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Thursday, June 16, 2011

A WORLD POPULATION OF 7 BILLION

The front page of the morning Star Advertiser indicated that the people density for Hawaii was 211 per square mile.  So I wondered how this compared to the world, which, it turns out, is 34.5 / square mile.  Considering we can still expand to the Big Island, what is the big deal about our globe being overcrowded?  Well, the problem is, indeed, serious.  Here is the world projection, and all signs indicate reaching 7 billion real soon.

If there has been any criticism of my books, it is that I have ignored the most important parameter:  the world population.  Yes, I don't have a chapter on this subject, but this mostly because there was not much I could add to the subject than to say that population growth will reverse once the world becomes economically prosperous, for then, the central government will have something like Social Security in place and parents won't need to have many children to take care of them at old age.

The problem with this paradigm is that, if anything, over next few generations, the economy of the world will begin to sink.  While some, including me, have begun to predict that the global population will   decline during this century (the effects of Peak Oil, Global Warming, economic collapse, etc.), virtually every demographic study has bullishly predicted a continued increase.

If Homo Sapiens began around 50,000 years ago, there have been about 106 billion births, with our current population representing roughly 6% of those who have lived on Planet Earth:


Mind you, the Homo Sapien growth rate is actually decreasing and all this projected increase will take place when for the first time ever when so many countries are experiencing population declines.  There are 20 of them, mostly in the former Soviet states, Europe and Japan.  China is in a quandary about what to do because they, too, are getting old with a one child policy, and this is being relaxed to reach a more economical and societal optimum.

A couple of years ago CNN projected a population of 7 billion being reached this year, and that 97% of growth over the next 40 years will happen in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Caribbean.  Note the absence of the Americas and Europe.  While Uganda and Canada have about the same population today, in 2050, the former will have three times the number of people than the latter.  India will be #1, China #2 and the USA #3 (312 million to 439 million), primarily for us because of immigration.  The world will have shot past 9 billion in 2045.  That current issue of National Geographic predicts that 7 billion will be reached before the end of the year.

Let us see who ends up being right.  The Takahashi prediction is that 7 billion will occur in the Spring of 2012, say, 22March2012, that is, not until next year.  I will also go so far as to suggest that in 2050, the world population will be less than 7 billion, again, because of all those calamities that will compound the tragedy of poverty.  

I don't envision any kind of survival of the fittest lifestyle occurring in the developed world, as do some of my virtual forum colleagues, but the decline in our way of life could still, yet, actually increase happiness.  How can that be so, you say?  Well, some of my other internet correspondents are actually looking forward to fewer tourists in Hawaii, allowing for more enjoyable surfing, successful fishing and a fuller family life, compared to the current stresses of today.  Frankly, I think that if the economy of our state enters into an advanced state of depression, life will generally become terrible and far from happy.  I already feel sorry for our children's children.

Can we prevent this coming doom? It will be difficult, but if:

1.  Peak Oil is delayed (and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange has crude oil at $98/barrel in December of 2019) and 

2.  Global Warming receives a reprieve from (pick your fantasy):

      -  lack of sunspots

      -  Iceland erupting, casting a cooling haze for half a century 

      -  scientists being just plain wrong

...and more (we're dreaming here anyway), fossil substitutes for oil will give humanity a few decades, fusion might be commercialized by then and something like the Blue Revolution can begin to provide a viable economic option for locations like Hawaii.

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The Dow Jones Industrials increased 64 to 11,962, with world markets almost all declining.  Oil (NYMEX $95/barrel, Brent Spot $114/barrel) and gold ( dropping a buck to $1530/toz) prices seem stabilized.

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There are two spots of interest in both the Eastern and Western Pacific.

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1 comment:

Sweet Fairy said...

Great idea. I really appreciate your info and idea. Thanks for sharing. world population