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Overpopulation and civilization's unsustainability

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Buzz Killington Posted: Fri, Dec 7 2012 5:23 PM

Interesting paper on overpopulation: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/6k97b7x3

Declining agricultural production and increasing population growth don't seem sustainable.

"Nutty as squirrel shit."
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If something can't go on forever, it will stop.

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Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 9:18 AM
We put brakes on automobiles so they stop at times/places that are favorable to us, rather than relying on the fact that it wont go on forever and if we arent too badly injured we can walk.
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It doesn't exist. If you modernized agricultural production in third-world countries, you could feed a world population of 21 billion.

http://thephoenixsaga.com/
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Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 9:34 AM
So what if you had 42 billion people to feed?
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MarcosP replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 11:19 AM

We create a machine that can create food out of thin air.

 

A food printing press?

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Historically, at least, the richer the country is, the less it reproduces. I'm not sure whether this is a "law", but for now the trened favors stability.

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z1235 replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 3:03 PM

Malachi:
So what if you had 42 billion people to feed?

Why would he (or any other one person) need to feed 42 billion people? They can feed themselves. If not, there won't be 42 billion of them. Either way, the problem solves itself before it becomes one. 

 

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^ This. It's not like we're suddenly going to have 34 billion people pop out of nowhere.

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Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 3:38 PM
Look, I'm not a doomsayer. I just dont think you can hand-wave the issue of catastrophic famine away. In biological organisms population growth is a function of food supply. When you subsidize a populations food supply, you create "population bubbles" that result in chaotic food distribution, i.e. grocery stores throwing massive amounts away every day and starvation in africa. And intervention (sending food to africa) creates even more islands of chaos, subsidizing the procreation of people who cant feed themselves, so starving babies result. Humans are the only species that has control of their own food supply and theres a case to be made that if it isnt handled properly (which to all of us would mean with strict property rights) disaster would result. This argument is also part of the subtext that drives the nwo agenda so its not as if we austrians can forego having some skin in the game. Lastly its disgusting for anyone from a naturalistic atheistic scientistic perspective to fail to recognize population growth of homo sapiens as some sort of anomaly, and its merely prudent to examine whether that anomaly might be beneficient or malignant.
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z1235 replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 4:00 PM

Malachi:
Humans are the only species that has control of their own food supply and theres a case to be made that if it isnt handled properly (which to all of us would mean with strict property rights) disaster would result. This argument is also part of the subtext that drives the nwo agenda so its not as if we austrians can forego having some skin in the game.

So what skin in the game (other than the bolded above) would you propose that austrians rather have? In the same paragraph you explain how regulation/planning is (increasingly) the problem then suggest that perhaps one ought to be thinking of regulation/planning solutions to avert it. 

 

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Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 4:14 PM
I didnt intend to imply that regulation would be the answer. The answer is for austrian libertarians to develop coherent positions on overpopulation and anthropogenic global warming in order to get more of a market presence in the marketplace of ideas.
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Prime replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 4:35 PM

More people = more brains = more innovation/problem solving = higher production.

The only important variable is if the free market will be allowed to allocate resources or not. If not, expect starving people. If so, don't worry about stuff like this.

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z1235 replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 4:38 PM

Their position has been "property rights" all along. Not much could be more coherent than that, I'm afraid. 

 

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As long as the sun is there to provide energy for photosynthesis and such, it will always be possible to produce enough food for everyone.

http://thephoenixsaga.com/
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Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 5:47 PM
Part of having a coherent position is exposition on how strict property rights would affect these problems, or how the lack thereof has created them. "lol starvation" doesnt suffice, I am afraid.
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RagnarD replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 7:45 PM

I didn't take the time to read the paper, but I think it's pretty simple to realise that private property and voluntary exchanges will lead to society self organizing to feed growing populations.  If there is a food shortage the price of food rises giving me and every other property owner the incentive to get rid of our grass yards and plant crops, or raise livestock.  I can think of nothing other than government or natural disasters that could keep this from happening.

Coupled with the riches capitalism creates and the correlation between wealth and decreased population growth  Wheylous mentions above I see it as a non-problem in a free society.

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Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 7:52 PM
society self organizing to feed growing populations.
yes. Eventually you turn all terrain into agriculture and housing. Whether this happens smootly or gracefully depends on how it happens. I cant understand why this topic is seen as unworthy of serious consideration in this community.
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z1235 replied on Sat, Dec 8 2012 8:40 PM

Malachi:
yes. Eventually you turn all terrain into agriculture and housing. Whether this happens smootly or gracefully depends on how it happens. I cant understand why this topic is seen as unworthy of serious consideration in this community.

Alarmism produced by "scientific" linear extrapolation of current trends into infinity is the ultimate knowledge conceit and the most (ab)used interventionist tool, by far. 

For example:

In 1898, delegates from across the globe gathered in New York City for the world’s first international urban planning conference. One topic dominated the discussion. It was not housing, land use, economic development, or infrastructure. The delegates were driven to desperation by horse manure.

[...]
The situation seemed dire. In 1894, the Times of London estimated that by 1950 every street in the city would be buried nine feet deep in horse manure. One New York prognosticator of the 1890s concluded that by 1930 the horse droppings would rise to Manhattan’s third-story windows. A public health and sanitation crisis of almost unimaginable dimensions loomed.
 
And no possible solution could be devised. After all, the horse had been the dominant mode of transportation for thousands of years. Horses were absolutely essential for the functioning of the nineteenth-century city -- for personal transportation, freight haulage, and even mechanical power. Without horses, cities would quite literally starve.
 
You are thinking like an interventionist, central planner trying to outsmart and outpredict 7 billion self-interested human agents participating in division of labor and trade. The Fatal Conceit, par excellence
 
 
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Malachi replied on Sun, Dec 9 2012 11:36 AM
Alarmism produced by "scientific" linear extrapolation of current trends into infinity is the ultimate knowledge conceit and the most (ab)used interventionist tool, by far. 
my argument is a priori, not empirical. The size of a population is a function of its food supply. Humans, like other organisms, have a drive to reproduce. Humans, unlike other organisms, have control of their own food supply. If this control is not administered correctly (which we can agree means strict property rights) disaster will result.
You are thinking like an interventionist, central planner trying to outsmart and outpredict 7 billion self-interested human agents participating in division of labor and trade. The Fatal Conceit, par excellence. 
I really dont think I am doing any of that. I want austrians to understand the problem (this discussion suggests they dont) and articulate the solution (which they are aware of, but havent articulated because they dont understand the problem). Do you understand the difference between totalitarian agriculture and other forms of food production? Tot-ag seeks to turn every nutrient in a given part of earth into live human beings. Thus far, it has been wildly successful, to an exponential degree. What technological solution do you see that makes the historical note you referenced into a worthy analogy?
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