October 17, 2007

WHEN PAUL EHRLICH'S DREAMS COME TRUE, YOU WAKE TO A NIGHTMARE:

Eastern Europe Might Never Catch Up: Because of brain drain and shrinking populations, formerly communist states may never close the economic gap with their Western Europe counterparts (Jochen Luypaert, 10/17/07, Business Week)

Central and Eastern Europe states are in danger of never catching up with Western Europe, as the long term economic growth potential in the region is undermined by a widening human capital gap with the west of the continent, a report has warned.

The report -- called the European Human Capital Index -- ranked eastern EU members and candidates on their ability to develop and sustain their human capital, and was released by the Brussels-based Lisbon Council think tank on Monday (15 October).

Since the collapse of communism, economic growth in the former communist states is far above growth seen elsewhere on the continent, narrowing the difference in economic wealth between the two halves of the continent.

But researchers now fear that a continuation of this performance is unlikely, unless certain problems are urgently addressed.

"The entire study shows a closing of the gap in the last 15 years, but now it could widen again," Peer Ederer, the lead author of the study warned during the report's presentation. [...]

"The demographic outlook is [also] not good," he added. "In Eastern Europe, you can find the lowest birth rates, basically in each of these countries. (...) Combine the demographic data with the brain-drain that continues to happen, and you have a very bleak picture."


But the antihumanists always assure us that the road to a bright future is paved with falling populations....

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 17, 2007 11:42 AM
Comments

Your comment begs the question: how many people can the earth support (preferably at an middle class American standard of living)?

Posted by: Boyd at October 17, 2007 5:45 PM

As a further example, if the earth's entire land surface (about 57,500,000 square miles) had to support a population density equal to say, Hong Kong which has the world's highest population density (6,300 people per sqaure mile) we have a human world population of 362,250,000,000 (362 billion). That would be about 56 times more than the current world population 6,500,000,000 (6.5 bllion).

Now do you really believe mankind can breed ad infinatum?

Or are you counting on those traditional Malthusians (war, famine, disease, etc.) to keep our breeding in check? If so, why is this morally better than people using birth control to limit family size?

Assuming mankind does follow you into unchecked breeding, at what point do we run out of farm land to beed these billions? (IMHO Soylent Green is a poor substitute for farm fresh veggies and other sources of protein, it will also severely limit the number of ingredients available for your recipes). At what point will the last acre of wilderness be paved over? How many species have to die out just from habitat destruction as infinitely breeding mankind fulfils your dreams?

Lastly, crime and war are something done by young males. Won't a world filled with old geezers be a safer, less violent place?

You spend a lot of time criticizing nations with small families and falling populations. Why is your infinite breeding alternative better?

Posted by: Boyd at October 17, 2007 6:13 PM

As a further example, if the earth's entire land surface (about 57,500,000 square miles) had to support a population density equal to say, Hong Kong which has the world's highest population density (6,300 people per sqaure mile) we have a human world population of 362,250,000,000 (362 billion). That would be about 56 times more than the current world population 6,500,000,000 (6.5 bllion).

Now do you really believe mankind can breed ad infinatum?

Or are you counting on those traditional Malthusians (war, famine, disease, etc.) to keep our breeding in check? If so, why is this morally better than people using birth control to limit family size?

Assuming mankind does follow you into unchecked breeding, at what point do we run out of farm land to beed these billions? (IMHO Soylent Green is a poor substitute for farm fresh veggies and other sources of protein, it will also severely limit the number of ingredients available for your recipes). At what point will the last acre of wilderness be paved over? How many species have to die out just from habitat destruction as infinitely breeding mankind fulfils your dreams?

Lastly, crime and war are something done by young males. Won't a world filled with old geezers be a safer, less violent place?

You spend a lot of time criticizing nations with small families and falling populations. Why is your infinite breeding alternative better?

Posted by: Boyd at October 17, 2007 6:17 PM

What, exactly, is your point? Since, you assume, the world can't support 362 billion, we should worry about 6 billion? To turn your point around, if everyone in the world lived in Texas, it would have about the same population density of central London. Why should be worry about that?

Posted by: Ibid at October 17, 2007 7:53 PM

Note that Hong Kong, Tokyo and Manhattan have some of the highest standards of living on Earth. Yes, if we all lived in such proximity the population could grow to infinity fairly easily.

Posted by: oj at October 17, 2007 8:16 PM

My point is, just how much do you insist that we breed? Ad infinatum? If you agree that this is neither possible nore desireable where is the stopping point?

Hong Kong, Tokyo and Manahattan don't grow their own food. In fact the average modern urban area is only three days away from starvation (the typical grocery store re-stocking cycle). So how are you going to maintain such a high standard of leaving when every acre of arable land (indeed, every acre of land period) is paved over?

Posted by: Boyd at October 17, 2007 8:24 PM

More humans is both possible and desirable. People are themselves resources, as well as being made in His image.

Why would they be paved when we're pretty much the only country that's deurbanizing rather than urbanizing?

Posted by: oj at October 17, 2007 9:20 PM

"People are themselves resources"

That's got to be the best slogan ever for Soylent Green.

"Why would they be paved"

You really haven't been listening have you? We're talking about a world with every square mile of land having Hong Kong's population density being the logical and inevitable outcome of the uncontrolled breeding ad infinatum that you are in favor of. You admitted as much when you said it wouldn't be a problem since these high urban areas have such high standards of living and we could grow infinitely "fairly easily".

Now, I've never been to HK myself but I'm pretty sure its not a rural community. So where will the food come from?

Posted by: Boyd at October 17, 2007 9:34 PM

At the population density of Hong Kong most of the planet would remain arable land. What would you pave it for?

Posted by: oj at October 17, 2007 10:32 PM

Most of Hong Kong's people are squeezed into a few very congested areas (Victoria, part of the main island, Lantau (sp.?). There is a lot of space on hundreds of other islands, and they made a small island bigger for the new airport.

If Manhattan wanted more room, the area just west of the old WTC site could probably be extended all the way to NJ, if Eliot Spitzer thought it was necessary to secure his re-election.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 17, 2007 10:55 PM

You seem to have reading comprehension problems OJ. let me repeat what I wrote in an earlier post:

As a further example, if the earth's entire land surface (about 57,500,000 square miles) had to support a population density equal to say, Hong Kong which has the world's highest population density (6,300 people per sqaure mile) we have a human world population of 362,250,000,000 (362 billion). That would be about 56 times more than the current world population 6,500,000,000 (6.5 bllion).

My projection, taking your infinite breeding program to its logical conclusion, is an entire planet covered over in a Hong Kong-like urban area (or worse). Every valley, every plain, every mountain, every desert, every forest, every jungle - paved over. What part of this are you not understanding? What part of "ad infinatum" are you not grasping?

Jim, please go back and reread my posts. You're totally missing what I'm saying.

Posted by: Boyd at October 18, 2007 7:18 AM

Boyd, we're not missing what you're saying, we're funning with ya. To be serious for a moment, we humans are very resourceful. Long before the entire globe is cheek to jowl, we'll be off exploring space and making other planets safe for democracy.

Feel better now?

Posted by: erp at October 18, 2007 8:03 AM

Erp,

Do the math on the energy requirements and cost of lifting the weight of any significant number of people into orbit. You've been watching too many Star Trek reruns.

I have no doubt that mankind is resourceful. Malthus was half wrong in that he neglected mankind's inginuity to avoid outrunning available resources.

His modern critics are also half right in that they assume that technoloical advance will always continue apace, staying always at least one step ahead of population growth. Both Malthus and his critics are simplistic, each in their own way.

In principal, however, Malthus remains 100% correct. If population outpaces available resource a correction involving famine, disease or war provides the needed correction. Mankind lacks a predator species to keep our numbers in check - we are our own predator, which is why we have wars. As the saying goes, "man is a wolf to man".

"Available" resources are determined by current technologies. For example, we can get more calories of nutrition from an acre of farmland per year then they could ever dream of in Malthus' day. But there is an absolute limit of calories in the form of sunshine striking even the most fertile acre in the most temperate climate. And an absolute minimum amount of farm land, determined by basic biology, needed to feed each person.

Hence my point, that in principal, we simply can't breed ad-infinatum.

Certainly not with everyone having an American middle class standard of living. Most likely result of uncontrolled breeding is the globe covered with 3rd world shanties and slums...

..and every eco-system damaged beyond repair. This isn't a case of secular preference for animals over a scared preference for people. For without a healthy ecology we won't survive long either. Unless of course you think Soylent Green is tasty.

Bon apetit.

Posted by: Boyd at October 18, 2007 8:38 AM

"scared" should be "sacred". Sorry for my poor typing.

Posted by: Boyd at October 18, 2007 8:44 AM

Boyd,

No they are not missing what you are saying but rather choosing to conveniently ignore it instead.

The absurdity of demonizing any population not growing is made all to apparent when asked to identify at what point enough is enough, for it is at this point one must reconcile the need for true sustainability in our policies, institutions, governing structure, and culture with the fact that the population growth was nothing but a crutch for our ills masking inherent problems in the system.

Just as illegal immigration masks the terrible human tragedy that is modern liberalism in America, the ghettos, the violence and crime, the dysfunction, the corruption, there too will be a day when the point of too many is reached and they stop coming and there is no growth to bail us out but the problems remain and they are compounded and we disintegrate.

Eastern Europe is there now, the no growth dysfunctional system point, not a pretty place. I suspect though getting to a - no growth, FUNCTIONAL system - point, one we must all eventually get too and the basis of the original question, is not on the agenda. What is on the agenda is making more people "in his image", the details don't matter.

Posted by: Perry at October 18, 2007 8:51 AM

Sad about these people if what you say is true Perry.

I never saw the point of piling on more people "in His image" if they end up living on a ding planet in a massive pole-to-pole slum. Why is this a good and holy thing?

Using religious pressure to force people to breed made sense when most children died before age 1. Tribes and nations that didn't use their women as broodmares would be swamped by those that did (essentially that is the story of every barbarian migration or imperial conquest in pre-modern history).

But that is all academic now since EVERY country on the planet is now experiencing declining birth rates and (eventually) falling populations. Muslims and Hispanics are just achieving this a generation after Americans and Europeans. Birth rates from Mexico to Algeria to Iran have collapsed and soon Latin and Muslim societies will be no differnt demographically than Eastern Europe or Japan.

This blog's constant carrying on about falling birth rates reminds me of Mark Twain's comment about the weather, "Everyone talks about it but nobody does anything about it". So I ask OJ and his pals:

WHAT WOULD YOU DO ABOUT FALLING BIRTH RATES TO FORCE WOMEN TO HAVE MORE KIDS?

As the Beatles said, "We'd all love to see the plan".

Posted by: Boyd at October 18, 2007 9:19 AM

Boyd, no need to do the "math."

Take a deep breath and try to understand.

Human beings, especially Americans, are resourceful, nay ingenious, and will not allow your doomsday scenario to come to pass.

Liberalism is bad for children, puppies, and other living things, so it's finally on its way out.

Your best contribution would be to work for conservative causes and candidates to hurry the process along.

Posted by: erp at October 18, 2007 9:49 AM

Boyd:

Convert them. America is unique among developed nations in that the natives maintain a replacement level birth rate and the faithful are above.

World population will drop for awhile as the disease of secularism works its way out of the human system. But we'll keep increasing.

It's just a matter of culture. Ours is human. You advocate an antihuman one.

Posted by: oj at October 18, 2007 11:02 AM

Perry:

Illegal immigration is the triumph of the American model. Tens of millions of people are so American, even though they don't live here,m that they feel compelled to come and escape their own wretched societies.

Your focus on immigrants though does reveal what's at the heart of the population control movement: race.

Posted by: oj at October 18, 2007 11:07 AM

Boyd:

Too perfect! What a brilliant illustration of the faith-based nature of the "brights" and the imperviousness of that faith to reality.

Malthus's theory is a truism: if there wasn't enough food to feed people adequately some of them would die. However, in practice, the more people we've created the more excess food we've created.

The theory is beautiful in a rational head, it only fails in the lab of real life.

Posted by: oj at October 18, 2007 11:10 AM

Boyd:

Based on your understanding of demographics by what year would every inch of landspace be occupied by highrises?

Posted by: oj at October 18, 2007 11:18 AM

We should meet Boyd halfway. The 181st billionth person should be the last.

Posted by: Ibid at October 18, 2007 12:47 PM

As far as I can tell, nobody here has argued for controlling population. I certainly haven't and I don't believe Boyd has either.

I am rather neutral on the subject and prefer to let the water seek its own level - after - we have a sound system one devoid of the evils of secular leftist ideology.

It is you who would be the population controller made evident by your demonizing, Japanese, Germans etc...with an implied breed or else threat.

It was a hypothetical question made to point out the flaw in Oj's logic. Erp answered with moving into space, well good luck. Oj didn't answer.

I’d rather see humanity make real progress instead of masking problems with more bodies hence, my immigration reference. I'd like to see an America everywhere rather than everyone here.

Posted by: Perry at October 18, 2007 1:01 PM

Convert them.

By force? What if women don't want to be pregnant 18 times in their lifetimes? Will you replace the free choice of women in a free society with the coercion of an oppressive theocracy?

America is unique among developed nations in that the natives maintain a replacement level birth rate and the faithful are above.

Wrong. Even with large immigrant families America's overall TFR is less than the 2.1 children per couple steady state population rate. If not fo rimmigrants our population would be graying and then falling as fast as Europe's. Immigrants always have large families (whether they go to America or some place else) because kids are an economic asset to them. Their grandkids, however, will have as many kids on average as the general population.

Malthus's theory is a truism: if there wasn't enough food to feed people adequately some of them would die. However, in practice, the more people we've created the more excess food we've created.

Provided technology stays ahead of the population curve. To claim that it always will forever and ever is itself a faith statement. For example, much of our current standard of living is based on the availablitliy of cheap fossil fuels. In the agricultural field that means cheap energy for mechanized agriculture and cheap fertilizers and pesticides from fossil fuel derived chemical feedstocks. Once cheap oil is gone (we will never run out of oil per se, but the cheap and easily extracted oil will be gone soon) the cost of food will increase in real terms.

Based on your understanding of demographics by what year would every inch of landspace be occupied by highrises?

Depends on the assumptions made. A population covering the Earth's landmass with a population density equal to that of Hong Kong (over 362 billion) is about 55 times greater than the current population of 6.6 billion.

If we conservatively assume that each couple has 3.0 kids (the size of my own family, for example) that would represent a growth rate of almost 43 percent over the steady population rate of 2.1 kids per couple. Assuming a constant 43% increase each generation we see a 55 fold increase in 11.2 generations (1.43^11.2 = 55, approx.). At 20 years per generation, that occurs in about 225 years. YMMV.

The above further assumes that the death rate remains constant and we don't see a reduction in life expectancy and an increase in child mortality rates to equal those of the Middle Ages as a result of teeming billions having to live in massive, septic, toxic slums on a planet with a dying ecology.

On the plus side, Soylent Green will put their dead bodies to some good use.

Posted by: Boyd at October 18, 2007 1:37 PM

You know OJ, you have a repuation of taking your ball and going home or tipping the game board every time you lose an argument with someone who isn't a fawning syncophant. YIn these situations, you tend to block that person from ever participating here again. Now that I've shredded your arguments and reduced you to ad hominems and non sequeturs, will you do the same to me?

Posted by: Boyd at October 18, 2007 1:46 PM

Who's threatening Japan? I just point out that they're committing suicide. I think that's a bad thing. You guys think it's good.

Posted by: oj at October 18, 2007 4:15 PM

When is the last time the population increased 55 fold in two centuries? During the period y'all have been saying population growth was unsustainable it grew less than sevenfold.


America has raised its rates back from the secular 70s nadir and has maintained them at replacement rates, which higher for the faithful. This appears to be entirely a function of culture, which is how we're unique:

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/04/AR2007050401891.html

People are only ever banned here when they can't stay on topic and resort to personal attacks or when they display general racism, Christophobia, anti-Semitism, etc. Your belief that we'll live on a Coruscant-type Earth in just two hundred years seems pretty crazy, but if you can control yourself I don't mind--for example, just stick to this one scenario that scares you.

A garden variety Malthusian always livens up the joint, even if he does long to deaden humankind.


Posted by: oj at October 18, 2007 4:20 PM

Well, if we're taking things to extremes, do you guys really believe that the last Japanese will be either rich or happy?

I love the assumption, contrary to the entire history of humanity, that we have such fine control that we can land society on a dime. We might be able to influence whether population grows or falls. The idea that we can gently guide it to a soft landing at a rationally determined equilibrium level is lunacy well down the path to dictatorship.

Posted by: Ibid at October 18, 2007 4:49 PM

BTW--MY MATH IS NOTORIOUSLY SKETcHY, BUT IF HONG KONG HAS A POPULATION DENSITY AROUND 6400 per km and the planet as a whole is at around 48 per km, don't you have to increase population a bit more than your formula does?

Posted by: oj at October 18, 2007 4:55 PM
« IF ONLY MISGOVERNING WERE LIKE SELLING SOAP: | Main | IT'S NOT LIKE CAMPAIGN '08 IS SHORT ON CRAZY CANDIDATES: »