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View Diary: New Study Predicts 6m Annual Deaths and 3% GDP Loss by 2030 - But That's Not the Real Story (30 comments)

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  •  that 9 billion figure is looking...Enronesque (2+ / 0-)
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    UltraAyla, G2geek

    As each new study is published, the date of catastrophe moves inexorably closer. we have never, in my memory, had a study proven too pessimistic by later analysis. In fact, quite the opposite.
    I think the population projections of 9 billion by 2050 are way off due to this factor. There are already limiting effects occurring (drought, anyone?), and the incentives to bear more children are lessening, both from a cultural perspective and from an agricultural one. Who needs more fieldhands when the fields aren't producing?
    A drop in population is coming, but it may not all be in the form of starvation in the streets. Life expectancy in the US is already dropping for certain demographics, as is the birth rate in almost all Western nations.
    We are approaching a limit, in the mathematical sense. That implies that forces that right now mean each person of child rearing age having 2.4 offspring (or whatever the number) will gradually drop, for the reasons above, and more. That lessens the rate of population growth, how much remains to be seen. Externalities like new disease pandemics, resource wars, and megastorms will definitely take a horrific toll, too.
    A decade or two from now, the current all-important debate over whether or not to rescind the Bush tax cuts or turn Medicare into a coupon program will gain a certain amount of perspective, I'm sure.

    R-Money/R-Ayn, the ENRON Ticket, is not a campaign; it's a hostile takeover bid.

    by kamarvt on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 11:18:00 AM PDT

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    •  yes (1+ / 0-)
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      You touch on it later in your comment, but I'm not sure that we won't reach 9 billion. The rate that we went from 6-7 was astoundingly fast, and so all of the causes you mention need to eat away at the rate of growth before we can stabilize or decrease. Still, it remains to be seen where we settle. Whether it's 8 billion or 9 billion, that's a whole lot of people.

      •  we'll settle at 2 billion and then.... (1+ / 0-)
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        .... grow back to 3 billion.  By that point humanity should have "learned its lesson" and not engage in reckless reproduction or conspicuous consumption.  

        From here down to 2 billion is going to be hell on skids.  From 2 billion back up to 3 billion is going to seem like paradise by comparison, and for that matter it may well be:  a period of rebuilding with optimism, as in Europe after WW2 when things just kept getting better.

        What I find intriguing in a morbid sort of way, is that this roughly matches the time table that the religious right talks about for the tribulation and the rapture and the kingdom of heaven and so on.   So it looks like we get to live through the tribulation, and a century or two later comes the kingdom of heaven.  Or something that would have looked like that, from the perspective of people 2000 years ago with a heck of a lot of insight into human affairs and patterns in nature.

        "Minus two votes for the Republican" equals "plus one vote for the Democrat." Arithmetic doesn't care about their feelings either!

        by G2geek on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 11:52:41 AM PDT

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        •  I'd like to believe you're correct however (1+ / 0-)
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          1. That kind of loss...possibly as much as 75% of peak population...would be emotionally devastating and might take several generations to recover from.

          2. Humanity has proven over and over again that it is able to take precisely the WRONG lessons away from negative experiences.

          3. The implosion of a world economy based on the current population would itself create enormous amount of collateral damage the nature of which we'd have a hard time guessing at.

          •  yes, but carts and horses.... (1+ / 0-)
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            You say "I'd like to believe you're correct but ...(it) would be emotionally devastating..."

            The fact that it would be emotionally devastating is the effect, not the cause of whether it happens or not.  

            Just because it's horrible, doesn't mean that the horribleness of it will prevent it happening.

            Bottom line is, "only you can prevent forest fires."  

            Only us, all of us acting in concert, can prevent the climate catastrophe that will trigger a dieoff on the scale of 200 - 300 times the Nazi Holocaust.  

            Agreed, humanity often gets the wrong lessons.  The wrong lessons from this one would be that human life is cheap everywhere, but that lesson will be reversed once we hit bottom and start recovering:  the Plagues in Europe cost them 1/3 of their population and the outcome of that was a labor shortage that led directly to the rise of the medieval middle class.

            Yes, econo-splat also has horrific consequences.  It's one of the immediate factors in the dieoff, along with war, famine, pestilence, and plague.  Gee, those have a familiar ring to them, don't they?

            Bottom line: reckless reproduction and conspicuous consumption are the direct causes of what may turn out to be a 300-Hitler holocaust.  It's on us to stop having excess babies and excess baubles, or those babies are going to grow up in a world where they may very well die off in the dieoff.

            "Minus two votes for the Republican" equals "plus one vote for the Democrat." Arithmetic doesn't care about their feelings either!

            by G2geek on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 12:56:06 PM PDT

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