On the proper way to limit overpopulation 3

Posted May 25th, 2011 by The Environment Site with No Comments

This is my third attempt to find a solution to the problem of overpopulation on this Earth by birth control; I hope that this time it will be perfect. I don’t repeat some of the arguments which I have provided in my previous articles, I’m going to give fresh thoughts instead. These might be like a spark to someone who is a decision-maker in birth control.

In my previous articles I didn’t mention compulsory education and liability for military service as ways to increase the average age of begetting the first child – but of course, I believe that it would help the cause. I didn’t mention freely available condoms or contraceptives either – because it seems that their effect would be too slim in a country like China. My birth control solution prefers keeping out of the danger zone – which means there shouldn’t be too many children even if mankind could afford that, because we don’t know when will be a food crisis. If we don’t regulate population size by law, population will fill the available space, thus we reach the danger zone. In order to avoid this, a population control law is needed.

An ideal, long-term population control law should ensure that there will be two children per couple on average. Why don’t we create a simple law then which would say that a person can have two children but not more (except if others have less than two)? We could try that, but I suspect that those would proliferate who beget twins or triplets in the second pregnancy so the law wouldn’t be sustainable in evolutionary time. It wouldn’t be liberal either if somebody had no chance to have many children. Based on the same arguments, previously I thought that only one or zero child should be allowed for sure, and there should be some competition which decides who will get the right to have more children. But then I realized that the competition I described was too severe, too unjust in some cases, causing too much disagreement, so I began to search for alternative solutions.

In order to lessen the disagreement, it is clear that the law should be more liberal, because those people disagree who feel their liberty endangered. Deciding by competition is liberal – in theory. But some people may want more liberty in practice. The less talented may want less competition, the more talented may want more competition, both wanting liberty. Being liberal in practice and giving the right not to compete would stop almost all competition, because all the less talented would quit the competition leaving the more talented with nobody to compete with. Thus the rate of competition should be common in a community, and it should be determined by common agreement. I think it is probable that the people will choose less competition, but how to implement it? How to implement no competition in a world with many twins and triplets?

Here’s the idea roughly: Everyone should be allowed to have one child (except in extreme worlds with many triplets), and everyone should be allowed from his ancestors to inherit the right to have more children if that ancestor had not exceeded the limit. So in practice every couple should be allowed to have two children whose ancestors all had two children. If the ancestors had less children, the descendants may be allowed to have more children. If the ancestors had more children, the descendants should have less children. But some people, like monks or old bachelors could even make their testament so that it would give their begetting right to another person, a group or the entire community for competition. By the way, this decision right could not be surely granted to bachelors in a real two-child-policy with triplets. Not allowing bachelors to choose spiritual descendants in their last will might be unjust, because the bachelors and monks may also try to make this world better… So this two-child-policy clone is my latest idea, and needs elaborated, but I think you can understand the point.

In my three articles we have seen three possible solutions to the problem of limiting the number of births by law. All of them were for a simple cause: keep the average number of the children per couple at 2 (in the long term). The three solutions differed by the suggested rate of competition – and the conclusion is that countries should decide which rate of competition they choose. I hope countries will not choose war in the long term.

The latest version of these three articles can be found on the blog here or visit my profile on The Environment Site, user fekarp.

Written by Arpad Fekete, This article is in the public domain.

The End of Thinking Ahead

Posted March 31st, 2011 by The Environment Site with No Comments

We, as a species, have definitely lost something. We have lost the ability to plan ahead. All we seem to be able to do anymore is immediate and short term thinking . We have reached the point where five years is an eternity to us and anything farther down the road is a miracle. Do not even pretend to think about something 20 years or 40 years down the road. We are definitely living in the NOW era of human evolution and it is costing us gravely.

In our history we have built some of the greatest projects seen by humanity. In the distant past we find Stonehenge, the pyramids and the Great Wall of China. In the more recent past we find the Panama Canal and the Hoover Damn. All of these projects took long term planning and concentrated effort. Of course, many things such as the Great Wall and the Pyramids cost a lot in terms of life and human suffering but, the immensity of their longevity is incredible.

Things are much different now. If you try to talk to someone about global warming or climate change they simply cannot, or will, not look at something that far into the future.  All you hear is now, now and once again, now. If you try to discuss the phasing out of fossil fuels they will tell you that it cannot work because it will not work now. If you talk to them about the degradation of the aquifers they will tell you that it doesn’t matter because they are not empty today. These kinds of discussions are beyond most people today.
Any discussion you have about energy will run into this problem.

The problems with petroleum products are well known but if you try to suggest alternate methods the answer will always be some version of that will not work because everything we do NOW uses petroleum. Those who will argue against you will insist that any problem with oil is not immediate because there is enough and there has been enough. They cannot look down the road of time and see what will happen with projected usage.

Coal is the current magic bullet of the anti-environmental crowd.  The power is produced immediately and the supply seems plentiful. What they do not see, and will not see, is the pile of toxins and waste left behind. We produce a massive amount of coal ash. In 2009 we produced about 75,000,000 tons of coal ash and guess what we did with it. We dumped it into collection ponds for someone else to deal with later. This means we have produced about two pounds of coal ash for every man, woman and child in the United States for every single day of the year. So much for the solution to all our energy demands.

There is a sad flip-side to this inability to think ahead. The ugly and opposite face is the ability of people to put off dealing with something to later generations. Many people are perfectly willing to keep creating waste and leaving for our descendant to deal with. They are willing to do this with coal by-products, greenhouse gases and nuclear waste. Every landfill is a testament to this ability. Do not worry about it. They want to stick it in the ground somewhere and let someone else deal with it later. We do this with our household trash. We do this with our coal waste and we are willing to do this with our nuclear waste, too. How is that for an ability to delay reality and delay answers for later?


Further References

Great Pyramids
Great Wall of China
Secret Costs Of Coal
Sourcewatch: Existing U.S. Coal Plants


Dee Neely is a freelance writer, avid technologist and a member of The Zeitgeist Movement.

Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/qmnonic/266203795

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