World population

  Curio 11:57 27 Aug 2006

With more people walking the planet than have ever died, Governments concreting over arable land to house them, something has got to give. Will it be Man destroying Man, or Mother Nature resolving the problem by Famine or other disaster? Mother Nature is odds on to me.

  Altruist 12:55 27 Aug 2006

would be my favourite.

  tammer 13:40 27 Aug 2006

.. but if the population keeps growing we're not going to last much longer. Bizarrely, the UK Government still tries to encourage people to have kids with tax incentives etc. People are probably the one resource the world isn't short of.

Yours cheerfully,


  oresome 16:24 27 Aug 2006

I think the UK Government looks at shorter term issues, like how to finance the old age pension when there could be a greater number of pensioners than workers, if they didn't intervene.

  Hertz Van Rentyl 16:32 27 Aug 2006

They say one in five people is a chinaman, so which one of you is it?

  Jimmy14 17:13 27 Aug 2006
  Forum Editor 17:43 27 Aug 2006

which affect population growth, and hundreds more which limit it. Broadly speaking, populations increase because of advances in medical science, improved nutrition and food supplies(not the same thing), and improvements in living standards. We live in a time of increasing prosperity for many, and an almost total lack of prosperity for many more.

Back in the middle of the 19th century approximately 57% of all children borne in the UK died before reaching maturity. Now the figure of pre-maturity deaths is probably less than 1%.

Supply a people with a temperate climate, enough productive agricultural land, long periods of socio-political stability, and you'll produce a healthy, wealthy nation, with a rich cultural life. Its people will have enough freedom from stress to become artists, invent things, make things, and travel to other places - in short, you'll have the UK and countries like us.

Population levels will ebb and flow in such countries, but in general terms they'll slowly increase - the UK population has now grown to 60 million; in the mid 18th century it was around 8 million.

In less highly-developed countries populations may increase at a faster rate, for several reasons. For one thing, there is little or no birth control - people simply don't see the point. In many countries there's little or no social security system, so people rely on their children to look after them when they grow old and/or ill. This encourages larger families - the more children you have, the more likely it is that there'll be someone to take care of you later. Under-developed nations are often largely agricultural, there are many small farmers, and children are a valuable asset in this respect - they can help on the farm, and the family's standard of living may rise.

It's a very complex subject, and my rather simplistic presentation falls far short of explaining why world populations have steadily grown. It's a fact that with very few exceptions they have grown, however, and are still doing so. Quite what will hapen in the fture is anone's guess, but it's pretty obvious that homo sapiens faces a pretty bleak future if things go on the way they are. I think that in the end the solution will come in the form of 'natural' controls - as increased populations lead to greater stress levels, and put a greater strain on us as living organisms our life-spans will be reduced by stress-related illnesses. Those, plus socio-economic pressures will act as population limiters.

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