A few thoughts on overpopulation

I have been doing some reading on the Principle of Over Population by Thomas Malthus and Olduvai Theory by Richard Duncan. These are taboo subjects in the media and the less enlightened will shout you down for being a racist. I'm anything but a racist as all my relationships have been with ladies from other races. It's just that the majority of people aren't white and our liberal friends have a knee jerk reaction when you suggest that there are too many people on the planet.

Now, Thomas Malthus was a little ahead of his time. Writing at the beginning of the 19th century he could not have known about the coming petroleum industry or the nuclear age. Oil has permitted us to increase the population of the world from 1 billion in the time of Malthus to fast approaching 7 billion today. Still, Malthus said that any population is dependent on its resources. We learnt that at school using rabbits as our model. Why some people don't think it applies to humans too is a mystery to me.

Richard Duncan is a contemporary writer. His Olduvai Theory postulates that the oil we have used to increase our industrial and breeding productivity will soon decline and so too must industrialisation. The population of the world will retreat back to the 1 billion of the time of Malthus.

I was thinking over this again and although I agree with Malthus and Duncan I do have one spanner for the works. The more over populated parts of the world are those that have little to do with oil. In the industrialised west we are breeding at barely replacement, and in some cases below, replacement level. Lack of oil and industrialisation would appear not to be affecting the high population growth areas. Or so I think.

This post is just a bit of thinking out loud and I would welcome comments. It could be that the unindustrialised parts of the globe have yet to reach their maximum human capacity without oil. And, if they had industry and plenty of oil, they could probably exceed their population capacities. It could also be that we industrialised nations bail out under-developed nations with our oil based transportation of medical and food aid. Prolonging the life of a sick patient as it were.

The fact is that the current trend in population growth is not sustainable because it is currently sustained on finite resources. Unlike the time of Malthus there are no magic technologies yet to come. Bio-energy requires the land that we need to grow our food on. Other renewable energies are variable. Fissile nuclear energy is as finite as oil, especially if every country in the world started a nuclear programme. Fusion nuclear energy has yet to prove itself, if it ever will and in any case it just won't do all that oil does. How can radioactive material increase our farming productivity like oil does?

We need renewable resources that can be managed and we need a manageable human population. How we manage humanity and its disparate cultures and beliefs is a very touchy subject.

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