12 votes

How should we go about handling population growth and staying at or above replacement levels?

Tl;dr human birth rates are falling universally and globally and at some point in this century will mean a decrease of the world's population and the effects of this will/has been felt in stuff like pensions/retirement and so far noone has proposed any solutions other than increased immigration and denying women abortions so what should we do to solve this? Should we even find solutions given that stuff like pollution and climate change is man-made?

8 comments

  1. [2]
    joplin
    Link
    Solve what? Sounds ideal to me. Fewer people to feed, fewer people polluting. More pie to go around overall. There are limits to what a planet can sustain. We're already overfishing the oceans and...

    what should we do to solve this?

    Solve what? Sounds ideal to me. Fewer people to feed, fewer people polluting. More pie to go around overall. There are limits to what a planet can sustain. We're already overfishing the oceans and we've completely wiped out some land species from hunting. I don't see a shrinking population as a problem (not that we're there yet). Why do you?

    As for pensions and retirement, all it takes is a will to stop spending money on useless things like even more tanks, and spend it on things people actually need like health care and retirement. I suspect that will come soon enough if the population actually starts dropping.

    20 votes
    1. DougM
      Link Parent
      I agree with this on all fronts. Where we currently stand is unsustainable in a multitude of ways. Pulling back on the growth would be ideal for me as well.

      I agree with this on all fronts. Where we currently stand is unsustainable in a multitude of ways.

      Pulling back on the growth would be ideal for me as well.

      3 votes
  2. [2]
    emdash
    Link
    I've written about this a lot on Tildes, and surprisingly, for a community that recognises that quality > quantity—something you would think would broadly translate to other worldviews—I still...

    I've written about this a lot on Tildes, and surprisingly, for a community that recognises that quality > quantity—something you would think would broadly translate to other worldviews—I still feel outspoken about it.

    The economic consequences of staying above replacement level population growth to prop up a broken economic system that rewards capitalists for profiteering off human labor and exploiting the environment are far, far outweighed, by the economic consequences that will occur if we continue down our present day trajectory with both our individual intensity on the environment and our societal impact (total impact = individual environmental footprint × societal population) due to damaging our environment. COVID-19 has shown this very elegantly (and in fact, there's arguments to be made that the current COVID-19 pandemic has its roots in, and has been exacerbated, by over-population).

    Right now, population is still increasing, and people are worried that the derivative is slowing down! Hardly a cataclysm.

    We shouldn't try to encourage parents to have kids they can't afford, or don't want. Aim for a low(ish) birth rate that over the course of a few centuries reduces population to beneath the carrying capacity of the planet, which is probably around 1 billion or so, at our current environmental intensity; while also not introducing 4-2-1 problems. Somewhere beneath 1.8 children per couple to 1.5 children per couple is most desirable.

    11 votes
    1. Grzmot
      Link Parent
      I think a slow but steady reduction down to a billion would mean drastic change in many forms, change so drastic many people fear it.

      I think a slow but steady reduction down to a billion would mean drastic change in many forms, change so drastic many people fear it.

      1 vote
  3. Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    Why do we need to stay at or above replacement levels? If there are fewer humans around, that means more resources to go around and less damage to the planet. I'm not advocating for the extinction...

    Why do we need to stay at or above replacement levels? If there are fewer humans around, that means more resources to go around and less damage to the planet.

    I'm not advocating for the extinction of all humans, but if there's a billion less people in a century, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

    Economically, we need to start taxing things that matter. For example, people should pay for resources they extract from nature: water, trees, gold, oil, etc. Any time someone takes something from the planet that we all share, they're taking from all of us. So we tax that. It's a user pays model. People should pay when they spoil a resource that we all share: air pollution, water pollution. Any time someone spoils a resource we all use, they pay for it. And so on.

    And then we spend the taxation money where it needs to be spent. Some countries spend a lot of money building up military arms, and not enough money taking care of their people.

    10 votes
  4. [3]
    skybrian
    Link
    Declining birth rates are only an issue if taken to extreme and that seems like a rich-country problem. They could solve it with increased immigration.

    Declining birth rates are only an issue if taken to extreme and that seems like a rich-country problem. They could solve it with increased immigration.

    1. [2]
      Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      Eh, immigration isn't an infinite well (and every immigrant you take makes for 2 reactionary natives). Birth rates in poor countries are falling as well so eventually they wouldn't have any...

      Eh, immigration isn't an infinite well (and every immigrant you take makes for 2 reactionary natives). Birth rates in poor countries are falling as well so eventually they wouldn't have any immigrants to give to these without shrinking their own populations.

      1. skybrian
        Link Parent
        Eventually is a long time and it seems like workers would be substantially better off by then.

        Eventually is a long time and it seems like workers would be substantially better off by then.