Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Paul Ehrlich, Call Your Office

While idly reviewing the postings of the last few days and the really enjoyable give-and-take that has resulted on a broad range of topics, I suddenly discovered that way down in the 14th comment on my Royally Flush, our nonpareil kibitzer Tlaloc has referred to something that I thought had long since been laid to rest.

The population crisis! OMG!!! I feel like aliens have abducted me and flashed me back into the 1970s.

What's next, bell bottoms?

Dude, the current crisis is the population shortage in industrialized countries as our societies fail to replace ourselves. Ben Wattenberg was the first to write a book about this a few years ago, but by now recognition of this serious turn of events is well-nigh universal. Perhaps we should chip in for Tlaloc and buy him a see-a-nigh dog.

35 comments:

Hunter Baker said...

No, what's next is mention of the coming ice age courtesy of global cooling. That one was big in the 70's, too.

On the population crisis, I once read we could still fit everyone in the entire planet in Texas with each person living in a tidy bungalow. May be spurious, but when's the last time anybody cared about that in the comments section?!!!!!

Jack said...

Silly Hunter.

There are no bungalows in Texas.

Tlaloc said...

"The population crisis! OMG!!! I feel like aliens have abducted me and flashed me back into the 1970s."

No much like global warming a bunch of people denied that it's a problem and the public has been trying to come to terms with it ever since.

Perhaps you'll notice that despite your contention that "the current crisis is the population shortage in industrialized countries as our societies fail to replace ourselves" that the US population is not in decline, it is in fact skyrocketing.
It is now 300 million in the US and 6.5 billion world wide.

More importantly though is the footprint each person takes up based upon their culture. Needless to say the American footprint is huge. Each additional American is "worth" many Africans in terms of resource usage. And the modernization of China and India mean that their huge populations are rapidly expanding their individual footprints as well.

We've just been through this on Global warming: you can stick your fingers in your ears but the problem remains.

Tlaloc said...

"I once read we could still fit everyone in the entire planet in Texas with each person living in a tidy bungalow."

Where you live is the smallest part of it. Add in where you work, the acres of farmland to support your food, the power plants that support your elctrical usage, the mines that provide raw materials for all the above, et cetera...

Tlaloc said...

"Ben Wattenberg was the first to write a book about this a few years ago, but by now recognition of this serious turn of events is well-nigh universal."

This population "shortage" is a shortage of WASPs, not people in general. Yes the demographics of America are changing, the white majority is slowly being toppled into minority status.

Frankly, and bluntly, this is only a crisis to racists. The bigger problem is the total number of people, not just the ones who can get into the country clubs.

Tlaloc said...

But since you don't believe me feel free to look at the government numbers:

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

9 million more americans in the last 3 years (a 3.3% increase). Over the ten years before that we saw a 13% increase.

Quite the shortage.

Tlaloc said...

For a notion supposedly debunked three decades ago you guys seem to be taking your sweet time now.


By the way in the time you've taken to respond to my utterly ridiculous assertions the world has added about 200,000 more people.

Anonymous said...

Hunter Baker did not say the U.S. population is going down, only that there is no overpopulation crisis in the industrialized countries. He is correct.

Nearly all industrialized nations do in fact have birth rates below replacement level, and some at well below that level. Their populations are held steady at this point by immigration. But even that will not be enough, and populations in nearly all of Europe will begin declining by the end of this decade.

The U.S. has been pretty much the sole exception to this trend, because of the relatively high immigration it allows. The increase in U.S. population in recent years has been caused by immigration plus high birth rates of post-1965 immigrants. The native American population (in the TR sense) is reproducing at below-replacement levels and has been doing so for quite some time. With increasing affluence, the birth rates of post-1965 immigrants will soon begin to fall as well. U.S. population should top out at about 350 million at the most, around 2040, and then start decreasing, and very quickly.

The world population will reach a peak of about 8 billion at around 2050 and then begin declining, at an increasingly rapid rate. That is an easily supportable population, even at increasing rates of affluence. That should be good news to everyone, but those who wish they could control everything find it very uncomfortable to admit.

There is no population crisis, either in the U.S. or in the world as a whole. There are only economic growth problems caused almost exclusively by governments.

And it's interesting that while you continue your complaint about global warming, you refuse to admit that a New Ice Age was the big panic just a couple of decades ago. Hunter baker is right to point that out.

Some news for you: the global temperature is about to start decreasing. Just wait and see--ocean temperature cycles predict this.

Of course, instead of being happy about this good news, the global warming crowd will first deny it and then move on to some other fictional crisis as their pretext for more government control over our lives.

Jay D. Homnick said...

If you are looking for the specific citations from books and scientific journals in the 1970s about the desperate danger of global cooling...

...may I recommend All The Trouble In The World by P.J. O'Rourke, a delightfully witty and intelligent book. He has an excellent chapter on global warming that includes those sources.

Tlaloc said...

"Hunter Baker did not say the U.S. population is going down, only that there is no overpopulation crisis in the industrialized countries. He is correct."

Actually he isn't.


"Nearly all industrialized nations do in fact have birth rates below replacement level, and some at well below that level. Their populations are held steady at this point by immigration."

Neat, so a minority of countries are holding even while the rest of the world's population grows dramatically. Oh and the ecological foot print is exploding.



"The U.S. has been pretty much the sole exception to this trend, because of the relatively high immigration it allows. The increase in U.S. population in recent years has been caused by immigration plus high birth rates of post-1965 immigrants. The native American population (in the TR sense) is reproducing at below-replacement levels and has been doing so for quite some time. With increasing affluence, the birth rates of post-1965 immigrants will soon begin to fall as well. U.S. population should top out at about 350 million at the most, around 2040, and then start decreasing, and very quickly."

A pretty rosy assessment, but not one grounded in reality. Our current low birth rate is maintained by the previous liberal attitude toward contraception and abortion. With both of those under heavy attack by our own government at the behest of the religious right, so much so that they wish to forbid even telling kids these things exist, the birth rate should accelerate in the near future. Look at the south, the area most heavily involved in abstinence only education: it also has by far the highest teen and unwanted pregnancy rates (not birth rates but pregnancy rates). That's the future for the whole US lamentably.

Furthermore you have to consider not only birth rate but also death rate. Immigrants from third world countries not only come here but they come here and generally live much longer.

Lastly as before it's not just the population but also the footprint of that population and the American footprint continues to enlarge. There has been some movement toward energy efficient appliances, hybrid cars, et cetera but it's miniscule so far.



"The world population will reach a peak of about 8 billion at around 2050 and then begin declining, at an increasingly rapid rate. That is an easily supportable population, even at increasing rates of affluence."

Easily supportable? By what stretch of the imagination? To support our CURRENT population requires massive use of petroleum products for food production and transport. Products it's worth noting that are becoming in short supply. If China's billion plus population and India's billion plus population continue their climb toward an american standard of living the system will be pushed far past sustainable.



"That should be good news to everyone, but those who wish they could control everything find it very uncomfortable to admit."

Let me guess there's also no global warming. Lets set out the facts, okay? There is a large group very invested in keeping things as they are, they lied their asses off about global warming in order to keep anyone from messing with their profitable little game. Those same people lied their asses off about the population crisis. And you fall for it. The environmental movement you claim wants to "control" everyone has been proven right over and over. Even Bush, servant to petroleum companies that he is now has to grudgingly admit global warming is real.

But population crises naysayers still get to scream their denial, tout their junk studies, and prevent us doing anything about the situation.



"And it's interesting that while you continue your complaint about global warming, you refuse to admit that a New Ice Age was the big panic just a couple of decades ago. Hunter baker is right to point that out."

Global warming can trigger an ice age. Temperature increases cause large scale ice melting in the arctice and antarctic. The released sea water has the capacity to absorb CO2 which can cause a drastic back swing to much colder temperatures. Lern the science before you go about denying it.




"Some news for you: the global temperature is about to start decreasing. Just wait and see--ocean temperature cycles predict this."

Oh jesus. The big oil companies can even admit the problem and you still buy into their propaganda from the last twenty years.

Tlaloc said...

I know it shouldn't surprise me what with evolution under attack in Kansas but watching people flout science in order to pursue their limited agendas really pisses me off.

Anonymous said...

Tlaloc wrote, "Let me guess there's also no global warming. Lets set out the facts, okay? There is a large group very invested in keeping things as they are, they lied their asses off about global warming in order to keep anyone from messing with their profitable little game. Those same people lied their asses off about the population crisis. And you fall for it." Those aren't facts. They're assertions. So here's an alternative assertion, which happens to be the truth. The real schemers and liars in this case are the rats who make money claiming there is long-term global warming being caused by human activity--and that includes big corporations who know they can adjust to whatever the governments decide to force on the people. But mostly it's government and NGO leftists who want to rule every aspect of our lives, right down to what what cars we should be allowed to buy and what we can spray on our hair. Read Bjorn Lomborg's book The Skeptical Environmentalist, and Michael Crichton's State of Fear. They will provide tons of further citations. But you won't read them, of course. They're right, and you're wrong, and you don't want to be bothered with facts. The same is true of your lies about overpopulation. You just want to boss everybody. You're the one who's abusing science, and you do it in the service of government oppression of individual freedom. You keep calling yourself an anarchist but you're just another statist.

Tlaloc said...

"Those aren't facts. They're assertions."

Global warming is a fact. That people lied about it is also a fact. Much like the flat earth society there are those who cannot or will not accept reality.



"The real schemers and liars in this case are the rats who make money claiming there is long-term global warming being caused by human activity--and that includes big corporations who know they can adjust to whatever the governments decide to force on the people."

Flat out lie. The big petro-corporations fought tooth and nail to prevent anyone taking global warming seriously.




"But mostly it's government and NGO leftists who want to rule every aspect of our lives, right down to what what cars we should be allowed to buy and what we can spray on our hair."

Another lie. The attempt to control is from the other side in the form of misinformation. The environmental movement has long tried to educate people on what's really happening because if they know they'll choose to do something about it. There's no need to control people if the big corporations and governments simply stopped lying to them. Oh and you too.



"Read Bjorn Lomborg's book The Skeptical Environmentalist, and Michael Crichton's State of Fear."

It was massively disappointing to me that Chrichton went the route of corporate shill. Since Jurrasic Park he's been a bit flaky though.



"But you won't read them, of course. They're right, and you're wrong, and you don't want to be bothered with facts."

I don't believe it, even with the people who shoved this crap down your throat admitting they were wrong you still spout it like a fountain. One more time: EVEN BUSH NOW ADMITS GLOBAL WARMING IS HAPPENING.




"The same is true of your lies about overpopulation. You just want to boss everybody. You're the one who's abusing science, and you do it in the service of government oppression of individual freedom."

I do appreciate your comments on global warming, they serve to prove you are entirely incompetent to speak on any matter related to science and the environment. Naturally your comments on over population then are to be seen for what they are: more denial.

Anonymous said...

Tlaloc, don't you understand? There are millions of dollars to be made as a college professor writing made-up studies! Just follow the money!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Tlaloc, just repeat your assertions louder and more angrily and they'll become true. You're a joke.

Tlaloc said...

"Tlaloc, don't you understand? There are millions of dollars to be made as a college professor writing made-up studies! Just follow the money!"

Oh yes lets follow the money. Compare your "millions of dollars" that college professors vie for (which they could get either by supporting or opposing a given theory) versus the hundreds of billions of dollars in petroleum products used world wide (which would suffer serious cutbacks by a sane energy use/global warming reduction approach).

I do indeed recommend following the money, it just doen't lead where you pretend it does.



"Yes, Tlaloc, just repeat your assertions louder and more angrily and they'll become true. You're a joke."

Feel free to read any credible science source then, they're all such jokers. I mean they've ALL been saying for years global warming is real. But nevermind. How is your SUV anyway?

Anonymous said...

Keep raving, Tlaloc—people are sure to believe you eventually.

Tlaloc said...

Well lets see, on my side we have the entire science community, the vast majority of nations around the world, the environmental lobies, the hard evidence, the money trail.

On your side: nothing. Even the people who agreed with you have now jumped ship to say the opposite.

I'm pretty comfortable being in that position frankly.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you ignore all the opposing evidence and then claim that everyone agrees with you. Freud had a name for that.

S. T. Karnick said...

I see that this discussion has become entirely repetitive, so I am going to ask Tlaloc and Anonymous to leave the field and let this one rest.

Thank you.

Tlaloc said...

"I see that this discussion has become entirely repetitive, so I am going to ask Tlaloc and Anonymous to leave the field and let this one rest."

Why don't you and Hunter and Jay instead join the conversation? Jay initially claimed the over population crisis was along deposed myth and yet in the face of evidence to the contrary he remains mum.

S. T. Karnick said...

Sorry, I've no time for it just now. Have to make a living.

Hunter Baker said...

I'll weigh in. I tend to believe that we'll see our energy problems resolved as they have been throughout human history. Once a particular form of fuel becomes too expensive (read scarce), then we'll move to something more cheap and plentiful. Confidence in our ability to do so is warranted. We haven't made the move yet because oil is still really, really cheap.

As far as global warming goes, I have to agree with Anonymous that there is strong evidence that human ability to affect the climate is not as potent as we've been led to believe. It is also difficult to swallow global warming after global ice was so recently in vogue.

I am also skeptical because many of the people in the global warming camp are basically disappointed communists. Central command and control didn't give way to anything like paradise and they resent the tremendously better track record of freedom and capitalistic innovation. Emphasizing environmentalist alarmism is another way to confront and contain hated capitalism.

Tlaloc said...

"I tend to believe that we'll see our energy problems resolved as they have been throughout human history. Once a particular form of fuel becomes too expensive (read scarce), then we'll move to something more cheap and plentiful. Confidence in our ability to do so is warranted. We haven't made the move yet because oil is still really, really cheap."

There's an inherent contradiction there though: barring some new technology (which isn't going to happen) there's no cheaper source of energy than oil. Our economy and infrastructure has grown unimaginably since the last energy source change (coal). Trying to provide anything else as a replacement would be staggeringly costly and take decades. Decades we no longer have because we've wasted them arguing about whether it's actually a problem. When oil starts it's real spike (and at least two major banking institutions have projected it going above $100 a barrel) you are going to see a worldwide recession and quite possibly a collapse.

Consider how much oil is involved in producing and getting food to your table. What happens when it's no longer economicaly viable? You still have to eat...

Anyone remember Soylent Green?



"As far as global warming goes, I have to agree with Anonymous that there is strong evidence that human ability to affect the climate is not as potent as we've been led to believe."

Evidence from who precisely? There is not one credible science group who disputes global warming. Even the president who has a long and firmly established record of distorting science to fit his political agenda has finally fessed up (at least partially). There is a letter signed by 17,000 "scientists and professionals" that disputes global warming, but what they don't tell you is that those scientists and professionals are not in fact people involved in earth science but are instead dentists and so on. That's the kind of cons the oil industry has touted. by the way here's a link to that story:

http://uggabugga.blogspot.com/2003/05/junk-journalism-beginning-friday-23.html



"It is also difficult to swallow global warming after global ice was so recently in vogue."

If you mean global warming caused Ice Ages that's still very much a possibility as I explained above. If you mean the global cooling of the seventies, that was thirty years ago! We've had more than a few improvements in satelite monitoring since then.



"I am also skeptical because many of the people in the global warming camp are basically disappointed communists."

The "global warming camp" includes virtually everyone who is educated on the subject. Unless you want to claim all of the physical sciences in academia are disappointed communists I think your "many" is really a "few."




"Emphasizing environmentalist alarmism is another way to confront and contain hated capitalism."

Environmental degradation is indeed one of the failures of capitalism. You don't have to be a communist to see that.

I appreciate you not just letting the topic die, by the way.

Hunter Baker said...

I love Soylent Green. The movie, not the food product.

Tlaloc said...

We seem to have similar taste in movies, if not interpretations. Soylent Green was a classic bit of dystopian sci-fi. I remeber that and "Silent Running" vividly from my childhood.

Oh and "Omega Man."

James Elliott said...

I am also skeptical because many of the people in the global warming camp are basically disappointed communists.

Well, based on that standard, we should really be ignoring the neoconservative crowd. I mean, Kristol is a self-avowed disappointed Trotskyite, so, to carry your logic forward...

And then we can ignore David Horowitz too! Thank God!

Oh, someone mentioned Michael Crichton's book earlier: It's been repeatedly slammed by the scientific community for poor research: quotes out of context, using non-peer-reviewed studies, etc.

Anonymous said...

Well it is fiction.

James Elliott said...

Fiction indeed. Using Crichton's "work" to refute global warming is like using Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" as a reference in your theology dissertation as proof that Jesus was boinking Mary Magdalene.

S. T. Karnick said...

I have to disagree with you there. The references in Crichton's book are very good.

Tlaloc said...

"I have to disagree with you there. The references in Crichton's book are very good."

Based on....

S. T. Karnick said...

Reading the sources he cited.

Hunter Baker said...

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! SOYLENT GREEN IS MADE OF PEOPLE! OHMIGOD WE'VE BEEN EATING PEOPLE!!!!

I couldn't contain myself any longer. Once Soylent Green came up, it had to be shouted from the fingertips.

Tlaloc said...

Imagine what will happen to Japan as national and local transport networks break down. Half the population of the US living on an archipelago the size of California. They can't come close to producing enough food for their populations domestically (especially if fishing trawlers become too expensive to operate).

You'll see the same stuff that always happens when things spiral out of control. Murder, rape, and yes cannibalism.

Of course it won't be restricted to Japan. The great irony of course is that the agricultural third world nations will survive the best because they are the least dependent on oil.

God, it appears, does have a sense of humor.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Hunter, the food was bad but the furniture was good.