free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 277. WHY A MASSIVE POPULATION IS GOOD

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I think a hundred years from now the ideal population, contrary to current trendy thinking, would not be a small population but a massive one. Far more massive then most people imagine being possible. The more humans the better things will be.

*Pause for pessimists to roll their eyes*

I'll attempt to explain this seemingly bizarre concept.

Paul wrote:
> If there were less people it would be nicer now, because we would have destroyed
> less on the way here...

If there were less people, it would not be now. If the current world population had only just reached what it was in the nineteen twenties for example, we wouldn't be at the technological and social stage that we are currently at, but rather that of the nineteen twenties. This is because growing populations and growing economies is what drives development and progress.

There seems to be this notion that if the human population somehow stayed at the miniscule levels of the pre-industrial era, then we could have advanced to some glorious age of high technological and socio-political existence, yet also had abundant resources for all.

This notion is garbage.

If the human population did not expand humanity would still be living in the pre-industrial hell that many people foolishly romanticize. It's through population and economic expansion that progress and development is made. The reason we live such comfortable, healthy, educated and entertained lives today is because of the large human population.

And so back to my opening statement, the ideal human population of the future is a massive population. Because if there is a massive human population in the future it will mean that we have continued to progress, develop, and evolve. A progressing population in the years ahead will solve many of the problems we now face. A growing population will have found alternative ways to live and prosper; they will have found ways to undo much of the environmental damage done on the journey; they will have found sustainable ways to live and ways to raise the standard of living.

Contrary to doomer shortsighted thinking, a large population will be far better for both humanity and the environment then a small population can ever be.
-- by Omnitir


At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 6:45:00 AM PDT, Blogger Thomas said...

Are you expressing opinions, or facts?

The fact that population has grown in sync with growth in energy consumption and the economy is not proof that the economy has grown as a result of population growth.

I agree that while the population is growing, there is a benefit from having a larger working force than the previous generation to pay for caretaking of the elderly.

Yet, I think it's fair to say the population growth (on Earth) has to level of at some point. Even if that point corresponds to people standing shoulder-to-shoulder, in five layers, on all land (and millions of boats).

I don't see how growth in GDP per capita is higher at a higher constant population level.

p.s. Did you include the photo to prove that a huge population is more comfortable? ;-)


At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 7:24:00 AM PDT, Blogger goritsas said...

Are there any limits to this massive population or do you expect the population will continue to grow without halt?

Is there any "optimum" massive population?

If there is a population contraction, for whatever reason, will that mean we will be unable to solve pressing problems?

If the population was enduring a long term contraction does this signal the end of the human race as we will obviously not have enough "talent" to resolve any issues we might face during this period?

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 7:28:00 AM PDT, Blogger Chris Vernon said...

Pretty dodgy logic here if you ask me - the pace of scientific discovery and industrial invention was fastest in the 19th and early 20th century.

Here we are now with 6 times as many people (something like more scientists alive today than lived in all of human history - might not be strictly true but the point is a valid one) yet this rate of discovery and invention is low.

Do you any evidence to suggest that increasing today’s population will increase the date of discovery and invention? I think the opposite is the case. The point has already been passed that energy and food etc is now lower per capita than it was 20 years ago – how does further lowering energy per capita help things along?

Your argument of increasing population being a good thing might have been true when there was enough resources to increase resources per capita as well at the same time – but that period ended quarter of a century ago.

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 7:30:00 AM PDT, Blogger EnergySpin said...

I believe that this post is largely a response to the die-offers.
I will not say that a large population is better or preferable than a smaller one, but omnitir was correct in saying that the population growth did play a positive role in the progress of the S&T over the last few centuries.
The mechanism is pretty straightforward: it allowed humanity to explore different paths in multiple simultaneous fields simultaneously (multi-tasking!!).
Since computers can largely take over the scut work behind S&T (hell, I can do more math and solve more physics problems that Isaac Newton or Einstein ever did by turning to Mathematica/Matlab), the utility of a large population as a driver of progress is much smaller than it had been in the past.

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 7:48:00 AM PDT, Blogger allen said...

According to various credible sources, the UN being on if you consider them credible, human population, worldwide, will top-out in about forty years. Not rate of growth of population but the population.

The same outfit, the UN, also has info showing that both per capita income and caloric intake, worldwide, has gone up consistently since the early 1950's. At that time somewhere are 17% of the human race was getting an adequate daily calorie ration, now we're at 72%.

It appears from those numbers that the only thing that we're going to run out of is poor people and in the not-too-distant future at that.

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 7:49:00 AM PDT, Blogger Fat Man said...

Every mouth comes with a pair of hands.

I guess you are not going to support that prof in Texas who wants to use Elboa to kill off 90% of the world's population. Now that was creepy.

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 8:08:00 AM PDT, Blogger Floccina said...

Well said more people produce more ideas and inventions. More people also produce a better division of labor.
BTW the population has grown through a declining death rate rather than through a rising birth rate. How could this not be good?

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 8:23:00 AM PDT, Blogger summerhome=wintersquat said...

Man! Wow! You've totally lost me!

Progress? How many hundreds of billions of dollars have we spent on high tech weapons, killing Iraqis for their oil?

All life on the planet that is not exploitable is under threat of extinction.

People work way more hours than anthropologists have found hunter gatherers to have worked, and eating less nutrient rich diets, lives spent in private tyrannies making few rich people richer. Read the books "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond.

The one sign of hope that I find in the industrial epoch is that reproduction no longer makes economic sense, and minus the US ( with many people straight out of the agriculture based third world), birth rates in industrialized nations are plummeting way below replacement levels. Catholic Spain and Italy have fertility rates of something like 1.2 and 1.3 now.

So forget your ideal, soon the human population will be coming down if industrialization continues to expand.


At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 9:04:00 AM PDT, Blogger goritsas said...

With regard to the notion that from more people springs more innovation, here's a voice with a different take.

Scientist: Rate of progress slowing

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 11:16:00 AM PDT, Blogger Rik said...

First of all: 'Guns, Germs and Steel' is ONE book, not several. Sorry.
Second: I think that humanity came from a pretty low level, so basic innovations made an enormous impact in the period 1850-1920. Nothing after that managed something similar; what a surprise.
Third: the rate of discovery stopped? Where? Take universities: is it not obvious that most present fields of study did not exist 100 years ago? BesidesL have you taken a look a medicine / biology lately?
Last but not least: the original post simply repeated, if memory serves, Julian Simon's pov, bigger population means more people to invent somehting. IMO, not necessarily so (see China or Europe), but interesting nevertheless.

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 11:57:00 AM PDT, Blogger allen said...

Julian Simon's pov, bigger population means more people to invent somehting. IMO, not necessarily so (see China or Europe), but interesting nevertheless.

Misstatement, or rather, incomplete statement of Mr. Simon's pov.

Innovation occurs everwhere but it only finds it's fullest expression were there's rule of law, enforceable contracts, property rights, i.e. capitalism and democracy.

You can have economic expansion where you've got an approximation of the necessary conditions of capitalism and democracy as China is demonstrating.

The problem will come somewhere down the line when the standard of living has risen to the point that the inherent criminality and corruption of communism becomes unsupportable.

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 1:52:00 PM PDT, Blogger nukeengineer said...

Omnitir, If your theory held any water, India and China would be the best possible places in the world to live since they are so heavily populated. Contrary to waht T. Friedman would have you believe, they are horrible places for the vast majority of the people who reside there. If your theory was correct, the billion plus people in Chindia would have had enough collective brainpower to pull themselves out of their filth. You might say communism and colonialism prevented them from tapping their creativity but then why didn't they use that creativity to overcome these things or prevent them from happening inthe first place. If you believe what you say, move to some overcrowded part of Bangladesh. When you have to share a single toilet with 100 other people we'll see if you change. your tune.

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 2:31:00 PM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

How many hundreds of billions of dollars have we spent on high tech weapons, killing Iraqis for their oil?

What better proof that we have plenty of resources to attack any challenge if we stopped wasting them on stupid things like obesity, smoking, wars and car accidents.

Talking of war though, both war and poverty have been in decline for a long time. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that a huge population is a prerequisite for a much better world, I don't think it necessarily precludes one.

Goritsas, I don't really weigh into the accelerating vs. decellerating progress arguments any more, because progress is too subjective. Rik is right - it was much easier to originate new types of inventions in the 19th century, but these days innovation in already-existing inventions is much faster. Compare a computer of today to a computer of 20 years ago - they're indistinguishable.

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 2:32:00 PM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

*Oops, I mean irrecognizable.

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 2:58:00 PM PDT, Blogger Rembrandt said...

Interesting perspective omnitir. Not really my cup of thee (in other words I think your idea is probably nonsense) but interesting nonetheless.So...

How many children are you having?

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 6:27:00 PM PDT, Blogger Omnitir said...

Firstly I’ll confirm that this post did originate as a response to the die-offers; neo-Nazi’s pushing mass die-off as some sort of ultimate solution.

That the world would be better with fewer people is something many people accept as obvious fact; – I'm just trying to question what is often accepted as fact. Of course it’s true that the larger the population is, the larger the human footprint on the natural environment becomes. Finite resources do become strained with larger populations. But this is only a single side of the issue. My post was an attempt to highlight the often-overlooked aspect of the issue: that large populations do have benefits.

Yes, there are many concerns with having a large population, but it’s important to acknowledge that there are also many benefits.

Regarding progress; it’s something that is easy to judge looking backwards at historical periods, but is very difficult to detect from the present (whenever the present may be). Most evidence suggests that progress is accelerating - rapidly.

But then I read this neo-Nazi die-off crap and think that maybe we are regressing in the social department.

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 6:28:00 PM PDT, Blogger Omnitir said...

Thomas said:
Yet, I think it's fair to say the population growth (on Earth) has to level of at some point. Even if that point corresponds to people standing shoulder-to-shoulder, in five layers, on all land (and millions of boats).

How two-dimensional you think. :) So long as technology continues to progress, the Earths carrying capacity continues to expand. Who knows what tech breakthroughs in the future will allow? Imagine giant high-tech towers supporting our residential, industrial and agricultural needs.
Vertical farming could potentially feed millions of people while taking up only a few square kilometres of ground space. Stronger and lighter materials could allow towers larger then ever thought possible, the walls of which could filter the air and extract water directly from the atmosphere for the agricultural levels. Many millions of people could feasibly live comfortably in such cities while taking up only a small portion of ground space. Meanwhile outside of the cities the natural environment could be restored thanks to the reduction of sprawl.

This is the sort of possibility that will only happen with a growing population and continued progress and development.

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 6:29:00 PM PDT, Blogger Omnitir said...

Nukeengineer, it’s great to see you making specific arguments rather then generalised optimist bashing.

If your theory was correct, the billion plus people in Chindia would have had enough collective brainpower to pull themselves out of their filth.

Good point, however are you aware what is happening in China and India? They are indeed “pulling themselves out of their filth” as you elegantly put it. Have their large populations caused economic collapse? Their economies are booming! Have their large populations caused their natural environments to be so devastated that they experience die-off? While their natural environments are in very poor condition, they still thrive. The standard of living is rising exponentially. Current trends suggest that in the decades ahead, China and India will become the world’s scientific and economic superpowers. If this does come to be, then it looks like they will have their population explosion to thank.

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 8:11:00 PM PDT, Blogger dub_scratch said...

Let's put this in a context of proportion: if China's population consumed the energy sources that we in the US do on a per capita basis, it would require 100% of today's oil gas and electricity generation-- and the rest of us would have to get our energy from wood and animal dung.

Yet Omnitir is saying that population explosion solves the problems caused by population explosion. This the theory proposed by Julian Simon and others who base much of their arguments on past trends, when populations were much smaller when they grew at a rapid rate and prospered.

IMO, it is complete folly to make the argument any population can solve it's population problems no matter what the size it is. Sure the Chinise & Indians are bootstraping themselves to the petroleum industrial workhorse. And sure it will take them this far. But I'm going to remain unconvinced of this untested theory of unlimited populations, resources and environmental sinks until I see evidence that their collective brainpower can overcome the apparent limitations of petrol supplies with some substitute that is more powerful and plentiful-- and in a big way. It can happen, but I don't have a clue to what is going to propel these and our nations beyond the disproportionate petroleum supplies-- let alone the environmental consequences such out-of-scale industrial population.

At Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 9:05:00 PM PDT, Blogger BlackSun said...

Sustainable living can make almost any human population figure perpetually viable.

At no time in history have humans yet lived in a sustainable manner. Hunter-gatherers prospered because there were so few of them on a large planet.

Solve the sustainability problem, we solve everything. Ignore it, and we will eventually be facing some kind of die-off.

At Wednesday, April 5, 2006 at 1:37:00 AM PDT, Blogger Markku said...

I agree that while the population is growing, there is a benefit from having a larger working force than the previous generation to pay for caretaking of the elderly.

Why does everyone always forget that during population growth, the proportion of children and youth being cared for and educated while producing nothing is also high?!

Just think about it for a minute. The average pensioner lives about 15 years on pension while the average young person spends in kindergarten, school, and vocational training/college for about 20-25 years before working.

It seems to me that having a large proportion of minors is much worse than having a large proportion of old people.

Yes, you can argue that old people need plenty of medical services and hospitalization but they don't require any teaching and much less policing and incarceration than the young, particularly young men.

At Wednesday, April 5, 2006 at 7:43:00 AM PDT, Blogger allen said...

nukeengineer wrote:

If your theory was correct, the billion plus people in Chindia would have had enough collective brainpower to pull themselves out of their filth.

Since that's exactly what they're doing, that makes the theory correct, correct?

dub scratch:

IMO, it is complete folly to make the argument any population can solve it's population problems no matter what the size it is.

Since that isn't the argument being made by us cornucopians, you'll understand why it's a bit annoying to have to respond to it.

A large population isn't necessary for economic success. Capitalism and, ultimately, democracy are the necessities. A large population provides an important resource, in Mr. Simon's words the ultimate resource, but isn't a pivotal prerequisite, China and India being prime examples.

But look what's happened since both nations began their experiments with capitalism. Both nations are sporting economic expansion that's practically explosive. If you're unconvinced that economic expansion is possible with a large population, there are two examples to the contrary.

blacksun wrote:

Sustainable living can make almost any human population figure perpetually viable.

Perpetually's a long time. I think a fifty or one hundred year time frame is plenty enough for most people to define as "long-term".

My own feeling is that much beyond fifty or one hundred months and you're getting out into unknowable territory, let alone fifty or one hundred years.

Markku wrote:

It seems to me that having a large proportion of minors is much worse than having a large proportion of old people.

You're free to offer examples of the success of your theory rather then just assuming it's correct.

At Wednesday, April 5, 2006 at 8:02:00 AM PDT, Blogger Markku said...


It seems to me that having a large proportion of minors is much worse than having a large proportion of old people.


You're free to offer examples of the success of your theory rather then just assuming it's correct.

I meant better as in imposing fewer costs on the productive members of society, i.e. the working population.

Pensioners live an average of about 15 years before they die. The average person starts his/her career as a productive member of society roughly at the age of 20-25 in contemporary Western societies.

Which one is more costly for the working population to feed, clothe etc., a pensioner or a child/adolescent?

I'm just saying that the fact that it is often implied that out of the non-working population onlypensioners are an economic burden to society and thus a potential source of fiscal hardship.

At Wednesday, April 5, 2006 at 9:10:00 PM PDT, Blogger Joe said...

I'm not sure what you mean by a "massive population". It seems to me that, at a particular moment of time there is probably an optimal population. Over time as technology improves this optimal population changes.

As other commentators have said, in this century the world will see its population start to decline. By 2100 the population may be back to about where it is now. Assuming that we can solve global warming, I feel comfortable that at that point even the poorest in the world wil be "richer" than the top quarter of people in the US today.

At Sunday, April 9, 2006 at 7:59:00 PM PDT, Blogger sameu said...

and when driving towards a cliff
one of the options is to go even faster in the hope you'll jump over it

imo, the odds are you'll only crash harder

At Wednesday, April 12, 2006 at 11:15:00 PM PDT, Blogger 8riaN said...

I won't even bother addressing the notion that bigger is always better, as it's just a straw man to distract the cornucopians and their opponents from the real issue, which is...

How close are we to the carrying capacity of the biosphere, and which is better for humanity, to reduce, or increase the human population?

I have a gut response to this question, which is that all the best solutions to today's problems invlove several billion corpses - until you take into account the actual death toll.

What this means is that less people makes all the answers much easier. And statements like: "economy has grown as a result of population growth" barely merit response because of course the economy grows with more people, the valid question is does quality of life also improve?

The statement that: "population growth did play a positive role in the progress of the S&T over the last few centuries" is much more interesting (assuming S&T means science and technology - please, correct me if I'm wrong.) Is that really true? Or is it just the opposite, did the discovery of germ theory by a small, privileged elite lead to substantive changes in the human ecological equation which allowed a larger population to be supported? I am certainly not convinced that the number of impoverished plebs was particularly pivotal in the development of anti-biotics, or vaccinations. What was important was the level of education of the educated.

If you want to argue that the more well-educated humans we have on the planet the better, I'm all for it, but the fact is, you start educating women in pre-industrial societies and the birth rate goes down along with the infant mortality rate - with overall population growth slowing. This is good, in my book. I'd rather have one, smart, educated child for every two ignorant adults than a litter of serfs who can't tell choliform contamination from the evil eye.

The one most subtle, and in my opinion dangerous argument, is: "A large population isn't necessary for economic success. Capitalism and, ultimately, democracy are the necessities." While I'll grant that captialism and democracy have been more effective than it's historical anticedants, I think it's painfully obvious to anybody who honestly looks at the state of the world and the environment today that to look to capitalism as an ultimate answer to the challenges that face our planet and our species in particular, is to utterly abdicate our responsibility as thinking beings to a blithe complacency that things will just "work themselves out for the best" without our having to worry about it.

Do the lessons of Halliburton (i.e. KBR) and Enron teach us nothing? Are these flukes, examples of bad men doing bad things - aberations in the system which true captialism would naturally expunge without thought?

No, these are examples of what comes of treating corporate entities, whose officers are specifically prohibited from basing decisions on any motive other than profit, as if they were the moral equivalent of human beings.

If some clever economist/philosopher can come up with a form of capitalism which does NOT require us to treat as human anything that does not have the full moral compass of an ACTUAL huuman, then perhaps capitalism can be saved, but as it stands, we are Frankenstein and the actions of the monster we have created are our responsibility. I would no sooner turn to capitalism, or even to democracy if the US is to be the example of democracy in action, for a roadmap to the future than I would to r. Faust for a path to salvation.

This is not to say that US democratic capitalism is not a reasonable starting point from which to imagine the future as much as to say that to neglect to acknowlege the dismal failures of this, the best system I believe the world has seen to date, is to give short shrift to the un-plumbed depth of the human, and yes, the American imagination.

We can do better. Much, much better. And whether it's because of the increased population pressure and impending peak-oil, or despite it, I feel that we stand at a nexus of both doom and opportunity such as the human race has never seen. And I am awed to be a witness to it.

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006 at 11:28:00 PM PDT, Blogger Chinablu said...

Why are you limiting yourself? Let's make a further step.

You could you keep alive only the geniuses, the inventors, the real talented individuals and eliminate any other superfluous human being.

In this manner you get the Perfect Human Kind you aim to, isn't it?

C'mon, let's be serious...

At Thursday, April 20, 2006 at 3:32:00 PM PDT, Blogger Chinablu said...


have you carefully considered what the Earth would be without you?

Really carefully?


At Saturday, April 29, 2006 at 6:01:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact is we use about 40% of the land surface of the earth, which is about 70% of the arable land on the earth. The remaining 30% provides only insignificant ecological services like rain-forests. You know, the sort of thing your typical greenie goes on about. It's just so irrelevant to critical concerns like the colour of my iPod.

So as we do not care about having any natural sinks for absorbing carbon, toxins, preserving wildlife, maintaining some bio-diversity, you know... all those boring things, I wonder how fast we can grow?

Say 1% per year? When the geometric progression is mapped out for 1% per annum growth for one human lifetime of about 70 years, the world population will only have gone up by a factor of 2. It will have doubled to about 13 billion people at just 1% per year. Too easy! We can cope with that!

Not enough, I hear you say? We can chop down the remaining forests, we can put solar towers in the deserts and green the deserts, increasing the arable land and do all manner of things. We have to, JD said so.

So even though Lester Brown writes horrible things like Oil and food: a rising security challenge, Deserts advancing, Civilization retreating, World food security deteriorating and many other concerns we can defeat all this doom and gloom. There are no natural limits — JD said so.

So lets stretch out to 2% growth per annum for 70 years. There you go, that was not so bad was it? Except that now we have 4 times the population, or 26 billion.

Oh, now we need:-
4 times the agricultural land, (from deserts?),
4 times the energy (after peak oil and gas, and probably peak coal at these population levels),
4 times the trees for building McMansions (we just chopped down the rainforest to have more agriculture),
4 times the freshwater (we already have water restrictions here in Australia).

Nah! We can beat all of this when we go NUKULAR and get those NUKULAR powered food towers going that JD raves about. Growth is good! We'll build steel homes, packed dirt homes, and do all that funky JD stuff like sleeping at work if we have to. There's no need to think about natural limits... no need to be concerned about lifestyle changes, we've just GOT to grow! Peak Oil Debunked said so!

So let us stretch out and really BREED at 3% per annum for the next 70 years = 52 billion!

4% = 104 billion.
5% = 208 billion
6% = 416 billion
7% = 832 billion

There is nothing to see here. There are no walls to our Petri dish called earth, there is no over consumption of resources, no overshoot, nothing to worry about.

Back to your TV sitcoms and BREEDING. We are human beings and can defy the laws of thermodynamics! JD said so.

At Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 5:01:00 AM PDT, Blogger cynicboy said...

Ive seen some retarded opinions in my time but this takes the cake!*rolls eyes*

At Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 3:57:00 PM PST, Blogger JDDEBUNKED said...

"If there were less people, it would not be now."

Hard to argue with this logic. lol

Meanwhile, back in the real world....

At Tuesday, January 30, 2007 at 11:59:00 PM PST, Blogger AR said...

You are a total moron. This is the stupidest thing I've heard.

At Wednesday, May 2, 2007 at 5:22:00 PM PDT, Blogger YoungAdam said...

where will we get the resources to support this MASSIVE population? We're already destroying huge amounts of the rain forest...

At Sunday, June 10, 2007 at 8:26:00 AM PDT, Blogger Felix said...


"It's through population and economic expansion that progress and development is made."

Looks like someone is having problems with the concept of cause and effect. Does the possesion of wealth makes is wealthy? Do advances make us advanced?

Did the population skyrocketed and then we managed to found oil, coal, etc? NO! It was a gradual process. We made a little advance here, and population grew a little bit, then more and more and more.

China and India have really large populations, each about 4 times larger than the US. Are they 4 times more developed than the US?

At Sunday, June 10, 2007 at 8:35:00 AM PDT, Blogger Felix said...

I'm not sure how is the panorama in other technical fields but there are like 1000 times more physicists today than in 1900 and all we manage to do is sprout out a plethora of increasingly intrascendent papers. Publish or die as we say.

My so called tutor has written about 20 articles since the 80's on a new mathematical method to find numerical solutions to the Schrodinguer equation. Einstein instead changed the world with just 5 papers in 1905.

At Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 11:30:00 AM PDT, Blogger Denis said...


"The reason we live such comfortable, healthy, educated and entertained lives today is because of the large human population."

Define "we" please. Did you include the 20% of the world who couldn't read a single word from your entry? (assume it's translated into the most convenient language)

Did you include the 75% of the world who don't even have a computer?

I want you to explain how you can go around saying that a higher population benefits us "all" when the rich-to-poor ratio of countries have increased 32 fold over the past 150 years.

At Monday, October 15, 2007 at 7:13:00 AM PDT, Blogger Tate said...

High populations sure helped out those Easter Islanders, didn't it?

If they would have stayed in small numbers, they never would have known the sweet taste of victory. Give me overshoot or give me death. All diversity must end now. Any habitat that isn't exclusively human habitat is just wrong-headed thinking. Raze the bastards down and build, build, build... aha ha hahaha hah ha!

At Saturday, December 8, 2007 at 3:54:00 PM PST, Blogger doomseer said...

"a massive population is good" >> that is total nonsense.
google Thomas Malthus or here also see excelent documentary "arithmetic, population and energy"

At Monday, March 3, 2008 at 4:46:00 AM PST, Blogger Blaine said...

This is an interesting opinion but I have grave reservations about large populations. If all groups within that population are working towards self preservation of that society then that would be the greatest outcome, but when you seriously seen that happen on this planet.

Our instincts for survival at best put us against eachother when things start getting desperate, how many wars have we had to convince anyone of that.

Small communities-and yes I have lived in both small and large, have less in some ways but look after what they do have and each other, the larger the community the more anonomous it's members become and the more impersonal the loss of life becomes.

By the way, my parents lived in India during the split between India and what would become Pakistan, they witnessed some truly horrendous and brutal actions take place between groups of angry people who before showed some of the most caring, articulate and beautiful culture you could hope for, so good luck with your selection of post peak communities.

At Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 1:13:00 PM PDT, Blogger UmassMenus said...

"The reason we live such comfortable, healthy, educated and entertained lives today is because of the large human population."

You might be speaking for us, but I guess you mean "we" as in the top 10%

I'm not trying to bombast your articles, but they are more opinion than fact.

At Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 1:17:00 PM PDT, Blogger UmassMenus said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 5:07:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Accounting for growth: the role of physical work" a paper by Robert Ayers and Benjamin Warr (Structural Change and Economic Dynamics) produces the best correlation to energy and economic growth yet produced by examining the actual work done by the energy used. This takes account of increases in efficiency. It is a combination many factors including this increase in energy efficiency, coupled with the 'Green revolution' of the 70's (that massively increased agricultural crop yields) that has driven economic growth and hence allowed an increase in population. As the energy in the system starts to decrease (whenever that is) so there will be a decrease in the economy, and more than likely, food production. A corresponding decrease in population will shortly follow. E=mc^2. We are energy, and we have to consume energy to continue our existence due to entropy. Whether the natural flow energies from the sun can provide enough for a large population remains to be seen... and whether there will be anything left to live for: 90% of ocean life maybe gone by mid century, and the deserts are encroaching fast.


At Friday, October 9, 2009 at 9:40:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Emac said...

Omnitir - I wonder where you live. Not in an overpopulated city, of course. The progress we have seen is based on the expanding use of oil, gas and coal. When their production starts to fall, progress and population will also fall. To believe otherwise is foolish.

At Sunday, June 27, 2010 at 9:56:00 PM PDT, Anonymous X9 said...

I don't think I've ever read a more ludicrous justification of an unlimited populace in my life.

This mentality is nothing short of parasitic.

It seems there are a large number of people who believe our ingenuity will transcend obstacles that, with a little bit of basic thought, would not have become problems in the first place. The circular acceptance here is mind-boggling.

The techno-geeks who think their brains can outwit the natural order of our universe need to stop watching Star Trek and attempt to understand that our capacity to create balance is the truest form of human intelligence.

Infinite progress is ludicrous, but more importantly, unneccesary.

In science, the simplest answer is sought as the most rational. And here, we've got the very same proponents of such scientific method contradicting themselves by promoting a larger and more sophisticated dynamic by which to live by.

Hubris of the highest order.

I just stumbled upon this site after watching "Collapse", and intended to find some balanced rebuttal to the movie. I like JD and his seemingly calm and objective manner by which he approaches such topics. I've been going over quite a few entries and am impressed for the most part. This particular article however, is nothing short of laughable.

At Sunday, June 27, 2010 at 10:18:00 PM PDT, Anonymous X9 said...

This is without a doubt, the stupidest article I've ever read. Logic is entirely absent here.

If you calculated the ratio of how many people contribute currently to progress of the species compared to the current populace, you'd need to exponentially recognize the same ratio in a planet lined shoulder to shoulder.

The writer assumes that the percentage of contributing people will increase based on the potentials of a larger, more diverse intellectual population.

Unfortunately they forget that social inequality can never transcend exponential population growth.

I can't even put into words how ludicrous this article is.

There are some good objective opinions from JD and others on here, but this thing is just out to lunch on so many levels.


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