Tuesday, November 03, 2015


Of course China's one-child policy had a lot of side effects. Those problems were entirely predictable, and you can bet the Chinese leadership saw them coming. And allowing for a second child now will alleviate their coming demographic slump somewhat.

(Although, quite frankly, if the spam section of my various websites is any indication, I assume China's number-one industry now is spambots hawking shitty knock-off merchandise. No, asshole, I'm not going to buy a counterfeit designer handbag or NFL jersey from your 55-character-URL shitball website. I mean, if that's all they're going to do, why the fuck do we need more of them? Fucking die already.)

But nowhere in the linked interview is the acknowledgement that the one-child policy was a demographic as well as an economic necessity, and that China still has close to 1.5 billion people. The current populations in many of the East and South Asian countries right now is unsustainable, and have adversely affected their environments. What will it look like in another generation, with India and China approaching 2 billion each, with Indonesia pushing half a billion, Pakistan and Bangladesh around a quarter billion each?

At this very moment, one out of every three human beings currently alive resides in either China or India. One in every two -- every second person -- is in Asia. This concentration has already had a negative impact on those areas, as has Africa's population explosion. The U.S., with just five percent of world population and over three million square miles of territory, is comparatively blessed with low population density. But we still manage to have an outsize effect on the environment, both at home and in the countries that produce our consumables.

But it doesn't really matter who or where, so much as how many overall. We're over seven billion, nearing eight, predicted to be between nine and ten billion by 2050. Just as there is a physical limit to which we can push, for example, the ppm rate of carbons in the atmosphere, so there is also a carrying capacity of humans that the planet can handle, all of them eating, drinking, shitting, fucking, dumping their garbage, building houses. Many of them live super-size lives, consuming more, driving gas guzzlers, sport-hunting endangered species, and so on. There is a point of equilibrium to these things, and you don't generally find that point until it's been crossed, and it's too late.

I'm not ready to go completely antinatalist, here or in Asia. But there has to be some shared responsibility at some point in managing this; the world population cannot continue to grow infinitely. Depleted freshwater aquifers, ravaged wildlife and environment, and a whole host of social evils, from religious-based oppression to slavery, are all consequences of too many rats stuffed together into too small a cage. The cruel and ruthless subjugate the pliant and weak, perpetuating suffering as much as anything else for many.

It will be looked at as yet another instance of Western imperialist encroachment, and perhaps it is. But overpopulation is something that affects everyone around the world, and as the world gets ever more interdependent, it will more and more become everyone's problem.

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