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Population: Control or Perish


Dr BK Mukhopadhyay
(A noted management economist and an international commentator on business and economic affairs.
He may be reached at

French Institute of Demographic Studies projected that by the end of this century there will be 10 to 11 billion people on the planet. The world population will jump from the current 7.1 billion to 9.7 billion by 2050. In India the same is assessed to rise from 1.2 billion to 1.6 billion, while that in China will remain at the same level [1.3 billion].

India will likely hold that rank throughout the 21st century. Its population is 1.34 billion, nearly a fourfold increase since independence 70 years ago. China’s population, at 1.41 billion, roughly doubled over the same period. The pace of India’s population growth, now at 15 million per year, is the world’s largest. The two nations alone have more than a billion people, and their population gap is projected to widen to 500 million by 2100. By comparison, the third and fourth most populous countries in 2100, Nigeria and the United States, are projected to have populations of nearly 800 million and 450 million, respectively.

The U N observed: It took until the early 1800s for the world population to reach one billion. Now we add a billion every 12-15 years.

It has been assessed that 10,000 years ago, humans made up 1percent of the weight of vertebrate land animals: the rest were all wild. Today, wild animals make up just 1 percent. The other 99 percent are humans, our farmed animals and our pets.

The FAO forecasts that we will need 70 percent more food by 2050. Due to population growth, availability of land per person in developing countries is expected to halve by 2050. Globally, we’ll use 71 percent more resources each by 2050, as per I R P assessment. What is more a matter of concern is the fact that more than 4 billion people will live in regions short of water by 2050. IEA’s forecast is that the global demand for energy will increase by 30 percent by 2040. Brooking Institution is prompt enough to opine that a global ‘middle class’ of 3.2 billion people consuming at a high level in 2016 is expected to rise to roughly 5 billion by 2030!!

Clearly, the natural world is paying the price.

The world population has risen seven fold over the last 200 years. For the first time in history, a majority of the world’s six billion people are living in cities. Between 2000 and 2025, the world’s urban population will double.
Actually, regarding the state of infrastructure little said is better. The rapid population growth has led to an acute shortage of dwelling units which resulted to; overcrowding, traffic congestion, pollution, housing shortages (slum and squatter housing), high rents, poor urban living conditions, low infrastructure services, poverty, unemployment, and poor sanitation which has become pervasive and indeed high crime rate.

A number of developing countries are still faced with bad road network, lack of power supply, inadequate water supply and some basic amenities. The drainage is poorly constructed leading to difficulty in accessing the roads due to the flood leading to the flood disaster in some developing countries. Problems such as insufficient housing, especially particular for low – income families, are being faced, which resulted in overcrowding of already congested areas, the continuing deterioration of rundown neighborhoods, high social cost and untold personal misery.

Measures proposed to offset rising costs in public housing that include, among others, less exclusionary zoning regulations, reduced tax burdens, cooperation with the private builders, encouragement of cooperative housing organization, promotion of industrialized building techniques, use of low- cost building materials and cheaper mortgage credit, are there but the overall position remains far from being satisfactory. Flooding is another very serious problem faced in urban areas, even in capital cities of developing countries, during the rainy seasons in particular.

Actually we are into a difficult stage globally and nationally in agriculture. Agricultural output will need to double by 2050 to feed a growing world. Produce more; conserve more and improve farmers’ lives and that is sustainable agriculture! Given the pattern and trends in land use time is ripe to seriously think over intensive farm practises so that the ever increasing demand emerging from high reta of growth of food-non-food – demanders coupled with lesser and lesser supply forces get treated simultaneously. Considering the situation of burgeoning population the farm sector is forced to go a long way before a satisfactory position is arrived at.

It is better not forgotten that an economy like India still is counted to be largest reservoir of poverty in the world, with 300 million of people, as per the national poverty line definition, and well above 800 million people just surviving on less than $2 per day! SE Asia requires immediate pep up on this score. Neglecting agriculture results in heavy immediate and future loss. The huge upcoming population in the workable category, in turn, should better be considered as one of the rare assets that could give rich dividends exactly by the same route as China gained in the previous years.

Should we then remain silent spectator even knowing the trends and things likely to happen? Can we not bring down the damages more rapidly with a positive outlook backed by global cooperation reminding everyone the ongoing fact and circumstances in as much as climate change is happening 170 times faster than it would do without human activity; based on today’s average global emission rates, population growth until 2050 will produce the same additional CO2 emissions as four additional USAs[World Bank (calculation by Population Matters)].

Finally, some of the latest thinking on this score may be helping the economies to frame realistic policies, especially the developing block: a little less makes a lot of difference; we can bring birth rates down; one less rich person helps slows the warming of the planet; choosing a smaller family is the most effective way of cutting your carbon emissions; smaller families help countries escape poverty; family planning is a great investment of overseas aid; smaller families save lives.



12 Comments on "Population: Control or Perish"

  1. makati1 on Tue, 8th Jan 2019 5:42 pm 

    Another self appointed ‘expert” in a field he has no education in. “A noted management economist” talking about population. Economists are nothing but chicken guts readers and purveyors of bullshit. Pretending they can predict the future.

    That said: it is too late to stop our extinction. His “smaller families” might have worked 100 years ago, but not now. Western colonialism/slavery/plundering did more to keep the rest of the world down and in ignorance/poverty than anything else. Education indicates smaller families. Look at the population growth in educated countries for proof. All are currently in contraction mode as far as population goes. Educate the Indian population in birth control and give them a more secure income and population growth will slow. Not going to happen.

    BTW: The above newspaper is a local India publication.

  2. Davy on Tue, 8th Jan 2019 7:00 pm 

    I see agricultural production and economic activity approaching a point of declining rate of growth. That doesn’t sound bad but it is. Overall human productivity is hitting diminishing returns. The economic situation is not healthy with systematic macro malinvestment. The social fabric is being torn with the individual and his values but also society and its socialization. The numbers don’t look bad either just check out the GDP figures but the reality is it is bad because so much of what we do as a people does not bring a positive return. Much of it is negative if we normalized. This means ending the denial and delusional self-deception both with society and the individual. Population and consumption are on the rise making this unhealthy situation worse every day. To me this is a classic boundary of overshoot situation and this is where the trouble starts.

    We seem to be fine now. Lots of food and stuff around in this very productive global economy. Fascinating tech and exciting potentials mask a deepening decay. Our fascinations with ourselves masks the real situation of unsustainability due to living arrangements that do not reflect long term realities. We have brittle resilience because of technology and fossil fuels. If tech breaks down or fossil fuels become less able to power the human engine then we face real dangers of cascading failures. Who knows what climate is doing but it is no longer on the course it has been since humans began civilized settlements. We are in a new period. This may or may not be good for agriculture but I see it likely more bad than good. Some places may see improvements but overall everything is changing too quickly. There is the issue of an extinction process. We are losing all kinds of important creatures. Ecosystems are in decline everywhere and in localized failure. The oceans are dying and being fished out. How can anyone look optimistically on that summation? Our cornucopians talk about vertical gardens and super charged plants feeding us. This reminds me of Musk talking about Mars outposts. This is all dangerous bullshit but we can flip the channel or bring up a new site. We need to get our act together with adapted lifestyles of moderation with consumption and efforts at localized food production and conservation. Instead we have fake greens trumpeting autonomous cars and wind farms like that is going to save us.

    In those areas overpopulated now the situation will be dire eventually. Who knows when exactly but there are just far too many potential weak points across a spectrum of risks for such places. Those areas that have an overdependence on affluent living a similar situation is present. A wealthy mega urban area is a complex organism with high demands. Start cutting supplies and it will get ugly. Personally I would get the hell out of any mega urban region now while the status quo is more or less normal. We may be OK for a few more years but every year that goes by that population grows, climate destabilizes, the ecosystem declines, and the economy decays we are closer to an event like no one has ever known. It reminds me of time and getting old. Time speeds up for old people and the same can be said about a late stage civilization. The great depression was chicken shit compared to what is coming someday. I say someday because I have been fooled before. I thought for sure back in 05 and 06 we were going to fall apart then 08 came and went and before you know it I was SHTF wrong monthly until I wised up that we are now in a new normal and a new epoch. Old parameters of predicting outcomes don’t work effectively anymore. Cornucopians act like they were right and are right but they are neurotic. They know shit is not right but they lie to themselves. Many don’t care or are not smart enough. Only a few awakened people grasp what is happening and mostly these people are ignored. We have new variables and a new living arrangement present now but we are slow boiling and not aware of vast dangers. This last 2 decades have been wildly exciting and surprising, I will say that but sooner or later this excitement is going to bite. Over the last decade it has been like TV but ahead is the real deal.

  3. FuelShortageIsComingYouAreDeadLoser on Tue, 8th Jan 2019 8:20 pm 

    I have watch a lot of French video about the yellow manifestation. Lot of interviews, analysis, testimonies. Not once someone mentioned overpopulation, naturals resource depletion, peak oil, money vs energy (Joule) or changing the money system for a energy Joule trade system .

    People still believe that there is some kind of special leader or person that can fix everything and bring back prosperity for everyone.

    This is why I refuse to have kids. Most people are just animal with now aptitudes to abstract thinking such as Math, science.

    Most people operate at an animal survival level: poop, piss, eat, fuck, sleep, fight for resource and power.

    I am so happy I never had kids. I knew at a young age that something was wrong with most people.

    Some of you might like this satirical video about the life mismatch white people compassion.

  4. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 8th Jan 2019 9:09 pm 

    Record-Breaking Number Of Americans Want To Get Out Of U.S. Forever

    I’m going down with the ship, with honor..

  5. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 8th Jan 2019 9:16 pm 

    Donald Trump Runs Apocalyptic Border Wall Ads As Networks Clear Time For Speech

  6. DerHundistLos on Tue, 8th Jan 2019 11:51 pm 

    I’m surprised to read that the writer is ignorant of the current world population. In the article he states that the current population is 7.1 billion when in fact it’s 7.7 billion and will increase by 94 million over the next 12 months.

    With the global human population at 7.671.000.000, 600.000.000 people is only a rounding error!!!

  7. DerHundistLos on Tue, 8th Jan 2019 11:52 pm 


  8. makati1 on Wed, 9th Jan 2019 12:49 am 

    7,638,000,000 and growing…

    All based on guesses, No way to know what it actually is. 185+ countries and many who do NOT do a census or have accurate birth/death records. All we can do is estimate and that may be off by 500 million or more.

  9. deadly on Wed, 9th Jan 2019 4:57 am 

    By 2023, there should be darn near 8,000,000,000.

    It is 39 degrees Fahrenheit in Athens, Greece today.

    It’s daytime there now. One year ago, it was 49 degrees in Athens.

    The beaches of Greece have snow on them, a Siberian cold air mass is bearing down on the Mediterranean.

    Kind of cool out there right now at negative five Fahrenheit, you know. That is what my thermometer reads right now. The vernal equinox can’t get here fast enough.

    If anything can reduce populations of humans, cold will, like an ice age, a new one, will force Norwegians to seek refuge in Rome or Barcelona. Muscovites will move to Cairo.

    Lake Geneva will freeze over. The Swiss will move south to the French Riviera.

    You’ll get your population control mechanism with cold weather dominating the northern regions of the globe, people will have to migrate south to escape certain doom.

    A new ice age will make climate change by humans look like a Sunday picnic on June 30th at midday in Montreal.

    A new ice age will usher in a method of population control one way or another.

    As new competition for resources will be demanded from those on the move from northern climes, the fight will just be beginning.

    All your cows, goats, and pigs to us belong said the Helsinki-ite on the move upon arrival in Istanbul. You Philistines can move along on back to someplace else, like Syria. Good luck on your way there.

    You’ll have plenty of social change in store with everybody hanging out anywhere and everywhere.

    The bodies will be piled in heaps.

    The only government you’ll have will be how to dispose of human remains, then get on with a brave new world. The ruins of all civilizations will be strewn across the planet.

    The migrants who want to enter the US should turn around and head for Venezuela, they’re three million people short these days, the Venezuelans who have had enough vote with their feet.

    A few thousand migrants could be flown from Tijuana to Caracas overnight. It’s going to be 76 degrees in Caracas today, so it is a good choice weatherwise, maybe not so good for economic reasons, but you can adjust.

    The change is happening right before your lying eyes.

    Global warming will make matters worse, more people will be born and any hope there is will continue to vanish.

    The human race is between a rock and a hard place and a cooler earth with growing ice caps at both poles all the way to the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn will help matters immensely.

    Living in a hut in the Amazon Basin won’t be all that bad.

    In other words, you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

  10. Here we go again on Wed, 9th Jan 2019 6:28 am 

    But babies are soooo cute….how many times have I heard that from women when I tell them about overpopulation?
    Oh, but they are the future….oh well

  11. DerHundistLos on Wed, 9th Jan 2019 8:18 am 

    “All based on guesses”

    Not true, Makati. Population modeling is based upon a mature and refined statistical science.

    Population forecasts are generally quite accurate. Country-level forecasts, such as those made by the United Nations and the World Bank, miss the mark by less than 6 percent on average, according to data compiled in “Beyond Six Billion: Forecasting the World’s Population”.

  12. Harquebus on Wed, 9th Jan 2019 2:17 pm 

    Beating my own drum again.

    It’s too late now. Natural processes will thin the herd. The possibility that humans may go extinct is now a good probability.

    “I am rather pessimistic. The maladaptive assumptions of prevailing cultures are deeply ingrained. The notion that economic growth must take precedence over all other considerations and general ignorance of biological and ecological realities do not augur well for the future.” – Professor Stephen Boyden, human ecologist

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