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F.Tnioli

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Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« on: June 26, 2014, 02:32:14 PM »
There were few people who seriously considered elimination of many (most?) people now alive as an appropriate solution for the AGW.

I've been asking myself for years: is it a solution, or is it nothing else than barbarism (to say the least)? I sitll have no decisive answer to this. Many would initially say that it's nothing to talk about, that killing people is not a solution, that the answer is clearly "no!!!" to any such plans or even thoughts. The only reason which prevents me from joining such many, - is my understanding that ultimately, the only important thing is how and for how long human species would be able to exist on Earth, and whether they would be able to exist for any long (any many generations into the future), at all. I can imagine a possible future in which some few survivors would be sitting in some cave, and discussing our times, saying something like this: "see, those idiots didn't do a thing till very last moment, adding to AGW all the time, and then they died anyways. If only they'd die few decades earlier, we wouldn't be doomed to this pityful and painful agony, as a civilization". We can't know, of course, if this is the one future we are heading to; we may _guess_ it is, but we can't ever know for sure. Still, some of really able scientists are brave enough to think and even to talk about this, and i hope someone will help me to understand this matter better right here, too.

Eric Pianka, perhaps one of most known scientists of the sort, may be not a best man around, - i just don't know, - but he's definitely a very bright biologist, and he did a whole ton of field work, so ain't no "pen and paper" guy, too. In case some people here are not familiar with his famous speeches on the subject, - here's a tip of the iceberg: http://www.pearceyreport.com/archives/2006/04/transcript_dr_d.php .

P.S. Oh, and if you wonder why i ask about this now (and not before) - well, http://www.msf.org/article/ebola-west-africa-epidemic-requires-massive-deployment-resources . Makes one think, eh.
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Dromicosuchus

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2014, 02:42:38 PM »
My personal view on something of this nature is that killing (let's not use "depopulation;" just a bit too antiseptic a term) is never going to be an acceptable answer.  Final Solutions are just that--final.  There's no going back.  No matter how sure of oneself one may be, no matter how certain one is that one is in the right, one could always have made some mistake of judgement.  Even had Hitler been right, even had Jewish folks in general been part of some vast conspiracy to corrupt and degrade Western civilization, the Holocaust would STILL have been appallingly, horribly wrong.  Killing anyone, whether individually or en masse, in order to prevent some a problem in the uncertain future, is not something I could ever condone or tolerate.*

Now, all that said, I've got no problem whatsoever with willing, nonlethal population reduction--something along the lines of VHEMT, or the Voluntary Human Extinction MovemenT ("May we live long and die out").  Willingly deciding not to reproduce based on the conviction that there are too many humans on Earth at present, there will be too many going forward, and our future planet is quite possibly not going to be a place in which one would want to live, is something that I can only applaud--and a course of action that, for what it's worth, I'm intending to take myself.  But depriving other people of their lives, or even of their ability to reproduce, against their will?  No, no matter what the stakes.

*As you might guess, I'm not the biggest fan of the death penalty, wars, etc.

F.Tnioli

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2014, 03:27:59 PM »
No sane and able scientist ever is a fan of wars, sure.

Final solutions are final, yes. But there are sometimes cases that the only possible solution - is a final one; not doing it leads to death. Gangrene was one such situation for a long time: when much of one's limb is already dead (cells in it are dead and rotting), in order to prevent the spreading of death through the entirety of one's body, some _living_ cells are to be cut off (amputated) - quite alot of them, in fact. Failure to do so results in death of the whole organism (or, if to put it another way, - of the whole community of cells which form a human body).

Medicine had an advantage to establish certainty, by observing great number of same cases all ending up in a dead person; thus, medics established certainty - they _know_ for sure that not doing an amputation - is a death sentense to the person who got bad enough gangrene (yes, yes, i know, there are modern methods other than amputation; i am talking about medicine of the past - when for long centuries amputation was the _only_ possible way to save the person).

As a result, the amputation of a gengrenous limb established itself as an act of mercy, even as an act of a duty of a professional surgeon; for a long time, this operation, which is nothing else than killing of some portion of cells of a human body in terms of loss of life, - caused no (not any many, at least?) questions about its morality. Saving _some_ life at expense of some _other_ life when there is a certainty that _all_ life will die otherwise, - is therefore not a moral choice; it's a duty.

Were there mistakes about diagnosing gangrene? Yes. Did some people lose their limbs as a result of such mistakes? Yes. Did this make the operation unethical? No. Had it to to make it unethical? ... ... No, i think.

In case of AGW, we obviously do not have the luxury of "let's see how it goes, if it leads to human species death, then we'd be ready to seriously consider final solutions", - since, obviously, nobody will be left alive to consider. Yet, the scale and importance is also different: while a _fact_ of death of a person is, strictly speaking, a totally normal thing, - individuals born and die, facts of life, - extinction of sapient species (us) would not be a normal thing, but rather unprecedented thing (for this planet, it'd be the 1st time, afaik). Assuming that we admit the _possibility_ of the situation like "the only possible solution to AGW - is some sort of a final one", - shouldn't we calmly try to research further, in a sane attempt to find out whether 1) such a situation actually is the case, and 2) whether there are any other - non-final - solutions present? And in case the latter would not produce any results, - shouldn't we actually consider final solutions, instead of sitting on our nice "butts" or usual-deal ethics and morals, stubbornly saying "killing humans is a no-no" again and again, even with the last breath of a last man alive?

Oh, and about voluntary depopulation: sure, it must be done in any case. Myself, i don't have children and won't have any. Besides, not needed: there are many enough minds who lack so much (very needed) understanding of life processes on Earth, that one can make a footprint of self in/for future generations without biologically making an offspring at all - possibly even a much bigger footprint (than having a few kids), - cultural and behavioural one, in minds of many, later passed to their children and so on. But as far as i know, voluntary depopulation is too slow. Modern civilization will exhaust too many of important resources by ~2050 (if it'd manage to function that long at all), which is well before human population could be reduced to below 2 billions by voluntary depopulation alone (which is, afaik, the highest sensible figure, considering modern person needs in terms of energy, bio services and environmental footprint, while using even very best eco-friendly technologies possible; many papers are talking 1 billion or even less as a truly sustainable size of human population on Earth).

In mathematicians' terms, voluntary depopulation is certainly required - VERY required, - but it is not sufficient, to solve AGW.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 04:00:27 PM by F.Tnioli »
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Laurent

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2014, 05:16:40 PM »
Do not forget that our action (releasing gree house gaz) will result in the death of billions and billions of humans and non humans (living beings). Simply because a big part of the earth won't be suitable for life and for a long time. We have to consider the life now but also on the long run. No need to kill someone, it is already in the pipeline. If the drough continue in US as we can anticipate it, half of US will be uninhabitable very soon (~10 to 30 years). The other half won't be able to go on the other because without oil you just cannot house twice as much people...

wili

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2014, 05:26:08 PM »
Right, in any case we need to vastly reduce consumption, especially that of the top 10-20% of consumers who use up 50-80% of the energy and other resources.

We could stop population growth now with an effective policy, however implemented (ideally, voluntarily), of one child per couple, and only after she has reached the age of 30. Think about it.

There are a bit less than one death per year per 100 people on earth. That number will inevitably rise as the baby boom of the last few decades of the last century age. But it means that an effective halt to most new births would lead to an immediate loss of about 70 million people per year given current death rates. It would still take three decades to bring population down to something north of 5 billion, depending on whether increased natural death rates keep up with increased birth rates as more women reach 30.

I'm guessing that, as more couples/women learn just what a mess of a world they will be bringing a child into, fewer and fewer will opt to have a kid ever.

Still a good idea, but clearly these have to be accompanied by drastic consumption cuts, especially since most high-consumption countries already have relatively low reproduction rates.

If we could at the same time drop all barriers to gay marriage, that would likely help, too. Only about 15% of gay/lesbian couples are having kids and that percentage is on the decline, and the percentage of those adopting is increasing. http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/press/press-releases/as-overall-percentage-of-same-sex-couples-raising-children-declines-those-adopting-almost-doubles-significant-diversity-among-lesbian-and-gay-families/

De-stigmatizing withdrawal of life support in terminal cases (and stigmatizing end of life heroics) could help here, too.

....
Laurent, I expect that in the near term lots of ff will be burnt moving people to new locations, building new cities, and (mostly futilely) shoring up defenses in some old ones, especially among the relatively rich nations.

Relatively few, even in poorer countries, will just stay where they are and die in place. As death tolls rise in any particular location from increasingly common severe events, many/most people will move, however they can, to wherever they think is a safer place to live and to raise their children.

That's why those of us who think we have found a place relatively immune to the very worst of climate change will likely find many others wanting to move in with us or next to us or to displace us altogether.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 05:32:17 PM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Laurent

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2014, 05:56:57 PM »
You are right  people poor or not will travel (it is already happening with loads of Africans (an others) coming in Europe (not always climate reasons ok)) but once again we have to consider the long run and without green house gaz directly or undirectly. It is easy now there is no restriction on using FF. we are even socialy left out if we try to do without... but on the long run the ecosystems in wich we live won't be able to carry us...I am not saying people should not move, I am just saying that won't solve the problem (climate change ecosystem disruption) and we should plan beyond that move.

wili

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2014, 07:06:48 PM »
"I am not saying people should not move, I am just saying that won't solve the problem"

That is certain, and I would go further to say that it will mostly exacerbate the general problem, even if it may give some temporary relief to some/many individuals.

On the other point, let me be clear that I don't have any anticipation that anything like the policies  and goals I have in mind will be put in place in anything like the time needed.

Just that, in theory at least, it would be possible to reduce global population by about 2 billion in about three decades without resorting to barbarities--barbarities will come all on their own without any of us planning them, I'm sure!

Educating young women remains one of the best measures, something I am employed in doing more than full time.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 07:13:05 PM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

TerryM

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2014, 08:24:36 PM »
Perhaps a very long acting birth control pill. Something that prevents conception for decades could be given as part of a coming of age ritual.
Unfortunately, as shown above, even this if it were immediately enforced worldwide it would not suffice in the time we have. Barbarianism now or barbarism later.
Terry

Neven

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2014, 11:16:49 PM »
Although both dreadful, I'll take unplanned barbarism over planned barbarism. But I'll do what I can (or almost) to prevent as much as possible from both.
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2014, 03:51:48 AM »
Whoa, this topic takes the cake.

Have you guys read Margaret Atwood's novel Oryx and Crake? One scientist releases a deadly pathogen that kills nearly everyone except his genetically engineered herbivorous peace-loving proto-humans.

Or how about The Children of Men? Spontaneous universal infertility. The world becomes a difficult place when everyone is old and infirm so there are no younger people to care for them.

Or good ol' Stephen King's The Stand. That must be a bit like airborne ebola killing 90% of the population.

I don't think a cull like that is a very good start for the new improved human race. Every single person will have been totally traumatized. Anybody watched 'The Walking Dead'?

I'm sorry, this level of theorizing ... is it a search for some sort of fairness whereby people in the developing world don't end up doing all the starving and killing? I'm with Neven. Let us reap our karma as it lays.

Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

jonthed

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2014, 04:49:42 AM »
Firstly, total population is too much for this earth, but it is certain regions and nations over-consuming that cause the disparity. Some regions could be self sufficient at current population levels, so the overpopulation issue should not be viewed as applying uniformly to all nations and all regions.

Those nations who do over-consume should be responsible for making their own consumption sustainable, by population control measures, immigration control measures, and change of land use. Other countries should club together to limit the amounts of their own surpluses they export to these bloated nations. Maybe like a rising carbon tax; put an end to cheap food imports to force nations to confront and address their consumption and production problems. Rising food prices would force massive change, making meat consumption decline, diets to become more varied, and spur a huge 'grow-your-own' movement.

...
« Last Edit: June 28, 2014, 12:50:27 AM by jonthed »

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2014, 05:07:54 AM »
There are a whole bunch of problems with planned depopulation.

From a practical point of view - I am going to argue it doesn't really work as a strategy - historically population levels are pretty good at bouncing back from most artificial or temporary depletions. Thus even the widespread slaughter of a majority of humanity would achieve little in the long term without an underlying structural reform to fix the underlying problem - inability to manage population growth (culling does nothing for that, if anything encouraging more as people perceive greater resource availability).

From a moral and ethical point of view - while I could see people may attempt it in our future - it is heavily flawed. How do you select which people to cull? I myself consider that I would be bound to oppose it as a person likely to be culled - out of simple self preservation if nothing else, and would still be bound to oppose it if I was not being culled out of the simple need not to by a hypocrite.

Is that the sort of morality and ethical creature we would wish to become as a species? To fold such a strategy into our long term thinking? I would argue not...

Besides, artificial selection of those to be culled is not necessarily going to be better for our species than natural selection. The reason being that as soon as people are artificially selecting, you will see those who are rich and powerful favoured (for instance) - and not necessarily those who are physically best suited to the new environment. In other words - an artificial strategy is likely to do more harm to our species than a natural process (our track record for improving upon nature remains woefully barren).

I can see a certain class of people - the affluent comfortable westernised populations - finding such ideas attractive (provided they themselves are not being culled) - and yet, those are the populations consuming the most disproportionately to start with...

Maybe my opposition to the notion is somewhat ideological - but can anyone actually show how it would demonstrably actually work or be viable...? Beyond the extent to which certain groups of people already heavily discriminate against other groups in the world of today (usually through things called legislation and border control).

icefest

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2014, 05:28:34 AM »
Whoa, this topic takes the cake.

Have you guys read Margaret Atwood's novel Oryx and Crake? One scientist releases a deadly pathogen that kills nearly everyone except his genetically engineered herbivorous peace-loving proto-humans.

Or how about The Children of Men? Spontaneous universal infertility. The world becomes a difficult place when everyone is old and infirm so there are no younger people to care for them.

Or good ol' Stephen King's The Stand. That must be a bit like airborne ebola killing 90% of the population.

I've read all of them (and many more). Some have too much US-centric survivalism for me.

Oryx and Cake was one of the best ones I have read. Both moving and frightening.
Open other end.

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2014, 05:51:22 AM »
I believe what I have described above, where a nation capable of self sufficiency takes it upon itself to sneakily wipe out the rest of the world, in a way that does no harm to itself or its people, would actually work. It would not be fair by any means. but it would work.

I know this is all theoretical, of course - but can you find an example of a nation genuinely capable of self sufficiency? I think you'll find global interdependencies run depressingly deep... and that's before you get into the logistical issues in trying to selectively wipe out that much of the rest of the world (ie you're either vulnerable to retaliation, or using agents like pathogens that don't necessarily respect borders...).

I'm not sure it would work anyway - self sufficiency doesn't assure progress - and resource constraints are not the only thing pointing modern civilisation at collapse (can you also find a nation sufficiently immune to the committed future effects of climate change?)

jonthed

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2014, 06:17:32 AM »
I'm not certain, but resource-wise, (fuels, metals, minerals etc.) I'd have thought the US, or perhaps the US with Canada would be able to mine most things. Production output would accordingly be reduced and the consumer lifestyle and capitalist product cycle would also be changed. Focus would turn to producing what was needed, not trying to sell luxury products or nifty gadgets. Food Self sufficiency may not be straightforward or painless, but again I'd think that with that amount of land area something could be done, even if meat did mostly disappear form the menu. the US and Canada will also be large enough that the areas due to degrade due to climate change will not cripple them totally. I'd be very surprised if the US couldn't weather total isolation and climate change if it had to.

I'm also not expecting much progress, not until things settle down, just the ability to maintain reasonable standards of living and provision.

F.Tnioli

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2014, 12:08:42 PM »
Do not forget that our action (releasing gree house gaz) will result in the death of billions and billions of humans and non humans (living beings). Simply because a big part of the earth won't be suitable for life and for a long time. We have to consider the life now but also on the long run. No need to kill someone, it is already in the pipeline. If the drough continue in US as we can anticipate it, half of US will be uninhabitable very soon (~10 to 30 years). The other half won't be able to go on the other because without oil you just cannot house twice as much people...
Ain't so easy. You'd be right about "no need to kill someone", if only humans would not be a _cause_ of the problem. Which they are. That's why it matters for how long many billions will continue to make the problem worse. It is possible that if most of them die earlier than it'd happen due to climate, then the end result would change from "complete extinction of human species" to "evolutionary bottleneck of human species" (it wouldn't be the first, too).

In some ways, it is similar to a person who got diagnosed with terminal form of cancer. See, the person comes to doctor, and asks him: "doc, i wanna live, can't you do anything"? And the doctor says: "well, in your case, may be intense chem therapy could help to remove your cancer, but if we go for it, then lots of normal, healthy cells will also die, which means you'll be very ill and weak, but this is the only thing which could possibly save your life". Now, i can imagine this patient saying "no, i don't want to suffer chem therapy, if it's my fate to die, so be it"; i can imagine this patient saying "OK, i really want to live, so if it has to be chem therapy, so be it, let's try it, doc"; but i have major difficulty imagining this patient saying "You know, doc, this cancer i got - it will eventually kill me, so why bother with chem therapy, i'm dead anyways". Which is exactly the sort your argument also is, you see.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 12:17:02 PM by F.Tnioli »
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Laurent

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2014, 01:44:45 PM »
The problem is also you and the people who think the human is a problem. Humans are a problem right now but they are also the solution. Killing billions of people willingly right now ??? again the same question who (or what) does it, who is selected... and even so...things will repeat again because we haven't learned as a whole the reason of the problem. Green house gazes...no, no, no...the problem is about power, relation ship between individuals, groups (families) and nations. So, I am starting to think that it is already too late may be not for total extinction but to keep things as they are now, killing people won't help solve the problem. It is very simple thought we have to absorb green house gaz as quickly as we can, not by industrial mean, but by individual action (with the help of a small industry eventually) (returning to 300 ppm as fast as we can (hysteresis will be there)). Like that the number becomes a force. In the same time we have to rethink the way societies are shaped and interact. More than thinking we should do it right now.

wili

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2014, 01:58:01 PM »
"who (or what) does it, who is selected"

One arguably rational approach, just to make a point, would be to first get rid of those who have the highest consumption rates as well as those who have historically been responsible for most consumption in the past few decades--say the top 10 to 20 % who consume 50 to 80 % of the world's resources.

This would included pretty much everyone on this forum I imagine.

Conversely, those who should be left off the list of 'those to be culled' would be those who now and in the past have done the least or essentially no over-consumption of the planet's resources, and who are least likely to do so in the future. High on that list, I would think, would be remnants of traditional societies such as the Koi-san ("Bushman"), Aka ("Pygmy"), and a few other such.

Somehow, I don't think those who are imagining these culls think of them as moving along these lines. My impression is that the (unconscious?) thinking goes something like, "If we could only get rid of those people [meaning mostly people no like 'me' in ethnicity, culture, class, race...], then there would be plenty for the rest of us and everything would be fine."
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

F.Tnioli

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2014, 02:35:05 PM »
Right, in any case we need to vastly reduce consumption, especially that of the top 10-20% of consumers who use up 50-80% of the energy and other resources.

...
Can't "vastly reduce consumption" any time soon. It's as impossible as expecting whoe Tibet to slowly rise up, all those kilometers of mountains, and fly to the moon all on its own. Really. It pains me when i see people seriously hoping for significant reduction of consumption levels, that's how unrealistic it is, in my opinion.

Here's why. There are two main parts of high per-capita (let's call it "western") consumtion: 1st, most high per-capita consumption, which is done by truly rich people (let's call this "rich class", which is somewhat less than 0,05% of world population), and 2nd, high per-capita consumption done by ~10% of consumers (i.e. ~0,7 billion people), let's call it "middle class" for simplicity. Neither can be reduced any much any fast, unless it is _physically_ impossible to maintain and increase consumption levels (a big asteroid hitting Earth, global nuclear war, etc), because:
 - rich class does not want to reduce it, because they do not care about planet/others suffering. Vast majority of they truly don't, for a very simple reason: in a capitalistic society, individuals who do not care about others - have a large advantage in competing for raising and preserving their monetary capital. It's similar to natural selection - in nature, "strongest" thrives, because strength of body is deciding; in capitalistic society, most selfish and cruel thrives - because _greed_ (generally speaking) is deciding. Very obvious, too. So, the richer people we talk about, the less mercy, compassion and honesty they have. That's _exactly_ why those managed to get that much richer (in terms of money) than most other people. Don't be fooled by their nice manners and seemingly peaceful appearance: most of truly rich people - are truly cruel and selfish, but for "public relations", it certainly helps to look white and fluffy, which they do (also for profit, of course). Exceptions happen, mainly due heritage, in rare cases- due to one's genius, but those few can't bring in significant change - tha main mass or the rich class will feverishly consume as much as they feel they like to, which is alot. Being less than ~0,05% population, we can call them names if we'd like - "freaks", "heartless degenerates", whatever, - if this would help to explain why those relatively few people behave the way they do. But we better not do it any loud, eh ;) , since rich class is _the_ ultimate power on Earth at this time (and in observable future), - there is no force to _make_ the rich class to consume less;
 - middle class can't reduce its consumption any much, even if it would want to. Consumtion by the so-called "middle class" is the holy cow of modern capitalism (including rapidly growing same-model societies in Asia and South America). Reducing it means less profits for the rich class (among other things), and is, therefore, unacceptable by the rich class (which is, again, the ultimate ruler or Earth). The opposite process took a definite (and HUGE!) shape during 20th century, and is still going: i.e., the increase of consumption of the middle class. The term "consumerism" is well known and describes the effect of this increase. The cause of this increase remains way less known, - but it's rather obvious: rich class _designed_ this "rush to supermarkets", this "epidemy of consumerism". Parts of the grand design are education systems, mass media systems, advertisement "industry", even effects and properties of products themselves (product designs which intentionally cause chain-consumption, times less than possible product service time, etc), fashion, and many other methods, even rumors - all designed to fulfill a simple goal: to icnrease consumtion. Rich class "harvests" a fraction of every cent spent by "average Joe" in western society. It is no secret that during last few decades, the fraction of wealth accumulated by 0,1% of richest people - rose very sharply. One can easily find papers with all the numbers about this. That's how and that's why middle class can't reduce its consumption: the primary force on Earth, the force which literally shapes modern societies to be what they are, - i.e., the rich people of (practically planetary now) capitalistic system, - those cruel people will not allow it, and there is no force to make them. They made sure there wouldn't be.

Another trait of rich people - is being smart (again, there are exceptions, quite many actually, but those are usually people who inherited their capital; often, they actually lose control over it - proper "sharks" of the big business take it, letting poor offsprings of old-day business sharks to remain the "face" of a company, but little more than that). Being smart - also helps to win in the merciful capitalistic competition for profit. Being smart, rich people know full well what are the dangers of proletariat. They know very well what happened with rich people after the Great October Revolution of 1917 in Russia (some were simply killed, and all truly rich were ripped of their riches). That's why rich people of today made themselves several independant "insurances", by designing economies, markets, laws - but most of all, real rpoduction and service technologies, - in such a way that they, rich people, are very required part of the system. Nowadays, without rich class,
 - paychecks won't come to Average Joe (hey there, Federal Reserve! Like Randy Newman sings: we give them money, but are they grateful? No, they are spiteful and they're hateful... ;) ),
 - transport will stop (hey there, owners of big oil and gas companies, we love you... NOT! ;) ),
 - food won't be grown (hey, Monsanto, may be let some small bit of India to grow their own varieties of crops, just for diversity, you may need it yourself in the future, you know?),
 - nearly all modern communications will halt (hey AT&T, you knew the deal even in 19th century, eh? Nice job, nice job...);
 - etc.

And, of course, the rich class does much to ensure that people are unable to learn about any alternatives (to the mainstream crucially important systems, which rich class has full control of). Therefore, even simply killing all rich people in the world can't solve the problem anymore: with them gone, whole global civilization will definitely fall apart - rich ones had all the keys, all the rights to sign, all the passwords; and we all (mankind) don't have an alternate global (heck, even any significant regional!) civilization to go on with. I'm not counting few remaining wild regions, like some parts of Amazon, which still have native not-much-modernly-civilized tribes which are able to survive. Why? Very simple. Incoming thermal maximum will ensure that traditional ways - simply subsistence, hunter/gatherer and similar life styles, - will become impossible in nearly all (perhaps literally all) areas they were possible until recently, or even still possible. If human species is to survive, it gotta be quite educated, quite scientific, quite able technologically civilization. Only then we have a chance to exist any long _after_ the thermal maximum caused by AGW (i think it'll reach its peak some time in 22th century, 40 years of thermal inertia plus all those positive climate feedbacks need much time to act, too).
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 03:52:07 PM by F.Tnioli »
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F.Tnioli

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2014, 02:56:53 PM »
... who is selected... ...
Well, this is one easy thing. Not a question to me, at all. Nobody - and i mean, _nobody_ - should have an opportunity to "select" who'd die and who'd live. If we go for it, then it must be done by the only fair, good old method: random selection. Soldiers at war are picking matches - whomever gets the long one, goes to suicide mission; same thing. And if i'd happen to get a "losing" ticket, then so be it. I'll die content, knowing it has a meaning, and it gives a hope to my kind. By the way, Pianka, iirc, pointed out more than once that one of suitable features of Ebola - is that it's random; who dies and who lives, - nobody knows. Some perish extremely fast, few have immune systems which are able to manage well enough for the person to live on.
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F.Tnioli

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2014, 03:35:42 PM »
... things will repeat again because we haven't learned as a whole the reason of the problem. ...
Ultimately incorrect.

Things will never "repeat again". Did you ever consider why, exactly, modern global civilization is what it is? Did you ever see so many factors - quite some of them are "one use only" - which defined events of recent decades and centuries?

Humans evolve as biological species rather slowly. However, our genes - is not our most defining feature anymore. Indeed, ~98,5% of our genes - are same with chimps. ~96% - same with orangutans. Yet we are species who decide the fate of whole planet - and those apes are species who decide fate of some thermite nests and bugs, at best.

What makes us humans SO different - is our culture. The sum of knowledge, habits, customs, fairytales, technologies, beliefs, and knowledge. We differ so much because we _pass_ it to later generations, in a sufficiently precise manner. Do you realize that you, me, everyone here - is largely NOT a product of our genes, not even a product of our parents' care and school education, - but instead, a product of JOINT EFFORT of BILLIONS of people of the past, i.e. all those who discovered bits and pieces of what you (me, anybody else) know today, and passed it on for thousands and thousands of years, refining and improving it in the process? Do you realize that very language we speak here - english, - is a highly sophisticated and efficient system for recording, transferring and safekeeping (written form) information, designed by millions and millions of humans, hudreds generations, who by means of practicing it slowly improved and enriched it, again and again, millions times, - for you to be able to use it to communicate, and being able to describe otherwise unimaginable things? There are no "english language" genes. None. You, me, every english-speaking person - got english to use _only_ because it is (rather huge) IT system designed by our ancestors, and passed on to us. Same for other languages, and etc.

The continuity, therefore, plays a major role. Any evolutionary bottleneck will break most of our human culture. Humans who (hopefully) would emerge and live on after the bottleneck - will never be any similar to humans as we know them today. Most importantly, they will have 1st-hand knowledge that our kind is very capable to nearly destroy biosphere of Earth. For them, it will be a lesson of the past - not a hypothesis about the future. This thing alone will guarantee that things won't repeat the same way. Rich and evil people may be selfish, but they are smart by definition, and repeating the error of present-day elites, who are driving their very own system (which gives them all their power) to the ultimate crash - they won't make. Actually, even many (possibly most?) of modern rich people know full well what to do in order to keep the system going; but they can't. Trapped in the system much designed by their grand-grand-parents, and unable to build an alternative (in time), they are as much victims to the situation as we all are. It doesn't stop them from "eating each other", though, - which they certainly do. When economic growth halts, economic cannibalism begins.

After the evolutionary bottleneck, two other main differences will be:
 - no more easily accessible resources to start "quick and dirty". Oil won't be available right at surface, like it was in 19th century. Coal would be hard to find. Forests will be many times less in size and quality in compare to the start of industrial revolution (which was powered by steam machine, which initially used wood as a fuel). Metal ores? Sorry, no more rich metal ores. Wild life and ecoservices? Scarce and few. Etc etc. It will be a very different world, and new human culture will be developing very new ways, most of which we can't even predict;
 - quite few people both to start with, and possible max population, too. Climate quite deadly in so many parts of the world and completion of the 6th great extinction is not a joke. And i found that in small towns, people are generally MUCH better. Compassioate, kind, ready to help. Living in a megapolis which has 10+ millions souls - is a NIGHTMARE for anybody who lived ~dozen years in a ~50.000 souls town prior to arriving to such a megapolis. Exactly because most of people in big cities are so... heartless, i'd say. I know it 1st-hand, since such a move was exactly what i did when i was 17 years old. And it gives me some hope for the future of human race.

And i wouldn't blame anybody, too. Even evil/rich folks. Evolution and mutation ensures there are all possible kinds of us, some kinds more frequent, some less. Events and elements and millions of years of fossil fuels formation, etc etc, and the might on mother nature, who provided so much (too much!) for us, - all those are things beyond anyone's control (in terms of living humans). Current state of affairs of mankind, i'd call it "unfortunate turn of events in the evolution of one planet biosphere", and nothing more than that. But we are sapient, and it is expected we'd try to use our intellect to live on. Which this topic is about.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 04:17:33 PM by F.Tnioli »
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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2014, 04:25:22 PM »
Well, this is one easy thing. Not a question to me, at all. Nobody - and i mean, _nobody_ - should have an opportunity to "select" who'd die and who'd live. If we go for it, then it must be done by the only fair, good old method: random selection. Soldiers at war are picking matches - whomever gets the long one, goes to suicide mission; same thing. And if i'd happen to get a "losing" ticket, then so be it. I'll die content, knowing it has a meaning, and it gives a hope to my kind.

I'd be more with wili - and targeting by consumption/net harm done. Why should one randomly be selected and effectively punished for less or no guilt or harm being done? Should there be no merit to good behaviour? Not that either attempt is ever likely to be made - people are easily aroused into hatred against other groups, not so easily persuaded that their own group should make any sacrifice (the root of our damn problem in the first place in this case!).

By the way, Pianka, iirc, pointed out more than once that one of suitable features of Ebola - is that it's random; who dies and who lives, - nobody knows. Some perish extremely fast, few have immune systems which are able to manage well enough for the person to live on.

But it's not likely to be entirely random? With most diseases there are predictors that give at least some statistical slant on the mortality effects - those with weaker immune systems tend to be either old or young, less well nourished, under greater general stress, etc. So diseases will tend to discriminate to at least some extent by both age and affluence (usually quite a big extent but I don't know about Ebola specifically).

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2014, 04:29:11 PM »
I  have passed this thread up since the topic was posted (haven't even read comments until now) but I will weigh in on this topic once.

First, the whole premise disgusts me. The discussion is pointless and any suggestion about culling population (I call it murder) has, at its very foundation, the implication that the strong will cull the weak. This is simply an extension of what is already happening as imperial powers (at the core of which is the U.S. but includes all of Europe as well) will continue to wage war on the rest of the world, murdering people to get the things that we need. I am, by the way, a resident of the U.S. and am repulsed by what we do to maintain the empire.

So here is my contribution to the discussion. I will not be back again.

The analogy of gangrene as the disease we have could not be more incorrect. With gangrene, you need to sacrifice a limb, some peripheral area of the body to save the rest.

The appropriate disease analogy is cancer. We have a cancer at the very core of the body and this cancer is metastasizing to other parts of the body. The treatment is an obvious one. We  must first cut out the tumor (the developed world, US and Europe etc) and throw it away. We then must use chemotherapy to get at the metastasis (China, Asia, South America, Africa). Only then can we save the body.

If we were to cut off the limbs when we have such a disease, this would be like removing the remaining healthy parts of the body in order to save the tumor.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2014, 04:59:20 PM by Shared Humanity »

Neven

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2014, 10:15:27 PM »
First, the whole premise disgusts me. The discussion is pointless

I agree, but at the same time I don't want to close threads, just because I'm uncomfortable with such discussions.

Just to be clear.
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

idunno

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2014, 11:17:14 PM »
[snip]

NEVEN, get a fucking  grip.

----
 
edit N: you might want to read first, before jumping to conclusions. If it is to be believed that AGW is a potentially very serious problem, then rationally speaking this discussion isn't off-limits, as long as it stays philosophical, and doesn't become a brainstorm for how to go about depopulating. Now, I'm not a fan of cold rationalism, I don't like discussing these things, but I'm not going to shut down the discussion either because of that. If I'm going to close discussions because I don't like them, I might as well stay online 24 hours a day.

This thread will eventually depopulate by itself.  ;)
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 11:40:57 PM by Neven »

Laurent

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2014, 11:29:10 PM »
Keep cool I dunno there is no need to add more stress to that subject. REspect of the ideas of others is important even if that does not please us and as long as it does not come true. There is high possibility that the US governement try to create a mondial war in Ukraine in order to avoid a financial collapse. It seems to me they tryed it in Syria...Anyway we civilians have to keep vigilant in order to promote peace instead of wars. Wars won't solve anything it would have a diverting effect for the rich but that won't solve anything...

wili

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #26 on: June 28, 2014, 12:03:24 AM »
I agree with those that say it's a disgusting topic, but one that seems to pop up in these kinds of discussion boards, in my experience. That's why I've limited myself to pointing out alternatives (however unlikely they may seem) and reductio ad absurdums (absurda??).

Tn said: "with [the rich] gone, whole global civilization will definitely fall apart"

Sounds like a story the rich like to tell themselves.

If you really think it is more realistic to plan a 'rational' culling than to reduce absurd levels of consumption, then I guess we don't have too much more to say to each other. I would rather brainstorm ways of possibly making that happen myself.

There are of course lots of precedents for voluntary simplicity being taken up on a mass scale--monastic traditions, puritan and some other sects, vegetarianism, 'hippie' and back to land movements...The current young generation seems to be turning away from cars, often even if they can afford them.

Various actions by the government and probably other sectors could encourage and even mandate some of these directions. Or someone could essentially engineer a world depression--just not massively bailing out the banks in 2008 would have done the job. All that $$ could have been used to help soften the blow for the hardest hit.

As ASLR has just pointed out on another thread, nearly all national military are making plans for dealing with disruptions from climate change. They see it as a threat. At some point, military decision makers may conclude that it is in the country's and world's best interest to step in, take over the running of the country, and vastly reduce the sources of these threats--basically over-consumption. (Not that I'm advocating this; just that it is not, to me at least, an unimaginable development.)
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2014, 02:21:52 AM »
I can understand and accept that SH and other do not want to participate in such a discussion, but nevertheless I think the bottom line question being asked by F.Tnioli about whether forced depopulation is a solution or barbarism is a good question, and my interpretation is that those who feel repelled by such a question takes it for granted that forced depopulation is barbarism, which is a defendable stance depending on what one defines as forced depopulation. Though, to demonstrate why forced depopulation can be defended, I would use an example of 100 humans living on an island where in the short term there is food for anyone, however, only food for 50 humans can be produced on a longer term without messing up the ecosystem and in the long term making it impossible to produce any food at all. What should be done? That is a very real problem which has to be dealt with if not the entire island is to become completely depopulated.

First I concur with F.Tnioli that nobody should have the power to “select” out anyone that must die for the common good. The preferred way to depopulate an area should always, without any exception, be through indiscriminate birth control. I would not at all consider a restriction of the number of children allowed per capita to be an act of barbarism, rather the opposite it would in most circumstances be a trademark of a civilized society. Then, if the population has to be reduced faster than birth control allows, I would consider it most fair to simply lower the food production to a sustainable level and then distribute the food equally on those who work (assuming that most, if not all, work in such a society serves the common good) and perhaps to some extent those who don’t. It would not be fair, but it would be the least unfair because it would ensure natural selection over human selection and I think it would be, as CCGW mentions, more executable than other kinds of depopulation schemes, many of whom would border to barbarism as they are both unjust and unnecessary. 

Wili, I do not consider a scenario of military takeover and subsequent voluntary reduction in consumption even remotely possible. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, or as I prefer to say it; humans seek freedom/power and those with most power use it to seek even more. People who seek to decentralize power don’t become military leaders of developed nations. The only slightly possible option is a larger revolution in less developed nations, where the leaders of the revolution has a commitment to decentralizing power and subsequently reducing global consumption. If else, the human population is unfortunately going to be reduced through spread of poverty and/or massive wars.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2014, 02:28:35 AM by Rubikscube »

Anne

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #28 on: June 28, 2014, 02:29:56 AM »
Yes, a vile topic.

When people talk of culling, they never volunteer themselves. It has been well said that it is the rich in the developed world who need to curb their activities. They are way the biggest burden on the environment. (That's me done for, and anyone else using a computer for leisure time.)

It is surely only a few years down the line that we will see rationing of food, fuel, and fresh water. I can't see how else there can be a fair distribution of resources, and if there isn't a fair distribution of resources - like some places not getting any - it's not going to be pretty.

@ wili: "Reductiones ad absurdum". There may indeed be more than one absurdity but the cliché assumes an absolute. The ways of getting there are manifold.

Anne

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #29 on: June 28, 2014, 02:57:31 AM »
Correction to what I said above about no one volunteering:
Anyone know anything first hand about the Voluntary Extinction Movement?
http://www.vhemt.org/

wili

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #30 on: June 28, 2014, 03:55:16 AM »
They've been around for a while. One of my favorite "hopeless causes." Another of my favorites was one that had the goal of shrinking the stature of all individual humans in the hopes that this would cause each to a have literally a smaller foot print. Can't remember the official name of that group, though. And thanks for the Latin correction--should have thought of that! :-[

Rc wrote: "Wili, I do not consider a scenario of military takeover and subsequent voluntary reduction in consumption even remotely possible"

I was obviously not very clear. I see those as two separate possibilities. Most military leaders are not uber-wealthy, as far as I recall. So they wouldn't have to 'voluntarily reduce' much really. Just  prohibit others from doing the so. I'm not for it, and I think it's unlikely, but military take overs happen all the time (are they up to twenty some in Thailand, now), so that part doesn't seem too far fetched. Short of some such take over, who do you think would distribute the food in your scenario so wonderfully equitably.

Back in the real world, it is mostly likely that the wealthiest will continue to consume at the highest rates that they possibly can while more and more of the rest of us fall into deeper and deeper poverty and starvation. Losing even billions on the lowest end of the consumption ladder--by whatever means--will do little to change the rate that the earth is being raped, since the bottom two to three billion only consume a small percentage of the total.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2014, 04:14:27 AM by wili »
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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #31 on: June 28, 2014, 05:03:42 AM »
It is surely only a few years down the line that we will see rationing of food, fuel, and fresh water. I can't see how else there can be a fair distribution of resources, and if there isn't a fair distribution of resources - like some places not getting any - it's not going to be pretty.

I think this is a very important point actually - the culling is already happening, and will get far worse. Just because it isn't a stated policy of intentionally killing people doesn't mean that using affluence as a selector for who has access to resources doesn't ultimately amount to the very same thing. What right do Europeans and Americans have to burn food crops in combustion engines, using greater wealth to deprive others of food via the global marketplace? (just one of many possible examples)

Those who find the topic abhorrent - fine - but - you ought to look at how the world actually works, and I mean really look - try looking at it from the position of poverty (if you can, experience helps). We're already in that sort of world... as the phrase goes - does a rose by any other name smell as sweet? (or disgusting, in this case).

Even here on this forum all too many people tacitly accept this to be the case, making statements such as "the poor will be hit worst". Why is that so? Because...

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #32 on: June 28, 2014, 05:12:19 AM »
Though, to demonstrate why forced depopulation can be defended, I would use an example of 100 humans living on an island where in the short term there is food for anyone, however, only food for 50 humans can be produced on a longer term without messing up the ecosystem and in the long term making it impossible to produce any food at all. What should be done? That is a very real problem which has to be dealt with if not the entire island is to become completely depopulated.

Way I see it really - is that people are just like any other animal. You overpopulate and over consume in a finite habitat, and population crash with erosion of limits occurs.

I see nothing in human nature that points at controlled depopulation as a strategy likely to be successful - it is however in our nature for tribal groups to compete viciously with each other in the face of diminishing resources. The net effect in the end is population loss either way - but one path is much more likely to leave a species adapted to circumstances better, hence I argue for letting nature take it's course for the most part.

It would be really nice if people peacefully reacted to such situations and if so the lower level of conflict would no doubt raise the floor of collapse (as conflict will do additional damage above and beyond climate change and resource depletion).

One more note - conflict can be predicted somewhat by levels of inequality. If everyone is equally poor and starving, social cohesion is much more likely to be maintained than if there is large affluence gaps between sections of society, whereby envy can build up and there is logical targets against which to direct the violence. The societies that have better social justice and equality, should be in general lower conflict environments as collapse bites.

Finally, I greatly appreciate that Neven permits free ranging discussions on this forum. Political correctness is the bane of practical discussion and as per previous post - much of this is in the spin of the words used. Forced depopulation sounds worse than saying poor people have less ability to afford food, right? What's the difference, in the end? The socioeconomic elites have the military and police forces to enforce "justice" by making sure those with affluence have access to critical resources where those who do not only have access if they successfully use violence to obtain them...

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #33 on: June 28, 2014, 01:45:53 PM »
Anne and ccg have arrived at the flaw in this topic.
It is surely only a few years down the line that we will see rationing of food, fuel, and fresh water. I can't see how else there can be a fair distribution of resources, and if there isn't a fair distribution of resources - like some places not getting any - it's not going to be pretty.

I think this is a very important point actually - the culling is already happening, and will get far worse.

So then what makes this topic abhorrent to some of us is the image of us relatively rich Earthlings sitting at our power-sucking computers theorizing about a cull.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

wili

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #34 on: June 28, 2014, 03:19:36 PM »
"Rationing" of a type is of course already happening--it's just not particularly rational rationing, but rather economic/capitalist rationing: Those who have money get everything, those who don't get nothing or next to nothing.

Let's remind ourselves that about a billion people already don't have reliable access to a good water supply, two or more billion are 'food insecure' or worse...meanwhile the top billion or so is using up the vast majority of the planet's resources, mostly on non-essentials. (These are off the top of my head--please correct the figures if you have the latest.)

If we are alright with billions of people to be in desperate straights now, why do we think at some future time those wealthier and more politically powerful than we are will implement rationing when things get worse and when we may become among the billions short of food?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #35 on: June 28, 2014, 04:53:13 PM »
Right on Wili. This topic is helping me focus my dread. I now understand why I get angry when my peers rail on about the exorbitant salaries of the notorious one percent. It's pure misdirection, keeping us looking up rather than down – at those whose backs we're standing on while we click away on computers made in brutal sweatshops.

I dread that extreme weather will immediately and increasingly frequently deliver horrible blows to those less fortunate than us and I will spend the rest of my life trying to smell the roses and consume as little as palatable (not as little as possible, I admit), which is mostly more of a spiritual practice than actual mitigation.

I can stay out of real depression by seeing our root problem as overpopulation. But it's a crazy leap to think of forced depopulation as the solution. There is no grand solution, only adaptation and witnessing.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2014, 08:18:46 PM »
I can stay out of real depression by seeing our root problem as overpopulation. But it's a crazy leap to think of forced depopulation as the solution. There is no grand solution, only adaptation and witnessing.

I know some likes to argue for population as the root cause of the problems - but it's a bit chicken and egg - what enabled us to inflate our population up into such a large bubble? Surely an extremely unsustainable approach to resources did that - and that lies at the root of our problems?

All natural populations are prone to boom and bust cycles to some extent, those are natural cycles - what we've effectively done though is to inflate up a much bigger bubble, which will consequently have a much bigger bust.

Hence I think the sustainability question lies at the root of our future, rigorous focus on sustainability would necessarily constrain population.

Now it falls to my and future generations to do something about it. I don't think we can prevent the train wreck, we have insufficient power (and awareness, even within my generation, which really ought to know better as it's our children who might not get to become adults) and it's too late in the day.

But we still could, in theory, try to make something better out of the ashes...

And personally, I'm leaning strongly towards saying that would work best with people from the bottom of the order today, they have the psychological resilience and the experience of adversity, and would be far better suited to that task than virtually any person softened by modern western living.

But maybe it's all just a pointless daydream...

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2014, 08:32:35 PM »
Jared Diamond and various anthropologists of the recently discovered ancient civilizations of the Western Hemisphere detail collapsing civilizations and it's almost always about an unsustainable approach to resources (when it isn't about a plague). Chicken-egg implies either-or. There's a process of using-up that includes too many users and not enough resources. But I'm splitting hairs.

Talking about whether and how to depopulate is, I think, one of the least mentally healthy ways of living through this process with eyes wide open. Maybe better for the world than head-in-sand, but possibly worse for the imaginers themselves.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #38 on: June 28, 2014, 08:42:28 PM »
Talking about whether and how to depopulate is, I think, one of the least mentally healthy ways of living through this process with eyes wide open. Maybe better for the world than head-in-sand, but possibly worse for the imaginers themselves.

I think it's fairly pointless as a thought process, given that substantial depopulation is likely committed into the outlook already, and we don't have ultimate control over that. I'd argue it's far more productive personally to be accumulating skills, strategies and knowledge that might reclaim some portion of quality of life for those in the future (or even today, for those who get to live through this).

Even if it's just growing a few vegetables in the garden... it's surely generally infinitely more valuable than sitting around and talking about anything, let alone this topic.

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #39 on: June 28, 2014, 08:45:51 PM »
Quote
I know some likes to argue for population as the root cause of the problems - but it's a bit chicken and egg - what enabled us to inflate our population up into such a large bubble?

Oh, that's an easy question. Grains!  :)
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Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #40 on: June 28, 2014, 08:47:39 PM »
Ditto, ccg. I'm very lucky to be in a well-connected community of gardeners and crafters who would rather do than talk. But of course you can talk while you do and honing one's arguments here can pay off when we're confronted with confused individuals who aren't totally closed.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #41 on: June 28, 2014, 11:23:46 PM »
Quote
I know some likes to argue for population as the root cause of the problems - but it's a bit chicken and egg - what enabled us to inflate our population up into such a large bubble?

Oh, that's an easy question. Grains!  :)

Fossil fuels.

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2014, 11:53:17 PM »
Quote
I know some likes to argue for population as the root cause of the problems - but it's a bit chicken and egg - what enabled us to inflate our population up into such a large bubble?

Oh, that's an easy question. Grains!  :)

Fossil fuels.

Green revolution.  ;D
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wili

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #43 on: June 29, 2014, 12:34:32 AM »
Obviously, the answers to this good question depend on context--where and when.

It is interesting to consider China, whose exponential population increase started already around 1500, so fossil fuels and some other likely suspects can be ruled out.



This article suggests that I primary factor was the introduction of new crops from the New World:

http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/special/china_1950_population.htm

Quote
Of great significance during this period was the introduction of new crops into Chinese cropping patterns. Especially noteworthy was the acceptance of a range of New World crops that had come to Asia from the Americas via the Spanish colonizers. These new crops — corn, sweet potatoes, and peanuts, especially — were all non-competitive with common grain crops because they could be grown in marginal areas such as on hill slopes and where soils were dry or sandy.



"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #44 on: June 29, 2014, 01:19:49 AM »
Right! The Columbian Exchange began the population explosion. I highly recommend this book by Charles Mann.

http://www.amazon.com/1493-Uncovering-World-Columbus-Created/dp/0307278247/ref=pd_sxp_grid_pt_1_0
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #45 on: June 29, 2014, 03:24:05 AM »
Discussing unsupportable population growth (to me) is a waste of time without first discussing an unsupportable monetary system based on ever increasing debt that has now entrenched the planet. 



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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #46 on: June 29, 2014, 04:45:51 AM »
Discussing unsupportable population growth (to me) is a waste of time without first discussing an unsupportable monetary system based on ever increasing debt that has now entrenched the planet.

But let's not forget that the monetary system is essentially just a figment of our collective imagination, where the human population is a real tangible thing?

With respect to the Chinese population growth following the introduction of new crops mentioned above, I think it's worth noting that neither their nation or global civilisation collapsed in short order as a result, and yet the green "revolution" dramatically inflated population count with that very outcome looking highly certain (projected in Limits to Growth even 40 years ago, before I was born) surely the sustainability of the approaches therefore is rather important?

So one is back to unsustainable behaviour - the Chinese didn't collapse in those 500 years, and yet in under 200 years of fossil fuel power - we are staring it in the face. We've predicated everything upon a finite short lived energy source (fossil fuels) where they used manual labour (human power) and we recently also inflated things still further using artificial boosters that give short term gains at the expense of long term productivity (the mechanical handling of the soil and consequent loss of top soil, the massive injection of fertilisers and pesticides and so on).

Hence my argument that we let nature take its course, our numbers will find equilibrium within the new eroded limits, and the rigorous application of sustainability moving forwards should then give our species a future of some sort. It might take a lot longer for technology to progress under that model, as one is ruling out the cheap dirty wins that entail problems for those in the future - but the flip side of that is that for the indefinite future, problems remain manageable and you aren't continuing the modern day outlook of sucking everything dry today and consigning whoever comes next to hell. If my ancestors had taken an outlook where they cared about my generation... it would be a different world today? We wouldn't even be talking about these problems.

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #47 on: June 29, 2014, 05:33:12 AM »
Discussing unsupportable population growth (to me) is a waste of time without first discussing an unsupportable monetary system based on ever increasing debt that has now entrenched the planet.

But let's not forget that the monetary system is essentially just a figment of our collective imagination, where the human population is a real tangible thing?

Imaginary, like the lines that divide Countries?  Or imaginary gods that divide religions?   

Can you name a significant war that wasn't about land, religion, or money?

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #48 on: June 29, 2014, 07:16:26 AM »
But let's not forget that the monetary system is essentially just a figment of our collective imagination, where the human population is a real tangible thing?

Imaginary, like the lines that divide Countries?  Or imaginary gods that divide religions?   

Can you name a significant war that wasn't about land, religion, or money?

So people are stupid enough to fight real wars and do real physical harm for the sake of imaginary things - what's new? (land is a real resource though, even if the dividing lines are imaginary)

We allow our tools to become our masters at our cost? Can you show any benefit to our species as a whole of any of these imaginary ideas we hold so important? Or are they merely a short term excuse to seize advantage for a few and instead the foundations of our ultimate failure?

As far as I can see such dogma is not only essentially divisive, fostering competition rather than cooperation, but is very heavily responsible for the mess we have created. It doesn't matter how elaborate the fantasy world we create for ourselves is, nor how strongly we believe in it - the real world is what we're stuck with. Yet I would say a majority of people are firmly entrenched in the fantasy world, at least in affluent societies.

Lynn Shwadchuck

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Re: Forced depopulation: solution or barbarism?
« Reply #49 on: June 29, 2014, 01:51:34 PM »
CCG, we're in agreement.

Ice, regarding the monetary system, it's the matrix we live in, whether or not it seems 'real'.
Still living in the bush in eastern Ontario. Gave up on growing annual veggies. Too much drought.