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Overpopulation: A problem or not?

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Overpopulation is a major cause of most of the world’s problems. Whether it is a question of food shortage, lack of drinking water or energy shortages, every country in the world is affected by it – or will be. Partly thanks to the import of goods from abroad, any particular country is able to maintain its own welfare. But this cannot go on in an unlimited way. The world population is threatening to rise from the current 7 billion to 11 billion according to the UN. There is a good chance that more and more countries will need their own products themselves. All continents except Africa have a total fertility rate around 2 children per woman, but Africa has an alarming total fertility rate around 4, which will result in an African population around 4.4 billion in 2100 from the current 1.3 billion if nothing is done. The African population boom is unsustainable
and more action is needed to slow down the rapid population growth of Africa. If the problem won't be taken seriously enough by governments and other powerfull organisations, the result will be huge global environmental problems, terrorism, wars and massive global poverty everywhere. It will also harm the richest countries.

Our planet can offer a quality of life comparable to that enjoyed in the European Union to no more than 3 billion people. With a population of 11 billion, welfare per person on a world scale will drop to that of a poor farmer who can scarcely provide sufficient food for himself and knows nothing of welfare. The climate is changing – and it matters little whether this can be blamed on human activity or on changes in the solar system. The sea level only has to rise slightly in order to cause a great deal of valuable agricultural land to disappear.
Human beings have a tendency to want more and more welfare. World-wide the numbers of cars, planes and refrigerators are increasing before our very eyes. But there will come a time when population growth and welfare collide. There is a reasonably good chance that floods of people will trek all over the world searching for more food and welfare.

Technicians are only too happy to point to technology that has solutions to all our problems up its sleeve. Unfortunately technical solutions have not as yet been able to combat world hunger in any significant way. Wherever there is no recognition or solving of the problems on a worldwide scale, war and violence would seem to be inevitable: Everyone wants to survive.

The business world and the religions are generally only interested in population growth. Allowing welfare to shrink is often just as difficult for the rich as fleeing from poverty is for the poor. The only solution for the continuing population growth is more investments in the poorest regions of the world. Some African nations have decent total fertility rates, but in a large amount of African nations, women still have around 6 children on average, which is unsustainable. Some countries also have too low birth rates, like Singapore with a TFR around 1. A very fast population decline will also result in problems, a balanced total fertility rate between 1.5 and 2 is needed in every country for the best of the world.

Education, especially for women, and free contraception helped a lot of poor countries with a rapid increase in living standards. Kenya did a great job for example with taking its population growth problems seriously. In the 1970s, they had a TFR of 8 and it is estimated to be 2.3 in 2020. They became one of the highest developed African countries. In countries with the highest birth rates, women often don't have the freedom to choose their amount of children, with social and religious pressure, lack of contraception and lack of education. The $2.5 billion "Family Planning 2020" project, which was founded by Bill and Melinda Gates, takes the population growth problem seriously and invested in a large amount of money in free contraception for the poorest regions of the world. This way, women will have more freedom in their choice for the amount of children they want, which is a great step forward. The next step for the poorest African countries in economic development can only be taken when their population growth will decline fast. Fortunately, a lot of African governments also started to take the problem seriously, but they often lack funds to have a huge impact. I hope governments and big organisations will invest more in Africa (especially free birth control and education) to decline its unsustainable rapid population growth.

Please also read these articles about population growth:

https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2018/09/22/africas-high-birth-rate-is-keeping-the-continent-poor
https://theconversation.com/niger-has-the-worlds-highest-birth-rate-and-that-may-be-a-recipe-for-unrest-108654
https://sciencing.com/environmental-problems-due-population-growth-8337820.html
https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/11-09-2018-global-hunger-continues-to-rise---new-un-report-says
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-05/jhub-pif052019.php

https://www.familyplanning2020.org/

Edited by tfrunited

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Population control.

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The population isn't the issue, the earth can sustain human life of many billions. It's the way we manage the resources that is the problem, we can't sustain our lifestyle and we will destroy the world because of it.

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Nah, population is a problem because of the way humans manage resources

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Fortunately, countries with high total fertility rates have falling rates. The countries with rates below replacement level, which is around 2.1, have stable rates.

Country - Total fertility rate - Population above 10 million

https://data.un.org/Data.aspx?d=PopDiv&f=variableID%3A54

Niger 6.5
Somalia 5.6
DR Congo 5.4
Mali 5.4
Chad 5.3
Angola 5.2
Burundi 5.0
Nigeria 5.0
The Gambia 4.9
Burkina Faso 4.8
Tanzania 4.6
Benin 4.5
Mozambique 4.5
Uganda 4.4
Central African Republic 4.3
Côte d'Ivoire 4.3
Guinea 4.3
Mauritania 4.3
Senegal 4.3
South Sudan 4.3
Zambia 4.3
Cameroon 4.2
Congo 4.1
Equatorial Guinea 4.1
Guinea-Bissau 4.1
Marshall Islands 4.1
Solomon Islands 4.1
Sudan 4.1
Liberia 4.0
São Tomé and Príncipe 4.0
Togo 4.0
Comoros 3.9
Malawi 3.9
Nauru 3.9
Afghanistan 3.8
Ethiopia 3.8
Madagascar 3.8
Sierra Leone 3.8
Eritrea 3.7
Gabon 3.7
Rwanda 3.7
Ghana 3.6
Samoa 3.6
Tuvalu 3.6
Vanuatu 3.6
Timor-Leste 3.5
Iraq 3.4
Kiribati 3.4
Tajikistan 3.4
Yemen 3.4
Papua New Guinea 3.3
Tonga 3.3
Zimbabwe 3.3
Kenya 3.2
Pakistan 3.2
Egypt 3.1
Namibia 3.1
Israel 2.9
Lesotho 2.9
Eswatini 2.8
Kyrgyz Republic 2.8
Micronesia 2.8
Algeria 2.7
Haiti 2.7
Mongolia 2.7
Botswana 2.6
Fiji 2.6
Guatemala 2.6
Kazakhstan 2.6
Syria 2.6
Turkmenistan 2.6
Bolivia 2.5
Djibouti 2.5
Jordan 2.5
Oman 2.5
Lao PDR 2.4
Philippines 2.4
Cambodia 2.3
Ecuador 2.3
Guyana 2.3
Honduras 2.3
Panama 2.3
Paraguay 2.3
Seychelles 2.3
South Africa 2.3
Suriname 2.3
Uzbekistan 2.3
Dominican Republic 2.2
Indonesia 2.2
Morocco 2.2
Nicaragua 2.2
Argentina 2.1
Belize 2.1
Cabo Verde 2.1
India 2.1
Libya 2.1
Peru 2.1
Saudi Arabia 2.1
Sri Lanka 2.1
Venezuela 2.1
Georgia 2.0
Iran 2.0
Kuwait 2.0
Lebanese Republic 2.0
Mexico 2.0
Myanmar 2.0
Tunisia 2.0
Vietnam 2.0
Antigua and Barbuda 1.9
Azerbaijan 1.9
Bangladesh 1.9
El Salvador 1.9
Grenada 1.9
Jamaica 1.9
Malaysia 1.9
Turkey 1.9
Uruguay 1.9
Bahrain 1.8
Bhutan 1.8
Dominica 1.8
DPR Korea 1.8
France 1.8
New Zealand 1.8
St. Christopher and Nevis 1.8
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 1.8
Russia 1.8
Sweden 1.8
Armenia 1.7
Australia 1.7
Belarus 1.7
Belgium 1.7
Brunei 1.7
China 1.7
Colombia 1.7
Denmark 1.7
Ireland 1.7
Iceland 1.7
Latvia 1.7
Lithuania 1.7
Maldives 1.7
Montenegro 1.7
Nepal 1.7
Norway 1.7
Qatar 1.7
The Bahamas 1.7
United Kingdom 1.7
United States 1.7
Barbados 1.6
Brazil 1.6
Bulgaria 1.6
Costa Rica 1.6
Czech Republic 1.6
Estonia 1.6
Germany 1.6
Liechtenstein 1.6
Netherlands 1.6
Romania 1.6
Slovenia 1.6
Trinidad and Tobago 1.6
Albania 1.5
Austria 1.5
Chile 1.5
Cuba 1.5
Hungary 1.5
Malta 1.5
Monaco 1.5
Slovak Republic 1.5
Switzerland 1.5
Canada 1.4
Croatia 1.4
Finland 1.4
Luxembourg 1.4
North Macedonia 1.4
Poland 1.4
Serbia 1.4
Thailand 1.4
Ukraine 1.4
Japan 1.3
Mauritius 1.3
Moldova 1.3
Portugal 1.3
Spain 1.3
St. Lucia 1.3
United Arab Emirates 1.3
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.2
Cyprus 1.2
Greece 1.2
Italy 1.2
Singapore 1.2
Andorra 1.1
Korea 1.0
San Marino 1.0

Edited by tfrunited

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I think that a lack of reproductive control is a problem, but I don't think overpopulation per se is a problem. 

One of the fundamental parts of eradicating the most severe poverty - not meaning being a poor-ish developing country, but properly lethal, generational poverty - is empowering women. And the first part of empowering women is to give them the power to control when and on what terms they have a child. That means educating communities, and making contraception readily available. 

It's not having children which is the problem, the problem is women being relegated to a position of helplessness because any contol over their bodies is denied to them. It costs women their lives for lack of prenatal care, it costs them their chances of education, and it creates a self-reinforcing spiral of poverty, social disintegration and powerlessness through generations. 

Countries can have population growth and a huge improvement in development. It's a matter of timing and of opportunities. 

Its also why most religious charities in the 3rd world are sick jokes. They alleviate the surface symptoms of poverty whilst preaching faiths which push the role of mindless breeder onto women, and so purposefully entrench poverty even further. 

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Very good post inverted, I agree with you. But on the long term, the world doesn’t seem to have the resources for 11 billion people, the estimated population by the UN in 2100. If we want to avoid mass poverty, wars and global environmental disasters, a gobal population around 3 billion is needed according to demographic scientists. We can go the hard way, with mass starvation, or the smart way. More money for empowering women in the poorest regions is key indeed.

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Those religious leaders who push the role of mindless breeder onto women lose their power when women become more educated. Even Saudi Arabia and Iran have declining populations. The more extreme poverty, the higher the birth rate.

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Overpopulation was a big problem in China and India. That's why China forced people to get no more than one child, and that's why India forced sterilization on men because its population size limits were reached. It's a brutal way of population control, which can be prevented if a nation's birth rate is around 2 with affordable contraception and good family planning out of free will. And indeed, underpopulation can also be a problem. Singapore for example has a total fertility rate around 1, which means there will be too much elderly people dependent on the workers. A total fertility rate above 2.5 is also problematic, because it will result in more mass poverty, environmental problems, unemployment, terrorism and so on. If a too large part of the population is a child, there won't be enough funds for decent education systems, which are crucial to develop into a developed nation. Africa's birth rate is keeping the continent poor. If we want to take the next step in development, we need birth rates in Africa which are comparable with the highest developed countries in the world. A TFR between 1.5 and 2.5 is healthy, higher or lower is problematic on the long-term. If we want to get rid of mass poverty, it's crucial to get a total fertility rate around 2. You can see it in the list, the countries with the highest TFR are the poorest and the countries with the lowest TFR are among the richest in the world. Niger is the country with the highest TFR, they're also the poorest country in the world. That's no coincidence.

Africa's high birth rate is keeping the continent poor:

https://www.economist.com/middle-ea...high-birth-rate-is-keeping-the-continent-poor

The problem is not necessarily a large population, but a huge population growth. If a very large amount of a nation's people is youthful, the working / dependency ratio is out of balance. This will result in unemployment, poverty, not enough money for education systems and so on. And the risks of wars increase tremendously. It's a snowball effect. China was extremely poor before its rapid birth decline, with millions dying from starvation. China developed very fast in recent decades after its birth rates fell very fast. It is both ways: Poverty results in high fertility rates AND high fertility rates result in more poverty. Both are true. Here you can read more about it:

"High birth rates hamper development in poorer countries, warns UN forum"

https://news.un.org/en/story/2009/04/295732-high-birth-rates-hamper-development-poorer-countries-warns-un-forum

Edited by tfrunited

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Technically if we turned to cannibalism, we could solve both overpopulation and world hunger

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The story of the "ecocide" and collapse of the civilization on Easter Island, or Rapa Nui in the native language, became very popular with the film "Rapa Nui" (1994) and the book by American biologist Jared Diamond "Collapse - How societies choose to fail or survive" (2005). After the proposed scenario shown in both film and book, the human population grow too large and a fierce overexploitation of the limited natural resources of the island started. Especially wood was needed for the construction of the moai - large statues that impersonate the forefathers and became a symbol of power and prestige on the small island. However after clearing completely the forest of large grown palm trees, the soil was quickly eroded by the heavy rain falls that periodically occur. The barren volcanic rocks could no longer sustain agriculture production and soon the farmers were no longer able to feed the population - without timber no one was able to build boats to escape the impending doom. In the resulting famine, chaos and civil wars one of the highest developed cultures in the Pacific Ocean, with an own scripture and astonishing construction skills, rapidly collapsed. We can face somewhat comparable problems in the future if population growth won’t stop soon. Here you can read the entire artice: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/history-of-geology/climate-overpopulation-environment-the-rapa-nui-debate/

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Just stop people from having sex.

Problem solved.

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1 hour ago, Michael Simeonovitch said:

Just stop people from having sex.

Problem solved.

Good luck with that. 

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I think overpopulation is a significant issue for the 21st century. Unfortunately our economic systems kind of require solid population growth as a major ingredient to economic stability which is hard to resolve.

Climate change will play a significant role in this equation too. Reductions in farmable land and secure water supply will only exacerbate the challenges of servicing the needs of the global population.

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The established religions pushed and promoted breeding so as their respective tribes wouldn't die out, primarily to breed males so as to "fight" and overpower the rival by growth. It's the only reason for the anti-homosexual rhetoric they have all pushed for. It's all about survival and forever it has been the badly educated (the poor) that have been exploited in this sense like for example in ancient times stating that the 'God'' says don't eat this because #**##*#* when infact due to the geographical area in which these doctrines were born certain produce (mainly talking meats here) were dangerous in the sense of causing illnesses/plagues that could wipe-out tribes... The same goes with the abuse of alcohol blah, blah, blah... The lack of birth control and breeding due to requirements is literally down to all of those factors related to grooming and manipulation.

It would take religious leaders courage to tell the truth and say something must be done, but we all know that will never happen as to promote 'question marks' within a follwoing will only be met with populist rage.

Of course we're raping the planet! But greed in all of its manifestations will always supersede common sense and the truth. 

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