There are four different opinions of the future of the human population:
1) The human population can, and will, keep growing indefinitely.
2) The human population can keep growing indefinitely, and we may need intervention if there is any slowing of growth to ensure the growth keeps happening. In this view population growth is seen as essential for the economy and the population balance.
3) The human population cannot, or will not keep growing ,indefinitely and the economy will need to adjust to an economy without population growth. The population will stop growing of its own accord at a satisfactory level, so the economy is the only problem to solve.
4) There is a limit to possible population growth on Earth. Any pause in population or ‘irreversible trend to slow growth’ may not really happen and is already too late to prevent severe consequences from an already too large population. It cannot be assumed that population growth will stop as early as it should, leading to much greater problems when the inevitable stop must come. The economy, which has evolved entirely in the growth phase, will need to make the painful adjustment to stable population and even manage declining population, plus the world needs an active approach to minimise consequences of overpopulation.
Which view is your current view? If you have not given it much thought I would expect view (1) or (2) to the be the starting point. I believe both the statistics on countries with birth-rates too low for population increase in my post ‘the catch 22‘ of population growth should be sufficient to move anyone to at least view (2). The next step to view (3) requires an understanding that the population we can support is finite. Moving to step (4) requires adopting the view that the current projected global population is above the ideal population.
If you read my posts you may come on the same journey I have come as my view evolved from view (1) to view (4). Alternatively, you may find flaws with my arguments. Either way, I hop you enjoy the ride.
- 2015 Feb 24: typos