mod (Andy) note: "Blast from the past - Best of Eddie" - This one is originally from October 2011. If there's an old post from Eddie you'd like to see up again shoot me a message.
At a time when the last thing the world needs is more mouths to feed, our lamentable species is set to cross the 7 billion threshold this week. Even more disturbing is the expectation that we'll reach 8 billion in 2025 and that we'll be over 10 billion by the end of the century. For those looking to put these numbers into context, the number of humans on the planet has tripled since 1940.
The bulk of the projected growth is expected to come from sub-Saharan Africa followed by the Indian subcontinent; in other words, people who are already generally impoverished and lacking in resources. Setting food and other commodities aside for the moment, the dwindling supply of fresh water alone might be enough to lead to global instability with the projected population surge.
What are all these people going to eat and drink? In the past century, the US managed exponential increases in crop yields to become the bread basket of the world, but the same can't reasonably be expected of the coming century. For those inclined to profit from others' suffering, it appears Jim Rogers is right and commodities are the play for the future.
I've always been baffled as to why the people in the direst circumstances have the most kids. In many parts of the world, having tons of kids is a societal measure of (faux) wealth. Conversely, in the US having a lot of kids is a marker of relative poverty, generally speaking.
Even the staunchest global warming skeptics have to admit that humanity is a pox on the planet. I'm no tree-hugger, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the resource requirements of the average 75-year human lifespan, and then multiply that by 7 billion. It's pretty staggering. At some point, don't we have a responsibility as a sentient species to call it quits?
Not to mention the advances in life-extending technologies. If human lifespans average over 100 years in the next century and there are 10 billion of us, we'll blast through the tipping point like it was standing still.
Needless to say, crossing the 7 billion threshold this week is not something I'm celebrating. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. Should there be some kind of population control? Are we morally absolved from profiting in human misery if people are too stupid to quit breeding? Should we all be planting a vegetable garden?
At what point do we in the developed world say enough is enough?