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Boulding's Three Laws of Population:

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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:26 AM
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Boulding's Three Laws of Population:
Excerpt of Bouldings Three Laws:

First Theorem: The Dismal Theorem If the only ultimate check on the growth of population is misery, then the population will grow until it is miserable enough to stop its growth.

Second Theorem: The Utterly Dismal Theorem This theorem states that any technical improvement can only relieve misery for a while, for so long as misery is the only check on population, the improvement will enable population to grow, and will soon enable more people to live in misery than before. The final result of improvements, therefore, is to increase the equilibrium population which is to increase the total sum of human misery.

Third Theorem: The moderately cheerful form of the Dismal Theorem Fortunately, it is not too difficult to restate the Dismal Theorem in a moderately cheerful form, which states that if something else, other than misery and starvation, can be found which will keep a prosperous population in check, the population does not have to grow until it is miserable and starves, and it can be stably prosperous. Until we know more, the Cheerful Theorem remains a question mark. Misery we know will do the trick. This is the only sure- fire automatic method of bringing population to equilibrium. Other things may do it.

excerpt from: http://www.gurufocus.com/news.php?id=81739

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Its hard to find an intelligent article on population, but this one is pretty good. The basic argument made is that growth inevitably decreases the standard of living of a population, in spite of what we have often been told (by those who profit from growth). One interesting thing discussed is how the One Child policy in China has been a factor in their huge standard of living improvement over the past couple of decades, while our growth has done the opposite.

No solutions in it, but the notion of a "Cheerful Theorem" is a useful one, or a practical way of looking at it at least.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:38 AM
Response to Original message
1. It's wrong for any govt to demand population control, but I firmly believe
everybody should think about and realize that if you are having a problem affording to live on your own or just the two of you as a couple, adding a baby isn't going to make anything better! I understand the want to procreate and with at least a lot of men...legacy of the family name! But it's a really dumb thing for people of little means to keep producing 5, 6, 7, 8 and more children!

Sorry guys, but glue your damn zipper!
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:47 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Here, I don't think governmental demands would work
though it would be easy enough to stop rewarding more kids with more tax breaks and credits.

Population growth is best not made a rich vs poor thing, as we're all in the same boat after all. In any case, the conventional "rich people telling the poor to stop having kids" doesn't apply at all here: one implication of this perspective is that growth historically benefits the wealthy by creating a over supply of labor (becoming cheap) and ever increasing demand for products (expensive), the familiar pattern.
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wuvuj Donating Member (874 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 06:44 AM
Response to Original message
3. Find the genes responsible?

Third Theorem: The moderately cheerful form of the Dismal Theorem Fortunately, it is not too difficult to restate the Dismal Theorem in a moderately cheerful form, which states that if something else, other than misery and starvation, can be found which will keep a prosperous population in check, the population does not have to grow until it is miserable and starves, and it can be stably prosperous. Until we know more, the Cheerful Theorem remains a question mark. Misery we know will do the trick. This is the only sure- fire automatic method of bringing population to equilibrium. Other things may do it.

......

Find the genes responsible for retrograde conservatism and religious idiocy and delete them from the gene pool. I'd start looking in the south.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 01:20 AM
Response to Original message
4. sounds malthusian; otherwise, there are
oodles of material on population if you search under "political ecology" or "demography"
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. apparently saying any resource is finite is Malthusian
...and saying that a population dependent on finite resources must then also have a limit to growth.

I can't say I've read his work though, and certainly he's more an element of the history than a necessity to any current argument.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. not sure i understand
your post

familiarity with Malthusian theory is certainly crucial to understanding current arguments concerning
demography and the environment
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Just that he can be left out if it simplifies the argument
His theories are basic enough that they reappear in other perspectives independently, or you could just start from scratch with a mathematical progression. He's an important part of history, but using him to support an argument often leads to pointless side discussions as to how he really hasn't been "debunked", and yes, he was wrong in the timing of his warning but he couldn't have known about the role of petroleum reserves and so forth, and the math stands anyway...
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stuntcat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 03:27 PM
Response to Original message
5. damn too late to rec.
omg but this is my big chance to say malthusian! :bounce: malthusian malthusian malthusian!!
The more times someone can use the impressive word "malthusian" the closer they get to proving him wrong!!! :eyes: as all mankind is busy proving him right.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-19-10 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. It feels almost musical to say, doesn't it?
Malthusian
Malthu-sian
Malth-u-sian
Malthusian! :-)
Malthusian!!! :+
Mal-thu-si-an!!!! :hippie:
Malthusian!!!!! :party:
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Nihil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-20-10 04:13 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. You forgot one ...
Mal- :spank: thu- :spank: sian!! :spank:

(Just as a reminder that his basic principle remains sound.)

:hi:
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-20-10 09:48 AM
Response to Original message
11. I don't think you need to postulate any sort of special case for humans at all...
We're animals and our population dynamics are those of animals.

"Intelligence" exists only in the eye of the beholder. We humans happened upon some biological adaptations that resulted in the near exponential growth of our population, but this growth will not be sustainable and our population will collapse.

What small choice we have is how miserable this population collapse will be. We will do it the old fashioned way with lots of people dying in utter misery, having babies who will not survive, or we will simply evolve some means of limiting our numbers, which is what happens in most animal species like ours that must make a very large investment in their offspring.
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-20-10 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. All current signs indicate that it is going to happen the old fashioned way.
:(
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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-20-10 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
13. There's a wonderful demonstration project
being run by the U.S, the U.N. and assorted NGOs down in Haiti. The population has increased from 6 million in 1989 to 10.5 million today. Add in at least a million expatriot Haitians and the number approaches 12 million, a doubling in less than 25 years. Guestimates are that 43 % of the people are under age 15, so no respite is in sight. All this despite the fact that they have no economy and they can't feed themselves. At least 40% of their gdp falls from heaven in the form of relief aid. Aid agencies raise money to relieve the desperate plight of Haitians, their numbers increase, thus increasing their desperation. This incresases the amounts that need to be raised. Haiti is a modern plantation whose crop is people. Their job is to starve picturesquely while singing and dancing so as to provide a livlihood for thousands of aid workers and highly paid administrators. It's the new economy. Welcome to the 21st century.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-20-10 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Remarkable.
Did you know that when cynicism crackles like that it smells just like ozone? Neither did I.

Nice shot, pscot :thumbsup:
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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-20-10 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. I thought I was a model of restraint
The facts in this case provide more than enough energy.
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