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Overpopulation is a myth

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    Overpopulation is a myth


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    Re: Overpopulation is a myth

    I guess the point that it is trying to make is OK, but it oversimplifies the problem. Overpopulation is not related to merely food or space. Those are the two things this planet has enough of (we have yet to colonize the high seas! plus food replenishes itself unless one depletes the soil).

    However, as the video cleverly pointed out, we're moving into more and more advanced standards of living. Where we before only required clean water, food, a place to settle and perhaps some hides to keep warm, we today need fuel, construction material etc. These resources are limited. This is not even mentioning how increasing use of these resources have devastating effects on the environment we depend on to collect food, water, living space etc. It's all about balance. Overpopulation is a complex equation of living standards, technology, climate. in addition to food and space as mentioned in the movie.

    Not to mention that according to the rules of diminishing returns, the space we first use is the most suitable. As we use more and more space each square meter beomes less suitable for habitation, thus more resource consuming (problems of exposure to extreme environment, longer supply routes etc). Not to mention how our living space and the connected infrastructure increases with standard of living, and it usually grows at the expense of farmland, meaning it becomes harder to feed these people.

    There might be much more, but I don't have more time. It's a nice video, but one cannot solve such huge questions in a two minute video or whatever, and should be treated as such

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    Re: Overpopulation is a myth

    Player0, you should add your own words to the initial post. I don't like threads that start as a single link or link to a video with no original input.

    I agree overpopulation is a myth. Can anyone say the world would be better off without some segment of the population? Even if you cut out all the slum residents around the world, that would still harm the local economy because slum resident contribute immensely to the urban economy as street sweepers, rickshaw pullers, house cleaners, cooks, etc.

    Notice how overpopulation alarmists always say someone else is overpopulation. They never point to themselves and say they are the overpopulation problem. If the world is so overpopulated, why don't the alarmists just commit suicide? Because in the alarmists' minds, their life is meaningful while the lives of slum dwellers is not. And that gets to the heart of the elitism that predominates the overpopulation alarmist movement.

    Overpopulation alarmists also don't understand global economics. They don't understand economies of scale or specialization of labor. They think if Earth's population were reduced 80% to 400 million, then it would be the richest, most prosperous people. But by the logic that fewer people=richer people, if you cut the population down to two, would you have two trillionares? No, you'd have two hunter-gatherers, dirt poor, struggling to survive.

    What about the finite resources fear? First of all, energy is unlimited and replenishable when considering the Sun's radiation. Then there is the future of fusion energy which will utilize hydrogen and helium, the two most common elements in the universe.

    Infinite energy is important because it makes recycling economically feasible and extends the life of existing materials.

    Second, global food production has outpaced global population growth for the last 150 years. Famines around the world such as China's Great Leap Forward in 1958-1961 were due to bad human management or distribution, not an absolute lack of food.
    Last edited by Geographer; 12-31-2012 at 11:05 AM.

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    Re: Overpopulation is a myth

    @geographer
    What about the finite resources fear? First of all, energy is unlimited and replenishable when considering the Sun's radiation. Then there is the future of fusion energy which will utilize hydrogen and helium, the two most common elements in the universe.

    Infinite energy is important because it makes recycling economically feasible and extends the life of existing materials.
    sure everything on earth can be used as energy source... just cut wood and you can burn it, you can use modern technology and drill the earth for geothermal energy or create ultra efficient solar powergrid. but at what price ? what consequences ?

    so I say its logical to say that there is a limit on how many people that the earth can sustain human being, but i'm not sure how many. maybe 7 billion is max, maybe 70 billion, maybe 700 billion.
    but saying that the earth is capable of sustaining unlimited number of human just wrong.
    and oversimplifying problem doesn't make it more simple.

    surely overpopulation don't have anything to do with problem of wealth distribution... 2000 years ago everyone is poor by today's standard...

    but

    just look at how the climate changes and problem of pollution... btw which doesn't even mentioned in the video... i still think that we are a little bit too overpopulated...

    EDIT:
    but looking at how demographic around the globe is declining... i think we are safe for now... (psst... dont ask me to suicide, ok)

    about food...
    yes there is many food source that we wastes... thing like rat, cocroach, and whole other plant and insect that we dont eat today... which our anchestor did...

    i agree that food is never been a problem... but it will when temperature rises 2 deg. celcius... many will have to try new menu of fore mentioned delicacies.

    which back to the problem... do you believe that overpopulation affect earth climate changes ?
    or is it just a myth ?
    Last edited by blacklist; 12-31-2012 at 12:22 PM. Reason: additional info
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    Re: Overpopulation is a myth

    Quote Originally Posted by Geographer View Post
    Player0, you should add your own words to the initial post. I don't like threads that start as a single link or link to a video with no original input.

    I agree overpopulation is a myth. Can anyone say the world would be better off without some segment of the population? Even if you cut out all the slum residents around the world, that would still harm the local economy because slum resident contribute immensely to the urban economy as street sweepers, rickshaw pullers, house cleaners, cooks, etc.

    Notice how overpopulation alarmists always say someone else is overpopulation. They never point to themselves and say they are the overpopulation problem. If the world is so overpopulated, why don't the alarmists just commit suicide? Because in the alarmists' minds, their life is meaningful while the lives of slum dwellers is not. And that gets to the heart of the elitism that predominates the overpopulation alarmist movement.

    Overpopulation alarmists also don't understand global economics. They don't understand economies of scale or specialization of labor. They think if Earth's population were reduced 80% to 400 million, then it would be the richest, most prosperous people. But by the logic that fewer people=richer people, if you cut the population down to two, would you have two trillionares? No, you'd have two hunter-gatherers, dirt poor, struggling to survive.

    What about the finite resources fear? First of all, energy is unlimited and replenishable when considering the Sun's radiation. Then there is the future of fusion energy which will utilize hydrogen and helium, the two most common elements in the universe.

    Infinite energy is important because it makes recycling economically feasible and extends the life of existing materials.

    Second, global food production has outpaced global population growth for the last 150 years. Famines around the world such as China's Great Leap Forward in 1958-1961 were due to bad human management or distribution, not an absolute lack of food.
    I think you are oversimplifying the problem yourself. It's true that simply cutting down population size would not solve any problems. However, you ignore the fact that there is a definite upper limit to Earth population. We might not have reached that limit yet, but we have definitely reached the point of diminishing returns.
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    Re: Overpopulation is a myth

    I cannot agree that Overpopulation is a myth, but I certainly agree with those that say that is usually defined in an incorrect manner.

    Overpopulation is a relative not an absolute condition and is simply a measure of the ability of a society to support itself. Early 14th Century England/Europe was certainly over populated and that over population was undoubtedly a main driver of the 100 year war, only resolved with the onset of the Black Death. The population levels of these times were however only about 10% of the populations supported by today's society.
    What this means is that a Feudal Subsistence Society with limited technology is highly restricted by the availability of inefficiently used fertile land. Land and Farming Improvements may well raise the ceiling, but not enough to significantly raise the population the land can support. It required Urbanisation, Industrialisation and Intensive Agriculture to change the dynamic and it has done so by at least an order of magnitude.

    I personally have confidence that the technologies we see making breakthroughs today will allow for similar magnitude order increases over the coming centuries. I think that I can have further confidence in that those countries which embrace these technologies will be the nations that thrive, while those that resist or hesitate will be the ones that do not.
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    Re: Overpopulation is a myth

    Quote Originally Posted by Geographer View Post
    I agree overpopulation is a myth. Can anyone say the world would be better off without some segment of the population? Even if you cut out all the slum residents around the world, that would still harm the local economy because slum resident contribute immensely to the urban economy as street sweepers, rickshaw pullers, house cleaners, cooks, etc.
    I don't think anyone proposed to cut down any particular segment of population. It's a general observation that you will run into problems if you have too many people. No one ever says anything about eliminating "street sweepers".

    Quote Originally Posted by Geographer View Post
    Overpopulation alarmists also don't understand global economics. They don't understand economies of scale or specialization of labor. They think if Earth's population were reduced 80% to 400 million, then it would be the richest, most prosperous people. But by the logic that fewer people=richer people, if you cut the population down to two, would you have two trillionares? No, you'd have two hunter-gatherers, dirt poor, struggling to survive.
    I think you are the one who is ignoring the general principles of economics. It's all about supply and demand. When you have more people and supply cannot keep up, demand will be up. price will be high. This is especially true with important stuff like food and energy. This leads to inflation and so on and so forth... What happens when people cannot get what they want? They start wars...

    The macroeconomics dictates that the supply-demand curve will simply shift together while the entire economy will maintain its balance and equilibrium when the population shifts since both supply and demand drop together with a population shift. Yes, you have fewer demands, but you also have less capability to produce with lower population. So both supply and demand go together. So the fraction of wealthy vs. poor will not change when you change the population. This is, of course, under the assumption that we still have a decent population base. If we run into a problem of having only 2 people left on the planet, the last thing one worries about would be who is wealthy and who is poor...

    Quote Originally Posted by Geographer View Post
    What about the finite resources fear? First of all, energy is unlimited and replenishable when considering the Sun's radiation. Then there is the future of fusion energy which will utilize hydrogen and helium, the two most common elements in the universe.

    Infinite energy is important because it makes recycling economically feasible and extends the life of existing materials.

    Second, global food production has outpaced global population growth for the last 150 years. Famines around the world such as China's Great Leap Forward in 1958-1961 were due to bad human management or distribution, not an absolute lack of food.
    Infinite energy is, of course, the goal. However, one cannot simply plan/strategize based on a hope that no one knows when/if it can be realized. In the mean time, we have to form plans and make predictions based on what we have at hands.

    Unlimited resource is a myth. How can you say that when it is clear that available land for food and other resources is inversely correlated with population increase? More people, less land, less trees, less water. Just look at the Shaanxi and Shanxi, you will know what I'm talking about. A mere 5-6 centuries ago, that area of China was covered with forests. People cut down trees to build palaces and now it's nothing but yellow dirt. The Mayans had to abandon their homes because of lack of resources. The people on the Easter island went almost extinct because they lost all their resources. If it could happen on a smaller scale, it could happen to the entire planet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geographer View Post
    Second, global food production has outpaced global population growth for the last 150 years. Famines around the world such as China's Great Leap Forward in 1958-1961 were due to bad human management or distribution, not an absolute lack of food.
    This is wishful thinking at best. Human mistakes get magnified when there is a natural disaster. There was a massive drought in China between 1958-1961 in central China. It was magnified through human mistakes. You cannot rule out natural disasters and same goes with human mistakes. So if our food production is only barely enough to feed the people on this planet, any large scale natural disaster will push it over the limit and push the entire planet into a disaster.

    IMHO, there is a population limit. And it is impossible to pass that limit. Either we correct it ourselves, or mother nature will take care of it for us in the form of famine, plague, war, etc.
    Last edited by vesicles; 01-02-2013 at 11:13 AM.
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    Re: Overpopulation is a myth

    Quote Originally Posted by SampanViking View Post
    I cannot agree that Overpopulation is a myth, but I certainly agree with those that say that is usually defined in an incorrect manner.

    Overpopulation is a relative not an absolute condition and is simply a measure of the ability of a society to support itself. Early 14th Century England/Europe was certainly over populated and that over population was undoubtedly a main driver of the 100 year war, only resolved with the onset of the Black Death. The population levels of these times were however only about 10% of the populations supported by today's society.
    What this means is that a Feudal Subsistence Society with limited technology is highly restricted by the availability of inefficiently used fertile land. Land and Farming Improvements may well raise the ceiling, but not enough to significantly raise the population the land can support. It required Urbanisation, Industrialisation and Intensive Agriculture to change the dynamic and it has done so by at least an order of magnitude.

    I personally have confidence that the technologies we see making breakthroughs today will allow for similar magnitude order increases over the coming centuries. I think that I can have further confidence in that those countries which embrace these technologies will be the nations that thrive, while those that resist or hesitate will be the ones that do not.
    I agree overpopulation is relative considering certain factors. However the planet is finite, and as such there is an absolute limit to our development, unless we dramatically change the rules by colonizing other planets or artificially creating another earth. No amount of technology can overcome this fact in the foreseeable future. Technology will surely help pushing boundaries, but at some point every new person will demand an infinite increase in resource allocation, at which time it will be practically impossible to increase population or sustain reasonable standards of living. At which point there is overpopulation.

    Personally, I'd say overpopulation is a fact as long as resources are not able to replenish or recycle properly (despite all efforts are focused on alleviating the problem)
    Last edited by Maggern; 01-02-2013 at 09:01 PM.
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    Re: Overpopulation is a myth

    Quote Originally Posted by Maggern View Post
    I agree overpopulation is relative considering certain factors. However the planet is finite, and as such there is an absolute limit to our development, unless we dramatically change the rules by colonizing other planets or artificially creating another earth. No amount of technology can overcome this fact in the foreseeable future. Technology will surely help pushing boundaries, but at some point every new person will demand an infinite increase in resource allocation, at which time it will be practically impossible to increase population or sustain reasonable standards of living. At which point there is overpopulation.

    Personally, I'd say overpopulation is a fact as long as resources are not able to replenish or recycle properly (despite all efforts are focused on alleviating the problem)
    Hi Maggern

    Before I wrote my initial entry on this subject I had not been able to watch Players Video. I have of course done so now. Yes it can be described as providing a simplistic response, but given it is responding to a very simplistic argument, I think that is fully forgiveable.

    The video largely shared my own opinion that "overpopulation" was a local and conditional phenomenon, most likely to be economic in nature ie that a social system is unable to provide sufficient wealth for all its citizens to be able to afford to eat, rather than there being no food or scope to produce further food for them.
    Likewise, while I accept that the resources of the "planet" are finite, I would challenge anyone to define what these finite limits actually are. I would argue that any limit is still orders of magnitude in advance of our current population and still too far over the horizon in terms of quantity or time-scale to be taken as a realistic factor of limitation in human development.
    Development beyond the planet are another set of very major factors which I think we will see increasingly active this century, contrary to the current state of stagnation which we have had for nearly the past 40 years.

    The critical difference I see in all this is the difference between a billion poor people and a billion affluent people (another point of agreement with the video). You only have to look at the last 30 years in China to appreciate this point. The one Child policy has not been exercised in respect of simple food security, but as a lever to help implement major social and economic change as China transits from an agrarian peasant society to a middle class urban one. The point of the policy has been to dry up the supply of poor rural residents with little or no capital, in favour of a cash rich urbanised ones. Once significant progress has been made do not be surprised to see the policy dropped (no later than 2020) and a post policy population surge, rapidly taking the Chinese population well beyond previous or currently projected figures, without any appreciable impact on notions of food security.
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    Re: Overpopulation is a myth

    Quote Originally Posted by SampanViking View Post
    Hi Maggern

    Before I wrote my initial entry on this subject I had not been able to watch Players Video. I have of course done so now. Yes it can be described as providing a simplistic response, but given it is responding to a very simplistic argument, I think that is fully forgiveable.

    The video largely shared my own opinion that "overpopulation" was a local and conditional phenomenon, most likely to be economic in nature ie that a social system is unable to provide sufficient wealth for all its citizens to be able to afford to eat, rather than there being no food or scope to produce further food for them.
    Likewise, while I accept that the resources of the "planet" are finite, I would challenge anyone to define what these finite limits actually are. I would argue that any limit is still orders of magnitude in advance of our current population and still too far over the horizon in terms of quantity or time-scale to be taken as a realistic factor of limitation in human development.
    Development beyond the planet are another set of very major factors which I think we will see increasingly active this century, contrary to the current state of stagnation which we have had for nearly the past 40 years.

    The critical difference I see in all this is the difference between a billion poor people and a billion affluent people (another point of agreement with the video). You only have to look at the last 30 years in China to appreciate this point. The one Child policy has not been exercised in respect of simple food security, but as a lever to help implement major social and economic change as China transits from an agrarian peasant society to a middle class urban one. The point of the policy has been to dry up the supply of poor rural residents with little or no capital, in favour of a cash rich urbanised ones. Once significant progress has been made do not be surprised to see the policy dropped (no later than 2020) and a post policy population surge, rapidly taking the Chinese population well beyond previous or currently projected figures, without any appreciable impact on notions of food security.
    I strongly disagree with this assessment.

    First, virtually all of modern China's challenges, from the education system to tainted food scandals to the deteriorating environment, stems from overpopulation. Teenagers spend their entire 3 years of high school preparing for the university entrance exams, simply because there are way more students looking to enter universities than there are universities capable of accepting them. Similarly, huge numbers of university graduates end up with menial jobs because there are way more graduates than there are positions open.

    Milk producers lace their milk with melamine because of demand far outstrips supply, and thus there is huge profit to be made from producing "fake food".

    The 30 years of economic reforms have taken a tremendous toll on the environment. The Yang-tze river porpoise, the Northern Chinese tiger, and countless other species, are all but extinct. Entire villages have been poisoned by industrial waste flow. When I was young, Shanghai regularly snowed during the winter. Now, it has snowed maybe 2-3 times in the last 20 years. A near permanent smog covers the sky over the city.

    You argue that we have not yet reached the limits of the planet's finite resources, yet the inevitability of Climate Change contradicts this view.

    Sure, if we manage to discover cold fusion, or a cheap way to create anti-matter, we could enjoy near limitless energy. However, those we don't have those things right now, and there is no telling when we will make these kinds of breakthroughs, if they are even possible. The current crop of renewable energies all have limitations that makes them unable to support our current population and living standards.
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    Re: Overpopulation is a myth

    Quote Originally Posted by solarz View Post
    I strongly disagree with this assessment.

    First, virtually all of modern China's challenges, from the education system to tainted food scandals to the deteriorating environment, stems from overpopulation. Teenagers spend their entire 3 years of high school preparing for the university entrance exams, simply because there are way more students looking to enter universities than there are universities capable of accepting them. Similarly, huge numbers of university graduates end up with menial jobs because there are way more graduates than there are positions open.

    Milk producers lace their milk with melamine because of demand far outstrips supply, and thus there is huge profit to be made from producing "fake food".

    The 30 years of economic reforms have taken a tremendous toll on the environment. The Yang-tze river porpoise, the Northern Chinese tiger, and countless other species, are all but extinct. Entire villages have been poisoned by industrial waste flow. When I was young, Shanghai regularly snowed during the winter. Now, it has snowed maybe 2-3 times in the last 20 years. A near permanent smog covers the sky over the city.

    You argue that we have not yet reached the limits of the planet's finite resources, yet the inevitability of Climate Change contradicts this view.

    Sure, if we manage to discover cold fusion, or a cheap way to create anti-matter, we could enjoy near limitless energy. However, those we don't have those things right now, and there is no telling when we will make these kinds of breakthroughs, if they are even possible. The current crop of renewable energies all have limitations that makes them unable to support our current population and living standards.
    You make a lot of assertions here Solarz, but does either the logic or experience support the arguments?
    First of course, the Malthusian theory of overpopulation is global and not national, so events in China alone could never determine the truth or fallacy of the theory. What is true is that while the one child policy has depressed the growth in population in China, other growth in other countries has taken the global population beyond the level that would have existed if China had not implemented the policy. There is still no global material food deficit (actual or potential) so clearly malthusian overpopulation has not been a factor in Chinese demographic planning.
    Secondly, the example of adding inappropriate substances to food is another economic action rather than any kind of reflection on supply. The additives were used to increase profit not overall supply volume. Indeed, the fact that producers felt the need to "enhance value" in this way is more indicative of the low value of basic food stuffs. This is surely in contradiction of any malthusian theory as genuine malthusian population would cause prices to go through the roof permanently due to total lack of remedy.
    Indeed all the examples you cite are most properly economic failings, through not being prepared to spend the money or resources necessary to protect the local environment.
    The assumption as to the effects of climate change again are far too general to make any assumptions. Local changes in climate may well prompt local changes in behaviour or activity, but I see nothing that makes Climate Change an apocolyptic horseman for Malthusianism. I would say to the contrary that the net effect is positive, as a warmer, wetter and more Carbon Dioxide rich atmosphere is far more conducive to increased Cereal production than colder, dryer ones.
    Further if you look at one of the main global trends of the day, it is the emergence of the mega agri industry state, of which Brazil is the group leader, but with many other large developing countries moving not far behind. This is the story of the major spread of intensive farming and a massive increase in food production as a consequence.
    Farm Gate prices world wide are still falling. High prices to consumers are artificial, being either tariff or distribution and retail system driven.
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    Re: Overpopulation is a myth

    Quote Originally Posted by SampanViking View Post
    You make a lot of assertions here Solarz, but does either the logic or experience support the arguments?
    First of course, the Malthusian theory of overpopulation is global and not national, so events in China alone could never determine the truth or fallacy of the theory. What is true is that while the one child policy has depressed the growth in population in China, other growth in other countries has taken the global population beyond the level that would have existed if China had not implemented the policy. There is still no global material food deficit (actual or potential) so clearly malthusian overpopulation has not been a factor in Chinese demographic planning.
    Secondly, the example of adding inappropriate substances to food is another economic action rather than any kind of reflection on supply. The additives were used to increase profit not overall supply volume. Indeed, the fact that producers felt the need to "enhance value" in this way is more indicative of the low value of basic food stuffs. This is surely in contradiction of any malthusian theory as genuine malthusian population would cause prices to go through the roof permanently due to total lack of remedy.
    Indeed all the examples you cite are most properly economic failings, through not being prepared to spend the money or resources necessary to protect the local environment.
    The assumption as to the effects of climate change again are far too general to make any assumptions. Local changes in climate may well prompt local changes in behaviour or activity, but I see nothing that makes Climate Change an apocolyptic horseman for Malthusianism. I would say to the contrary that the net effect is positive, as a warmer, wetter and more Carbon Dioxide rich atmosphere is far more conducive to increased Cereal production than colder, dryer ones.
    Further if you look at one of the main global trends of the day, it is the emergence of the mega agri industry state, of which Brazil is the group leader, but with many other large developing countries moving not far behind. This is the story of the major spread of intensive farming and a massive increase in food production as a consequence.
    Farm Gate prices world wide are still falling. High prices to consumers are artificial, being either tariff or distribution and retail system driven.
    You speak as if the economy was not completely related to population. What you describe as "economic failings" happened precisely because of the challenges of a large population.

    Those guys were adding melamine to their milk not to increase the "value", but because they were trying to increase the volume: either because they were using water-down milk, or by directly mixing the melamine powder with milk powder.

    FACTBOX: What is melamine, and why add it to milk? | Reuters

    You speak of the absence of a global food deficit. What you are ignoring is that with a global economy, there is an ever-expanding industry to meet any supply shortage. However, this expansion does not come without a cost. Forests are being clear-cut for agriculture. Pristine landscapes are being destroyed for tar-sand. In this dynamic, an actual shortage would mean there is no more room to expand, and would be the last stage of an overpopulation crisis.

    The symptoms we are seeing right now is Climate Change, a vague term that is meant to encompass the entire dynamic of a changing environment on our planet. You speak of a warmer climate but ignore the fact that rising sea levels would submerge vast tracts of arable land and populated cities. It is simply wishful thinking to believe that Climate Change would not have profoundly negative consequences for the global economy.

    Finally, you speak of intensive farming and the temporary increase in food production, but you ignore the cost to the land, as soil nutrients are depleted and future generations are left with barren wastelands!

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    Re: Overpopulation is a myth

    Quote Originally Posted by solarz View Post
    You speak as if the economy was not completely related to population. What you describe as "economic failings" happened precisely because of the challenges of a large population.

    Those guys were adding melamine to their milk not to increase the "value", but because they were trying to increase the volume: either because they were using water-down milk, or by directly mixing the melamine powder with milk powder.

    FACTBOX: What is melamine, and why add it to milk? | Reuters

    You speak of the absence of a global food deficit. What you are ignoring is that with a global economy, there is an ever-expanding industry to meet any supply shortage. However, this expansion does not come without a cost. Forests are being clear-cut for agriculture. Pristine landscapes are being destroyed for tar-sand. In this dynamic, an actual shortage would mean there is no more room to expand, and would be the last stage of an overpopulation crisis.

    The symptoms we are seeing right now is Climate Change, a vague term that is meant to encompass the entire dynamic of a changing environment on our planet. You speak of a warmer climate but ignore the fact that rising sea levels would submerge vast tracts of arable land and populated cities. It is simply wishful thinking to believe that Climate Change would not have profoundly negative consequences for the global economy.

    Finally, you speak of intensive farming and the temporary increase in food production, but you ignore the cost to the land, as soil nutrients are depleted and future generations are left with barren wastelands!
    I can see this going round and round and round, but never mind.
    Lets start with the basics.
    China today - population approaching 1.4 billion - no starvation
    China 1960's - population average 700 million - regular starvation

    Explain how this supports Malthusian theory?

    All human activity puts pressure on the natural environment and the more people you have the greater the potential for pressure. When however discussing Malthusian overpopulation you are discussing hitting the ultimate finite boundary and having no further ability for movement or moderation (remedy). None of the problems in China today are a result of reaching any such boundary but represent a "failure" to spend on effective proactive or post remedial measures to offset the worst effects of mass human activity. There is however plenty of scope to spend retroactively to clean up recent problems, its a matter of cash and the time lag caused by a period of unprecedented transitional change.

    As for melamine, your own link simply supports the economic argument, that it gives a false high reading for nutrional protein, which is the basis on which value is determined and the subsequent price paid. For malthusian theory to apply, it would be having to simply provide bulk to minimise any deficit in the level supply. Clearly this is nothing of the sort.

    Finally we have the Intensive farming disaster argument.
    Of course the most intensely farmed areas are in the developed world, Europe, North America, Australis etc.
    Well, only today I was driving across the Somerset and Devon dustbowls and............... hang on a minute!
    No these countries are intensively farmed more than any other nations and have been for longer than any other nations and they are doing just fine. The only problems farmers in Europe and North America have is farm gate prices so low that the occupation no longer provides the standard of living to which they aspire, without heavy state subsidy or restrictive import tariffs. The places that suffer the most from poor land management are developing countries with a majority still subsistence farming. If you want environmental degradation, look no further than the Indonesian land clearance smogs, where "indigenous peoples" practice these "traditional techniques" which we are constantly told is sympathetic and in harmony with nature. Well clearly not!

    Are the Seas about to devour all current and potential arable land? No and the possible rises of a few meters will have an overall negligible effect on the dry land mass and be easily offset by the increase in natural irrigation and improvement to currently marginal land. Add to that increased general fertility from higher CO2 and the global increase to the growing season, then the gain is net before even looking at technological solutions (of which the maturation of GM must be a major factor.

    Poor practice, poor technology can indeed create local bubbles of overpopulation, but these are temporary and can be overcome purely through political and economic will. We are still a million miles away from the Malthusian limit.
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  14. #14
    solarz's Avatar
    solarz is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Overpopulation is a myth

    Quote Originally Posted by SampanViking View Post
    I can see this going round and round and round, but never mind.
    Lets start with the basics.
    China today - population approaching 1.4 billion - no starvation
    China 1960's - population average 700 million - regular starvation

    Explain how this supports Malthusian theory?

    All human activity puts pressure on the natural environment and the more people you have the greater the potential for pressure. When however discussing Malthusian overpopulation you are discussing hitting the ultimate finite boundary and having no further ability for movement or moderation (remedy). None of the problems in China today are a result of reaching any such boundary but represent a "failure" to spend on effective proactive or post remedial measures to offset the worst effects of mass human activity. There is however plenty of scope to spend retroactively to clean up recent problems, its a matter of cash and the time lag caused by a period of unprecedented transitional change.

    As for melamine, your own link simply supports the economic argument, that it gives a false high reading for nutrional protein, which is the basis on which value is determined and the subsequent price paid. For malthusian theory to apply, it would be having to simply provide bulk to minimise any deficit in the level supply. Clearly this is nothing of the sort.

    Finally we have the Intensive farming disaster argument.
    Of course the most intensely farmed areas are in the developed world, Europe, North America, Australis etc.
    Well, only today I was driving across the Somerset and Devon dustbowls and............... hang on a minute!
    No these countries are intensively farmed more than any other nations and have been for longer than any other nations and they are doing just fine. The only problems farmers in Europe and North America have is farm gate prices so low that the occupation no longer provides the standard of living to which they aspire, without heavy state subsidy or restrictive import tariffs. The places that suffer the most from poor land management are developing countries with a majority still subsistence farming. If you want environmental degradation, look no further than the Indonesian land clearance smogs, where "indigenous peoples" practice these "traditional techniques" which we are constantly told is sympathetic and in harmony with nature. Well clearly not!

    Are the Seas about to devour all current and potential arable land? No and the possible rises of a few meters will have an overall negligible effect on the dry land mass and be easily offset by the increase in natural irrigation and improvement to currently marginal land. Add to that increased general fertility from higher CO2 and the global increase to the growing season, then the gain is net before even looking at technological solutions (of which the maturation of GM must be a major factor.

    Poor practice, poor technology can indeed create local bubbles of overpopulation, but these are temporary and can be overcome purely through political and economic will. We are still a million miles away from the Malthusian limit.
    1. Melamine is added to milk not because higher protein count fetches a higher price, but because the producers watered down their product and needed melamine to pass the protein tests! I.E: higher volume!

    2. Actually, lots of farmers in Canada are millionaires. And no, Canadian agricultural land is nowhere near as intensively farmed as Chinese agricultural land. It's also myth that 3rd world nations do not practice industrial farming. Chemical fertilization is not a sophisticated technology. The difference between those countries and North America / Europe is that the latter have stringent laws to protect their environment. They are able to afford those laws precisely because they don't have a population that puts pressure on their food production industry.

    3. I don't know where you get the idea that irrigation can offset rising sea levels. The physics of such an idea is just absurd. Also, people use irrigation for freshwater, not sea water!

    There also will not be a "global increase to growing season". Instead, there will be more severe and catastrophic floods, storms, and droughts.

  15. #15
    vesicles's Avatar
    vesicles is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Overpopulation is a myth

    It's not only food that we have to worry about. In fact, food would be the last thing on our mind. It's diseases, finite amount of natural resources, pollution, waste management, etc.

    With a decrease in living space, transmittable diseases will be a huge problem. Then health care systems, economy, etc...

    There is only finite amount of space available for waste management. How do we take care of that? There is no such thing as complete recycling. As matter of fact, the more advanced nations with advanced technology produce more waste. When we bury our waste, we pollute ground water.

    Pollution can fall into the same category as waste, or it can be on its own. The more advanced nations have more serious pollution problems. As we advance as a species, we would expect pollution will get worse. that leads to diseases and global warming.

    Then natural resources other than oil, such as trees and minerals, etc. yes, modern people are more conscious about this kind of stuff than our ancestors who only cut cut cut. We now know to plant more trees than we cut down. Good! but with more people and growing urbanization, you will have less space to grow trees.
    Last edited by vesicles; 01-04-2013 at 05:25 PM.

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