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The profits of growth go to the few, and everyone else picks up the tab.
Just tell that to the Africans that cling to flotsam and jetsam to get to Europe or the 100 Cubans crammed into raft size boat.
He asks: Does America really need more than its current 309 million people? With immigration at present levels, it will have 439 million by 2050.
Sure, why not? Sounds good, maybe 1 billion would also be good.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 01:56:04 PM EST
Ronald Rutherford:
Just tell that to the Africans that cling to flotsam and jetsam to get to Europe or the 100 Cubans crammed into raft size boat.

Because they would say what? That population growth is a great idea?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 02:46:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because they would say what? That population growth is a great idea?
That coming to a High Income Country benefits them, what more do you think they want? Not sure if the refugees consider population growth a good idea but it sounds like "white man's burden".

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Tue Aug 18th, 2009 at 03:12:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely they are escaping overpopulation in their own countries?

En un viejo pas ineficiente, algo as como Espaa entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 04:44:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely they are escaping overpopulation in their own countries?

I am sure there are many factors as to what they are escaping and from my studies it is due to lack of freedoms, lack of development and most importantly lack of democracy. Overpopulation is probably lowest on the factors especially considering that Europe has higher density of people and not to mention Singapore.

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 12:08:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Citations, please?

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 12:39:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... Singapore are self sufficient in their resources.

Lessee, Africa, footprint 1.4 ha/ca, biocapacity, 1.8 ha/cap, surplus 0.4 ha/cap, on a population of 902m, or a surplus biocapacity of 360m ha.

EU, footprint, 4.7ha/ca, biocapacity, 2.3ha/ca, deficit, 2.4ha/ca, on a population of 487.3, or a deficit biocapacity of 1,169.3m ha.

There you go, the Africans are just paddling across the Med to get their hands on their missing resources.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Sep 15th, 2009 at 10:27:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure how much I agree with the post at the top of this thread, but overpopulation as a reason for refugees and migration is a bit overplayed, I think.  People don't flee from a particular level of population density, but rather from a lack of economic opportunity, corruption, and political oppression.  The causes of these problems are almost entirely social and political.

Population growth may contribute to the hopelessness and desperation stemming from these root problems, as traditional (pre-modern, subsistence and family oriented) safety nets fail to deal with a larger number of people who need to be saved, but they wouldn't be necessary if the above problems weren't severe.

Sure, there may be more people in the Sahel than can reasonably survive as goat herders, but the real problem isn't that there are too many goat herders, but that they're goat herders to begin with.  There's no money in goat herding, and they know it, but they're powerless to do anything but immigrate.

If it was merely a factor of "too many people in too small a space," which is sort of what "overpopulation" implies, refugees would be coming from places like Tokyo.  

Then again, the way things are going in the US, they may very well start fleeing from New York.

by Zwackus on Tue Sep 15th, 2009 at 08:16:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you conflating population growth rates and population levels?

In an economy that is not growing rapidly, rapid population growth implies declining income per capita. And that, of course, can itself be an impediment to economic growth.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Sep 15th, 2009 at 10:29:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Slow economic growth combined with high population growth leads to declining incomes, undermining economic growth, and if it leads to declining education rates by girls, can even lead to accelerated population growth.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Sep 16th, 2009 at 03:34:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry for the late reply.  I intended to say nothing about population growth rates, but rather to comment on the notion of "overpopulation" as a primary driver for refugees.

On your point, though, I agree entirely that that is a nasty combination.  However, I don't generally think that, generally speaking, a "surplus" of population can be blamed for poor economic conditions, but rather political issues and the local, national, and regional level.  

Given the presence of local politically-based blockages to economic development (parasitic elites sucking dry anything and everything that produces revenue), population growth does make existing problems worse.  But I don't think it can be blamed for the existence of those problems.  It should be remembered that every country that underwent an industrial revolution did so during a population explosion.  Those were special times and special circumstances, obviously - and it is those times and circumstances, not population growth or the lack thereof - that is the important thing to look at.

On another front, environmental stability, absolute population numbers are far more important, I think.  However, that is a different issue from the one under discussion here.

by Zwackus on Wed Sep 16th, 2009 at 09:25:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... sloppy thinking about the problem of overpopulation.

The idea of population "surplus" is always with respect to what standard of living, what technological requirements of resources supporting that standard of living, and what resources available.

So, for instance, at current standards of living and technological requirements, Europe is overpopulated and Africa is not - Europe is living beyond its own biocapacity, and Africa is living within its own biocapacity. Reverse the standards of living but not the technology and Africa would be overpopulated while Europe would not be.

And if a country were to maintain an "overpopulated" population at a stable level while technological efficiency improves, it would become less and less "overpopulated" over time.

That is the serious consideration of population levels - what population levels can be sustainably support with the resources and technology at hand.

Singapore would of course be a Red Herring in this discussion - the hinterland of the City of Singapore is not the Island of Singapore, but rather the entire western portion of ASEAN. And ASEAN itself would, indeed, be an appropriate scale for considering the question of what population would be sustainable.

At the same time, for the question of what economic growth rates can be attained, rather than what populations can be sustainably maintained, the critical issue has been population growth rates. And that is, of course, not new - that has been the focus of the serious discussion on that issue since the 1970's at least.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Sep 17th, 2009 at 01:23:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Wed Aug 26th, 2009 at 01:49:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I fail to see the relevance of this to the argument advanced - either in favor or opposed.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 07:35:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which argument would that be?

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 12:09:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The one you were replying to?

En un viejo pas ineficiente, algo as como Espaa entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 12:13:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. The costs of indefinite population growth outweigh the benefits.
  2. Said costs and benefits are distributed inequitably.

If you wish to discuss these points seriously, wonderful.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 12:35:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's stop feeding the trolls, people.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 12:50:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I figured it was worth offering a last opportunity to show good faith.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 01:10:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. The costs of indefinite population growth outweigh the benefits.
   2. Said costs and benefits are distributed inequitably.

If you wish to discuss these points seriously, wonderful.

dvx, why thanks for you level of tolerance and faith in other people.

  1. I do not believe I have ever here nor anywhere else said "indefinite population growth outweighs the benefits". We seem to have definite numbers to work with and 416 million for the US is OK with me and 9.2 billion other humans on this planet is fine also.

  2. No one again said distributed equitably. I think that was already assumed since people got in rickety old boats and set out for a better life-as I mentioned. But it is beyond just material possessions but also freedom and chance to develop themselves to the full potential. And yes human capital is not distributed equitably. Which is at least one reason for allowing labor to migrate.

Thanks...

Rutherfordian ------------------------------ RDRutherford
by Ronald Rutherford (rdrradio1 -at- msn -dot- com) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 02:18:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
dvx:

1. The costs of indefinite population growth outweigh the benefits.

I agree. Isn't it obvious that an "indefinite population growth" will collide with a "finite planet earth" (Or even a finite universe for our believers in technology :-)? Somebody posted a nice video on the exponential function in my "Ponzi" diary.
The problem is that the mainstream economic religion says that our economy needs growth. And population growth is "Growth for Dummies" to paraphrase popular book titles. This reminds me of my old diary Beyond Ponzi Economy

Schau in mich, Harno

Make it as simple as possible but not simpler (Albert Einstein)

by harnoes on Wed Sep 16th, 2009 at 04:16:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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