So, I'm thinking: the root cause behind nearly all our environmental problems, from global warming to overfishing is simply human overpopulation. Overpopulation also makes the spread of disease faster and more thorough, and it's a large contributing factor to starvation and lack of drinkable water.
This overpopulation MUST eventually decrease the population back to a sustainable amount, one way or another.
If we do nothing, it will do this by causing billions of deaths.
But, there is another option. If we could instate birth control, and force each pair of parents to produce only 1 birth (and then when the population is sustainable again 2 births each), then we could reduce the population without the billions of deaths. This birth control policy must be universal (applied to everyone in all countries) and mandatory (nobody can opt out) in order to work.
Notice I said limit births, not children. I'm counting on the occurrence of twins and triplets (which count as only 1 birth) to balance out children who die before reproducing. Also, I'm counting on couples who decide not to have children to balance out those who disobey the rule.
Since we do have the problem that children are not always had by couples, I'd say we'd have to limit the pregnancies of each woman, not each couple. (So that single mothers and re-marrying couples don't mess up the system.) The rule would not be retroactive: women would be able to give birth one more time after the rule went into effect, no matter how many times they had before.
So, institute a worldwide ban on a woman giving birth more than once (having twins counts as one birth). Keep that in effect until the world population drops to, say, 3.5 billion. At that point, raise the limit to 2 times per woman, which should hold the population at a more or less steady number.
Would it work? Is it needed? Yes, it would be bad to impose, but would it be worse than billions of deaths?
There is a third option, randomly sterilizing segments of the population, but I think the birth-limiting option is more acceptable.
I don't think such kind of control will be imposed in the near future, maybe only when surges a really big problem and even then not everyone will agree.
That control may cause more problems that the ones it solves, and you forget that such limitations will impose a period were the majority of the population are elder, which would be a big problem too.
I think the solution will be development, we'll solve our problems, it isn't by limitations (holding on the problems) that the problems will be solved, only delayed. Don't forget that Humanity is thirsty, it has to grow, if you try to limit it, you'll probably destroy its evolutionary will.
China tried this you know. Unfortunately it didn't work so well. People aborted or abandoned children who were of the wrong gender.
I think the only way to resolve this issue is with education. It has been shown that higher educated societies have on average less children.
i don't know if China is the best go-to example for this. Because, technically, it did work... it worked extremely well. Since the policy has been in place the birth rate has more than halved. And normally population growth is negatively associated with social progress... but China is way behind the US and Canada in terms of social progress, but still has a much smaller population growth rate than either. The policy really does work. ^_^;
The gender bias issue exists, but is way overblown, and it is not clear how much is caused by the policy, or simply made worse. Similar gender imbalances exist in many other Asian countries surrounding China that don't have the policy (like Nepal and India)... so clearly the policy is not the only factor in play here.
It's also disingenuous to imply that because rural China is so backwards with respect to gender discrimination, other cultures will be, too.
Word up. The situation hasn't reached the crisis levels yet that such drastic measures are necessary (you could achieve an acceptably negative population growth with even a two child policy, rather than one, which would simultaneously eliminate such problems as having to pick a gender (have one of both!), even with cheaters). And if you attempted to instigate such a policy, you would probably provoke birthing booms rather than prevent them as populations defiant to international law simply breed more to increase their own ethnic and/or cultural representation in the global population.
And, as i already mentioned, population growth is negatively correlated to social progress. More education would also lead to better usage of natural resources, so less overfishing and more intelligent management of drinking water. (Of course, it's not only third-world countries that need to be educated. Even first world countries like the US need to be straightened out... there's no need for there to be almost one car for virtually every person in the country, and Americans throw out more than twice as much garbage per person as most Europeans - who are hardly living a hard life.)
It seems a no-brainer to me. Don't go slapping laws on people when simply improving their society will achieve the desired affect anyway. Plus, extra benefits!
Wouldn't the US be in the 'new world', which is why we call the third world the third world, and not the second world? (With Europe being the 'old world' (first world).)
True, I suppose, but will improving their society happen soon enough? Yes, more developed countries are already showing negative population growth rates, but will the third world catch up to that before overpopulation begins to take its toll? *edit* Forgot, overpopulation is already killing people. Will it happen before the damage from overpopulation is unbearable?
And sure, we could always implement it later when it gets more desperate, but I suspect that by the time people realized the situation was that desperate, it would already be too late, and it would be used only to mitigate the damage, when starting it earlier could have prevented the damage altogether.
That's what I was about to say: educate the masses. Set up (local) regulations to favour less children. Tell them about the cost. Suddenly nobody wants to have children.
Things aside, these kind of things must be planned very carefully to prevent disproportionate number of any of the age groups (non-productive including elderly, productive? not so sure about my sociology).
Dilemma here. Some developing countries take advantage of their population for domestic market and getting the economy rolling (and presumably the pride of "seeing my countrymen in every country I ever visited"). So they won't get that fast to kill their asset.
First world is not a measure of when the countries were discovered, it is a measure of economic development. First world = developed, third world = developing. Second and fourth world are not used very often, but mean "developed but totally dependent on another country" and "not even developing - just backwards" respectively. First world countries include the US and Canada, and Mexico is third world.
There is historical evidence that very slight improvements in social progress can halve the population growth rate within just 10 years. The global population growth rate is already steadily declining without any real active effort to do anything about it (with the odd exception, like China). If we actually took the time to try to help countries with out-of-whack growth rates, then it will drop much faster.
If you are willing to go to extreme enough measures, it is never too late. The only question you have to ask is how far are you willing to go, and the answer to that will change if the situation becomes more desperate.
Jonathan Swift beat you to it: everyone should read his short story "A Modest Proposal"!
This wouldn't be the first time I find myself thinking much the same way as Jonathan Swift... We have a lot in common, I think. ^.^
Would this allow for artificial insemination procedures? Such as the lady who had 8 kids from one birth? If so, then it would be pointless, as people could just get fertilized to the point of having half a dozen kids at once. And if we outlaw fertilization techniques, how far will we allow the governments go to control our bodies?
Honestly, I like the idea of people only having one birth, but I don't think you can mandate it worldwide without causing a slew of other problems and enraging a great number of people/groups. I'd rather see people do it on their own through responsibility, but looking at the world population, we can forget about that. Sadly, I think a pandemic is what will likely cut down on population before we get a handle on it ourselves. Call me a pessimist, but I just don't see the world working towards that particular common goal together.
We can't even go a few years without a major war in some part of the world, much less all agree to ban excessive child rearing for the sake of population control. Not to mention, that very concept goes against a vast majority of the worlds religious beliefs, and those people will never give in to such an idea.
Maybe we should just randomly give away free vacation trips to Mexico and hope for the best. <---joke.
I think limiting births is a good tactic, I think you would consider China's one child policy a success. The wrong gender killing was caused by the culture. I don't see it happening in the US or UK for example.
I don't think that there is any "forced" good solution.
Things will happen by natural regulation like for all species. A proliferation of a particular specy cannot last for ever. Humans have invented many things to succeed that it last longer but still it won't last forever. Some people think that human don't have predators and because of that it may be hard to regulate. But in fact human have predators (beside themselves I mean of course). Viruses are quite effective and their effectiveness increases proportionaly to solutions humans find to fight against them. Every year we have new viruses that are different and often worst than previous ones. So they will do the job.
By the way I don't understand in the poll "turn people into animals": we are all animals anyway. The size of your brain doesn't change your "category".
Isn't this HUGE government? I thought you didn't like big government? This measure is affecting one of the basic human rights of having children and this of everyone in the whole world. I would call this HUGE government.
About the actual issue, I would rather consider this a non-issue. There is no problem about supporting several times the current population on earth. The problem is rather how to sustain a lot of people on earth, and yes we are doing a bad job. Reducing the population would only reduce the scale of the problem, but not the problem itself.
The problem, in my opinion, is that currently all the issues are caused by short-sighted and/or irregulated activities. Take overfishing, the problem here is not the population, but the actual short-sighted overfishing. People want easy/quick profits and take all the fish now, causing a lack of fish afterwards.
Food can be cultivated for a lot more people than currently needed. The basic restriction currently is simply demand. That some people don't have enough food is due to inequality, poverty and instability of the country (war, ...). And if all this food is not enough, we could always start to make 'industrial' food from resources. Or make huge plantations underground (meaning no space above the ground needed) with artificial light replacing the sun.
Quite true, but in this case I would consider it the lesser of two evils.
I suppose you have a brighter vision of humanity than I do.
I can't see the generally greedy, selfish, lazy, apathetic, short-sighted human species working together for the long-term good like this.
Also, even if the Earth can support more humans, should it? How many is enough, and when will it stop?
I always put one 'throw away' option in a poll. It lets the undecided permanently view the results, and gives a non-destructive outlet for any jokesters.
Can I assume then that you would sterilize the population secretly and quietly? Otherwise, you would have to have people "working together for the long-term good" by voluntarily having only one birth. The other option is to mandate it worldwide, and punish those who disobey. And since the only way to disobey such a law is to have more kids, how do you punish someone for this new crime?
A good question indeed. Sadly, I don't think people, as a whole, will ever abandon or even try to modify their EFK(Eat-Fu*k-Kill) tendencies on their own. As others have pointed out, we are animals too, and no animal species has ever voluntarily stopped breeding for the sake of overpopulation. It always takes an outside force to keep the populations down. Whether that comes in the form of a predator, virus, natural disaster, or genetic mutation, it never happens by choice.
I think people can choose to slow down reproduction, but I really don't think they will. Especially when people consider procreation a right, rather than a responsibility. Masturbation is a right, painting your house is a right, but creating a life should not be viewed as an ability you possess. It should be seen as a responsibility for the survival and improvement of the species, not something you do just because you can.
Well, I'd consider it easier to get cooperation and strict enforcement from all governments than to get cooperation and personal sacrifice from all people.
To begin with, any medical center helping a woman give birth would sterilize the woman afterwards as a normal part of the procedure. Also, a woman would have to provide proof of being sterilized in order to get a birth certificate and/or other identification documents for the baby.
This leaves the problem of people who might choose to give birth secretly outside of any medical facility, and avoid sterilization. This would have to be dealt with by the cooperating governments. The suggested punishment for doing so would be:
-The child is put into the foster care system, where he/she will be available for people who want more than one baby to adopt.
-The parent(s) must pay full child support for 18 years into the foster care system, without ever being able to see the child.
-The mother would be sterilized when caught.
-Patent(s) required to attend a class (not free). The class would emphasize effective birth control, and the reason for the whole program.
(These punishments would take away the incentives to disobey, and give an excellent financial reason to obey. The child support punishment would also help greatly in financing the whole endeavor.)
... We have a lot in common, I think. ^.^
I totally believe in this too, but wonder how easy it would be to implement. Some countries encourage more births, so that they can grow. Imagine the United States for example with its top heavy older age vs a much smaller growth. Although I can imagine increased immigration could be a good solution for this?
Of course. The solution in the USA's case would be to open the border with Mexico... They'd soon be flooded with many new young families eager to become productive citizens.
So my question is, what do you do when the birth control fails? Birth control fails ALL the time!
I know 5 or 6 couples myself that had 'oops' babies. My little brother was an 'oops'. My wife
was also an unplanned baby. Two of my three kids were 'made' while my wife was on
the pill......the second time they had even given her a 'stronger' dose of the pill
cause she had got pregnant while on the pill the first time. Are you going to
force people to have abortions? There are a lot of people who would rebel at that.....
as they object on moral grounds. And I think this is going to be pretty hard to sell in
the USA......after all, those who SUPPORT abortion rights, say they really support
a woman's right to reproductive choice. Do you think they would support a
government who told a woman she COULD NOT have a child any more than they
would support a government who told a woman she HAD TO have a child?
Somehow I doubt it..... So this would be opposed by 'Pro choice' people, AND
'Pro life' people. I just don't think it would fly here in the USA.....
There's a new contraceptive being used in some places to control wild horse populations.
It is in the form of three injections:
The first, then a booster shot 2 weeks later, then one more shot per year.
It goes into effect with the second shot, and will stay in effect as long as the yearly refresher shots are given. The mare returns to normal fertility if she doesn't get a refresher shot within a year. The shots have no side effects.
It's 95% effective, using the horse's own immune system as a spermicide, basically vaccinating her against pregnancy. The shots are so foolproof that they can be administered from a dart gun on a helicopter.
I don't see any reason why this couldn't be applied to humans, with a little development and testing.
(Of course, we could probably find a better way to administer it than helicopter-mounted dart guns...)
Another option is to simply sterilize the mother after the allotted birth limit. This could be performed while she's still in the hospital after giving birth. I'm sure a minimally invasive procedure could be devised. It doesn't have to be 100% effective, just effective enough to reduce new births.
Well, obviously, you are right, birth control WOULD help things as there are a lot of irresponsible
people and behavior these days.....I was just pointing out that no birth control, not even
sterilization is 100% effective. The pill my wife was on was supposed to be 98 or 99% effective,
and when she got pregnant the first time, they gave her a stronger pill......and she got pregnant
again. These things just happen sometimes. I even know a person who got pregnant when she
had an IUD.....and according to the doctor this IUD was supposed to be MORE effective than if
she had her tubes tied.....
I can think of one form of birth control that is 100% effective... Although it creates quite some controversy... Although maybe some people don't consider abortion to be birth control. But I think it was decided in the US in Roe vs. Wade that it was birth control after conception...
Of course it creates ethical dilemmas. I recognize that which is why I said that it is quite controversial. However, that does not change the fact that it is probably the most effective form of birth control (besides abstinence).