consumerism development environment equality globalisation lifestyle poverty sustainability wealth

Population Growth

Globally, human population is currently at its highest ever. By the year 2050, experts expect there to be 9 billion people, half of whom will be from India and China. This growth is sustainable. Even our own governments are starting to realize this poses an enormous problem, as there will soon be millions more people in poverty than there already are. In the past if there has been a problem, governments just throw money at it and hope for the best. In some cases this has worked, but very rarely. Their solution of throwing money at the poor to get them above the poverty line is going to cost them a whole lot more than they bargained for in a few years time. Instead they’ve come up with a new plan, and this is the general idea:

The world’s population is too large to sustain our demand on natural resources. We must now encourage people to have fewer children, lower the global birth rate, and let the population decline.

This is completely the wrong way to go about it. Decreasing the number of people is not only asking people not to have children, which can be difficult or even cruel (ie. China, Romania), but allows the rich to carry on becoming richer. Instead of cutting down on the amount of resources we use, we consider cutting down on the number of people who use it, in order for us to maintain/increase our current consumption levels. That’s not on. We are perfectly capable of holding more people, if the greedy take less.

Its like a restaurant where they are running low on food. Instead of making the fat guy in the corner eat less, they kick out the rest of the customers.

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(graph from wikipedia, based on UN estimates for world population from the year 500 to 2150)


  1. Exactly! For example this site says that 78% of malnourished children in the developing world live in countries with food surpluses. Why can’t they afford the food they produce? Because we buy it for much higher price. And then we tell them to have less children…

  2. This is well illustrated if you’ve ever tried to buy decent coffee in Kenya, Costa Rica, or any other place you care to name that is famous for coffee – all the best stuff gets shipped to supermarkets in the west, and the local people get the poorer quality stuff we won’t buy.
    And of course it’s one thing with coffee. It’s another matter altogether with rice or wheat.

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