Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Population growth or unsustainable economic system?

This should have been a comment on an earlier article, but for reasons I don't understand I couldn't post it as a comment. Since I've allocated the time to write it, I thought I'd rather post it as a new article. So here it is, on one specific point: population growth vs. unsustainable economic system.

Unfortunately, the idea that population growth is a major cause (of the current environmental and un-sustainability problem) is not sound. I used to consider it as a valid theory until I've started to study more on this topic.

Yes, world's population has grown and is growing - especially in underdeveloped countries. But most of those communities are poor and barely survive. The infant mortality rate, life expectancy, and pretty much all other indicators show that their survival is at risk - for this reason they have many children, of which only some make it into adulthood. They live shorter lives, and "consume" next to nothing compared with those in Western countries. In other words, it is a process of natural selection/adaptation. They are many because they are poor and can't survive and sustain their livelihoods otherwise. Once such communities escape poverty, they tend to have fewer children.

Moreover, it's not those many (poor) people that consume the world's resources and endanger the global environment. It's actually the consumption culture, wasteful lifestyles, and the pollution in the industrialised and rich nations, that create the problems. Unfortunately, there's little healthy debate about this in the mainstream media. What many 'analysts' do is to wrongly blame the poor for the depletion of resources and environmental problems of our times. In doing so, they make us believe that overpopulation brought us close to disaster, when in fact it's the unsustainable Western-style over-consumption, and increasing inequality, both generated by a civilisation with an unhealthy economic system/thinking, that depletes resources and contributes to major environmental threats.

I'm adding a link to a very good article which gives more data/'food for thought' on this:

“THE POPULATION MYTH”, link below.

With sincere best wishes,



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