Population Control



The Future of the Future - by Robert Anton-Wilson.

There was a Fundamentalist Futurist back in the 1890's who demonstrated that New York City would be abandoned as unfit for habitation by the 1930s. His argument was based on projection forward of population trends, and he correctly estimated that population would grow from 4 million to over 7 million in 40 years. (He didn't guess it would reach over 12 million by now.) It was then obvious, he said, that the amount of horses necessary to provide transportation for that many people would result in a public health hazard of incredible dimensions: there would be horse manure up to the third floor windows everywhere in Manhattan.
This illustrates the most frequent fallacy found in Future projections: the "elementalistic fallacy" named by Alfred Korzybski. The elementalistic fallacy as Korzybski noted, seems to be built into our very language. We can talk about Joe Smith in isolation from his (or any) environment; we can therefore think about Mr. Smith in such fictitious isolation; and in such "elementalistic fallacy" we will always draw wrong conclusions, because Mr. Smith cannot exist without some environment. (He will explode in a vacuum, and without a social world his mind will similarly explode -- or implode -- or at least mutate shockingly, as isolation experiments have shown. )

Projecting population forward without projecting other factors forward has produced numerous elementalistic fallacies similar to thinking of Joe Smith without an environment. Malthus, for instance, "proved" that population will always increase faster than resources, but this was disproven by technological history, and we now understand that "resources" only exist when identified by analysis and each new discovery in pure science shows us new resources everywhere.

One example: the Newtonian system allowed us to tap 0.001 per cent of the energy in a glass of water; 19th Century thermodynamics showed us how to tap 0.01 per cent of that energy; we can now tap 1.0 per cent. Nobody knows how much we'll be able to tap in 50 years.

Elementalistic fallacies abound in Future projections (including my own). We are only gradually and gropingly learning to think "non-elementalistically" (in Korzybski's phrase) or "synergetically" as Bucky Fuller liked to say. I have found one quick way to avoid the more obvious elementalistic and Fundamentalistic errors, which is this:

Whenever I project one trend forward, I then re-analyze the situation, projecting at minimum five other trends forward also.

For instance, lifespan and population have both been increasing in the past 200 years. Projecting these trends forward elementalistically (in isolation) has led to some notable Doomsday scenarios in which humanity overcrowds itself to death. An entirely different picture emerges, however, if one projects these trends synergetically along with five other trends, such as:

The effect of industrialism on population. As documented by Fuller (Critical Path) a nation's population only rises rapidly in the transition from feudalism to industrialism, then levels off when industrialism is well established in a country.

The emergence of Feminism and self-choice among women, beginning with the 18th century radicalism of Mary Wollstonecraft and now including Women's Liberation movements in all parts of the world -- even dawningly in Islamic nations.

The movement of communication technology into space, with clear trends indicating that "industrial" (or more likely, post-industrial) technology will follow, with workers and then families and then schools and grocers and museums, etc. moving into space colonies.

The continued improvement in birth control technology and the fading line between contraception and abortion. There is already a heated debate, for instance, about whether certain devices -- e.g. the IUD -- "are" or "are not" abortifacients.

The neuroscience revolution (or H.E.A.D. Revolution -- Hedonic Engineering And Development) with its increasing promise that humans in the near future will achieve more freedom from mechanical conditioned reflexes (both "physical" and "mental") than ever before.
Whenever I try to project all five of these trends even 40 years into the future, I find the "overcrowding" problem seems less likely than New York being buried in horse manure. To get a feel for synergetic thinking, try your own projection, "guestimating" what the next decade will bring in each of these fields, and the decade after that, and so on, to 2029.



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Spot on OTT (or should that be RAW?)

So often is there scare-mongering about over population based on scaremongering,
and extrememly dodgy statistical science.

just like THERE IS NO OIL CRISIS and a whole host of other fictious problems
which seemingly call for us to limit our everyday actions on this planet. The worst
being a Malthus legacy that there isn't enough resources..... something which I
bang on about with an alarming regularity... i.e. there being enough for every single
person on this planet to live the lifestyle of a millionaire.

What there is, is a basic mis-management of the planets resources....

The decision is whether we still want to base the world economy on slavery....
as that is what the current utilisation of monetary system leads to, or whether
we want a different sort of society, based on the individual uniqueness of self
determining conscienceness, celebrated and loved.

Dare I say it..... things are getting better... What is also happening is as we
liberate ourselves from the limitations of our individual environment, and
educate oneself, we see that things could be also soo much better. Often with
the minimal of impact on ones life. It isn't doom and gloom, but the glorious
awakening of our species... doing what children do as they learn.. Making mistakes,
learning from our experiences, and handing down a better environment to our
kith and kin.

I am with Mr Wilson, and other ppl on this, that the "society of lowered expectations",
only supports those already in position of power, to maintain their position of
power, and relative fantasies of how reality is construed.

I am not saying we can't do better than we are, nor are their problems that
needn't be addressed, but we are all seemingly working together in fashion of
global unity unexperienced of in recorded history...

Love and peace to you all, and keep on smiling, and sharing the light inside..


Professor of Ecognomics
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Henley-on-Thames Rah!
I had a look at the article that psychedelicjuggler linked to a few days ago but didn't have the time to rip it apart/ take the piss out of it.

Wasn't sure if it was worth it. But as I've got some time and as this sort of hogwash really gets my goat here we go.

It is not reasonable for us to expect that population control policies can be effectively lobbied for and introduced in time to reduce birth rates significantly enough to alleviate the impending disastrous effects of overpopulation. This is so because the primary underlying role of government is to facilitate economic growth, which is ultimately facilitated by population growth - and a government cannot act against the interests it exists to serve.

Economic growth is not only facilitated by population growth. If a population grows the economy does not even automaticaly grow with it.

Nor is it reasonable for us to expect, as population optimists seriously suggest, that as the poorer nations raise their standards of living through the miracle of economic growth their birth-rates will experience a corresponding decline (in perfect accordance with the trends which have occurred in first world nations).

It is infact entirely reasonable for us to expect this because as the author states that is exactly what has happened in the past.

First of all to believe that rising affluence necessarily lowers birth rates based solely on the fact that historically this has been the case in our own culture is not rational,

Of course it's rational.

in some cultures the opposite effect could well occur.

But this has not happened in any industrialised culture. Which include Turkey an islamic culture and Japan etc etc etc.

And it is madness to suppose that, for instance, 2 or 3 billion of the world's poorest citizens could all be driving cars and using washing machines and computers within the next fifty years (which would be a natural consequence of affluence and which they would have a perfect right to demand)

Good grief 'poor' people have the right to demand cars, washing machines and computers but no right to reproduce!

As Ott^ has pointed out the car, washing machine and computer are likely to have advanced beyond all recognition in the next fifty years.

it's far too late for that, there are already too many of us, our environment simply couldn't bear such a burden.

There are not too many of us - as others have said there is bad management of resources.

Time is fast running out for our civilisation. Our fragile institutions of hard won freedoms, our legacy from all those who in the past have fought for progress: our freedom of speech, of movement, our systems of welfare, education and health; our right to form unions and so on - the survival of all these will be threatened once the food supply is outstripped by population growth.

That's western civilization he's refering to! Not many rights to form unions etc in those third world countries!

Hungry billions will inevitably take whatever steps are necessary in order to survive,

Does anyone actually belive that some poor starving malnourished soul is going to be a threat. This bloke is an idiot!

Political processes cannot be relied upon to prevent disaster, urgent action taken by private, independent individuals who possess both the necessary power and the courage to exercise it for the general good (even in the face of strong popular opposition) is very possibly our only hope.

:no: our only hope is he gets run over by a bus!

and probably more significantly because reproduction is such a powerful natural instinct in all of us that any perceived threat to its continuance is generally met by an unreasoned, stubborn, reactionary mentality, against which no amount of argument can prevail.

The reason 'no amount of argument can prevail' is because he is wrong!

I've changed my mind hopefully he gets run over by two buses and the ambulance sent to get him and then they reverse back over him!

The moral objections which are likely to be raised against the prospect of involuntarily sterilisation generally arise from the entrenched idea that fertility is a fundamental human right which cannot be sacrificed. I suggest that this is a mistaken idea.

Unlike the right to posses a washing machine?

You know what they say 'you spend ages waiting for a bus... then two come along at once'

I live in hope :lol1:

PHLUR :sun: