A Malthusian Experiment - Are we doomed?

Which is why immigration becomes an important policy for developed nations. As long as there is still a lopsided population growth between developed and developing worlds, an influx of new people is needed to maintain the system. Much like how women’s empowerment as population control is hindered by sexist attitudes and patriarchy, immigration is hindered by racial/ethnic/religious bigotry and arbitrary political identification of nations by race, ethnicity, language & religion.


We have several generations being told that there is no economic security, benchmarks for middle class existence are being placed way out of affordable reach, nobody wants to pay decent wages for actually doing anything besides move money around, and the “free market” is gamed by the uppermost wealthy.

People avoid starting families because they fear destitution and economic distress.


Jair Bolsonaro has weaponized this sort of resentment.

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This is a problem that is going to have to be solved for a stable or falling population, as any system that relies on exponential growth is fundamentally unsustainable.

And the solution? Allowing people a comfortable retirement while managing the transition to sub-replacement population growth is possible if all the increased wealth and productivity of the last 40 years hadn’t been captured by the top 1%.

As always, what people in this thread have said is correct: with Increased education and the availability of birth control has allowed people in the global north to have the number of children that they want- and luckily for the planet, that number is below 2.1

If we want to accelerate this trend (and we should), then we also need to fight against the pernicious influence of the ideologies that still promote the maladaptive and anti-human values of “more of our people at all costs”


Circling the drain of the behavioral sink, doing the back stroke.

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Emancipation of women is also a major (and I’d say decisive) factor.


You must be wrong, or misled by those anti-American Dems - the current occupant of the White House says we don’t need or want the evil filthy criminal immigrants. He’s an expert on everything… /s


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Yeah. I’m afraid I take that for granted, which is not a reasonable thing to do, given the current state of affairs in the US govt, and as similar right-populist govts are coming into power in Europe… Ugh.


There are a whole bunch of aspects to consider in these globalized, ecological issues. Coming up with a comprehensive explanation of these problems on a message board, you’re bound to miss some aspect… Even emancipating women isn’t a silver bullet, though it can be a huge step forward with regards to population. I myself am ignoring the issue of racism here!

We need a whole host of solutions to these complex problems, though.


I wasn’t thinking of the Orthodox or other similar small groups with atypical reproductive practices.

The whole situation is a lot more complicated than conservative beliefs about women and reproduction (Orthodox Jews, Quiverfull Christians, etc) or facts about development and consumption. I mean that, for example, there’s new research showing that human activity started global warming as early as the Neolithic.

But the solutions, generally speaking, are known, but I am very doubtful that anyone has the will to realize them. I suspect we need to start planning for the disaster. Not to say stockpiling guns and gold and generally getting Ruby Ridge, but making planning for large scale changes in food supplies and land use. Again, though, well, I don’t see the collective will to do anything.

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Are there going to be enough 1% left after they have paid for everyone’s free college, covered everyone’s free health care, and financed all those miles of high-speed rail?

The actual end point to this situation is cannibalism, when the population finally exceeds the food supply.



I don’t care if the 1% lose every penny they have in order to get those things done.

I do care if we have to borrow fifty trillion more on top of that. I care about that a lot.

Regarding free health care, the US has the most expensive healthcare system in the world. Even if you discount all private spending, the US government pumps more dollars per capita into healthcare than Canada without actually providing healthcare. There is no earthly reason to think a free healthcare system wouldn’t save money and leave everyone richer.

High speed rail and college tuition are less obvious. Clearly transportation infrastructure and basic education are huge winners as investments but have diminishing returns and its unclear where those are. I think both would make society enough richer to pay for the cost of doing them.

I’m a little skeptical of the idea that a society has the people, resources and technology to deliver on things that are clearly in the public interest but doesn’t have “the money.” It sounds to me like a veiled way of saying they don’t have the permission of the wealthy.


Well, they are our rightful betters… we shouldn’t question! /s


Which is fine, as long as we run the numbers.

The USA has a history of large and laudable projects which also suffer debilitating cost overruns. I’m in favor of a lot of the same things as you, but I want then to come in on budget.

I think we have a big problem with the people who run the numbers right now, though. Austerity has been a huge exercise in knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing and it’s results have been pretty terrible. In many cases cuts to reduce deficits have increased deficits, and deficit cutting governments just outright lie about the numbers.

When the deficit goes down the people become poorer and get less done. The GDP, which we mistake for a utilitarian calculus, keeps going up, but it suffers from the most classic problem with the idea of a utilitarian calculus: