservatively.

    Even very small incentives can result in massive change.
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  11. #10 Re: Overpopulation root of all evil? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Would you want 1 son and 1 daughter to live a respectable life? Or 4 sons and 4 daughters wich you couldnt afford an education and ensure a worthy life?
    There's the crux. Which is worth more: 1 plump Norwegian or 4 skinny Kenyans?

    ***

    It is easy to confuse causes and effects.

    I do not believe that wealth causes small families. Wealth and family are ongoing pursuits, somewhat exclusive. Put tangibly: if Jane is changing baby's diapers with one hand while spoon feeding toothless aunt Mae with the other she simply has no time or energy to create wealth, in fact she/they drain wealth. So we need to look at the proportion of able-bodied working age adults (who might generate measurable wealth), and the demands population growth as well as aging demographics place on them. Only what remains goes to wealth i.e. developing the country, improving quality of life, etc.

    We should seriously question if we resent the drain on energy and resources by dependent or unproductive demographics.


    Culture sets the norms of family size and structure. Some cultures value personal ambition ahead of family. Which is fine, that's one way. But at risk of sounding indelicate, I must say Northern Europeans historically have cared very little - relatively - for children. That cultural indifference was key to individuals pursuing higher education and serious careers... which then created wealth.

    I do not believe that education causes small families. Again, we can get this reversed. Small families allow for better education, especially in the case of individuals having no family responsibilities at all.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by free radical
    Do what? Control birth rates? I wouldn't.
    But you just said you would! Or was that in response to the other question?

    Unfortunate that the OP contained two different questions.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Quote Originally Posted by free radical
    Do what? Control birth rates? I wouldn't.
    But you just said you would! Or was that in response to the other question?

    Unfortunate that the OP contained two different questions.
    And when does 'influence' (say through education) segue into 'control'? In which post-modernists head is this already a form of intellectual censorship? ("Your all-round education is preventing these people from having the redneck attitudes that is their birthright!")
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  14. #13  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Oi!

    Whom are you calling a postmodernist?!
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  15. #14 Re: Overpopulation root of all evil? 
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Would you want 1 son and 1 daughter to live a respectable life? Or 4 sons and 4 daughters wich you couldnt afford an education and ensure a worthy life?
    As I was talking about incentives earlier, you can fix the problem of gender selection by use of incentives as well. Maybe allow people to have a third kid of the first two are girls, or simply give people who had sons less retirement money when they retire than people who had girls.

    Either way, you can steer society with gentle shoves here and there rather than needing to constantly point a gun at their heads.


    There's the crux. Which is worth more: 1 plump Norwegian or 4 skinny Kenyans?

    ***

    It is easy to confuse causes and effects.

    I do not believe that wealth causes small families. Wealth and family are ongoing pursuits, somewhat exclusive. Put tangibly: if Jane is changing baby's diapers with one hand while spoon feeding toothless aunt Mae with the other she simply has no time or energy to create wealth, in fact she/they drain wealth. So we need to look at the proportion of able-bodied working age adults (who might generate measurable wealth), and the demands population growth as well as aging demographics place on them. Only what remains goes to wealth i.e. developing the country, improving quality of life, etc.
    Maybe more people should be focusing on wealth then, because there seems to be a shortage of it world wide, whereas there is no shortage of newborn children at all right now.


    We should seriously question if we resent the drain on energy and resources by dependent or unproductive demographics.
    People can be more or less efficient in their use of resources, but they can't be more or less productive, at least not with respect to things like growing food, which depend more on your available natural resources than they do on your labor force.

    Have all the willing workers you want. If they don't own any land, then there's no way their labor can result in a larger food supply. Might as well pay them to run around in a little hamster wheel as pay them to do some other useless task.


    Culture sets the norms of family size and structure. Some cultures value personal ambition ahead of family. Which is fine, that's one way. But at risk of sounding indelicate, I must say Northern Europeans historically have cared very little - relatively - for children. That cultural indifference was key to individuals pursuing higher education and serious careers... which then created wealth.

    I do not believe that education causes small families. Again, we can get this reversed. Small families allow for better education, especially in the case of individuals having no family responsibilities at all.
    Not indelicate at all. The Europeans had the right idea. Our notions that they might not have are the problem. People who focus on the wrong things are destined to get the wrong results. The Europeans seem to have gotten their priorities straight.

    You've got the answer right there. Every economic theory in place right now suggests that education can resolve most of the third world's problems. That's why so many South American countries right now are dumping as much as half their budgets into it.

    If people could be made to have smaller families, you'd kill two birds with one stone. You'd both have fewer mouths to feed, and a higher percentage of the population would be getting educated.
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  16. #15  
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    'I'm so post-modern i wrote a letter to the council... i think it was M'
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Quote Originally Posted by free radical
    Do what? Control birth rates? I wouldn't.
    But you just said you would! Or was that in response to the other question?

    Unfortunate that the OP contained two different questions.
    Sorry, was responding to the title of the thread 'root of all evil?'
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  18. #17  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Oi!

    Whom are you calling a postmodernist?!
    He he he!


    Quote Originally Posted by redrighthand
    'I'm so post-modern i wrote a letter to the council... i think it was M'
    More he he he!
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  19. #18  
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    population means nothing

    i live in a small town and the people are sour weird confusing loons

    if i was in some big dutch town things could be smooth and interesting and crowded

    the Aztecs slaughtered all those tiny tribes in Mexico even though there was lots of space and water and food
    china is screwed up
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  20. #19  
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    It's a problem of food, not space. If we needed to, we could crowd people together much closer than they are now. I've heard some interesting stories from people about Indonesia.

    What we can't share is food, at least not in the sense of two or more people eating the same bushel of grain. We can divide it all up into thinner and thinner slices, but everyone has a minimum nutritional need. That barrier is the one that we're close to overrunning, not the need for space in general.

    The Earth only has so much farmable terrain, and it's not going to be getting any more of it.
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  21. #20  
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    It's a problem of primary production vs consumption.

    Tear down the rainforests (mid term sink) to plant crops (annual - short term - sink), and the balance is shifted.
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  22. #21  
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    lets not make a simple problem complex.

    the real problem is greed. or humans, depending how cynical you you feel.

    though we cant get rid of it, our [capitalist and pre-socialism] society is based on it, and it its a 'necessary' catalyst of 'progress'.

    don't get me wrong. im not socialist or anti-capitalist. the problem lies in humans, which drew it from an eon of competing against our environment.

    so the real enemy is our environment, the universe (god). which we are a part of, and a direct result of.

    its a sucky truth to-be-sure.

    maybe now you sympathise (sp?) with anarchists.

    not much we can do about it, other than be aware of it.
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  23. #22  
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    Greed takes some of it, but people like Bill Gates don't eat 100 million times as much as people like me or you.

    He may be 100 million times as rich, but if he were eating even ten times as much as I do, he'd have to be getting really really fat.

    Quote Originally Posted by free radical
    It's a problem of primary production vs consumption.

    Tear down the rainforests (mid term sink) to plant crops (annual - short term - sink), and the balance is shifted.
    All these sorts of suggestions are marginal increases, but overpopulation doesn't grow in marginal steps. It grows exponentially, like compounded interest on a bank account.

    You ever watch one of those time travel comedies where a guy puts $10.00 in the bank and then time travels 1,000 years into the future and realizes he's a multi-billionaire?

    That's how population growth works too. In the short term it seems very slight, but give it time and it can get really out of control. The USA population will double in just over 70 years. In 140 years it will be quadruple. In 210 years will be x8. 280 years, x16. See where this is going?
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