Sunday, August 19, 2018

Why so Many People on Earth? The Ideology of Natalism


(Above: a 19th century English family). 

A few years ago I was invited at a reunion of citizens concerned about social issues. When I was there, I was startled to discover that the only concern of the group was the evils of abortion. It was a fascinating experience: one of the persons speaking reported a calculation of how many "babies" had been killed by abortions over the past 15 years and concluded with "do you realize that, were it not for abortions, we could have today one million more people in Italy?" (I may remember the numbers incorrectly). But don't make me say that they were bad people, not at all. It is just that if you start - as they did - from the assumption that the more people there are, the better the world is, then the consequence is that you want as many children born as possible: it is the position called "natalism." I wonder how the people I met at that reunion would judge the kind of discussion that we are normally having at the "Cassandra's Legacy" blog.

In the following post, Natan Feltrin and Eleonora Vecchi examine natalism as an ideology. About the proposition, "the more we are, the better it is,"  see also my post titled "If Switzerland had a Sahara Desert, it Would be a Small Africa" (U.B.)




Brief manifest of ethical-political anti-natalism 

Guest post by Natan Feltrin & Eleonora Vecchi

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to point out the problematic relationship between demographic trends and the ideology called "natalism". With a point by point analysis, the authors highlight how, worldwide, there has always been a biopolitical approach to control the human biomass. This political "numbers game" builds on three main socio-cultural imperatives: to accomplish a holy order, to meet military needs and to enhance economic growth. In this dominant perspective, men, women and their sexuality become an effective tool to carry out a capitalistic and imperialistic goal.  Starting from this assumption and taking into account the biogeochemical limits of Gaia, "anti-natalism" turns out to be a heretical proposal against the dominant political mindset. From the child-free individual choice to family planning based on gender equality this brief manifest tries to encourage a new perspective on demography particularly with regard to its implications for the other species. Finally, the paper suggests the necessity of a more-than-human demography based on a bio-proportionality criterion far beyond the reductive idea of biodiversity.



Premise: Thursday, July 19th, 2018 10.13pm, we're in a small pub in the Finnish town of Savitaipale in Southern Karelia. The World Population Clock reports that the human population has already reached 7,637,012,840 (billion) individuals. We sit down with two cups of coffee, ready to explain as briefly and effectively as possible why the dramatic growth of sapiens biomass is an ethical, ecological and political concern.


We live in a finite system: The Earth is a not a closed, nor an isolated, but a finite system. Thereby it is meant that from a biogeochemical perspective there are limited chances of expansion and proliferation on the planet. In other words, the growth of both consumption and consumers, engine par excellence of GWP (Gross World Product), has physical constraints that are flexible but not breakable. There's no possibility to throw our hearts over thermodynamic rules! To state it even more clearly, the ideology of growth inherent in the contemporary capitalistic economy is heading towards a crash against the hard cliff of reality.

Violation of ecological boundaries: In the last two hundred years, Homo sapiens not only turned fossil fuel into human biomass but also our species increased its unequal prosperity to the detriment of natural systems. This phenomenon, known as The Great Acceleration, has resulted in an abnormal anthropic effect on a geologic scale: the Anthropocene is not only the Epoch of Man because sapiens has become a hyperobject - an all-pervasive entity in the lives of present and future beings- sed etiam because of the "human quantity". In the Epoch of Man - "Man" and not "Human" due to the anthropocentric perspective of geo-history - loss of biodiversity, global warming, ocean acidification, desertification, plastic pollution, land consumption, water pollution, alteration of many biogeochemical cycles and much more, are consequences of the product between consumption and consumers. An unprecedented impact in history…

Optimist only if realist. Against an ideology of progress: Technology isn't a deus ex machina and won’t necessarily intervene providentially when humankind needs it. In history, "great inventions" "saved" only behindhand: vaccines hadn't a retroactive effect on generations that died in the agony of diseases. Endeavouring to create a more resilient world through a tenacious and avant-gardist scientific research doesn't mean to let utopian or dystopian geo-engineering scenarios seduce us. In order to avoid phantasmic policies we need a realistic approach towards science, which often doesn't ensure cures, but clearly identifies symptoms and aetiology.

Humans deal with knowledge in a schizoid way: when we achieve easy solutions through science we praise it, on the contrary when it warns us, we overthrow it. We let mermaids seduce us as much as we don't want to listen to Cassandra! Regardless, technology is only a portion of a solution that must take place in a conscious political evolution. The human flock has to find new routes and new ways to coordinate and not to lose itself in some Neverland!

What to do? A systemic answer: if you're lost in the heart of a Finnish forest the best thing to do is to ration resources, walk and not to consume everything, blindly trusting in prompt rescuers. Thus, so as not to be overwhelmed by the chaos of Anthropocene, politics and ethics can't only hope but have to take responsibility for their own time through an unprecedented pragmatic rationality. Understanding the necessity of acting and not waiting, we must intervene in the whole IPAT equation: the massive impact of the present and future anthropo-mass combined with the erosion of the "natural capital" must be resized with the descent of consumption, the inversion of demographic trend and the development of more ecological technologies. Repetita iuvant: the demographic growth is not the only area for action, nevertheless without giving a limit to this human multiplication every sickness of the world, at least of Gaia, won't be solved.

What is natalism? Brief explanation: natalism is not the same as an increasing demographic trend, instead it is the ideology that advocates the positivity, necessity, and eco-compatibility of such an increment. This ideology leads to political or individual ideas and actions that have the aim of sponsoring, encouraging or forcing the population of an area to heighten their natality according to a bio-political agenda. There are three common form of natalism that intertwine together: theocratic, militarist-ethnocentric and capitalistic. In those viewpoints, demography is never neutral but, from a woman’s womb to male sperm, all the anthropic matter serves as cannon fodder for achieving the aims of a few. The will to fertility becomes the will to power, not merely reproductive but cancerous.

  • Theocratic: there's only one population, the one of God, and it has to follow the imperative to multiply itself at the expense of every other community, human or not human. This mind-set, even if archaic and reclaimed by few, contains all the monotheistic culture, affecting us from the depth of our unconscious.
  • Militarist-ethnocentric: from Mussolini's speech to the fight of cradles between Palestine and Israel all geopolitics is drenched in geo-demography. The number of humans is turned into a tool which different Leviathans use to compete and to divide an ecumene increasingly tight and mortified. In this vision, the others are always "too many".
  • the human biomass is gasoline for the wheels of stagnant economies: more consumers, most families with small children tend to spend more, means growing GDP. Furthermore, like Malthus and Ricardo had guessed, more people are synonymous with cheap workers. The demographic imperative, namely natalism, is an unequivocal breaking point between two different ways to administer the Oikos: ecology and capitalistic economy are irreconcilably in opposition.

Ethics anti-natalism, child-free and bio-protest: being child-free means to freely decide not to have offspring. The ones that contest this position often describe the decision as Eurocentric. In this critical statement, there's a concealed truth: choosing to have or not have a child is not possible throughout the world. Above all, under either the reason why individuals choose to use their right of not procreating, often related with the rupture of the taboo of the traditional family as the only social accepted relation, the child-free choice doesn't turn those subjects anti-natalistic. Anti-natalism in individuals is the awareness of the criminal implication that natalistic ideology has, both from a biocentric and an anthropocentric perspective. Anti-natalism, therefore, is an ethical disposition in a natural and cultural world with the aim of disarming all the theocratic and capitalistic attempts at increasing human quantity. This results, in supporting a policy of family planning and moreover embracing, with a symbolic and material parrhesia, in life seeing the descent of consumers and consumption. For this reason, an anti-natalist couple can decide to have zero, one, two children, or to adopt. All these reflections have to start from the consideration that to whom in this world is not and wouldn't have the desire to be, we don't have to give them a mere existence tout court, but the possibility of material and social condition to be happy. In this ethical horizon, the child-free choice can be a bump key and breaks the chains that nail human life on a reproductive telos. Frequently referred as a child-less choice in a deprivation sense and painted like the symbol of a bourgeois and egocentric existence poor in affection, the decision to not reproduce can rather assume a proactive value in political environmentalism. As a reply to a natalist bio-policy, being child-free matures into a bio-protest, boycotting in its small way the rush towards collapse.

Anti-natalism beyond Eurocentrism. To act is needed: policy has to make cast-iron and trans-national decisions: a steady stream of investment for family planning where the birth rate is higher is fundamental. Family planning, it is always good to emphasize, doesn't mean to control birth rate with a coercive and totalitarian approach, conversely, it means to allow individuals to decide with conscious freedom about their reproduction. Effective and accessible provision to contraception, sexual education, gender equality, and the reconnection of social realities with their environment are goals to reach alongside illness and hunger prevention and political instability.

This approach, far from being a paternalistic Eurocentrism, is a moral duty towards the other dictated by awareness: the ones who prefer non-intervention in foreign reality are like an AIDS sufferer that refuses to contemplate the use of prophylactics. As regards the so-called "developed countries", the natalist and limitless ideology must be eradicated through ethical-ecological education and liberation of sexuality, still enslaved by the pornography-reproduction dichotomy. Culturally, a decreasing demographic trend, like the Italian or the Japanese, has to be turned from demerit to collective virtue. A descent will bring countless advantages of resilience, although from a social perspective will be distressing. Thus, a declining birth rate has to be handled by policies focused on effective generational replacement and specific investment in public services: what a nation invests in under 18’s would be endowed gradually towards protection against senility. This can sound drastic but assuming there will be more young people to take care of elderly will only procrastinate and escalate the issue of a radical change in the demographic pyramid, enslaving us in a Ponzi scheme. Obviously, anti-natalist policies need to go beyond, in quantity and complexity, the few points that we have mentioned here. Further consideration would be a fertile ground for broader research.

A world among worlds. More-than-human demography in the Eremocene: There are several talks on Anthropocene, nevertheless the more correct word to describe the Epoch we are creating could be Eremocene. This is because we are annihilating bio-cultural diversities mainly by subtraction of "living space" creating a repetitive and monochrome world. In the current reality, where globalization, free market, and heritage flattening are making humankind greyer and more fragile, others life forms are incurring a dramatic extinction, aka the Sixth Extinction. Contemporary philosophy needs to become aware not only of the demographic challenge but embrace the concept of a more-than-human demography. With this definition, we want to underline the necessity of going beyond the division between anthropocentric demography and ecology of non-human populations.

This effort is required because thinking of the human quantity only in the economical-political-cultural outlook blind us from seeing the reality: our species is a world among worlds and not a self-referential isolated monad. The base principle of this ethic is that every life form and every bio-cultural heritage, have the right to a space for expression. This space cannot be a merely symbolic reductionism of species and population to an individual label.


20 comments:

  1. I am afraid I am one of those who criticize anti-natalism. I do find it elitist and egocentric. Allow me to explain:

    - The nations most responsible for the environmental mess, the rich countries of North America and Europe, have very low natality,
    while the poorer countries pollute less per capita and have higher natality. It is doubtful that lowering natality even further
    in the rich countries will help solve the environmental situation.

    - Anti-natalism is focused on the demand side of the economy: the more people there are, the more they consume in aggregate. It supposes that
    inputs in the economy appear or disappear as a function of the existing population, while it is clearly the other way around: it is
    population that is a function of the available resources. If a population were to decline, pro-capita consumption would simply increase, ceteris paribus.

    - Societies are built around families caring for their children. Having children is what we have societies for.
    It is not clear to me what people would do with their life if it were not possible to have offspring. They would probably increase
    conspicuous consumption, go to the analyst more often or take more drugs. Males would probably end up in jail more often.

    And anti-natalism sounds to me like the easy way around the problem: we refuse to lower our per capita consumption and keep on
    flying to conferences in Finland, while promising to make up for it by not having children. Life becomes some sort of time warp
    where we are all in college, sip latte at the cafeteria and green-wash the emptiness away. My very rude answer to that is: grow up.

    That is not to say that population is out of the environmental equation, of course. Eventually physical limits will catch up with us
    humans and shrink the population, perhaps by very large percentages. But this will happen the old-fashioned way, through higher mortality and shorter lifespans, not (even) lower natality rates.

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    1. Most growth of capitalistic economy is based on population growth.
      If there had not been a population growth in England, we would not be today in an industrial world. There would still be millions of farmer in england and a few craftmen, veryhappy with their lot and plentifull natural resources.

      If China had not passed the billion threshold it would not have needed to industrialize itself so thoroughly and would not be able to have poor peasant moving to towns or sending their kids to work like slave in Apple sweat factories.

      The population boom of China and its billion of slave like citizen doing shit jobs for a quarter of the european price, is what has enabled the last globalized transition of capitalism, a huge soar in carbon emission of global plastic pollution and consumption.

      population boom in Africa will have undoubtedly exactly the same effect: million of Africans, unable to live of the land, will fooster another transition because they 'll desperately need it.
      They will move to Europa and/ or accelerate the technical transition that can make a more unsustainable use of resources to feed this new wave of people.

      The argument that these people today consume less is utter BS: Obama has an african father but surely consume ten time more energy than I do. New American consume as much as old American do, even more. They just replace them, because in all industrialized country all native population always tend to gradually disappear (because it is tough to have kids in an industrialized society, infinitely tougher than in an agrarian one when people marry young, do not study, do not have to pay a rent, to find a job at 1000 lm away and are physically more fit to reproduce successfully).

      Your argument is just like saying in the 70s, do not care about chinese population growth beacause chinese are consumming so little. Today they are the first polluters on this planet and this part of the world is the first contributor to the growth of consumption in all the other economies.

      I think anti natalism is wrong. As Unabomber puts it in is manisfesto, if you, as a person who care for your environement, decide not to have kids, than you leave space for others kids, kids from people who do not give a damn. And you cannot be sure that part of your attitude is in fact genetical, and even if it is mainly cultural, the most efficient way to pass it on is to have kids.

      So if you are caring for nature, do have kids. 1, 2 is best unless you live in a group where several kids can be raised. 3 seems a maximum, because it is hard to educate children in such difficult times.
      In this way population will not grow but you will not live a void for polluters.

      The second thing you should do fight overpopulation is fight for your territory. That means make it difficult for other to populate the space.

      This is the whole debate on migration. If you send a signal that there is empty space, that there is a need for more people, then you are sure that African population will not stop growing.
      If, on the contrary, they feel the burden from their own population and see that there is no issue other than having fewer kids, than they ll do it.

      Irish people did not stop having many kids after the great famine because they went to America and took the land of the Native people.

      This is why it is of outmost importance to be tough on migratino and defend the space we are living in, to fight against construction of more houses for example; whatever the "urgent social need".

      This is the only way to slowly influence the birthrate in other country and avoid further collapse that will lead to pandemics and wars.

      Territoriality is the first defense in nature against destructive overpopulation.

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    2. So what's egocentric about having no children or only one? It's a nonsensical argument to claim that people who don't have children would increase their conspicuous consumption or end up in jail more often. It's just a supposition.

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    3. I believe that caring for children is what keeps a society together and justifies its existence in the first place. No children = no society. What exactly would we be living for, if all we had to look forward to was old age and death?

      Anecdotically, males in the most demographically challenged countries (Japan and Italy) do end up exhibiting anti-social behavior: the Hikikimoro and the mammoni.

      Now scale that up a few times and you get a picture of the kind of society where people do not have children. *That* is egocentric about not having children.

      Sure population must fall as resources run out, but this will happen through lower life expectancy, not less births. War, epidemics, hunger and the like.

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    4. @Unknown, you write too many points for me to reply. However, you seem to belong to the camp that thinks that, since there is a problem, there must also be a solution.

      I tend to disagree. We are long past that point. We are in a predicament that cannot be "solved" by planning, technology, politics, anti-natalism, or anything else.

      Resources will run out. Pollution will encroach on human life. Wars, epidemics and starvation will ensue. Population will eventually fall back under the Earth's carrying capacity.

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    5. My name is kervennic by the way. I think you have no clue what is going to happen. Civilisation is a religion that convince every individual that one's plight is bound to it.

      It sets a frame, so does many thing in nature, but it does not really matter to us.

      We are past no point. Civilsation has not the power to eradicate all complex life, nor to eradicate mankind.

      What matters to us is to fullfill what we are here for, this is why i refer to territorialit; You occupy a space that nature gave to you, as a functionning biological entity able to do harm tyo whoever wants to encroach on your living space.

      You can think you are powrless, that it is meaningless. This is completely wrong. Even for an army to kill unarmed civilian will diminish its overall strenght, this is why they give you "rights". To continue their business in peace, otherwise they have a problem.

      We are here to defend a piece of nature, this is our biological role. This is the role of all species, all of them have individuals or groups with defined territories, this is essential for the a functionning ecosystem.

      When you defend this territory, as an individual conscious of your role, you make the best difference you can and create a piece of ecosystem that will always have an impact on the future of our planet.

      Civilisation will collapse and so ? Population goes up and down and so ? We are to work on our piece of ecosystem. Save some of biodiversity by refusing to leave our land to others. Postponing other from plundering it so that some of the species will thrive, migrate and save their ass.

      We work not to save our ass or that of our family, this is something we cannot master, but to contribute to some pattern in a complex nature that goes beyound our simplified naive understanding.

      Both optimism and pessimism are oversimplification of a childish ego that has not grasped what it is to be part of nature, to be mortal, just passing life on.

      This is the whole problem with human beings. Technically they reached a status of power. But they are mentally totally immature. Their picture of the world is still that of a saga book, unable to question its place probably by fear of being depressed by the fact that we know nothing, not even why the fuck we are here.

      I work hard to live from the land, if people group together they will preserve meaningfull techniques to survivre in the post industrial world, some of them will eventually survive. And something will thrive again.

      If we refuse to fight to pass something meanigfull on, because we are affraid of the scale of the potential collapse than nothing at all will be passed on and that 's gonna eb a poorer world.

      Let's fight.

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    6. Kervennic, I like how you point out the territorial imperative. That has been bugging me for some time but so few seem the see the connection. Immigration is an odd thing, on one hand it seems to be good, yet it is in exact opposition to the entire climate change/resource depletion issue.

      DiSc, I like how you point out that not all problems must have solutions. You will not be popular with ideas like that!

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  2. Very nice, but...

    Good luck with that. Around 50% of US population believes in Bible - verbatim.
    This is very well educated society, secular - as least in theory.

    Try to sell your rational arguments to someone who believes Earth is 6000 years old.

    Not to mention my atheist friends that are so beloved with Progress... Their faith in Progress is often much stronger than religious people's in God.

    Now add to that mix half of the world that can hardly (or not) read.

    Trying to sell rational arguments to emotional, irrational animal is always failure.

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  3. There is a hidden factor that plays into this topic. When you consider neoliberal governmentability it seems that parents are much easier to nudge in the right direction than people without children. Governmentability in neoliberal systems relies on the fears of the (precarised) subjects to make them govern themselfs.

    Parents must always also consider their offspring when their livelyhood could be challenged by decisions they are making. Precarisation weighs heavier on the parents than on the non parents, thus parents are much less prone to "revolt". As precarisation is the most important tool of governance, "power" must love families for that reason alone.

    This is also expressed by the expectations in our society that come with being a parent. These social pressure that forms subjects into becoming "responsible" parents tend to make them more willing to accept the status quo of our social and economic policies.

    When comparing RWA (right wing authoritarian) scales between parents and non parents, there is a significant difference with parents receiving significantly higher scores.

    Do not kid yourself People in power DO think about such things. The whole of the nineties was dominated by Thatchers "help and hassle" plicy, which is based on theories about precarisation of the reserve workforce and makes up much of the neoliberal ideology today.

    See, employers fear nothing as much as full employment. (See i.e. this article in the washington post: Full employment gives people jobs. But it also gives them power."

    In short: parents create the next reserve workforce and are easier to control, so what neoliberal capitalist would not love parents?

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  4. Hi Ugo,
    I just received a link that migh interest you:
    https://philitt.fr/2018/04/23/le-futur-a-deja-eu-lieu-a-nauru/
    May be you have already talked about that clear seneca clift, if not have a look i am sure you know enough french to read it

    Thanks for your blogs
    Thibaud

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    Replies
    1. Merci Thibaud, quelle histoire folle ! Notre future en minuscule.

      Delete
  5. I am not opposed to abortion because of Natalism. I do not think that the world "needs" more people...it has plenty to keep up scientific and technological progress.
    I am opposed to abortion because once conception occurs, it is too late...the baby already exists. It is just as evil to kill a human six weeks after conception as it is to kill it six years after conception.

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  6. The point is not "Why are there so many people on Earth?".

    IMHO the point is: what's next in the XXI century?!

    First study of "limits to growth" was in 1972.
    China and India did something to control their population, during the XX century.

    First study on "Climate Change" by IPCC was in 1990 then on 1995, 2001, 2007, 2013.

    In Africa todays there's 1.2 BILLION of people, on 2050 they will be 2.4 BILLION of people.
    African people is doubling in few decades, and ONU did nothing, even Catholic Church did nothing.

    Sorry guys!, now it's too late to fix the problems in Africa!: Climate Change problems will interlace with overpopulation issue, and those intertwined problems will be massive in Africa, and it will be war in the Mediterranean area!.

    Perhaps, if Russia do not sell Siberia to China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh then it will be war also in Asia!

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  7. Dr. Bardi, thank you so very much for this. This is one of the most incredible essays I have ever read. It permits discussion of this subject and a lot more. Thank you.

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    1. Yes. This is the most complex issue to formulate/discuss by far in my opinion. Climate Change for all its existential ramifications is an order or 2 magnitude less difficult. I wish I could get my act together with it..

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    2. Controlling the birth rates has a simple solution though, as many studies during the recent decades have shownm the most important factor in reproduction control is the empowerment and education of women.

      Thus the UN has stressed that for a sustainable development empowerment of women is the central issue (See UNITED NATIONS POPULATION INFORMATION NETWORK :empowerment of women

      Delete
    3. AO, your observation above about governability is pertinent. The extreme complexity of the notions contained in this article are readily augmented by you and others. I observe that I was unnerved by the statement "Thus, a declining birth rate has to be handled by policies focused on effective generational replacement and specific investment in public services: what a nation invests in under 18’s would be endowed gradually towards protection against senility." My observation comes about because investment in older biomass seems opposite to my conclusion, investment in the viability of youth is commonly very neglected in the process of thinking about a sustainable demography, which necessarily includes other species biomass as outlined in the article. The article has numerous deeply complex and densely stated propositions. Hence, I agreed with the 'Anonymous' contributor.
      The statements "Thus, so as not to be overwhelmed by the chaos of Anthropocene, politics and ethics can't only hope but have to take responsibility for their own time through an unprecedented pragmatic rationality. Understanding the necessity of acting and not waiting, we must intervene in the whole IPAT equation: the massive impact of the present and future anthropo-mass combined with the erosion of the "natural capital" must be resized with the descent of consumption, the inversion of demographic trend and the development of more ecological technologies." is in my opinion extremely apposite.

      Delete
  8. If one excludes Africa, all population growth since around 1970 can be attributed to longer lives. The number of children under the age of 4 has remained constant. Unfortunately I didn't keep the link to the web page I got this information from, but this website says that peak children has arrived: https://www.gapminder.org/news/world-peak-number-of-children-is-now/.
    In other words if the trend continues, which I think it will, population outside of Africa will cease to grow if life expectancy ceases to increase. I believe that life expectancy will begin to fall soon.

    The most pressing economic problem today is to find an economic system that works without growth. I think this is an opportunity. I think we have learned a great deal about human nature in the last hundred years that can be used to construct a better political and economic system. One promising tool is the Ḡ1, the first crypto currency designed for humanity rather than speculators. For those who speak French, see https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%9E1.


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  9. An important consideration is infant & juvenile mortality rate. The lower the mortality rate, the fewer children people tend to have.

    A few family anecdotes to "prove" the point. My mother's family, immigrants from Holland, had 12 live births, six reaching maturity. (I remember my grandfather telling me his favorite days were Christmas and Easter, because those were the only days of his childhood when he did not go to bed hungry; also, he was sick to some extent most of the time.) My wife, an immigrant from Honduras in Central America, was one of the three out of who-knows-how-many children born.

    Our neighbors have three young children. Two are healthy; one had a deadly cancer which was "cured" at great expense and heroics (he will always be short in a tall family). Had he not made it thru, they would have had a far larger family.

    Paradoxically, saving lives via medical heroics is an imprescindible part of reducing family size.

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  10. Maybe the issue is a bit more complex.

    1) There really are too many human beings on earth, and more will make the situation worse.

    2) However, there aren't too many *children*. Children don't drive, don't usually have extraordinary medical needs, unless they are heavily pampered, they need very little.

    3) There are too many *adults*.

    4) Reducing children of course leads in a few decades to reducing the number of young, productive adults, which is environmentally positive, but socially disastrous, since each adult will end up supporting say four sick retirees.

    The purely technical answer to the problem is simple: keep the rate of child production low, but start cutting at the other demographic end :-)

    Say, putting people kindly to sleep on their forty-fifth birthday, without any exceptions, so as to prevent injustices (I passed this deadline a good time ago myself).

    I can't think of any other solution to overpopulation, apart from Nature stepping in.

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Who

Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome and the author of "Extracted: how the quest for mineral resources is plundering the Planet" (Chelsea Green 2014). His most recent book is "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017)