On the proper way to limit overpopulation

Posted February 22nd, 2011 by The Environment Site with No Comments

There are people who say that there is no overpopulation, and there are people who say that there is overpopulation but we shouldn’t do anything about it. I say that there is overpopulation and we should do something about it, but this article of mine is not about convincing people of this approach. I search for the answer to this question instead: how to limit population size in the proper way if we want to? I share my best current thoughts about the topic, allowing you to evaluate and rethink them.

Overpopulation was not a big problem in the ancient times, because wars, famine and diseases kept population size in its natural limits. The rise of civilizations and technology seems to have changed this situation, because we can feed many of the hungry in Africa, and we can cure most of the diseases, and we do it, because we are humane. Even wars cannot control population growth properly now, because we should not risk a nuclear war. If these three things – war, famine and disease – are not available to control population size, what other options do we have?

Some thinkers may come up with the advice „Go back to nature”, which would mean we should force mankind back to a state similar to the one which was prior to civilization. There are two problems with this approach. The first is that most of us don’t want to lose the advantages of civilization, for example comfort, security, power and information. The second problem is that the „Go back to nature” principle cannot be brought into effect in practice. At least it cannot be brought into practice in our times.

We can see one thing in common in war, famine and disease: all control overpopulation by increasing the number of deaths. As we don’t want this, we have only two options: the first is to find another planets to live, the other is to limit the number of births. As finding another planets to live seems to be a hard-to-believe option, we have to think on the possibility about limiting the number of births. After a so long introduction we can continue with the main thoughts of my writing.

The question is how we could limit the number of births in a sustainable, liberal and ethical manner. If some people may voluntarily choose not to have children, or to have less children, because of environmental thinking, then it is probable that in evolutionary time those would proliferate who don’t care for the environment as much and cannot control their instincts. Thus this solution wouldn’t be sustainable in evolutionary time, and it wouldn’t be just either. We have to compete for the rights of reproduction, because this is the law of natural selection.

There are some laws which control the way how we compete for reproduction, for example the law which says „Do not kill” or the one which says „Do not steal”. Other laws may be created to limit birth rates, like the one-child-policy in China. I can see two problems with the one-child-policy: firstly, it’s not liberal, and secondly, it doesn’t seem to be sustainable in evolutionary time, because those would proliferate who beget triplets. The conclusion from this is that birth control laws should work as evolution works.

We have come to the conclusion which we may call the principle of birth control: The more able, the more useful and the more fit for life should be encouraged to reproduce, and the less able, the less useful and the less fit for life should not reproduce or should have only one child. Implementations of this principle may differ in time and place, whether is should be measured by money or something else, how liberal it should be, whether punishment is necessary or is reward enough for the children of the compliers, and whether or not those may be encouraged to have a sexual relationship who should not beget children. After all, the principle remains the same, unless we can go to another planets to live. This principle would make the lives of the children better, because they would get the wealth they need. This principle would also help to reduce the monetary differences between people, because the money which would be inherited would be distributed between the children.

Until now, I couldn’t find a better solution than this, so I encourage people to start thinking about how to implement it.

Written by Arpad Fekete, a member of TheEnvironmentSite.org

Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/48722974@N07/4538714228

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