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RE: {Spam?} [LandCafe] The Myth of Overpopulation

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  • Harry Pollard
    Ed, You properly said: And, you are likely correct that actions to slow population growth will be too little to late. However, what actions do you have in
    Message 1 of 14 , May 19 11:23 AM

      Ed ,

       

      You properly said:

       

      "And, you are likely correct that actions to slow population growth will be too little to late."

       

      However, what actions do you have in mind?

       

      What actions does anyone have in mind? The most vocal Zeepoppers are those awaiting the “die-off” – a massive culling of humanity by war and/or disease.

       

      This, in a world that is closer to empty than full.

       

      While one could imagine a world that has reached the end of its capacity to support the thousand billion people – or whatever – we are a long way from reaching that point.

       

      However, we should not disregard the reality of political ineptitude allied to neo-Classical economic theory. Between the politicians and the economists we could be wallowing in the deepest do-do next year, next decade – soon.

       

      But, our problems would arise not because Gaia is inadequate, but because we are!

       

      It is forgotten how incredibly productive is the modern economy. Industrial nations seem to do everything they can to reduce production. Yet, a plethora of governmental restrictions, regulations, interferences, and taxes on production, fails to prevent our enormous production.

       

      In spite of taking out of production umpteen millions of producers and putting them unnecessarily in extended schooling, in vast bureaucracies, and in the military, even as we enforce retirement on some of the best producers – we still have more widgets than we know what to do with.

       

      And this, even though large chunks of production go to those at the top who neither sow nor spin, and to those at the bottom who in the midst of this cornucopia are close to subsistence and must be specially provided for.

       

      There is no doubt that we can produce enormously if it is required, but as we have replaced the impartial economic action of the market with political decision making, who knows what kind of mess is awaiting us?

       

      It is probably unfair to bring up the Simon/ Ehrlich bet in which Simon called Ehrlich’s wild predictions about famine, disease, and the rest, but Simon won the bet - $576.07. I rather suspect the bet could be repeated and be won over the next years if it were to be made.

       

      However, it’s a risky business making bets on events that are structured by political imperatives.  One notes Bush’s support of hydrogen fuel – about as potty an idea as anyone could think of.

       

      If the economy were not the prey of the politicians and their clients – the privileged – I have no doubt things would much better for most of us and this applies both to the developed nations and to billions who scrub out their existence on someone else’s land.

       

      These peasants are the key to a worldwide sustainability. I keep bringing it up because it is so dramatic, but the Georgist land reform change in Taiwan allowed the peasants to feed a population density of more than 1,300 to the square mile.

       

      This kind of effort simply isn’t needed everywhere but, if the Asian peasant received all his production on his own land he would be able to live well, he would attain maximum production without harming his soil and, with electricity easily and cheaply available, he might well prefer to watch “Asian Idol” on television during the dark winter evenings than to copulate.

       

      This is called ‘lighting a candle’ rather than ‘cursing the darkness’ if I may mix my metaphors and practically everything else.

       

      Harry

       

      *********************************

      Henry George School of Los Angeles

      Box 655  Tujunga  CA  91042

      818 352-4141

      *********************************

       

       

       

      >-----Original Message-----

      >From: Ed ward Dodson [mailto:ejdodson@...]

      >Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2006 7:43 AM

      >To: 'Paul Metz'; henrygeorgeschool@...; 'LandCafe'

      >Subject: RE: {Spam?} [LandCafe] The Myth of Overpopulation

      >  

      > Ed Dodson responding...

      >Paul Metz wrote:

      >  

      >When the debate continues, I agree with Ed 's analysis, not with his

      >conclusion.

      >If indeed one is concerned about ".. whether we will have enough time to

      >achieve meaningful socio-political change before our existing practices

      >trigger a chain reaction of global destruction." then population politics

      >(other than major wars or genocide) may be far too slow. Awareness that many

      >citizens have a factor 100 more impact on the biosphere than poorer

      >fellow-citizens would make other policies much more effective - and fair.

      >  

      >Population control is a way, not the best one. Especially if it aims at

      >others only, while maintaining our own depleting and polluting lifestyle. We

      >need both approaches and not forget that fertility shrinks when societies

      >get prosperous.

      >  

      > Ed here:

      >We who have some understanding of the problems and who have some ability

      >to

      >achieve personal economic security have a greater responsibility imposed on

      >us to act wisely, to show leadership. No argument there. And, you are likely

      >correct that actions to slow population growth will be too little to late.

      >However, just as our efforts to solve the land question proceed at a snail's

      >pace (and are likely to be too little to late), we continue to make the

      >effort.

      >  

      >One aspect of acting wisely is, I argue, to have fewer children than the

      >previous generation. Even if we can financially support a large number of

      >children, doing so today exhibits a disregard for the larger impact of our

      >growing population on the environment.

      >  

      >  

      >  

      >  

      >  

       

    • Edward Dodson
      Ed Dodson responding... Harry Pollard wrote: However, we should not disregard the reality of political ineptitude allied to neo-Classical economic theory.
      Message 2 of 14 , May 20 7:38 AM
        Ed Dodson responding...
        Harry Pollard wrote:

        However, we should not disregard the reality of political ineptitude allied
        to neo-Classical economic theory. Between the politicians and the economists
        we could be wallowing in the deepest do-do next year, next decade - soon.

        But, our problems would arise not because Gaia is inadequate, but because we
        are!

        Ed here:
        All this I agree with, Harry. The pessimism that comes thru in my comments
        has to do with the widespread "thickheadedness" that exists even among very
        thoughtful people who are sincerely concerned about the earth and about the
        human condition. Combine this thickheadedness with the political and social
        power exerted by those who enjoy entrenched privilege and the future looks
        rather bleak.

        Yes, we have to continue to work to bring our enlightened message to others
        and get the dominoes moving in the right direction. I am as committed to the
        challenge as anyone. That said, my advice to any young persons who will
        listen is to think twice before bringing children into this world.
      • walterhorn
        Obviously, whether or not one believes that there is overpopulation in this or that area (or on the earth as a whole), depends on what one means by the term.
        Message 3 of 14 , May 23 11:22 AM
          Obviously, whether or not one believes that there is overpopulation
          in this or that area (or on the earth as a whole), depends on what
          one means by the term. And, as no one has been willing to define it,
          we're forced to try to infer from various musings on the matter
          exactly what is being claimed.

          So, for example, if there was thought to be no "overpopulation" in
          Taiwan when it had a population density of more than 1,300 to the
          square mile, because the "peasants were able to feed themselves,"
          then, I take it, the claim is that there is no overpopulation in,
          say, present day Bangladesh, just in case it's possible to arrange
          the society in such a way that everybody there can feed him/herself
          (whatever exactly THAT means). But, of course, it might be pretty
          unpleasant there because of surfeit of people even if that criterion
          were handled.

          Anyhow, if the term "overpopulation" is to be reserved for Mr.
          Pollard's high-bar usage, maybe some other phrase, like "too many
          people for pleasant co-existence might be used" for Taiwan or
          Bangladesh. Admittedly, I'm not prepared to define "pleasant co-
          existence" myself, but I'm fairly confident that any proof that all
          the peasants in those places might, given some structure of society
          or other, manage to avoid starvation, would not suffice to convince
          me that there weren't too many people living there. Anyhow, I
          think "overpopulation" is commonly used for that purpose, but,
          whatever.

          Best,

          Walter Horn





          --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "Harry Pollard"
          <henrygeorgeschool@...> wrote:
          >
          > Ed,
          >
          > You properly said:
          >
          > "And, you are likely correct that actions to slow population
          > growth will be too little to late."
          >
          > However, what actions do you have in mind?
          >
          > What actions does anyone have in mind? The most vocal Zeepoppers
          > are those awaiting the "die-off" - a massive culling of humanity
          > by war and/or disease.
          >
          > This, in a world that is closer to empty than full.
          >
          > While one could imagine a world that has reached the end of its
          > capacity to support the thousand billion people - or whatever -
          > we are a long way from reaching that point.
          >
          > However, we should not disregard the reality of political
          > ineptitude allied to neo-Classical economic theory. Between the
          > politicians and the economists we could be wallowing in the
          > deepest do-do next year, next decade - soon.
          >
          > But, our problems would arise not because Gaia is inadequate, but
          > because we are!
          >
          > It is forgotten how incredibly productive is the modern economy.
          > Industrial nations seem to do everything they can to reduce
          > production. Yet, a plethora of governmental restrictions,
          > regulations, interferences, and taxes on production, fails to
          > prevent our enormous production.
          >
          > In spite of taking out of production umpteen millions of
          > producers and putting them unnecessarily in extended schooling,
          > in vast bureaucracies, and in the military, even as we enforce
          > retirement on some of the best producers - we still have more
          > widgets than we know what to do with.
          >
          > And this, even though large chunks of production go to those at
          > the top who neither sow nor spin, and to those at the bottom who
          > in the midst of this cornucopia are close to subsistence and must
          > be specially provided for.
          >
          > There is no doubt that we can produce enormously if it is
          > required, but as we have replaced the impartial economic action
          > of the market with political decision making, who knows what kind
          > of mess is awaiting us?
          >
          > It is probably unfair to bring up the Simon/ Ehrlich bet in which
          > Simon called Ehrlich's wild predictions about famine, disease,
          > and the rest, but Simon won the bet - $576.07. I rather suspect
          > the bet could be repeated and be won over the next years if it
          > were to be made.
          >
          > However, it's a risky business making bets on events that are
          > structured by political imperatives. One notes Bush's support of
          > hydrogen fuel - about as potty an idea as anyone could think of.
          >
          > If the economy were not the prey of the politicians and their
          > clients - the privileged - I have no doubt things would much
          > better for most of us and this applies both to the developed
          > nations and to billions who scrub out their existence on someone
          > else's land.
          >
          > These peasants are the key to a worldwide sustainability. I keep
          > bringing it up because it is so dramatic, but the Georgist land
          > reform change in Taiwan allowed the peasants to feed a population
          > density of more than 1,300 to the square mile.
          >
          > This kind of effort simply isn't needed everywhere but, if the
          > Asian peasant received all his production on his own land he
          > would be able to live well, he would attain maximum production
          > without harming his soil and, with electricity easily and cheaply
          > available, he might well prefer to watch "Asian Idol" on
          > television during the dark winter evenings than to copulate.
          >
          > This is called 'lighting a candle' rather than 'cursing the
          > darkness' if I may mix my metaphors and practically everything
          > else.
          >
          > Harry
          >
          > *********************************
          > Henry George School of Los Angeles
          > Box 655 Tujunga CA 91042
          > 818 352-4141
          > *********************************
          >
          >
          >
          > >-----Original Message-----
          > >From: Edward Dodson [mailto:ejdodson@...]
          > >Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2006 7:43 AM
          > >To: 'Paul Metz'; henrygeorgeschool@...; 'LandCafe'
          > >Subject: RE: {Spam?} [LandCafe] The Myth of Overpopulation
          > >
          > >Ed Dodson responding...
          > >Paul Metz wrote:
          > >
          > >When the debate continues, I agree with Ed's analysis, not with
          > his
          > >conclusion.
          > >If indeed one is concerned about ".. whether we will have enough
          > time to
          > >achieve meaningful socio-political change before our existing
          > practices
          > >trigger a chain reaction of global destruction." then population
          > politics
          > >(other than major wars or genocide) may be far too slow.
          > Awareness that many
          > >citizens have a factor 100 more impact on the biosphere than
          > poorer
          > >fellow-citizens would make other policies much more effective -
          > and fair.
          > >
          > >Population control is a way, not the best one. Especially if it
          > aims at
          > >others only, while maintaining our own depleting and polluting
          > lifestyle. We
          > >need both approaches and not forget that fertility shrinks when
          > societies
          > >get prosperous.
          > >
          > >Ed here:
          > >We who have some understanding of the problems and who have some
          > ability
          > >to
          > >achieve personal economic security have a greater responsibility
          > imposed on
          > >us to act wisely, to show leadership. No argument there. And,
          > you are likely
          > >correct that actions to slow population growth will be too
          > little to late.
          > >However, just as our efforts to solve the land question proceed
          > at a snail's
          > >pace (and are likely to be too little to late), we continue to
          > make the
          > >effort.
          > >
          > >One aspect of acting wisely is, I argue, to have fewer children
          > than the
          > >previous generation. Even if we can financially support a large
          > number of
          > >children, doing so today exhibits a disregard for the larger
          > impact of our
          > >growing population on the environment.
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
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