Population on a Finite World: No Vacancy.

Every niche on Earth where live is possible is fully populated to maximum capacity, and has been that way since within less than 100,000 years after life was first possible. Since then, ‘moving in’ has meant displacing the current inhabitants, in process Darwin declared “survival of the fittest”.

Is it easy to overlook that environments not fully occupied by “us” are always already fully occupied by “others”.

This is an exploration of how all environments becomes fully populated, how humanity has our current population and what we have needed to displace to get this far, and need to display to continue to displace to continue population growth.

  • Rules of Population Constraints on our finite planet.
    1. 100 doublings of population is beyond the maximum possible on Earth.
    2. If even 60 doublings were possible, even pandas or humans, could from 2 individuals within 3,000 years produce a population that would completely cover the surface of the Earth.
    3. Every living organism has had more than ample time for 100 doublings, and is normally population constrained by the limitations of a finite environment.
    4. Every niche for life, is full to capacity, except following catastrophes or major disruptions.
    5. Population growth of any species, requires environmental changes, or evolution enabling the ‘invasion’ of environment previously populated by of other species .
    6. Continued Population growth is only possible through continued reduction in populations of other species.
    7. Every species must find population stability at some point while limited to one finite planet.
  • What about humans? Are We exempt from the rules?
    • Human Population Growth, how does it continue?
    • Alternating Times of Stability and Times of Population Growth Through Technical Evolution.
    • Ignorant Displacement: Those displaced go unseen.
    • History of human population: growth steps through colonisation.

Rules of Population Constraints on our finite planet

Rule 1: 100 doublings of population is beyond the maximum possible on Earth.

Since 1 million is 1,000 times 1,000 such an organism could double its population 1,000 times in a million year timeframe, but doubling population even 100 times is more than enough for any fully populate the Earth with that organism. A doubling of population 1,000 times is , and double 63 times in 63,000 years.

The ‘wheat and chessboard problem‘ illustrates how large numbers grow by repeated doubling, also known as exponential growth.

The wheat and chessboard considers doubling 63 times, in 63 steps from step 1 to step 64, doubling each step. One grain of wheat on the first square (20=1)as the starting value, leads to 2 grains on the 2nd square (21=2), 4 on the 3rd (22=4), 8 on the 4th (23=8), all the way to 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 on the 64th and last square (263). So a single living organism would result in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 organisms after 63 doublings.

Given the total land and ocean surface area of the Earth 510,064,472 km2, and each square kilometre is 1 million square meters, the 63 steps results in 18,082 organisms per square metre of the entire surface of the Earth, which for those who do not speak metric, is over 180,000 organisms per square foot. Not very comfortable for humans, but possible for something very small or perhaps microscopic. Allowing the 100 doubling steps would generate 2,485,275,234,437,872 organisms per square metre ( over 25 quadrillion per square foot) or 2,485,275,234 organisms per square millimetre of the entire surface of the Earth.

So 100 doublings would overrun the earth even with microscopic animals:

  • 2.5 billion organisms for every square millimetre of the entire surface of the Earth, as a result of doubling 100 times.
  • …or
  • So 25 quadrillion organisms for every square foot of the entire surface of the Earth, as a result of doubling 100 times.

For larger animals such as humans, even filling the ‘chessboard’ is not required, as just 60 doublings would mean over 1,000 individuals per square metre of the entire land and ocean surface.

Rule 2: 100 doublings need not take very long, even for humans.

Relative to length of time life has existed on Earth, 100 doublings of even slow population grown animals does not add up to very long time, relative to planet over 4 billion years old.

Every organism must have a mechanism to multiply, or they could never have reached their current population level, or recover population level in the event of catastrophe or disruption. Past population growth can be used to calculate a population doubling time. For example, pandas have been shown to be able to increase population 17% in a decade. A 17% increase means 117 pandas for every 100 after 10 years. Since 1.17 to the power 4.5 is greater than 2, then pandas at that rate would double in population in 4.5 decades, which is a similar to the population growth rate to humans between 1923 and 1972.

The population growth rate for humans makes sense. If every couple has 5 children, which is below the historic average prior to the 20th century, and if 4 of those 5 children live to have their own children, then humans would double in population every generation.

But a but a doubling in population every 50 years would result in 60 doublings in just 3,000 years producing more than 1,000 individuals for every square metre of the earth, which with animals the size of either pandas or homo sapiens, would more than completely cover the surface.

For perspective, humans doubling at this rate would have seen this would have resulted in 100 doublings during the time of Ancient Egypt (over 5,000 years with almost 30 centuries as the leading civilization).

The takeaway is that every living organism, even us recently evolved homo sapiens, have had far more than enough time to double in population 100 times, and overrun the earth as a result.

Rule 3: Every living organism has had more than ample time for 100 doublings, and is normally population constrained by the limitations of a finite environment.

Every organism on Earth has had far more than sufficient time for 100 doublings of it population, but no organism has reached the incredible population number that would result if they kept doubling unconstrained.

Since, in a small time relative to how long species survive, exponential population growth can exceed the limits of the size of our finite environment on Earth, for almost the entire existence of any species, the population of the species will be at the limit possible given environmental constraints.

This means every organism has normally reached constraints that limit further population growth.

Rule 4: Excepting for shortly after catastrophes or major disruptions, every environmental niche is fully populated.

The times an organism would experience unconstrained or less constrained population growth are:

  • When a species first evolves, first reaches a new suitable environment, or evolves new traits overcoming prior constraints.
  • Following a major catastrophe or disruption that reduced the population below previous levels.
  • In the event of changes to the environment that alter constraints such as weather or climate events, or disruption of predators or competitors for resources.

As all similar environments are not necessarily connected, an organism can be new to an environment despite having existed for some time in similar environments.

When population changes are observed other a for a new species or species new to the environment, or following catastrophes or other major disruptions, the population change is as a result of changes to the constraints.

Changes to population constraints can be short term, such as weather events, long term such as ice ages and long term climate events, or the result of evolution as observed by Darwin, or evolution of technology such as stone tools, or farming.

Rule 5: Population growth of any species, requires environmental change or evolution enabling the ‘invasion’ of environment previously populated by of other species.

If every environment is fully populated, then the only way to increase population is to outcompete other species, or for the environment to expand.

Outcompeting other species requires some form of evolution, either of genetics or behaviours.

The first land plants and animals appeared about 400 million years ago, when land first became inhabitable due to the atmosphere finally having enough oxygen to block harmful radiation and provide for respiration.

Since that time, the land joined the oceans in seeing a succession of life has replaced previous forms of life, with each species that dominated a niche reaching, and then remaining at the capacity of that niche, before eventually being replaced by an improved species.

Rule 6: Continued Population growth is only possible through continued reduction in populations of other species.

The logical consequent of these rules is that growth beyond original constraints can only continue while a species can continue to partially or fully substitute for other species within their environmental niches.

Rule 7: Every species must find population stability at some point while limited to one finite planet.

Continuing to replace other species has a limit. Eventually there is only one species.

What about humans? Are We exempt from these rules?

Human Population Growth, is it still in unconstrained growth?

It could appear that human population is still growing long after we should have reached our constraints.

With the pat t of humans can appear to have broken these rules. The theory says we humans should have reached a stable population close to 300,000 years ago, at which point population growth would stop unless humans continued to evolved to become ‘fitter’ for existing or new environments.

Yet human population growth still continues as was doubling every generation as recently as between in 1965-1972, and doubling every 50 years for half of the 20th century.

This would seem to suggest humans have never reached their limit, and our population is still growing unconstrained.

But further exploration reveals this recent growth follows pervious periods of population constraints. Homo Sapiens have existed for at least 300,000 years, which is sufficient for 6,000 doublings of population, yet if there were only 2 people 300,000 years ago, the population growth to 8 people billion now represents just 32 doublings in over 300,000 years. That would be a doubling at an average rate of less than once every 9,000 years.

To take 9,000 years to double the population requires an annual growth rate of around 0.008%. A rate so close to zero growth, that is far more likely the growth has mostly effectively zero, with occasional periods of real growth.

This means, most of the time, even the human population has had zero growth as been at a constrained level. But then, sometimes even populations that have reached a previous plateaux, experience additional growth.

In fact, looking at the history of human population growth, as far back as back as we have any data, we have never before seen population growth anywhere near the level that was seen in the 20th century.

But even excluding the recent population explosion, human population growth has extended far longer than the rules suggest, unless their has been an expansion of the environment, or evolution in some form.

Alternating Times of Stability and Times of Population Growth Through Technical Evolution.

Instead of a recent series of steps of biological evolution, humans have experienced technical evolution.

A list of some notable steps includes:

Note that even during periods of population stability, from 10,000BCE to 5,000BCE and from 200 BCE to 1600AD, there was still some population growth as humans managed to colonise more locations.

Ignorant Displacement: As Population Grows, The Displaced Go Unnoticed.

Our current society has evolved the technology to be ‘the fittest’ in almost any niches, that we can maintain a higher human population than ever before. We can also, per unit land, maintain a higher population of crops and livestock to feed us than ever before.

The downside is a history of not even seeing organisms displaced population increases are introduced.

In fact, historically even other humans displaced by humans have been repeatedly overlooked and/or underestimated. Despite that experts now believe between 10 and 16 million people lived above the Rio Grande in North America prior to Europeans arriving:

Few contemporaries agreed with Catlin’s lofty estimate [16 million] of the Indian population before contact with the white man. “Twaddle about imaginary millions,” scoffed one Smithsonian expert, reflecting the prevailing view that Indians were too incompetent to have ever reached large numbers. Alexis de Tocqueville’s cheery assertion that America before Columbus was an “empty continent… awaiting its inhabitants” was endorsed by no less than the U.S. Census Bureau, which in 1894 warned against accepting Indian “legends” as facts. “Investigation shows,” the bureau said, “that the aboriginal population within the present United States at the beginning of the Columbian period could not have exceeded much over 500,000.”

How Many People Were Here Before Columbus?

Even if there were only 500,000 people before Columbus, the nature of exponential population growth tell us, that as people had been in North America for around 30,000 years, the continent would have been populated up to the level of environmental constraints. Any land mass with even 3,000 years occupation will reach the maximum population possible for that society. Yet to people from Europe, America was ‘an empty continent’. Not only did the new arrivals not understand or see that the continent would be fully populated with the current population, they even failed to recognise the size of that population.

The new arrivals failed to recognise that this ‘new world’ continent was fully populated, and that their arrival must displace those living there already. In the 30,000 years since people first arrived in America, culture in free trading European/Middle Eastern/Asian society had managed to evolve 1,000 or perhaps even 2,000 years further in terms of dominating more of the environment, increasing population density and as a result displacing other organisms. The population of many species would need to decline in order to accommodate the influence of European/Middle Eastern/Asian evolution of society.

The spread to new territory and the impact on life before that spread highlights the changes humans had over time to the environment of Europe/Middle East/Asia, displacing other species as advances made humans the most ‘fit’ for ever more niches within the environment.

Delusions Shattered And Questions Raised.

Overview.

Calculating these numbers, has shattered some illusions I had previously been misled by, but has also raised some interesting questions still to be answered.

  • Shattered Delusions:
    • Both North America and Australia were fully populated prior to the arrival of Europeans.
    • I had thought population levels have been growing because the Earth had never been populated to capacity.
      • The reality is, Earth has been populated to capacity for the hundreds of thousands of years. Population increases result from changes to society that allow humans and their food to displace other species of life on Earth.
      • The question that arises is, has the recent unprecedented population explosion stayed within the bounds of the population now supported by our changed society, or has the change to infant mortality created an ‘overshoot’ resulting in overpopulation and the environmental damage that follows.
  • Questions:
    • As already covered, has the population explosion resulted in overshoot?
    • What does natural population constraint look like?

What is the process constraining natural population?

Consider our close relatives in the wild, chimpanzees, bonobos and even gorillas. To our knowledge, none of these animals was experiencing significant population growth prior to recent population decline due to habit loss. What stopped their population expanding, given that, like all species, their birth rates can achieve population growth where the population is lower than the constraint limit? There seems no evidence that starvation is the mechanism of population control, as we do not see a percentage of chimpanzees, bonobos or gorillas starving. If starvation was the mechanism of population control it would be everywhere throughout nature.

This topic to be further explored.

Conclusion: If it isn’t already, one day the ‘farm’ will be overcrowded.

Long before the first human walked the Earth, there was already ‘no vacancy’. For humanity to even exist, we had to outcompete and displace other living things. But is it our mission to replace every living thing possible until it is just us and the food we farm?

If our mission is to perpetually deliver economic growth as opposed to wealth per person, then yes, continual population growth is the simplest path to that mission.

However it may be that at some point, it feels like humanity is being ‘farmed’ to generate wealth for a small subset of people, at some point our farm will start to feel crowded to the point of existing like battery hens, rather than having our free range.

Coffee: How much is a good thing?

There is conventional wisdom: too many cups of coffee can be bad for you. There are also a surprising number of of extremely rigorous reports confirming a certain number of cups of coffee per day may be a good thing. What is most often missing is the definition of ‘a cup’, given that long ago I learnt that the amount of caffeine in a ‘cup of coffee’ can vary by a factor of 10x.

Background.

Years ago I was looking to move from a capsules style coffee machine to an expresso machine which would make changing between regular and decaffeinated coffee more difficult. This triggered a research project: is decaffeinated coffee worth bothering with anyway? Apart from the pros and cons of decaf, the big thing I learnt is that the caffeine in a ‘cup of coffee’ can range from 40mg to over 400mg, which is from the same amount as a cup of tea, to the same amount as 10 cups of tea. Note that a ‘grande’ is 470ml (16 fl oz) and a shot of expresso is around 30 ml, so technically per ml there is more caffeine in the expresso, at least until frothed milk of a latte or cappuccino, or additional hot water of a long coffee is added. Surprisingly, ‘per cup’, expresso has the lowest level of caffeine of the common ways of having coffee.

On this page I will collect information on what is in a ‘cup of coffee’, as well as the research into positive and negative claims in the the impact on health. Plus, I encountered some questions as to how long coffee drinking will remain affordable. Early days, but information will grow.

The case for ‘drink coffee and live longer’.

The Data.

This large prospective cohort study of a half million people found inverse associations for coffee drinking with mortality [that is coffee drinkers had less deaths], including among participants drinking 1 up to 8 or more cups per day. No differences were observed in analyses that were stratified by genetic polymorphisms affecting caffeine metabolism.

JAMA- Journal of the American Medical Association report.

They followed a group of 1,567 people, aged 20 years and older, over an 18-year period.

The initial data came from the Valencia Nutritional Study, which was conducted in 1994. It assessed a range of food groups, including drinks, such as coffee.

Their findings suggest that drinking between one and six-and-a-half cups of coffee per day can lower your risk of cancer and what scientists call “all-cause” mortality (meaning, any kind of death).

DW (Deustche Welle) – Spanish study shows coffee still good for your health

There is a body of evidence that some of the side effects of coffee may actually be good for you, and they appear to have nothing to do with caffeine. But Dr Karl Kruszelnicki’s grind is the observational studies that make up the ‘statistics’ behind the health benefits.

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki: July 2016 (other comments quoted here)

Is this scientific?

The Spanish study reported in the above quote, is one I specifically was looking for a reference on, as it is have been widely peer reviewed, has a large sample size, and studied over an 18 year period. However, even that study does not match best scientific principles, because there is a limit to the ability to experiment on humans. To follow ‘best practice’, it is necessary to take the sample group at random, without regard to their existing coffee habits, and randomly divide into two subgroups. One subgroup would consume a placebo that is indistinguishable from coffee for the period of the trial, and the other group would consume coffee, and no one would know which group they are in. There are many reasons this type of trial would be neither practical, nor ethical.

Without the ‘double blind’ type rigour, there are limits to what can be inferred from the data. Since the participants are people who choose to drink coffee, they may already be different in other ways than non-coffee drinkers. Are they at the same wealth level? Are they more social? Still, all things considered, the weight of data is very compelling, and especially compelling with to reduction in diabetes levels. However, the adage still applies: correlations is not causation.

More Links.

Just what is in ‘a cup’ of coffee?

A Cup of Coffee.

Well, not literally. There is a recipe for what we call a ‘cup of coffee’.

Start with beans from a coffee plant. The beans go through steps of being pulped, fermented, dried, and milled, before finally being roasted. It is a lot of steps. Some time after roasting, grind the coffee. As soon as possible after grinding, run hot water through the ground coffee to extract the ‘essence’ of the coffee, which includes caffeine, and at least 20 other chemicals, many of which may be as significant as caffeine in terms of flavour, health and even staying awake.

So a ‘coffee drink’ is mostly water, infused by extracts from coffee. Then there is most often added cream or milk, plus possibly sweetener.

Why Expresso is different.

Coffee made as expresso has a different mix of what is extracted from the beans. Almost all other methods of making coffee ‘pour’ boiling, or even slightly above boiling temperature, water over the ground coffee. Generally, the water must be as hot as possible to ensure sufficient extraction. With the goal of changing the balance of extracts from t coffee, the expresso process uses lower temperature water, and compensates by first compressing the coffee and forcing the less than boiling water through the packed ground coffee grinds under pressure. Using lower temperature water means that just adding cold milk or water would result in a tepid drink, so milk is heated by ‘frothing’ before being added to expresso. However by using heated frothed milk, far milk can be added without resulting a tepid drink. The result is that expresso coffees such as a latte or cappuccino may have a greater percentage of milk that is common with other coffee drinks.

How Much Caffeine per cup?

I will add some comparison data between filter, French press etc, but the main focus will be on determining caffeine per cup of expresso, as there are many variables.

Expresso is lower in caffeine and the oils that contain the caffeine, due to the reduced extraction temperature and the use of pressure, which changed the mix of what is extracted from the beans. Expresso can be extracted at a range of temperatures, usually 90C to 95C, and collect and add data a I find it. But I will start with what I recall from previous research.

The following all affect the amount of caffeine:

  • Beans.
  • Roast.
  • Grind.
  • Tamping pressure.
  • Extraction Temperature.

Arabica beans are lower in caffeine than Robusta beans, although these days almost all beans are Arabica.

I will dig around and add links and sources of information. I will start with what I recall from my original research, and add references as I find them. One of my first sources was study that found that at a Starbucks coffee outlet, a ‘Grande’ of regular filter coffee had 400mg of caffeine, while an expresso from the same location had only 41mg of caffeine. (this section still to be completed)

Decaf Anyone?

To be added. Is there any benefit to opting for decaf?

Objections? Any health case against coffee?

I am still to research this fully.

Sidebar: Experiences with coffee at home.

This section also to be added, but only of interest to anyone considering making expresso at home, and finding yet another persons experience interesting.

Is there enough? Coffee drinking is spreading, will it remain affordable?

The US is around 25th in a table of coffee drinking nations, and on average people in the US drink between 1/2 to 1/3 as much coffee per year as those in Scandinavia. The Finns, who drink 3x as much coffee as Americans, do also have a longer life expectancy, but not as long as Japanese, who have almost caught the US coffee consumption per capita, but are not there yet. The longer life cannot not be attributed just to coffee, but the coffee is certainly not killing the Finns either. So what if the world all consumed coffee at the same rate, not as the Finns, but as the more moderate Americans, who themselves, might live a little longer if they drank more?

The US consumption is listed on that table as 9.26 lbs (4.200kgs) per capita per year, and I have this data on total worldwide coffee production as 172.46 million 60 kg bags in 2019. Using the 9.26lbs per capita:

4.200 * 328 million / 60 = 23 million 60 kg bags.

Yet direct data from statistica shows actual US consumption at 26.5 bags. Close, but suggesting either not all coffee bags purchased are consumed, with 13% of the coffee not being consumed. In reality this, may also be discrepancy between sources of data.

Now consider if the entire globe of people in 2019 had equal access to those 172.46 million 60kg coffee bags produced globally, then multiplying the number of bags by the ratio of people in the US(0.323 billion) compared to the rest of the world (7.5 billion): would allocate only 7.7 million 60 kg bags to the US.

177.46 * (328,231,337 / 7,543,334,085) = 7.72

As 7.72 million bags is less than 1/3 of the coffee the US currently consumes, the poorer nations gaining wealth to the point where the level of coffee consumed in the US, which is 1/3 of that in Finland and possibly below the ideal consumption, became the global ‘typical’ level, then coffee production must increase threefold, or people in richer countries reduce their coffee consumption. The average US coffee drinker would drop from 2.9 cups per day, to less than 1 cup per day, or more realistically, the price of coffee rises until only 1/3 of current coffee drinkers can still aford coffee.

Factor in the expected population growth in the next few decades and their seems a very real risk that coffee will become a more scarce commodity as some countries more people will be able to afford and want to drink coffee in line with current trends, but finding land to grow three or even four times as much coffee is not really practical, given all the competing demands for more land..

This figures is less than means, even to reach Just to be conservative, using the using the lower figure of 23.18 show This matches closely with the statistic direct data

Conclusion.

Those advocating population is not a problem will typically promote how there is no danger of the world starving, as we can easily produce sufficient wheat to feed an even bigger population. But what is our ability to provide ‘optional’ products for the world such as chocolate, or coffee? The reality is, we can provide more than enough wheat, which means those who are is less developed countries, and all addition people added through population growth, remain on a very basic diet and do not consume commodities such as coffee or chocolate, standards of living in the west can remain at current levels. However, people in China, India and elsewhere in Asia and Africa and developing nations continue, well developing, commodities and such as coffee and chocolate are going to move in the direction of housing, and become only accessible by the rich. The more people the world adds, the greater the challenge.

So if you are over 40, then consider multiple cups of coffee per day may even lengthen your life. But if younger, then maybe best not to start a habit that may become too expensive.

Natural Climate Change: Surprises From Nature!

There is a lot of focus on climate change caused by humans, as there should be! But this focus can miss just how fragile the environment is even with us breaking things. Some of the surprises are in store when we examine climate change in nature.

It turns out that drastic changes reducing the Earths ‘carrying capacity’, making the Earth less habitable, or even completely inhabitable, are all inevitable because of nature. Us screwing things up just hurries the process.

Here are some surprises from nature:

Continue reading “Natural Climate Change: Surprises From Nature!”

Australia: Per Capita Recession?

It was recently claimed by the opposition party in Australia, that Australia is now in ‘Per Capita Recession‘. A response from the Prime Minister stated that there was no such recognised economic term, implying that the figures underpinning a ‘Per Capita Recession’ are of no real consequence. A recession is two quarters of negative GDP growth, but implication is that the current two quarters of negative per capita GDP growth are inconsequential. So what does it all really mean, and does any of it really matter?

  • Per Capita Recession: A real thing?
  • Per Capita Recession Significant?
    • The stock market ‘big end of town’ perspective
    • The average citizen perspective
  • What has changed?
    • USA
    • Other Developed Countries
    • Australia
    • The impact: Separate Recessions.
  • Political Gift:
    • If the big end of town is doing well, then who cares about the average citizen!
    • An ignored target: Why?
      • influential interests
      • the fear of an immigration backlash
  • Conclusion: Per Capita Recession=A Real and Serious Problem

Per Capita Recession: A real Thing?

A search on google by me for ‘recession’ returned an entry from Investopedia as the first result. Just a few lines in, the following text is provided:

The technical definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth as measured by a country’s gross domestic product (GDP)

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/recession.asp

Per capita GDP is not mentioned on that page. However if you search for GDP, the Wikipedia page reveals


GDP per capita is often used as an indicator of living standard

https://study.com/academy/lesson/how-real-gdp-per-capita-affects-the-standard-of-living.html

While there are imperfections with the use of GDP per capita to measure living standards, clearly, GDP per capita is a measure of living standard, while GDP is not at all a measure of living standard. This is why a country such as Sweden has a lower GDP than Mexico, but a far higher GDP per capita than Mexico. Why is the definition of recession based on GDP, when it is GDP per capita that measures living standards? Answer: Because Recession is more a measure for stock market performance, while the trend of GDP per capita would more directly measure the standard of living of the people. This is is why the term ‘recession’ is described on Investopedia. Further, historically per capita recessions have been a consequence of a drop in overall GDP. Recession per capita while GDP rises is a new thing, I would suggest as a consequence of an economy reaching ‘finite world‘.

So No: It is not a term historically as well recognised as ‘recession’ … but if it is new, of course it is not as recognised. The important question becomes: is it significant?

Per Capita Recession Significant?: The stock market perspective.

Consider the four major Australian banks, which each control around roughly 1/4 of the banking market in Australia. As, between these banks they control the entire national market, then with no innovation require by the bans, revenue from transactions for all the banks would grow by 10% if on average Australians increased spending by 10%. However, if spending by the average Australian remains static, but broadly across all layers of society the population increases by 10%, then banks would all record the same revenue rise. It makes no difference to the banks if the increased transaction values arise from more spending power per individual, or arise from an increase in the individuals. In either case the share value should rise. Either increase population or increase individual wealth… in either case their is economic growth which, to the share market dominated by organisations with a market share across the entire nation, will deliver growth in either case. To the financial community, to large national companies and their upper management, and to governments with a national taxation revenue and the politicians who are paid from taxation revenues, per capita GDP can be seen as irrelevant.


Per Capita Recession Significant?: The citizen perspective

Obviously, if per capita GDP is in decline, on average people are seeing their living standard decline. That is clearly negative. Any suggestion that the problem is not serious, is based on the assumption that either

  • a) the decline must be small or it would also reflect as a ‘real’ recession also hitting ‘the big end of town’,
  • or b) since the ‘big end of town’ is not in recession, ‘trickle down economics’ will ensure encomic benefits for all will soon return.

Assumption a) can be demonstrated to invalid. If the ‘big end of town’, corporations and upper management are still seeing economic growth, then individuals who derive income from these shares or being part of in this group must see their per capita wealth increasing. But the average over all groups is a decline in per capita wealth, despite the lift provided by ‘the big end of town’. This means the drop in living standard by those not included in ‘the big end of town’ must, collectively, be larger than the rise in living standard for those included in ‘the big end of town’. In fact, the further from recession ‘the big end of town’ is placed, the more wealth flowing to that group, the worse it must be for everyone else if, on average, GDP per capita is in decline while overall GDP is not in decline. It follows that the more diverse these two figures, the worse the situation for the average citizen relative to overall GDP. A per capita recession outside a regular recession, in an indicator of an increase between rich and poor with most people getting poorer. A serious social problem.

Assumption b) is also clearly invalid. For average wealth to drop, while one group is seeing a rise in wealth, there is a group seeing a rise, and a group seeing a fall in wealth. The group seeing a rise is the group quoted as the source of wealth in ‘trickle down economics’, but clearly some wealth is being transfer from the rest of society to this very group. In other words, what is being seen is ‘trickle up economics’ or trickle down economics running in reverse. So it is absurd to suggest trickle down economics will address the problem when in fact demonstrably the process is running in reverse.

A per capita GDP recession is now a red flag for a serious decline in household income, or effectively, a recession for most people in society. Many countries now have serious concerns about average household income even when GDP per capita is growing. If GDP per capita is falling, the problem is significant.

What has Changed?

Change of GDP has stopped being a valid predictor of household wealth. The result is a change to the concept of a recession.

USA

Graphs like this from the USA are frequently shown to highlight the problem:

https://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2008/09/gdp-per-capita.html

There are various graphs to be found on the net, all of which show that in the USA, growth in even GDP per capita stopped being reflected in household income from around 1980. Sources blame ‘Reganomics‘, the disconnect between labour and wealth generation flowing from technology, and finite world. All probably contribute.

Other Countries

Here are two graphs from this article about the situation in the UK.

These two graphs also show the same type of divergence between economic growth and wages happend in the UK as in US, with only the timing delayed. While this is a limited sample, it does demonstrate the problem is not a US specific problem. In fact, a longer search and more graphs would show the same problem in developed economies globally.

Australia

Australia has been running the highest rate of immigration per capita of developed economies, leading to the highest population growth of developed economies.- the biggest change in the denominator or per capita figures. This provides the greatest gap between the GDP trend, and a GDP per capita trend. Australia has the same problems as the rest of the developed economies, however, has the greatest ability with the relative population growth, to have a rise in GDP even when GDP per capita is week.

The Impact: Separate Recessions

Previous large scale recessions generally occurred before the separation of the graph lines of GDP growth and per household growth. This means during previous recessions, the ‘big end of town’ and the ‘average citizen’ experienced the same recession. The big end of town being in recession means high unemployment, so previous recessions had high unemployment. The decoupling of GDP and household income means the average citizen can now experience a recession even without high unemployment.


Political Gift?

Translation: “If the big end of town is doing well, then who cares about the average citizen!”

The dismissal of the significance of a GDP recession by the Prime Minister of Australia (Scott Morrison) is in effect a statement that all that matters is ‘the big end of town’, and a statement that a decline in living standard for the average citizen is inconsequential. In fact, the Prime Minister has also stated the elections with be a contest between “enterprise and envy“. Combining that position with the stance on a per capita recession could be seen to be positioning the ‘national enterprises, upper management and large scale shareholders’ as ‘enterprise’, and everyone else as ‘envy’. While the argument could be put, that the elite minority who escape a capita recession by growing their wealth in reverse of the national trend are those government should govern for because they are the source of trickle down economics, on the other side it could be argued this is governing only for those with great influence and ability to donate to political parties. The fact that the Prime Minister, being in upper management in national organisation (the national government) is part of the elite group he identified as ‘enterprise’ when corelating the position on a per capita recession and a contest between enterprise and envy, should create a large target for the opposition.

A Target Ignored: Why?

While it was the opposition party in Australia drew attentaion to the per capita recession, there has been no follow through. It would seem that the response from the Prime Minister was tantamount to drawing a target on himself, but nothing has been fired at that target.

It would seem the government left an opening to be seen as prioritising ‘government for the economic elite’. With the “enterprise and envy” in place, then suggesting a per capita recession is of no consequence would could easily be seen as stating the majority of the country is in the ‘envy’ group, only the very wealthy in the enterprise group. So why no follow up by the opposition?

Vested Interests?

Could it be that targeting the government for governing for the benefit of the wealthy and influential is risking upsetting that group… and the opposition also is part of that same group?

Immigration Backlash?

To suggest that using immigration to ensure positive GDP results in the face of recession for the average citizen, is to question the current ‘immigration to drive economic outcomes’. The whole debate shows that immigration for economic outcomes actually only delivers a positive outcome for the very wealthy, while at the same time eroding the ethical value of immigration. Clearly the opposition is not ready to suggest “immigration for humanitarian outcomes”, which would again distance those very wealthy sections of society.

Conclusion: Per Capita Recession=A Real and Serious Problem

The main problem is that while it seems the opposition get the seriousness of the decline of wealth for the average person and the growing gap between rich and poor… the truth is that either they do not get the issues or are also more concerned about placating those very wealthy large national organisations and their managers and shareholders than they are about the interests of the average citizen.

Climate change: anthropogenic climate change is not 100% certain, just highly likely. How likely is our is our ability to stop it?

It can seem like the word is divided between those who will who will not accept any evidence of anthropogenic climate change, and those who will not will not listen any questioning of the need for action to prevent climate change.

Reality is neither group is correct because no case is 100% certain.  Even the official statements from the IPCC do not declare 100% certainty on C02 output driving climate change. The world is actually grey – not black or white.  The real key is dealing with probability rather than certainty.

Most of us will insure our home without needing 100% certainty that our home will burn down. We do not use lack of 100% as a valid argument for inaction with our home, so why advocate lack of 100% certainty as an argument for inaction on the entire planet?  The risk certainly justifies taking out insurance!  The real uncertainty worthy of  attention is “what if actions to prevent climate change will be ineffective or are insufficient?”  Typical of insurance, what if the ‘policy’ will not payout to cover the risk?

I heard a statement from a prominent “anti climate change” advocate: “Climate change is natural, it is happening all the time”.

The person making the argument was not known for great logic, but just consider for a moment, what if there is valid point?  Climate change can occur even without the meddling of humans. What if the current changes would continue even without further human This raises the possibility that, even if accepting that humans are a source of climate change, there may also be natural underlying change in combination. Or perhaps, human induced climate change has or will trigger additional natural climate change that may continue even if human behaviour changes.

How certain to you need to be that your house will burn down to take out insurance?  When the risk is high take out the insurance.  Anthropogenic induced climate change may not be certain, but it is clearly at a risk level where we need to take out our insurance.  Now consider, do we also need insurance that current steps will not prevent climate change as well?

Consider some background: Ice Ages.

Technically we are currently an interglacial period within Ice Age.  Ice ages have interglacial periods (like now) and glacial periods like in the move ‘Ice Age’.  You could call a glacial period a ‘very ice age’ and what is thought of in the popular vernacular as an ice age, but in fact the presence of even polar ice caps like we currently have qualifies as an ice age.  Over the past 100 million years the earth has spent more time outside ice ages (no polar caps at all) , than within ice ages (either polar caps like the present or glacial periods).  No ice age at all means way higher sea levels (as much 200 meters higher), and a glacial period results in lower sea levels (as much as 130 meters lower).

Over the past 3 million years (the entire time humans have existed) the Earth has alternated between the glacial and non glacial periods of an Ice Age.  The last time the Earth was truly outside an Ice Age was before humans existed, which may be why glacial periods also get called ‘Ice Ages’. Humans have not existed in a time ‘less Ice Age’ than things are at present.  However, the normal state of the Earth of the past 100 million years is to be outside an Ice Age… something humans have never experienced.  Within an Ice Age (as we technically are) the most common state is a glacial period, but we have had around 11,000 years in the current interglacial period.   Human civilization has really only existed in a inter-glacial period.  The least common state, of the least common state of the climate of the Earth.

Humans have live through the change from glacial to interglacial, but not civilization, and very specifically not a global civilization supporting over 7 billion people.  We have a very fragile system that is unlikely to support anywhere near our current population in a change to either a glacial period (never experienced by civilization) or the most common state of the Earth, completely devoid of polar ice caps, which has never been experienced by humans at all.

Now consider, are we really confident we can stop climate change?  Yes it is urgent that we do what ever we can to minimise, or even eliminate our own contribution to climate change, but we should not be over confident that anything we do will actually stop climate change, rather than just reduce the impact.

 

Populist right vs Economic Conservatives

Donald Trump personifies the a populist right leader. This post looks at what this means and how this movement can be so at odds with other ‘conservatives’.

The Origin of The Conservative Right.

The basic origin of ‘left and right‘ in politics can from the wealthy and powerful being to seated to the right and the commoners being seated to the left in the assembly presenting to the king.  Those with power and wealth support those in power, that seems axiomatic. Then there are those that support those with wealth and power, not because themselves hold, wealth and power, but because they believe those people must have earnt that wealth and power.  The belief is that those who are deserving will achieve wealth and power, and must be encouraged to achieve that wealth and power.  Society benefits from the wealth and power generated by the wealthy and powerful.  The central idea of trickle down economics.   The left represented the commoners, who logically would benefit from the distribution of wealth and power to those the right may consider unworthy.  There is some merit in both arguments, as society does need to encourage and provide incentive to those who can excel, but there is also a case for sharing those rewards with those less fortunate.  Debating the ideologies is for another time.

The Rise of the Populist Right.

The populist right is basically ‘commoners’, who see themselves as currently more wealthy and powerful than other commoners, so they are embracing the position of the wealthy and powerful, relative to groups they feel threaten their wealth and power.  The groups the populist right fee threatened by are typically foreigners, immigrants and racial groups other than their own.  I would argue that the reality is that it is the ‘finite world‘ effect that is seeing this group feel the share of wealth and power they previously held eroded, and with no reason for their slide of their wealth and power presented, they rebel against change, immigration, free trade and are also receptive to messages against other changes such as any move to renewable fuels.

The Clash with The Conservative Right

While the populists are seeing their wealth and power eroded, the smaller group of those who have a much higher level of wealth and power are actually seeing their wealth and power rise as population grows and global free trade increases. This puts them in a very contrasting position with the populist group, although they do also tend to also fear change of the status quo.

Population – Wealth Equations

Formulae | Terms | Implications | Finite World

The formulae:

Annual-wealth-created = total-work-done + asset-wealth-accessed

Total-work-done = average-personal-productivity * population

Per-capita-wealth  =  average-personal-productivity  + (asset-wealth-accessed / population)

Asset-wealth-accessed = accrued-wealth + natural wealth-accessed

The Terms

Total Wealth.

The total wealth is simply the wealth of the society overall.  The sum of the wealth that is available for the total society to enjoy.  This wealth is available to be share evenly or not, but it represents that which is available to share.

Asset-wealth.

Asset wealth is the sum of durable wealth which remains from year to year such as housing and infrastructure as opposed to wealth which is consumed such as food and holidays.

Assets can be man made such as housing, or natural, such as the land under the housing, fertile farm land and water to grow crops or mines as a source of mineral wealth.  For natural wealth,  only those natural resources which are being utilised add to the wealth of the community at the time being considered.  Unused land or undiscovered minerals which may potentially be part of future wealth, do not add to current wealth.

Per Capita Wealth.

Simply the total wealth divided by the number of people.  In a society with perfectly even distribution of wealth, each individual would hold the per capita share of wealth.  Raising the Per Capita wealth would raise the wealth of all in the society.  However, simply adding to the wealth of one individual will still raise per capita wealth, even though there is no distribution of the increase in wealth.  Per capita wealth only is a sound indicator of overall wealth if wealth distribution remains static, and the rich remain in the same ratio of wealth to the poor.

Per capita wealth creation follow the formula above and combines individual wealth creation with the share of natural resource wealth.  Growing population should allow specialisation which can have a positive impact on the ability of an individual to produce wealth, but as the population grows this effect reaches a limit.  While there are untapped resources, growing the population can also allow accessing more resources,  but eventually all resources are already leveraged.  The result is that there is a phase where as population increases per capital wealth should increase, followed by a tipping point when all resources are fully exploited after which per capita wealth will be driven to decrease by further population grown.

The Implications: Pre-Finite world

Logically, total work done should increase in proportion to population. However, increased opportunities for specialisation and economies of scale can result in an increase in total work done slightly beyond the logical proportional increase. Simplistically, it is feasible for a team of 200 to do more than 10x the work of a team of 20 because of economies of scale and ability to specialise.  But a team of 200 trying to dig the same 3meter diameter hole in the ground may not be 10x as fast as team of 20.

Pre-finite world, natural asset wealth could never fully utilised, as there was always new natural assets to be found and utilised.  As population expands, more land can be utilised, more minerals discovered and the accessible total natural wealth expands as the population expands.  The result is that increase in population has the potential to increase per-capita wealth.

Finite World Implications

Once we reach ‘finite world’ where all new land has been found, and there is already sufficient people to exploit all available resources, more people simply means a smaller share of available land and resources per person.

Like digging the hole in the ground, there is an optimum number of people on the team.  Less than the number the work takes longer,  but past a certain point adding more becomes counter productive… or a least results in no further increase in production and the proceeds of the work on a per person basis start to decrease.

Once finite world is reached, further increases in population simple mean less wealth per person.  This is the same with any creatures in nature, within a given habitat, there is a maximum population of each creature which can be sustained by the habitat before living conditions start to decline.

Finite World: Finite vs Unlimited.

Contents:

Finite: What does ‘Finite‘ actually mean?

The Key: Not Just Two Possibilities, but three.

Even in a mathematical context, there are three possibilities:

  1. Finite.
  2. Infinite.
  3. Undetermined.

Depending on context, infinite and undetermined can be equivalent, and in both cases, you not aware of any limit. Something only becomes ‘finite’ when you become aware there is a limit.

Dictionary Definition Of Finite: It depends on context.

While ‘finite’ and ‘infinite’ have mathematical definitions, dictionaries reveal that common usage extends beyond the mathematical definition. The dictionary definition of infinite includes “immeasurably or inconceivably great or extensive : INEXHAUSTIBLE” as well as “subject to no limitation”, and for finite we have “completely determinable in theory or in fact by counting, measurement, or thought” .

By example, as a human we can consider the number of times a person in the open can breathe as being infinite, even though the amount of oxygen in the air is finite so there is a theoretical limit, a person can breath ‘an inconceivably large number’ and still have no noticeable impact the level of oxygen.

The Working Definition of Finite for this context.

The meanings of finite and infinite depend on context, as outlined below, so to avoid ambiguity, in the context of these pages, ‘finite’ means:

Finite: ‘known to have a limit that could, in practice, conceivably be reached’.

Me

So yes, words have different meanings depending on context, but it this context, unless explicitly prefixed such as ‘theoretically finite’, ‘finite’ will mean with a known and potentially constraining limit.

Given the principle there are three possibilities, they become:

  1. Finite: known to have a limit that could, in practice be reached.
  2. Infinite: it is known the that limit cannot in practice be reached.
  3. Undetermined: there may be a limit, but if so, the limit has never been reached.

I would suggest that human nature is to assume that when the limit cannot be determined, then it will not in practice be reached, which means infinite and undetermined are seen as equivalent. In this context, the opposite of finite because ‘unlimited’.

Unlimited: Unconstrained by any known limit.

Again, me.

Again, words have different meanings depending on context, but it this context ‘unlimited’ will without any known constraining limit.

Finite World: When the world of humanity progressed from ‘undetermined’ to ‘finite’.

To the first people on Earth, it must have seemed that no resource was finite, virtually nothing had any known limit. It is not that people believing things infinite, it is that numbers seemed unknowable, and undetermined seemed equivalent to without limits.

There were always new lands to be discovered, hunting animals did not noticeably impact their population, nor did gathering fruit and vegetables make an impact. Fishing did not noticeably impact fish populations.

Most things remained finite until around 1650 CE. At that time no individual even knew of all the continents on Earth making even the amount of land seem unlimited. Sustainable was not a concept people needed to contemplate, as it seemed every thing humans did was inherently sustainable.

Fast forward to the 21st century and there has been a population explosion dramatically increasing the number of humans, and an industrial revolution increasing the impact individuals have on the planet. Now, most people see ‘sustainable’ as essential, but in surprisingly many ways, there are still people who do not, deep down accept the Earth is finite, and sustainability is essential.

Finite World and Sustainability: It is all relative.

Nothing is sustainable without constraints. Every ‘sustainable’ practice is only sustainable within limits as to the number of people who can engage in the practice and the length of time it can continue. In practice, ‘sustainable’ means ‘more sustainable’ rather than absolutely sustainable. Even ‘sustainable’ farming has a limit to the scale and thus the number people it can feed, and on a planet with a finite life, cannot exist forever.

A question becomes, to be ‘sustainable’ how many people can be supported and for how long? As an extreme example, even breathing air has a limit to the population size before it become unsustainable. There is always a window.

Some people see perpetual population growth as sustainable, and within a sufficiently small window of time it is sustainable. Others see burning fossil fuels as sustainable for as long as 50 years, and in their eyes that is sustainable, while younger people, of people who care about younger people, may require a longer time to be sustainable.

Then there are others who an in denial. Prior to around 1650 CE, everything seems sustainable, and it worked for so long then the same attitude can work today.

Ageing population: a problem, or myth with an agenda?

Have you heard of the ‘ageing population problem’? Why is it that people living longer is not a good thing? Declaring there is an ‘ageing population problem’ has become a convenient excuse for governments with unbalanced budgets, together with big business push a population growth agenda. This page looks at the real issues underpinning an ‘ageing population’. The reality is:

an ageing population unquestionably not a real problem.

This page questions whether an ageing population is a problem at all, or alternatively, used as a rational for positions and policies to deliver outcomes for politicians and multinationals, at the expense of the rest of the population.

This document outlines how an ageing population provides economic benefits that counter the claimed negatives. The reality is that only real ‘benefit’ of strategies reduce ‘population ageing’ is to satisfy those desiring population growth.

  • Getting Past The Label
    • Two diverse reasons for an ‘ageing population’
    • Is ageing a problem, Or all in a name?
  • Economic Problems From Living Longer
  • Economic Problems From A Lower Birth Rate
  • Getting Past A Problem? Really?
  • The Vested Interests, and why hide their agenda?
  • Solutions? Or Worse Problems?
    • Possibilities
    • Stop People Getting Older?
    • Reduce the number of older people
    • Increase the number of younger people
  • Aging Population: The Fake ‘Problems’:
    • Low Workforce Participation (false).
    • Low Population Growth Lowers Participation(false)
    • Ever increasing pension schemes (false).
    • Increasing Medical Expenses? (false)
  • The Real Problems (Non-Ageing Population)
    • Workforce Payback
    • Adjusting Society
    • Healthcare costs
  • Conclusion.

Ageing A Problem? Or all in a name?

Often, a debate is very much all in getting the best name for your side of the argument. The label ‘ageing population problem’ includes the word problem saving justifying just why an ageing population is a problem.

Further, the word ‘ageing’ is also negative. Smoking cigarettes and other factors can ‘age’ people. The negative of ‘ageing’ is all around how fast we age, but in this economic context, people ageing slower, and thus living longer, is part of the problem. The ageing population as described by the economists is really ‘not ageing fast enough!’. This is because a term which can has negative associations in one context is being appropriated to describe increase in average age.

The entire label ‘ageing population problem’ is intended to convey that the an increase in average age is a problem that needs no further explanation. Despite that, the goal of this page is to question and look for further explanation.

Two diverse reasons for an ‘ageing population’

There are two distinct factors that can increase the average age of a population:

  1. longer average life expectancy
    • lower infant mortality and less premature deaths
    • increasing life expectancy: people ‘ageing’ more gradually
  2. lower ratio of children in society due to:
    • a lower birth rate
    • unbalanced emigration/immigration

These two issues are actually linked. Either can occur without the other. It is true that in many western societies there has been a simultaneous increase in life expectancy and a reduction of birth rates, but at the same time there has also been an increase in motor vehicle ownership. This does not make them related issues.

Further, just as returning to a higher birth rate will not decrease pollution from motor vehicles, a higher birth rate does not automatically impact how long people live, or more importantly, does not solve any economic problems that could result from people living longer.

ebotThere are potential economic problems from , and it becomes clear that any economic challenges that could arise from There is no cause effect or other relationship that means these two factors are linked. Surely longer life expectancy is considered sufficiently desirable that no one would suggest this factor could be negative. The average age of people in society can increase due to this factor alone, yet it is hard to see how this alone could be seen as a problem. However, the implication of ‘ageing population problem’ is that any increase in average age of society is a problem.

This leaves the second factor: The ratio of children. Arguing that ratio of children is too low better than arguing for more premature deaths, or people to live shorter lives. But what is the ideal ratio of children, and why is the current ration too low?

The lower ratio of children in society is a least not contradictory. other facThis leaves the lower ratio of children as being the grievance. adjusting the birth rate or the immigration balance as the only mechanisms to influence population ageing.

Birth Rates & ‘Ageing Population’

On factor is the due to improved health care, people are living longer. Generally, those considering the ‘aging population’ a problem are not suggesting to stop people living longer, just that there needs to be more young people.

The key factor that is ‘blamed’ for the ageing population is reduced population growth. Less births, less young people.

Population growth is slowing due to smaller families, as widely discussed elsewhere on this blog. In a rapidly increasing population, each new generation has a greater population than the previous generation.  In this expanding population, the older generation is much smaller than the younger, and with a small number of the older generation, the average age of the entire population is much lower. Contrast this todays’  relatively stable population, and the generations are of a similar size, so without the ever increasing numbers of younger people, the average age is older.

Immigration and Ageing Population

,  but rather the argument is that to increase immigration, or move back to having more children and return to a rapidly expanding global population.

What is the resulting  ‘problem’?

The theory is that people reach an age where they can no longer work, and therefore can no longer contribute towards the production of the wealth of the society. The wealth produced by ‘productive’ people, ‘breadwinners’, must be shared by all: wealth producers (breadwinners) and those who can no longer produce wealth(dependants) alike. In economic terminology,  the “Gross Domestic Product” or economy is produced only by those “breadwinners” in the workforce.  GDP per capita, one measure of the wealth of society, is determined by dividing the  “Gross Domesitc Product” by the number of people in the population.  Therefore greater ratio of people who do not produce wealth, the greater the burden on those producing the wealth to produce a high level for the entire population.

This is of course all based on the assumption that the elderly have a much greater ratio of “dependants” than the rest of society.

Immigration is at best a questionable solution.

Every country benefits from the highest possible GDP per capita, and suffers hardship when GPD per capita falls, not just countries seeking to address this ‘aging population problem’.   To increase the ratio of  ‘working population’ through immigration, a country must have an immigrant intake with selected to maximise the ratio ‘of working age’ among immigrants.  The effect of such a policy is to selectively extract ‘breadwinners’ these people from other countries.  Immigration does not change the global ration of old to young, or the global ratio of “breadwinners” to dependants, immigration only changes who lives where.   One countries gain in this equation is another countries loss.

Since it is the richer countries who are in the best position to attract immigrants,  this solution is generally about the richer countries trying to improve their ratio of “breadwinners” by luring these breadwinners from poorer countries.  While these immigrant “breadwinners” may send part of their income back home to support dependants back home, all their income still counts as GDP for their new country and they boost taxation revenue of the new country.  From a government point of view, such a strategy helps rich countries and is a problem for poorer countries.

Returning to “growth age” birth rates as a solution?

The growth age featured larger families, with a far greater ratio of younger people. Whereas the trend of todays more stable population yields a similar number of people in each age group, the peak growth age had far more children and far fewer elderly. ‘Aging population’ solved?  Except that the proposed problem, less dependants, is not solved at all.  It turns out that children are also dependants!  And high birth rates mean far more of them.  In fact, with children now spending longer in education, and then the higher rates of unemployment among young people, the reality is higher birth rates does not reduce dependants, or the cost of dependants, nor increase the ratio of breadwinners at all.  Reality is there are far more ‘self funding retirees’ than self funded children.  The only impact is that the dependants are younger, and perhaps we feel happier about young people being a cost to society?

Conclusion.

There entire ‘ageing population’ problem, is a great argument to justify plans and actions by government where the real motivations are less attractive to promote.  I will follow with more posts on these real motivations.

Inferno: How could we limit the population?

dantes_infernoThere is an argument that we currently have more people on Earth than ideal, but even if you accept that we have an overpopulation problem, the idea that a sudden reduction in the population would solve the problem is both absurd, dangerous and damaging.

The premise of the movie ‘Inferno’ is that a virus could randomly target and render infertile one in three humans as a means of population reduction. Inferno is a movie, and a suspense drama, not an actual plan.  But if you do accept that the earth is overpopulated, what would be a real appropriate response, and why are ideas, such that containing in the movie, so damaging? Continue reading “Inferno: How could we limit the population?”

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