Re: Miss Pop Ulation

Robert J. Bradbury (
Fri, 3 Dec 1999 03:43:07 -0800 (PST)

On Fri, 3 Dec 1999, Geoff Smith wrote:

> However, there is a counter point to this which is that most of Canada
> is tundra and ice, not a great place to live, and impossible to farm. I
> think the main argument for overpopulation is that there is not enough
> room to grow all the food, not that there is not enough room to house
> all the people.

The food argument is probably first on the list. The shortage of healthy water, second. The eco-degradation argument is probably third and the limited supply of "essential" materials (chromium, palladium, platinum, etc.) { ignoring substitutions } is probably fourth.

Ultimately (anticipating nanotech) you want to look at the annual solar insolation. That should determine the ultimate land values. I strongly suspect that mid-latitude desert land and arctic tundra are very good investments. What would be very interesting is a good economic analysis of the shifts in things we consider valuable now (skyscrapers in large cities) to the things likely to be valuable in the future (large land areas with high solar insolations).

> Until we can grow meat and vegies in labs, stacked on top of one another
> into huge food-producing high-rises, I still see this as a valid point,
> *if* we actually make it into the 100's of billions of people, which I
> doubt we will.

I think the current predictions are for the population to level off someplace between 10-20 billion. But again they are based on *no* technologigical change.

What happens to population growth rates, when there is commonplace knowledge that inexpensive computers exceed human brain capacity (circa 2020-2030)? Do you want to have a child when you can go out and buy a computer and load it up with a child-program that is designed to produce in you all those warm-and-fuzzy feelings that you would get if you had a real child?