Overpopulation and population control
The Perfect Population PDF Print E-mail
Utopia
Written by Victor   
Imagine how smaller this crows would be if we didn't oppose contraception.

Over-population, or the art of breeding ourselves out of existence.

If we look at the many problems plaguing our planet at this time, it's not really surprising to see how unbalanced everything has become. Too many people, over a billion at 2009 estimate, are living under the poverty line and on the verge of starvation. Time magazine reported in 2006 that 225 of the world's richest people have the same as 2.25 billion of the world's poorest. Water and other resources are becoming less accessible even to those who can afford to pay for them, never mind those who can't. Natural or man-made, or man-"hastened", a climate crisis is well underway. Fuel, food and financial crises are wreaking havoc with the economies of many nations. Natural world extinction, pollution, loss of forests and arable land and so forth.

Underlying causes

The reasons for all these problems are manifold; bad government, bad management, greed, indifference, corruption, violence, religion. It's a long list of all our failures. But what are the underlying causes?

One of the underlying causes of the current global crises, and perhaps the most important one, is over-population. Too many humans needing and wanting everything is causing gross imbalances and shortcomings in both our society in general as well as to the planet we live on. 2009 estimates were that we need five more Earths in order for most people to have a lifestyle similar to that of North America, Europe and other regions. Well, we only got one planet, with no real prospect of finding, or getting there, of any other planets similar to ours.

So what to do?

All problems have solutions. To reduce some or all of the problems mentioned above we need to reduce our impact on our planet one way or the other. There really isn't a way around this any more. The rational approaches would include improving the way we produce food, and what and how much we consume especially. (See Utopia: Food and agriculture.) But we also need to change our economics and politics, our attitudes towards religions and beliefs, the way we live together. In fact, we need to change everything, and that's just not going to happen, is it?

Humanity has decidedly become very egocentric over the past decades. Capitalism has its benefits but it doesn't work on a global scale unless other ideologies are incorporated. It worked fine for some countries, like the United States, for a while, because there were seemingly unlimited resources and space to expand but applied to poorer or heavily populated countries like India, China and others, where resources and space are already at a premium, capitalism fails utterly. It widens the gap between have and have-not, causing political, economic and social instability. And the recent financial crises have shown us that capitalism taken to its extremes is detrimental even to the one place it was deemed the perfect way of life. (See Utopia: Government.) The "American Way" is not the way for everyone. But neither is communism or socialism taken to its extremes. These systems too, have and are failing us.

Besides having detrimental effects on government and economy, human population explosions also affect health care and education.

Eugenics

Eugenics has become a dirty word, so to speak. When people think of eugenics they often think of Nazi experiments, for example. But that is just an extreme example. The reality is is that we practice eugenics daily and have done so throughout human history.

People consider population control, and eugenics, to be unnatural, against the natural order, but then what is vaccination? By the simple act of eradicating a disease, such as smallpox or polio, aren't we changing part of the natural order that affects humanity? When we pollute our environment with carcinogens aren't we changing humanity? When we use condoms or abort girls or use the pill aren't we practicing eugenics, population control? We are.

As much as people like to cherry pick their reasons for or against population control, the fact is we are and have been doing it since the beginning of our history. As the human body adapts to generations of farming or city life or elite and privileged lifestyles the end result is that we are constantly changing who we are, whether that be consciously or subconsciously, over one or many generations. The human condition is not one of stagnancy.

And the changes aren't just physical but also mental. People can be programmed, trained, brainwashed into believing and behaving in a certain way. It's also called education and education or the lack thereof is a form of mental and psychological change. This is nothing new or extraordinary. It's part of who we are.

So the question of whether eugenics is right or wrong is moot. It's been around forever, in one form or another. The real question that should be asked is where do want to go with eugenics? Are we going to make conscious efforts on a larger scale than personal or are we going to continue in the haphazard way we are now?

Perfection is boring

Do we want all people to be the same? Same body, same mental capacity, same traditions, beliefs and knowledge? Everyone will live to be the same age, in glorious health, have the same homes and do the same work?

Sounds rather boring, but that's what perfection is all about, reaching a point beyond which there is nothing else. Nothing to expect, no change, no surprises, nothing new. Fortunately, nature isn't about equality and perfection, it's about diversity. Not all life is the same. Not at any level at any time in the Earth's history has life been exactly the same as all other life - excepting perhaps the very first cellular life. But from that point on it's been nothing but change. Has the universe been the same since the Big Bang? No. It's forever changing, until perhaps, depending on which theory you believe in, it will eventually turn in on itself and collapse back to its beginning to only start another round, or not. But whatever its life cycle it's never the same but always changing.

So perfection is ultimately boring and we should immediately abandon the pursuit of it. It's unnatural. Besides, its pursuit is totally pointless as perfection is a subjective state or point of view. That's not to say we cannot or should not improve on our current condition through purposeful manipulation. By curing or eliminating diseases we are changing - improving - the human condition, moving towards a state of some fundamental equality at least on a physical level. By providing everyone with education we are doing the same on a mental level. Perhaps by distributing the world's resources more equally we can achieve some material balance even. In all cases, we have a definite goal in mind. A good one, arguably.

Population balance

Achieving a balanced population can or should be another good goal we can achieve. It's painfully obvious that humanity is in no way living on equal terms at this point in time. Imbalances have always existed and it's unlikely this will change in the short term. Humanity is a diverse lot, subject to various conditions. But that doesn't mean we can't do something about it. Truth is, we always have. One example is the UN Millennium Goals program where we try to achieve a minimum for each and every human.

Whether through food availability, conflict, natural disasters or disease epidemics, human populations have been affected by any number of factors. However, in our strife to perfection we have forgotten that we live on a limited Earth. Civilisations have come and gone for various reasons, but one of the recurring reasons was a lack of resources. When a civilisation ran out of resources, be it food, water or anything else essential, it collapsed. Where before it concerned a limited area or region, this problem now encompasses all of our globe. And we haven't even reached the real limit yet. We can still cram billions more onto our world. The result of such an action, or inaction, is open to debate. But there are plenty of examples in our history to provide a variety of outcomes.

As mentioned before, we can just use up all resources available and eventually collapse, resulting in massive death and destruction. This has happened in countless places and countless of times. War is another factor. Often brought forth by that same conflict over resources, be they essential ones, like water and food, or others, like metals or minerals, the end result was still the same. Death and destruction. Less material factors have been power and greed but with the same results.

So again, the real question is perhaps not "How many humans can we get onto our planet at the same time?" but "How many humans does it take to provide a balance between all of the life on our planet?" And how can we maintain this balance, move towards a future of less conflict, more equality, more freedom and more progress?

Practical approaches to population control

So what are possible venues to reduce world population? And which are the obstacles we need to overcome to achieve this? How can we reduce population without war, disease and famine? If we really want to reduce our impact on Gaia, and ourselves, there are a number of hard choices to be made.

First of all, we need to change our attitudes towards population control itself. We need to recognise and accept that there are simply too many people on this planet and that it is increasingly clear that this is the underlying cause of why we have a number of other problems like climate change, loss of natural world diversity, and global pollution. And those are only the external effect we have on our environment. Problems that affect humanity in general or on a personal level are hunger, poverty, crime and psychological disorders.

So what attitude changes are necessary to promote a balanced population?

For one, religions need to make a serious adjustment. It's all very well to preach about life being sacred, and it is, but that doesn't mean that every birth is a happy one, when more often than not it isn't any more. As with other problems religions and cultural beliefs stand in the way of doing what is right, mostly because they claim this right, regardless of any rationale. It's blatantly obvious however, that with so many different religions and beliefs around the world they can't all be right. Besides, even the most devoted has most likely practiced eugenics in one form or another, for example, in arranged marriages. So let's forget about religion when it comes to population control.

Another attitude that needs to change is that everyone has the right to have as many children as they like, regardless of the consequences on themselves, the child(ren) or society in general. Why does biological capability equal human right in this regard? We have countless laws, regulations and beliefs that limit our behaviour but when it comes down to limiting reproduction all bets are off. It's easy to give in to our basic instincts, and sex is certainly one of the most basic ones, but civilisation is all about self-control, not giving in to basic feelings and actions. Besides, there are a number of options available that require very little self-control except a trip to the nearest shop or clinic to gain short term or long-lasting contraception. So the problem is not availability of contraception but attitude, or lack thereof. Unfortunately, those who need access to contraception the most, are often also the poorest and simply can't afford it. And who are convinced of not only their right to breed indiscriminately but that it is a divine right to do so. Wrong.

Information needs

What people need is information. Education is key. The brain is a miraculous organ evolved for many things including data storage. We learn, we remember. No matter who we are, where we are, rich or poor or somewhere in between, we learn as we grow. Depending on our location and position we are born into this can be a structured process or a random one. Spreading information about birth control and possibilities needs to be global. Currently, too many people are stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty and over-population where the one breeds the other and vice versa. And again, religion and tradition are the major stumbling blocks. And of course bad government (See also Utopia: Perfect Government).

Secondly, we need to define a number of practical measures.

 

Practical measures to birth control - the right to breed

A good place to start birth control would be with criminals and abusive people:

- Rapists, murderers, and pedophiles. Violent criminals and child abusers forego the right to breed. And while we're on the topic of religion, priests need to be castrated. If you chose a life of celibacy then it shouldn't be a problem to enforce this in a practical sense. It's not one hundred percent failsafe but it does seem to significantly reduce the urge.

- Abusive parents. Abusive and violent parents forego the right to breed. Any parent caught or convicted of abusing children, be it their own or others under their care, need to be sterilised and the children need to be removed from this abuse. Research shows that children who grew up in abusive homes tend towards abuse themselves later. Let's stop this cycle.

- Drug addicts and alcoholics. People who are drug addicts and alcoholics forego their right to breed. As with violence, children that grow up with addicted or alcoholic parents tend towards this themselves later on. This cycle too needs to be stopped.

There are numerous other crimes that we could impose sterilisation on as part of the punishment. But unlike convicted criminals and abusers rehabilitation or incarceration might seem a better measure of control than sterilisation. So we won't go into this just now.

Birth control and birth right on an economical basis:

Should we impose birth controls on poor people or people who are living off benefits, for example? Unlike criminals, poor people have not broken any laws as such and do not seem to inherently have genes tending towards criminality or a history of criminal behaviour in a repetitive violent sense, though poverty and criminality often go hand in hand. But yes, we should. Poverty breeds poverty and makes it that much harder to get out of this vicious cycle. Like China, there should be a limit on children economically deficient parents can have.

The amount of children you can have should be directly tied to your economic ability to give them the basics of nutrition and education, for example, a safe and loving home. If you can't feed your children or are unable to give them an education you should not have them - until you can. So perhaps in this case, unlike convicted criminals and serial abusers, sterilisation should be reversible rather than permanent.

The same goes for people who are on benefits. Once you are on state benefits you will need to undergo temporary sterilisation. People that make a lifestyle out of living off someone else's hard work need to forego the right to breed. The benefit culture is undesirable at best, a burden on economic prosperity at worse, and it breeds a negative attitude towards life in general. It would be best to impose temporary sterilisation on everyone from puberty onwards to prevent unwanted pregnancies until such a time that economic viability is reached to have children.

Birth control on a physical and mental basis:

Should we impose birth control on physically and mentally disadvantaged people? Certain diseases and disabilities seem to have a genetic disposition. So yes, if we want to improve the human gene pool, these people need to forego the right to breed. It doesn't mean they cannot be good parents, as in the case of addicts or alcoholics, so perhaps they could have priority on adoption, for example. It would depend on the type of disability.

Generalisations

The above three main criteria are indications of where and how population control can be instigated. Obviously the details need to be worked out further. But they are a sound basis on which to build a better humanity and limit our impact on ourselves and the world around us. It's not about mass killings and it isn't short term, but what we lack in the world today is long term vision. Caught up in short term profits we seem to have forgotten that our children will harvest what we sow. And if we sow poverty and abuse, this is what they will inherit. How does that make you a good parent? It doesn't. What it does is make you a very selfish and short-sighted individual.

 

Future scenarios - the benefits of a reduced population


Instead of trying to cram 20 billion humans on planet Earth, we're failing already with seven billion, a planet with just one billion might be a better future to strive for. Coupled with proper governance (See also Utopia: Perfect Government) and sound, sustainable economics (See also Utopia: The Perfect Economy and The Perfect Environment), most, if not all, the negative effects of having a burgeoning population would be mitigated.

More room to live


There would be more room to live for everyone. With just one billion people no one would even need to live in cramped, stacked housing, but we could all have our home with a garden (if that's what we wanted). Our cities wouldn't be massive conglomerations of haphazardly built constructions sprawling all over the landscape, destroying and polluting everything above, under and around it. We would all have the space we needed to live and work in instead.

Cleaner environment


Without the pressure of population and all its needs and wants our environment would be clean and healthy instead of polluted and dirty. Even city people enjoy a day at the park. So why not live in the park instead, in housing that compliments the natural world rather than replaces it. There would be immeasurably less waste and with proper recycling or sustainable practices, there would be little or no waste at all, without having to crimp on the variety of available goods.

The natural world


Humans are only one of the species on this planet. And even if we are the dominant one, that doesn't mean all our fellow species do not have the same right to live here as we do. With a population of only one billion humans, well organised and in harmony with each other and the land, we can restore the forests, jungles and waters of our world so that they once more can house the immense variety of life they once had. The air, water and soil would be cleaner and healthier. We could go out on (photo) safaris and enjoy this magnificent planet we were lucky enough to be born on.

Natural resources


A vastly reduced population would have a vastly reduced impact on the need for natural resources. With cleaner energies, rather than fossil fuels, we won't have to destroy and pollute our world. There would be less need to mine everything with proper recycling practices and more land would be available to be restored to its natural ecology.

With improved manufacturing technologies there would be less factories, for example, producing any variety of goods with minimal impact on environment and cost. Goods would be durable and fully recycable and we would not end up living on a giant landfill with all the hazards of such places. Our oceans and rivers would not be full of plastics, chemicals and other life-destroying materials. They would be clean and full of life, and a source of enjoyment rather than disgust.

Transportation


With the use of "flying cars", for example, using clean energies, ninety percent of the road system can be removed, leaving yet more space for nature and agriculture. Motorways and high speed rail links would all be raised, again reducing the impact on the natural world. Travelling would give us views of farm lands and forests, mountains, lakes, clean and open landscapes full of wildlife, for example, rather than endless urban and industrial sprawl.

Society


The benefits of a reduced population would increase availability for education and personal development. We would need a fraction of current costs to ensure everyone gets full health care, an education and the possibility to develop into a contributing member of humanity. With room to live and grow the need for war because of living space and resources would be minimalised, we might even forego war altogether for the first time in our history.

When we all get the education to understand ourselves (our social responsibilities) and the world we live in and depend on, our respect for Gaia would increase and our negative impact decrease. When there is all the opportunity and capability to do the activities and pursue the interests that make you happy and keep you busy, both physically and mentally, rather than having to compete at every step of your life, or being stuck in work you hate because you have little or no choice, what could be more fulfilling. Freedom and happiness provide a much better basis for positive development than oppression and misery. We could all live hundreds of years in perfect health doing whatever makes us happy, have the time to develop and understand life, the universe and everything.

... (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

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