Saturday, July 10, 2010

Population Explosion

According to this statistic, the total population of China in 1978 was 963 million people and is currently 1,324,655,000 (2008 Source: World Bank, World Development Indicators). The reason I chose to show the population in 1978 is because it is later in that year that the Chinese government started implementing the One-Child policy.

The Indian population is 1,139,964,932 (2008 Source : Source: World Bank, World Development Indicators). This is 17.31% of the total world population, which is a significant slice, pretty close to the 20% contribution by the Chinese.

Back in the 1950's when the Chinese population was nowhere close to a billion, they started encouraging the Two-Child policy. By 1978 when they realised that they were soon going to touch the billion mark and that something needed to be done and fast, they strictly implemented the One-Child policy. Like every other Chinese policy this one too receives opposition and criticism from different parts of the world. Some even call it violation and abuse of the basic human rights. But more than 76% of the Chinese support it and believe that it is good for them. The Chinese government claims that till date this policy has helped reduce 300-400 million people. That is nearly 30% of the current population !!!  

Why is population a problem ??

Personally I feel that population is one of the major causes of misery and problems in this world. I feel that with the right population, there will be almost no problems in our world. Even if there are a few problems, they would be very much controllable and could be solved. It is the biggest crisis facing the planet today and  is so big and so surrounded by delicate issues that most people will not face it. Simply put there are at least 200,000 more people alive today than yesterday. Tomorrow there will be at least another 200,000 more. Just think about all the current problems the world faces, really just think about those problems, you will notice that a lot of  problems in this world finally boils down to extreme or intense competition which is because we have to compete with each other for the limited resources that we have.

The funniest part is that the world's most fastest growing country in terms of population is India, and nobody in India is even thinking about this it seems. Poverty, corruption, over-crowded cities, transit systems stretched to their seams, violence, drug abuse, unemployment, over-zealous religious madmen, terrorism....a lot of these problems can be traced directly or indirectly to over population. And what are we doing about it ? Painting 'Hum Do, Hamare Do' (literally translated 'We Two, Our Two' implying families to have just 2 kids) on the backs of trucks and rickshaws !!! Not a single politician has made this issue their major campaign agenda...Why ?? Because a few of the major religions in this world oppose birth control. In India and in most of the democracies in the world, gathering the highest votes and winning the election is more important than anything else. So who cares about what is actually happening and what is going to happen in another few years if you can make it appear as though you are actually doing something for the masses. Of course nobody would dare to even ponder about such kinds of issues which can arouse the sentiments of the extremely sensitive religious crowd, who knows when they are going to chop your hand off ?!?!?!

Some excerpts from an excellent article written on the same topic. The full story can be read here.

"...People can argue, as they do, that the world could cope with a population of 25 or even 50 billion. Perhaps they are right. What happens when we reach saturation at 50 billion (or 7 billion, or whatever saturation turns out to be) what will make the population stop growing then? The bigger the numbers the faster the growth. Eventually we need birth control or the population will be limited by natural means; starvation, pandemic disease or warfare to secure the means of survival. Imagine a world that has reached saturation, imagine trying to put the brakes on then, when the population is still growing at 5 or 10 every second. A new Calcutta, Cairo or Mexico City every week. It is too frightening to contemplate for long. To stop the growth we need to apply the brakes now, while there is still a chance that we can keep in control.

If we do not want to face mass starvation on a scale never before seen or have a war that will be in every sense the third world war, we have to stop the population from growing the way it is. Madly. Uncontrolled and in all the wrong places. The only fair way is two's your lot. A universal limit of two children per woman, or two children per person if you prefer. It must be universal, no exceptions, especially on religious grounds. It is the Muslim and Catholic communities who are the most dangerous because they believe they have a duty to breed. Let one woman be an exception and she breeds more exceptions.

To make things fair universality is necessary but not sufficient. We must also address why the third world people think they need more children when they are surrounded by underfed and dying children. We must recognize that their decisions are rational, we must change the reality. Children are social security and pensions. We must replace that with real social security. To say the least this will be expensive, compared to the alternative though it is the bargain of all time....

...Ideally I would like to see many people not allowed to breed at all. The poor who live in squalor, ignorance, poverty and disease will breed more of their kind. It does not matter if you believe that genes, environment or conditioning in infancy are the key factors. Dysfunctional families breed dysfunctional people....

....Birth control is always controversial. A formal limit on family size is a profoundly illiberal policy. No democratic politician is likely to see it as a vote winner. However it is very much the better alternative to ecological meltdown, starvation and violence on a scale that can barely be imagined. In contrast reducing the death rate is seen as universally good. That discrepancy is likely to make solving the problem even harder. Western charity is aimed at reducing deaths in poor countries, very little money is spent on birth control. When charities mention birth control they receive less money. So they go on with death control only, making the underlying problem worse.

Sometimes in life the right thing to do is the opposite of your instinctive reaction, like pulling down the houses in your street to save the city from fire. Your feelings that motivate you to care can blind you to the best way to express that care.

Saving a starving child today means having more children in thirty years time trying to live off the same or eroded resources. Saying that makes me seem like a heartless bastard. In many public meetings if I said that from the platform I would be shouted down, and maybe beaten up too. But I am not wrong, call me whatever you want, I am telling it like it is. There is a classic charity tag line that goes something like give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you help feed him for a lifetime. This is incredibly patronizing, as if starving people are surrounded by food they are too stupid to catch. The reality is that if you teach that man how to fish in two generations time there will be a lot more starving people in that same village and no fish. That is human nature. Man will breed and eat all the food available.....

The current charity model is doomed to both fail and make the problem worse. In the twentieth century there was a massive decline in death rates and only a modest fall in birth rates. That is THE PROBLEM. The biggest problem in the world today and it is an aggravating factor in almost every other problem mankind faces. Environmental decline, global warming, habitat loss, the loss of all easily mined metallic ores, the phenomenal rise in fossil fuel consumption; all these are made worse by the fact that in twenty five years time there will be another three thousand million more people alive than there are today.

It is the biggest problem because it makes every other problem worse and harder to solve. It will not be solved by ignoring it. There can be no technological fix that can provide ever growing resources for a population to grow at geometric rates. It cannot be solved by conventional democratic politics. Something radical must be done to get the world to wake up and face reality. "

The last paragraph really hammers the nail into the is the biggest problem and it makes every other problem harder to solve. Its high time everybody wakes up, especially India, and stop playing touch and go with such issues....instead of acting like we understand the crazy bullshit that most religions propagate (which pea-brain wouldn't understand simple and obvious concepts like 'evolution' ?!?!?), we should face problems head on, religion and rallies by ignorant, selfish pricks be damned and do something about our own future....its not only the future but also the present.

Just look at this graph. The Chinese population seems to reaching its peak and will soon reach a level growth. Ideal growth patterns would be like UK or Japan, but looks like we Indians are going to have to colonise the moon or Mars in order to make space for us, little wonder the Indian space program is gaining heat !!!