Overpopulation: The Making of a Myth
Where did this myth come from? When was humanity supposed to end?
Did Malthus really say to kill off the poor?
Yep. In his Essay on the Principle of Population, Malthus calls for increased mortality among the poor:
‘All the children born, beyond what would be required to keep up the population to this level, must necessarily perish, unless room be made for them by the deaths of grown persons… To act consistently therefore, we should facilitate, instead of foolishly and vainly endeavoring to impede, the operations of nature in producing this mortality; and if we dread the too frequent visitation of the horrid form of famine, we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction, which we compel nature to use. Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. In the country, we should build our villages near stagnant pools, and particularly encourage settlements in all marshy and unwholesome situations.’ (Book IV, Chap. V) — Read it online.
‘But above all, we should reprobate specific remedies for ravaging diseases; and those benevolent, but much mistaken men, who have thought they were doing a service to mankind by projecting schemes for the total extirpation of particular disorders.’ (Book IV, Chap. V) — Read it online.
Did Paul Ehrlich really say that famines would devastate humanity in the 1970s?
Yep. In his 1968 work The Population Bomb, Ehrlich stated:
“The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines--hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”
What's the UNFPA? How do they profit from fear?
The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) was founded in 1969, the year after Ehrlich published The Population Bomb. They have been involved in programs with governments around the world who deny their women the right to choose the number and spacing of their children. Their complicit work with the infamous “one-child policy" mandated by the government of the People's Republic of China, uncovered by an investigation of the U.S. State Department in 2001, led the United States to pull its funding.
The wealthy of the West, in their terror of poverty, have given copiously to the UNFPA and its population control programs. Visit Population Research Institute for more info.
No way everyone could fit in Texas …
According to the U.N. Population Database, the world's population in 2010 will be 6,908,688,000. The landmass of Texas is 268,820 sq mi (7,494,271,488,000 sq ft).
So, divide 7,494,271,488,000 sq ft by 6,908,688,000 people, and you get 1084.76 sq ft/person. That's approximately a 33' x 33' plot of land for every person on the planet, enough space for a town house.
Given an average four person family, every family would have a 66' x 66' plot of land, which would comfortably provide a single family home and yard -- and all of them fit on a landmass the size of Texas. Admittedly, it'd basically be one massive subdivision, but Texas is a tiny portion of the inhabitable Earth.
Such an arrangement would leave the entire rest of the world vacant. There's plenty of space for humanity.
U.N. Population Database. While they provide Low, Medium, and High Variants, the Low Variant is the one that keeps coming true, so the Low variant numbers are the ones used in this video. Check their online database.
The world's population will peak in 30 years? Prove it.
According to the U.N. Population Database, using the historically accurate low variant projection, the Earth's population will only add another billion people or so over the next thirty years, peaking around 8.02 billion people in the year 2040, and then it will begin to decline. Check their online database.
7 Billion People: Will Everyone Please Relax?
It's a huge number. But it's not what you think.
You are very confident about the earth’s population leveling off and then falling. How can you prove this? After all, population is still growing.
Population is still technically growing, but according to the United Nation Population Division’s numbers, that growth is slowing dramatically.
The United Nations Population Division (UNPD) is the most reliable source of population statistics in the world, which is why we use their numbers for our videos. And, according to the UNPD, population growth will continue to slow down over the next few decades. In fact, if current trends persist, our growth will halt right around 8 billion by 2045. After that, our numbers will start to fall off, slowly at first, and then faster.
If you find this whole idea counterintuitive, don't worry! You're not alone. At first glance, it really does seem like population is skyrocketing. That’s because we're still adding a billion people every few decades . . . and a billion people is a lot of people. But the way we can tell that population is not ballooning out of control is precisely the fact that we’re only adding a billion people each time. And soon, we won’t even be adding that many.
You claim that the UN’s predictions are reliable. How reliable have they historically been?
Again, it depends on which variant you use. In our research, we’ve looked at the UN’s predictions and how they have compared with real life--and in every case the “low variant” has been the most accurate. You can run the numbers yourself here
Even if population growth is slowing down, a billion people every 15 years is still a lot of people. Isn’t this still a problem?
It is a lot of people. And of course, greater numbers bring their own challenges and issues. But there isn't any convincing evidence to show that the size of our population is the cause of the world's most pressing issues, like war, famine, disease, and poverty.
Let's put it another way. Since we have more people, our wars are bigger. Our famines may affect more people, and more people will have diseases and be poor. But population growth didn't create these problems--they have have existed since people have existed.
In other words, we can't blame population for problems that have been around forever. The only difference is, since there are more of us now, these problems affect more people.
Why has the global total fertility rate dropped so much?
Scientists are still debating exactly why, but there's no doubt that it is happening. All over the world, birthrates have been dropping quickly, and for nearly 50 years now.
Many demographers think that it is because more and more people are urbanizing (moving into large cities). When families live out in the country on farms, it makes more economic sense to raise larger families, so that they have people to help them and care for them in their old age. It’s also true that cities tend to have better healthcare facilities, which reduce infant mortality. This in turn means that parents end up having fewer children, since more of their existing children are surviving to adulthood.
Demographic expert Philip Longman observes, in his book The Empty Cradle, “As more and more of the human race find itself living under urban conditions in which children no longer provide any economic benefit to their parents, but are rather costly impediments to material success, people who are well adapted to this new environment will tend not to reproduce themselves. And many others who are not so successful will imitate them.” (p.31, available here)
Overpopulation is a myth. This myth has caused human rights abuses around the world, forced population control, denied medicines to the poor, and targeted attacks on ethnic minorities and women.
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