Population Extrapolation

One thing that bothers me about Facebook is that I’ll be scrolling through, because despite the obvious impossibility of it, I’m still trying to read the whole thing, and a few seconds after passing a headline I think of the perfect witty thing to say in the comments thread and then I can’t find it again, no matter how far back I scroll.
That was the case this morning. The headline said something about how trying to reduce the world’s population is inherently racist, I guess because if you’re trying to reduce birthrates, you are trying to reduce birthrates of Black and Asian people, who are more than half the world’s population. Once I’d written the scathing comment in my head, about how not everything is racism and this really would be a bit of a stretch, I went back looking for the article, thinking I might even read it, and I came across another article bemoaning declining birth rates, this time making the argument that old people are not going to have enough young people to take care of them.
Both of these arguments are pure bunkum. Obviously, there is an upper population limit. If the world had 100 billion people, there is no way the earth could feed them all. There is not enough topsoil, there is not enough water. These are finite things, and mathematically calculable. I haven’t done the calculations, but nonetheless…So, we can’t get to that point or we all would die, or live in a nightmare world of Soylent Green. If the world had, contrariwise, 98 people we might start worrying about an insufficient gene pool and the viability of our species, but I see little danger of that happening.
I submit that the ideal world population is about 2 or 3 billion. Certainly enough to have big cities with their operas and museums and major league sports teams, but it’s a low enough figure that even the current infrastructure would have everybody living in luxury. I’m not too worried about what skin color people of the future will have. They will be our descendants, one way or another, and I want them to be happy.
As to the argument that old people, in the near future, won’t have enough young people to take care of them, that’s a pretty feeble argument as well. For one thing, that’s going to even out over a generation or two. If fewer people are born now, then there will be fewer old people 80 years from now. Also, there are many creative solutions, like putting old age homes near college campuses, providing students with part time jobs and the residents with plenty of attention, designing communities which are more accessible to the elderly and the handicapped so they can take better care of themselves and each other, giving them rescue pets for companionship and having more robots to do a lot of the work people do now.
The arguments for reducing the world’s population are many and compelling. The arguments for letting the world’s population continue to grow unchecked are basically only there because people like to argue about any damn thing. Stop it.

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