Friday, July 16, 2010

The Overpopulation Index:

See how overpopulated you country is. If your country is not on the list, that means its biocapacity and degree of self-sufficiency gives a smaller footprint than your country's actual area (according to these estimates from the Optimum Population Trust). Also see how much your country's population needs to be reduced to not be overpopulated... Singapore, Israel and Kuwait are the most overpopulated (as a proportion). Greatest overpopulation in number of people: China (717 million), India (594 million), USA (154 million), Japan (109 million). Overpopulation in High Income Countries: 458 million. (Thor has great difficulty believing that Bangladesh isn't on the Overpopulation Index; looks like human frailty has struck again...)

From Optimum Population Trust:

The Overpopulation Index


If the earth must lose that great portion of its pleasantness which it owes to things that the unlimited increase of wealth and population would extirpate from it, for the mere purpose of enabling it to support a larger, but not a happier or a better population, I sincerely hope, for the sake of posterity, that they will be content to be stationary, long before necessity compels them to it.
—John Stuart Mill (1857)

A population may be too crowded, though all be amply supplied with food and raiment. It is not good for a man to be kept perforce at all times in the presence of his species...
—John Stuart Mill (1857)

It is only in the backward countries of the world that increased production is still an important object.
—John Stuart Mill (1857)

Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place…
—Isaiah 23, 005:008


Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.
—Mark Twain

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.
—Edward Abbey

To bear children into this world is like carrying wood to a burning house.
—Petter Wessel Zappfe

16 comments:

Stan said...

Your query about Bangladesh seems appropriate, but maybe it's because they have few imports. This index doesn't seem to factor in standards of living. Bangladesh has an incredibly low SOL.

Nor does it consider the rate of population growt. Uganda is not over-populasted, but it is growing too fast to educate and succor so damn many new borns. 3.&% annual growt rate. 6+ children per woman. population under 20 >50%. etc

Thor said...

Me thinks Norway should be on that list, too. Only have 3% arable land--which is more important than total area... Unless of course they spent all that oil growing food, generating fertilizer and heat/lighting for greenhouses. Though if they cared to expand their cervid populations, game fowl and wild caught fish populations those could feed quite a few...

Thor said...

'Pears once again it was a methodological issue.

Queried OPT, and got this reply:


The answer is that the data in the table were based on a 2009 publication which did not include a few countries (Australia and Bangladesh are two examples).

If we refer to the 2008 data -Living Planet Report 2008) then Bangladesh has a total eco-footprint of 0.6 gha/cap and a biocapacity of 0.3 gha/cap meaning that its dependency is 50% - similar to that of Pakistan.

Its overpopulation is therefore ~ 71 million.

陳湘枝陳湘枝 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bummi said...

But you can't kill people for reducing the amount to a sustainable level. Birth control and educating women is the key here, together with a social care system which do not make people depending on support from their children when they are old.

In addition you have to make people in the rich countries to use less, and teaching those ones in developing countries like China and India that the way to happiness is not based on how much and what you own. I think you don’t disagree with me, like usual. ;-)

Thor said...

Thor largely doesn't disagree although your opening sentence is somewhat unclear...

Nor do I trust that the folks who routinely claim that the best way to reduce population growth is to educate women have done their statistics properly. There may be a correlation, but I am not convinced this is the causal mechanism. And for once, Thor agrees with economists who say the best way to fix something is the most direct way...

Between nation-states there are collective action problems that are difficult to overcome, like the tragedy of the commons...

One begins to wonder whether at this stage, nation-states create more problems than they solve...

Bummi said...

My first sentence was unclear? The “safest” way of reducing a countries population is to kill as many people as required to reach your goal, and – as you indicate – it is the most economical method. But it is not human; therefore you have to find acceptable ways.

You might not be convinced that to educate women will reduce the growth of population, but many other scientists are.

I agree that there are lots of collective action problems that are difficult to overcome, like the tragedy of the common, as you mention.

On the other hand: if there wouldn’t be nation-states, there would be anarchy, which means the strongest criminals will dominate large regions, if not the entire planet. And they do not care about nature, sustainability nor ecology, but just about making as much money as possible. Even if they would kill lots of people – like the ongoing war due to drugs in Mexico – the result would be an even bigger catastrophe for the planet than mankind today, with nation-states. Do you have a better suggestion?

Recently scientist registered that some tribes of chimpanzees in Uganda are killing chimpanzees of other tribes for taking over their territory. That proves that not all animals are better than humans. Or are chimpanzees just too close related to humans?

Thor said...

Thor is not human!

Scientists? You must mean social "scientists"... They fear statistics. And they are no good at it.

Other species kill each other too, and even fight "wars", but they are still MUCH better than humans. And yes, chimps are quite closely related to humans...

For matters concerning environmental protection, other species, and "resource" extraction we need decision-making at a higher level level than the national. Preferably a global scale.

Bummi said...

Sorry, I forgot that you are not human… and agree with you that we need decision-making at a higher level than the national.

But we also need sanctions which can make sure that the decisions made by the over-national level will be followed up all over the world. Without sanctions, there will only be nice words, no necessary actions will be taken. Just talk, like now.

Unfortunately, at the moment it sounds like a fiction.

Thor said...

Thor would be happy to do the sanctioning!

Bummi said...

...I have no doubts about that...

;-)

Thor said...

Yeah, I have a jolly big hammer with which to smite them. And the goats can come in handy too... With lightning shall I chastise them. Beware the wrath of Thor!

Thor said...

Of course there is another way...

Nation-states can implement their own measures. (For instance a system of tradable birth quotas)

Then, they can impose import duties on goods from any nation that doesn't have their own set of equivalent measures. Other sanctions can work too...

Then, it will be in every nation's own interest to police their own measures so that they don't face such challenges in the international arena...

But it does require a critical mass...

Works even better for depletion quotas on natural resources. Say these are auctioned by national governments and they impose import duties on any nation that doesn't do the same. Then each nation's government will have an incentive to implement their own system and gain revenue from it themselves, rather than have the revenue collected by the nations with which they trade...

The key is to make policies such that other nations have no incentive to cheat, and a great incentive to comply.

t

Bummi said...

Now we are talking, my friend. Interesting thoughts.

I'm looking forward to hear more about that.

EditorCT said...

Interesting that this philosophy is presented in stark black and white, making this website, like the world it envisages, a very depressing place to be. What an awful, anti-people mentality!

Thor said...

Thor does not make the world the way it is by envisaging it. And yes, human behavior and the effect it has on the world makes Thor depressed, and not very positively inclined towards humans...