from 6 billion to 500 million: how? (was RE: true abundance?)

From: denis bider (
Date: Tue Jan 30 2001 - 20:36:20 MST

Chris Russo writes:

> I think that if you gave everyone in India who is starving a
> "limitless" supply of food, you'd see a population explosion
> there of unimaginable proportions. How far will even miraculous
> nanotechnology be able to be stretched before we once again have
> people starving?

Yes, precisely...

I think we all dream of - or maybe at least feel highly of - a world like
Asimov described in Aurora: a whole planet divided into a relatively small
number of large properties, each of them governed by virtually
self-sustained hominids and their robots.

Earth could be a place like that, but... with 6 billion people? I don't
know. Can the planet sustain 6 billion individuals with high energy/space
needs? If not - how do you get the population down to something more
acceptable - say 500 million? (An arbitrary figure, I just pulled it out of
thin air.)

Of course, the obvious solution is to take a shotgun and some ammo and fire
away at will. But if we're doing this in the name of improved quality of
life, this is clearly not an option.

An interesting idea might be to just leave the non-developed countries
alone; create a high-tech, self-sufficient society in one part of the world,
and leave the other poor suckers to be as they are. But these poor suckers
are a potential threat all along - they will develop weapons to threaten
with, they will develop industry that will pollute your environment, they
will cause local animal species to become extinct, and so on. So, you don't
want underdeveloped neighbors in your perfect world, because they spoil your
dream of a perfect world.

How do you get around to dealing with them - preferrably in a humane and
non-intrusive manner?

- denis

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