Wednesday, July 06, 2005

People, People Who Breed People....

...are the LUUUUCKIEST people. Oh. Sorry. Got carried away. That happens sometimes when you're a natalfascist who wants to enforce the six-child rule on the enslaved women of AmeriKKKa.

The reality of the coming demographic collapse of the major developed economies is a settled issue. And this isn't just about whites. India and most of South America are now where the US was thirty years ago. Very soon they will be below replacement as well. I could slather the blog with seven paragraphs of total fertility rates and negative rates of natural increase, but there's not a lot to be gained, because the people who are still insisting that there is a global overpopulation problem are immune to facts.

The issue of per capita resource use (I guess it's trendy to call it footprint now?) is just another diversion. Suppose you'd told a resident of New York City circa 1880 that in 100 years his city would hold about four times more people than it did currently. He probably would have wondered how on earth the resource base could bear such a load. Where they would put all the horse manure and how on earth they could build enough five-story buildings to hold all those people? Is there any reason to believe we're any more prescient about the future than the poor schlub who couldn't foresee the internal combustion engine and the hydraulic passenger elevator?

Liberals used to be optimistic about the future and conservatives used to be the fuddy-duddies who moaned about the good old days and couldn't adapt to change. Now it's the people like me who see every new human as a new creative force, born into the world with two hands and a brain, and people like Tlaloc who look at a new human as just another mouth, if not actually a useless eater.

36 comments:

Hunter Baker said...

Don't worry, Kat, several of us here are into the pro-natalist conspiracy up to our private parts.

Tlaloc said...

"The reality of the coming demographic collapse of the major developed economies is a settled issue."

According to who precisely?



"I could slather the blog with seven paragraphs of total fertility rates and negative rates of natural increase, but there's not a lot to be gained, because the people who are still insisting that there is a global overpopulation problem are immune to facts."

Facts like our world population is larger now than ever in history? Or that by the time I finish this sentence it will be larger still? How exactly do we have a contracting population and yet more people every year? I'm fascinated to get the economic theory involved. Do tell.



"Is there any reason to believe we're any more prescient about the future than the poor schlub who couldn't foresee the internal combustion engine and the hydraulic passenger elevator?"

Yes there is. See we develop better and better theories in every field (except of course economics). These theories help us to predict the future. For instance there are exactly zero technologies available that can take the place of oil (the thing that made the four fold increase in NYC population possible) and oil is quickly peaking. As a result our footprint is not only much larger but also unsustainable. This isn't a hard prediction you just have to educate yourself on matters outside of your narrowly chosen field of speciality.

As before you can make all the wildly extravagent claims you want about birth rates, but until the world actually has less people in one instant than in the third of a second before it you are just blowing smoke.

Hunter Baker said...

So, we're developing better and better theories that tell us more and more about what is going to happen, but when Kathy offers a well-known theory about what is going to happen population-wise, you say that theory is garbage until the forecast actually comes true.

Tlaloc said...

The problem hunter is that you aren't impartial on the issue, you have a vested interest in it turning out to be a-okay to breed as quick as possible. That vested interest naturally comes from a religion that desires precisely that.

When christianity was founded over population wasn't a problem. But unfortunately it's not exactly a religion that adapts well to changing circumstances. The Catholic Church (as well as many other christian faiths)today is exactly analagous to a cancer cell. It seeks to reproduce without stop never caring that in the process it threatens the host and therefor it's own survival.

Even the US census extremely conservative estimate has the world population growing through the end of it's timeline (2005 with over 9.2 billion people).
http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/worldpop.html

These fantasies of being "below replacement rate" mean nothing because they all require you to look only at a small set of nations and ignore the whole rest of the world.

We've seen people deny endlessly peak oil and they were wrong. It's here. We've seen people deny endlessly global warming and they were wrong, it's also here. At what point do you stop believing that everything is hunky dory if you just ignore the warning signs? How many times do you repeat this pattern before it sinks in?

Tlaloc said...

"So, we're developing better and better theories that tell us more and more about what is going to happen, but when Kathy offers a well-known theory about what is going to happen population-wise, you say that theory is garbage until the forecast actually comes true."

A) Kathy offered an economic theory, as I said economics seems to be the one field that the idea of continuous improvement forgot.

B) Kathy's theory doesn't match the known data. She predicts population contraction (that or she's blabbering about nothing at all, I'll let her decide which claim she wants). The world population is growing. A theory that doesn't match data is false NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU REALLY WANT TO BELIEVE IT. Basic science.

Tlaloc said...

"Even the US census extremely conservative estimate has the world population growing through the end of it's timeline (2005 with over 9.2 billion people).
http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/worldpop.html"

Typo, should be 2050.

Tom Van Dyke said...

"Just enough of me, way too much of you."---PJ O'Rourke on overpopulation concerns

It's true, Mr. T., that Christianity doesn't adapt well to changing circumstances. That's what makes it a religion.

The same could be said about any decent philosophy. It would be timeless, and that's what would make it a philosophy.

It was a great delight to some of us to see the Sierra Club get their knickers in a bind about illegal immigration. That's what happens without a religion or even a decent philosophy.

But don't worry about peak oil or global warming, T. When you folks get desperate enough, you'll let us in the reality-based community build nuclear reactors that will generate that eco-friendly hydrogen that will power our eco-friendly cars.

Someday, we'll all look back on this and laugh, I promise you.

Anonymous said...

A nuclear power plant is like a communist country. Seems like a good idea; just find an honest person to run it.

Hunter Baker said...

It pisses me off no end to make a drive past a certain site in the corner of Northeastern Alabama where a nuclear reactor sits built and never placed on-line. Why? Because of the scare over Three Mile Island. Meanwhile, the "reality-based community" loves the heck out of the Frenchies who use nuclear power at a heavy rate.

Tlaloc said...

"It's true, Mr. T., that Christianity doesn't adapt well to changing circumstances. That's what makes it a religion."

I don't see that as the defining characteristic of a religion.



"But don't worry about peak oil or global warming, T. When you folks get desperate enough, you'll let us in the reality-based community build nuclear reactors that will generate that eco-friendly hydrogen that will power our eco-friendly cars."

Uh no. The fuel supply for nuclear reactors is about as limited as the oil supply. New nuke plants is a dead end alley.

Tlaloc said...

" A nuclear power plant is like a communist country. Seems like a good idea; just find an honest person to run it."

While I agree with you, the word "communist" is un-needed. Any country is prone to corruption regardless of socio-political system.

Tlaloc said...

"It pisses me off no end to make a drive past a certain site in the corner of Northeastern Alabama where a nuclear reactor sits built and never placed on-line. Why? Because of the scare over Three Mile Island. Meanwhile, the "reality-based community" loves the heck out of the Frenchies who use nuclear power at a heavy rate."

Nuclear power was a terrible thing. Letting private corporations run them was pure insanity. Fission reactors never should have moved beyond concept models. Limited fuel, dangerous to run, hideous by products.

As for the french, does the reality based community love the french because of their nuclear power or is it incidental?

Kathy Hutchins said...

Kathy's theory doesn't match the known data. She predicts population contraction (that or she's blabbering about nothing at all, I'll let her decide which claim she wants). The world population is growing.

Do you know the difference between a level and a rate of change? A function solves for a positive Y for certain values of X even when dy/dx is negative. This has been BASIC SCIENCE since the time of Newton and Leibnitz but it still seems to tax the cognitive capacities of many. You're arguing that the spigot is still running in your bathtub when in fact the water just hasn't all drained out yet.

Hunter Baker said...

K, I don't think he got the "useless eater" thing, either.

Kathy Hutchins said...

It pisses me off no end to make a drive past a certain site in the corner of Northeastern Alabama where a nuclear reactor sits built and never placed on-line

I live not too far from the Calvert Cliffs plant in Lusby. It's a major navigation mark for sailors on the Chesapeake. It also generates about a quarter of the electricity in Maryland, without any fuss, year after year. They did stop giving public tours after 9/11, putting paid to my fantasy of visiting the site in search of Homer Simpson.

Tlaloc said...

"Do you know the difference between a level and a rate of change? A function solves for a positive Y for certain values of X even when dy/dx is negative. This has been BASIC SCIENCE since the time of Newton and Leibnitz but it still seems to tax the cognitive capacities of many. You're arguing that the spigot is still running in your bathtub when in fact the water just hasn't all drained out yet."

Your analogy is bad. The spigot is still on becaause the water is indeed still rising. You are arguing that the spigot is running slower than before or more precisely that one of the ten spigots is running slower than before and that by itself it would not offset the drain at the bottom. Neato. But the other nine faucets are running full blast so excuse me if your deep understanding of the situation fails to impress.

Tlaloc said...

"K, I don't think he got the "useless eater" thing, either."

Sure I get it, and honest antagonism is frankly kind of refreshing. Kathy and I both know exactly where we stand unlike some of the fake civility around here. She thinks I'm a liberal crack pot and I think she has an advanced degree in economics which almost qualifies her to flip burgers at McDonalds.

James Elliott said...

A) Kathy offered an economic theory, as I said economics seems to be the one field that the idea of continuous improvement forgot.


Ouch. True, but not nice. Heh.

It was a great delight to some of us to see the Sierra Club get their knickers in a bind about illegal immigration. That's what happens without a religion or even a decent philosophy.

Poop on a stick, man, can't you at least stay on topic? Talk about trying to fog the debate with issues that don't belong. If you can't actually debate the topic at hand, couldn't you have held your load? Or are you a premature pontificator? (Dammit, I think this place's too-clever-by-half wordplay is rubbing off on me.)

She thinks I'm a liberal crack pot and I think she has an advanced degree in economics which almost qualifies her to flip burgers at McDonalds.


It's funny because it's true.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Sorry you couldn't make the connection, Mr. Elliott. The Guardians of the Earth hate people while they profess to love people. The Sierra Club didn't know whether to spit or go blind. Some of us were amused.

Perhaps if we built more nuclear reactors, we could send enough energy south so they could develop their crappy little countries and they'd choose to stay home.

Anonymous said...

Do they hate cute puppies, school teachers and butterflies also?

James Elliott said...

It's amazing how some things never change. 100 years ago, as America's economy roared along with much uncertainty for Americans, with world events creating an uncertain world, immigrants both illegal and legal were the subjects of vitriol and violence.

I've heard of conservatives clinging to the status quo, but this is ridiculous.

Hey, I agree with you on nuclear power (except the whole "make the wetbacks stay over there" thing you don't have the cajones to come straight out and say). Doesn't mean I'm going to let your being a jerk or completely off-topic slide.

Kathy Hutchins said...

I'm a bit confused by Tlaloc insisting that my account of demographic reality is some sort of wild economic theory. There's no economics in this, it's strictly actuarial life tables. There are theories that explain fertility and migration decisions in relation to economic factors, but the fact is that what I am claiming (that women in developed economies have been bearing so few children for the past thirty years that the population will start to decrease within two generations) is already sitting out there in the numbers. This isn't a prediciton about the future, it's just applying current mortality rates to the people who have already been born. If Tlaloc wants to argue that sometime in the next two generations some significant breakthrough is going to raise average life expectancy enough to derail this train, he's welcome to try. But then he's the one with the wild-ass predictions, not me.

S. T. Karnick said...

I infer that the term "fake civility," used earlier, was meant to refer to me. I should like to note that courtesy is a form of action and does not imply endorsement of another's behavior; hence, civility cannot be false. One is either civil or not. If I am being accused of displaying civility and calling for others to act in a similar manner, I shall bear the weight of that incrimination as best I can.

James Elliott said...

I think the whole problem with this debate, aside from its going so far afield, is that Mrs. Hutchins is basing her entire argument on a faulty premise. The idea is that some developing countries are in a similar position now that the U.S. was in thirty years ago, and that they were therefore be in the same place we are now eventually. This is a faulty conclusion. There's simply not enough data to support it. Its faulty logic.

Population is directly affected by the economic needs of a nation. Look at a farm, for a microcosmic example. Farm families tend to be large, because those families need more bodies to do the necessary work to eke out a living. Agrarian and manufacturing-base countries need large populations to sustain their industrial bases.

The United States and Europe have moved beyond the need for large families. Their economies are largely R&D and service-based. Where the manufacturing and agricultural sectors remain in those countries, automation and technological advancement have decreased demands for labor. Economic growth continues, but, because it does not require physical labor, population expansion slows.

What we are seeing now with population decreases, is the results of that change. In the last century, the West has changed from an agrarian and manufacturing base, which required a large population. But the economy changed faster than the population. The situation looks "dire" (that is, population growth is negative to mortality) because the West is undergoing a natural correction in its needs. U.S. population growth is currently a matter of immigrants being attracted to its economic prosperity. Once the "surplus" (I know, it sounds callous, but is not meant so) population has died off, population growth will return to positive numbers.

It is, however, faulty logic to presume a similar pattern will occur in other nations. Many will remain agriculturally or manufacturing based economies because they will be needed and because the First World doesn't share well with others when it comes to R&D.

Also, there is the cultural dimension. Community-oriented cultures, with an emphasis on large extended family units (African, Latino, and Asian-Pacific Islander) have more children than individualistic, small-unit cultures (the West).

So, we see, Tlaloc is by and large correct. Overall population will continue to increase, not decrease. In the short term, the numbers look negative, but that is because the numbers are skewed by the former agrarian/manufacturing population numbers.

Tlaloc said...

"I'm a bit confused by Tlaloc insisting that my account of demographic reality is some sort of wild economic theory. There's no economics in this, it's strictly actuarial life tables."

Not surprisingly your confusion would be resolved by simply reviewing what you actually said:

"The reality of the coming demographic collapse of the major developed economies is a settled issue."

Notice the word "economies" is right in the sentence. Furthermore as you are admittedly trained as an economist and as you understanding of the situation follow the economic pattern of "I can say whatever I want about the situation even if it doesn't match reality and no one can call me on it" it seems pretty clearly an economic theory.



"but the fact is that what I am claiming (that women in developed economies have been bearing so few children for the past thirty years that the population will start to decrease within two generations) is already sitting out there in the numbers. This isn't a prediciton about the future, it's just applying current mortality rates to the people who have already been born."

And no matter how many times you repeat it it's still completely irrelevent. As before you can only talk about birth rates being below replacement rates by looking solely at the indigenous population of a few countries. The world as a whole is far exceeding replacement rate.



"If Tlaloc wants to argue that sometime in the next two generations some significant breakthrough is going to raise average life expectancy enough to derail this train, he's welcome to try. But then he's the one with the wild-ass predictions, not me."

Funny the census predicts continued world population growth through the next 45 years (the furthest they predict). Perhaps you should tell them about your startling information that they evidently didn't know. Or you could stop being disingenuous by pretending this is about the number of whites in america rather than the number of all races world wide. You know if you felt like talking about the actual issue.

Tlaloc said...

"I should like to note that courtesy is a form of action and does not imply endorsement of another's behavior; hence, civility cannot be false."

Sure it can, it's feigning respect that doesn't exist. That's false in the sense of feeling one thing and saying another.

Tlaloc said...

"I think the whole problem with this debate, aside from its going so far afield, is that Mrs. Hutchins is basing her entire argument on a faulty premise. The idea is that some developing countries are in a similar position now that the U.S. was in thirty years ago, and that they were therefore be in the same place we are now eventually. This is a faulty conclusion. There's simply not enough data to support it. Its faulty logic."

Her error is more fundamental than that. Consider this analogy:

We run an apartment complex. One of the tenants complains that the place is getting overcrowded affecting everyone. Kathy looks at apartment 2B and notices it used to increase the number of people in it every 3 months and not it only increases people every 9 months. From this she claims that the apartment is actually getting less crowded.

The error is two fold. First she's mistakes a slowing rate of growth with a decrease in total. That's bad enough but she also selected only one apartment to look at, one which is not an accurate sampling of the overall apartment complex.

Either error makes her wrong and both together make her even more wrong which means she at least settled the question of if two wrongs make a right.

S. T. Karnick said...

Civility is NOT a matter of feigning respect. It is simply the willingness to suppress one's less salutary impulses in unpleasant social situations. Some people think that disagreement on facts and opinions justifies piggish behavior, and some don't. The former are called civil, and there are a wide variety of names for the latter.

Tlaloc said...

" Civility is NOT a matter of feigning respect."

No but FALSE civility is.



"Some people think that disagreement on facts and opinions justifies piggish behavior, and some don't. The former are called civil, and there are a wide variety of names for the latter."

Some people maintain a front of being nice even though they think the opposite while others will say what they think to your face. The latter are called honest. There are a wide variety of names for those who prefer to cut people down behind their back.

S. T. Karnick said...

Everything I have said has been both public and polite. It's a pity that you don't wish for people to be able to say the same of you. You call it honesty. Others use very different words to describe it.

Now we've both had our say. Any additional comments by you on this matter will be deleted.

Ed Darrell said...

A nuclear power plant never placed on line?

Hmmm. I wonder how that could happen if the containment vessel had been done to standards, and if the geologic work was done, etc., etc.

Here in Texas, we have the last one put on line, and it was long after Three-Mile Island. It was embarrassing to discover some of these plants had companies who had cut safety corners . . . and a few that might have been safe were stopped because the costs got so high they could never be recouped.

But all of the plants that were done correctly were opened and are running. Maybe yours was one that the bankers closed. Blame the bankers who closed it down, not those who blew the whistle that saved your life.

Hunter Baker said...

We already have a functioning plant in my neck of the woods. It has been reliable for a long, long time.

It's folks just a little further north and east that are waiting for the plant I referenced. As far as I know, there never was a whistle-blowing incident. It just had the bad fortune to be near completion around the time of Three Mile Island. However, unlike some of our commenters, I'm more than willing to believe that you could be right and I am lacking important information.

Anonymous said...

...people like Tlaloc who look at a new human as just another mouth, if not actually a useless eater.

I didn't really consider this statement the first time I read it. Comparing Tlaloc to a Nazi? That's really low.

Kathy Hutchins said...

Comparing Tlaloc to a Nazi? That's really low.

I think it is important for people to understand that consequences flow from the ideas they hold, and that it is therefore a dangerous thing to hold ideas lightly. There were many, many ordinary Germans in 1935 who were kind, generous, good parents, who fed stray cats and gave to the Invalid Veterans Fund. Yet these people were persuaded by an ideology that glorified "scientific eugenics" that the continued existence of some classes of humans threatened the good of all, and that therefore for the good of all, some may be eliminated. It is my belief that any ideology that views human life as undesirable leads there. I don't think it is a low blow to warn someone that his ideas are leading him someplace he probably does not want to go.

Anonymous said...

You are now putting forth the straw-man that your opposition does not value human life. Our president likes to use that one also. It's very effective to portray your opponent as subhuman in that way. It's also an extraordinarily offensive lie.

Tlaloc said...

"I think it is important for people to understand that consequences flow from the ideas they hold, and that it is therefore a dangerous thing to hold ideas lightly."

Good, now if you'll admit your argument about birth rate is falacious for the reasons outlined above we can get you to understand the CONSEQUENCES of your notion that we can breed indefinitely without issue.