The Short Logic Of Population Proponents

Published on March 18th, 2014

By Randy Alcorn
March 18, 2014

Desperately poor Africans have developed a new tactic to break into Western Europe. They are rushing the border of Spain in groups of 1,000 or more, overwhelming Spanish border agents. Italy, meanwhile, has asked for help in dealing with the hordes of illegal immigrants washing up on the shores of Sicily. Australia, under continuous invasion by Asia’s poor, is arresting these foreign trespassers as they arrive and shipping them to detention camps in New Guinea. The U.S. has absorbed millions of foreign trespassers who are trying to escape Latin America’s pervasive poverty. In Brazil, 20% of the population lives in shantytowns and barely eke out an existence. Despite its explosive economic growth, most of China’s vast population lives in dire poverty as do much of the populations of Africa, Latin America, and the rest of Asia.

Worldwide poverty is often blamed on faulty economic models that perpetuate misallocation of wealth and resources. A recent Oxfam report that 85 billionaires now have as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population is submitted as stark evidence of this misallocation. But, if these 85 billionaires were divested of all their wealth, estimated at $1.7 trillion, and it was distributed to the earth’s 3.5 billion impoverished people, the poor would each get only $484—a one time boon that would only momentarily interrupt their perpetual poverty.

Redistribution schemes are not the solution to pandemic poverty. Nor is the likelihood that the economies of all nations can become vibrant enough to provide acceptable levels of affluence for ever increasing populations. The natural and financial resources for such economic vibrancy are limited, and becoming more limited with every additional mouth to feed.

Nevertheless, there are those who believe that human ingenuity, advanced technology harnessed by entrepreneurialism, will solve the problem of pandemic poverty. But, not only has the spectacular growth in technology not provided sufficient employment for the earth’s burgeoning population, there are also cogent arguments that advanced technology, especially digital robotics, will actually decrease the need for human labor.

That possibility means that even the economies of highly advanced technological societies will not provide full employment at their current population levels let alone at greater population levels.

A surplus of available labor, rather than entrepreneurial lethargy, onerous tax policies, or reluctant capital, may explain the jobless economic recovery in the U.S. and much of the advanced western nations. It may be that there are not enough new jobs being created because there is simply no need for them.

The argument that an economy cannot remain vibrant without a continual increase in population is invalid. While an increasing population may increase the wealth of insatiable individuals in a volume business, an economy can remain vibrant at a constant level of population because so much economic activity is repeated, so much of what we need and want must be replaced periodically—a sustainable economy.

It is more likely that at some point a vibrant economy is diminished by an excess of human population. Imagine how much wealth redistribution would be demanded by hundreds of millions of chronically unemployed Americans. A similar situation nearly destroyed the U.S. auto industry. Although labor was eliminated by technology, idle union workers continued to receive full pay and benefits for doing nothing but playing cards at the factories. Imagine millions of idle Americans permanently on the dole. Anyone who opposes socialism should be among the most ardent supporters of birth control and population stabilization.

The proponents for increasing human population consider fewer births an economic threat or a theological transgression. Their short logic is as spectacular as it is irresponsible. The number of people who can inhabit this planet is limited by resources and space.

Well before every square foot of the planet is occupied by people standing cheek to jowl natural forces will mercilessly intervene to cull the herds of humans. Those forces are affecting us now; climate change, depleted fresh water, exhausted arable land, vanishing pollinators, and reemerging diseases.

Meanwhile, anyone who believes that the world’s economies can end the poverty of 3.5+ billion people is delusional. It will be difficult just to feed these people. The miracles of agricultural technology have limits and the oceans are being rapidly over-harvested.  

However, a significant reduction in human population growth eventually solves or considerably mitigates nearly all the problems plaguing earth. Imagine how much less critical and threatening the current California drought would be if the state’s population was 18 million rather than 38 million. Imagine how much less air pollution there would be if the highways were half as crowded. Imagine how much smaller government could be with considerably fewer people to police and provide for. The positives of lower human population go on and on.

The first step in solving a problem is realizing that there is one. It is simply irresponsible and self-destructive for the human species to continue overpopulating.


Randy Alcorn is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) and can be reached at [email protected].

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