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Old Posted Nov 13, 2007, 2:58 PM
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Spocket Spocket is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Changchun , China
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Sorry, just had to get in on this.

Simply put, the world isn't over-populated (as has been pointed out) as a whole. It simply depends on where one lives. My city for example is considered something of an isolated outpost because the next nearest city of equal or greater size is about a thousand kilometers away. And in all that distance is kilometer after kilometer of food waiting to be harvested and sent to some distant market in Europe or Asia.

This of course brings up the question "Why are people starving then ?" The simple answer is that it's because they can't afford to feed themselves. Of course , when said like that it sounds cavalier and insensitive but the truth is that it has to be this way. If they want the food (and we'd love to give it to them) they need to pay for it. Why ? Simple economics.

We can't simply give away all the food necessary to sustain a third world country , nevermind the whole third world. One way or another this would bring about the collapse the world's agricultural economy. Whether it means having our governments buy the food at market prices (impossible for any sanely led government ) , artificially buoying the price of the food (this is never a good idea and it's been proven time and again with command economies) or simply sending excess food at no cost (that's not true anyway since it costs money to move and distribute the food) to nations in need.

It's basically a matter of supply and demand. The supply is there, the demand is there but if there is no cold hard cash in the mix then nobody gets paid. If farmers can't make money then they stop farming. It's that simple. Since the world depends on farmers making money and we depend on them to feed us , we can't give away too much food. Sound selfish ? Only until one realizes that if it wasn't this way we'd all be starving and be worse off. It was this same economic model that brought us out of the stone age and gave rise to the world we live in today. People who think it was better before have not read their history. There was never a time when a greater percentage of the population of the world was living more comfortably even if that comfort doesn't encompass the entire world yet. Giving away too much food disrupts the economics of the whole scheme and if left unchecked would bankrupt the same people who want to help those who need the help. If that happened , nobody wins but we all lose.

Now, as for rising or falling populations :

It's not the first time that populations have risen and fallen over a period of decades. In fact, both France and Germany have experienced this many times in their histories. Chances are that within a few decades at most , the populations will begin to rise again through natural increase alone. Something always comes along to stimulate the birth rate but since these are trends , it's difficult to foresee what that might be. Governments have never been very good at convincing people to either have or not have children. China is a pretty good modern example of governmental ineffectiveness in this department. It was and is money that makes all the difference. With cash comes education and the more educated a person is the less likely they are usually to want children. The greater the education , the more money becomes available to an individual or population. So the cycle is self-perpetuating in that sense.

On the other hand, the current trend appears to indicate a psychological shift in spite of the money or education. People who are childless are lamenting their decision from years ago and when possible are either having children before it's too late or spreading the word that they wish they'd had families. Either way, it's likely that within a couple of decades, birth rates in developed nations will rise. As for how much they'll rise , it's impossible to say. And that of course depends on the trend holding in the first place. Right now , it's not particularly discernible but the anectdotal evidence suggests it's existence.
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