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Translation : Emmanuel Azencot
Author : Emmanuel Azencot
Creation : Sun Jan 10 20:20:12 CET 2016
Update: Sun Jan 10 20:20:12 CET 2016

Population decrease

"Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth are growing exponentially, along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill.", "We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.". (Stephen Hawking)

Long term stability require population to stay at an affordable level

We are 7.3 billion in 2015 and yet see the effects of our foot print

Decreasing population solve part of our concerns

Target population size

I beg women to wonder why they want babies

Let's go !

But ...


Translation are welcome. Please send me your work without decoration and in medieval file format , .txt, .html, .rtf, word 95 would be nice. I will keep your contribution anonymous, with as much care I am able, if you which so.

My English is French, so you can also give correction for it.

If you have an idea ... think about it !


 2030: The “Perfect Storm Scenario”
 No really, how sustainable are we ?
 Causes effects solutions of Overpopulation
 What Level of Human Population Is Sustainable? 
 Population and Sustainability: Can We Avoid Limiting the Number of People?
 Nine Population Strategies to Stop Short of Nine Billion

 Why "Population Matters" is wrong
 Why Population Matters

Long term stability require population to stay at an affordable level

Not doing so usually results in diseases, starvation, wars or whatever. Even if our technological tools may postpone part of theses scourges, durably breaking equilibrium make unavoidable a bigger crisis. Earth is bounded, so are the available resources. So must, and will, remain the amount of human on Earth.

Word population
1800 - 2100

Word population
10 000BC - 2000AD

World Population 1800-2100
World population 10000BC-2000AD

Chart from wikipedia
Chart from wikipedia

The very simplified predation model lynx-rabbit is enough to figure how misleading can be the real situation. Even very simple this predator-pray model (1) yet exhibit complex behavior that correspond to a non-linear differential equation when predicting respective population. Such system have two stable solutions. One is the pray extinct followed by its predator. The other stable solution is hopefully less catastrophic, but is never reached as the system tend to oscillate around it.

In our case, we already hunted many preys pushing them to extinct. In most case extinction happens as an indirect cause of human activities, like agriculture (2, 3). But in the oceans, overfishing is the direct cause of fish depletion. Since 1970, we have lost half of the fishes stocks and many species are near extinct (4).

  1 Lotka–Volterra equations
  2 SCAR Foresight Group Agriculture and environment
  3 Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
  4 Living Blue Planet Report Species, habitats and human well-being

In 2015 we are 7.3 billion and we yet see the effects of this pressure

Whales, on birds, on rain, on ozone, on fish (cod, tuna), insects (bees), on forest, on climate, coral reef, on sand, and so on. A this stage, we have enough scientific work that show the effects of that pressure at global level. Have we crossed the red line ? It is to every one to figure and make its choice. In any case, continuous increasing world population will soon give the response.

Predation pressure comes from two main factor : number of people time individual consumption.

As we don't want to reduce our standard of living, that leave no other option but reduce the amount of people. Whatever ecologic solution will be find to satisfy our needs, it will never be enough to satisfy the needs required by an increasing population, expecting their standard of leaving to increase. Indeed, most effects observed, now, result from the activity of a small fraction of the world, in a small fraction of time. This fraction has grown, and is now also efficiently contributing to humanity's ruin.

According to simple linear forecast for 2100 world population gives some 16 billion of people on earth. For 150 000 years, most of the time, population was constrained by resources but during the last 200 years we improved our ability to get what we need. Since population blows. As a result, instead of enjoying the benefits of progress most of human still stay stuck with survival.

  World Population Growth Charts MORE Than Exponential
  Chart of the Day: World Population Growth vs History of Technology

Decreasing population solve a part of our concerns

Decreasing population solves a lot of our concerns, unemployment, poverty, pollution, over exploitation, epidemics, traffic jams, wars which are more or less fed by overcrowding. As a result a good part of effort is spoiled in trying to find how to cope with human increasing population, including, economy, technology, political organization, ecology and so on.

Where is the need to produce more vegetable ? More meat ? The tribe has a new comer ! Why should we need a sewer : there is so much of our shit around ... Now it like "we have enough food for everybody ! The point is to move it where is the need". Let's make some roads and also telecoms to take orders.". That is why you need a nuclear power plant. Its greenhouse ...

On the other hand, as shown by china with the one child policy, decreasing too fast has its drawbacks. The main one "4-2-1 phenomenon" where a single have to handle his 2 parents and 4 grand-parents. This is the heavy heritage we have to pay if we want our children to live better than us. There are actually many reasons to fall in this two stage Ponzi scheme (1, 2) combined with a tragedy of the commons (3). Way out the other side is difficult.

From the economic point of view the "4-2-1 phenomenon", is to be tempered by the level of productivity human has achieved. For sure Artistic sector, for example may suffer, but there is no reason to fear about, as there are many people underemployed or employed in non vital activities : golf, poker, drug, boxing and many more we can lower before starving. Technology and liberal economy make us very efficient, it is very unlikely we fail just because of hands shortcut.

There is no special link between GDP per capita and population size. Nor Japan nor Europa seems to suffer any harm having rapid or smooth degrowth. It is true we have very little experience in this direction. Houses are already built, if population decrease there is no need for new ones.

  1 The first come from parent relying on kids when old.
  2 "Among its primary tactics, Ponzi demography exploits the fear of population decline and aging. Without a young and growing population, we are forewarned of becoming a nation facing financial ruin and a loss of national power".
  3 Population growth and the ‘tragedy of the commons’

Target population size

As we never address population as a cause and always try to cure the consequences, the overall world population is out of control. Have a look to the UN Millennium Project: not a word on family planning, not a word on sexual eduction, not a word on contraception. This summarize our third world policy. Actually most place of the world, especially high income countries, are strongly overcrowded. It is the same everywhere: development, growth, security and politics are heads of news.

Even the rare efforts attempted so far in china and India are bashed (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and opposed with women freedom or retirement concerns. These countries make a lot of effort to circumvent their population and have results. Compare Bangladesh and India age pyramid to Pakistan where family planning is weak. Even not perfect at least they address a real cause.

The silence around population amount concern is so deep that people actually do not know what to think. Most of us would take into account society orientations. So why not just tell us that we do not need babies and the reasons for it ?

Oscillating between optimism and panic does not make a consistent policy. It would be better to agree an affordable target population that keep margins and try to reach it, without war.

There are very few publications (7, 8, 9) that try to figure what should be the optimal population. Apart of survival we should also question about how much we want to be in a hundred year and in a thousand year. What are we gonna do on Mars ? Eden garden or Marsvelas ?

  1 India’s Lethal Birth Control
  2 Women’s deaths reflect mindset from 1975 state of emergency
  3 Birth Control: Still Sterilization
  4 First one child, now two - but China's birth control policy is here to stay
  5 Violent population control continues in China
  6 Population Control Programs China
  7 How Many People Can Earth Support ?
  8 Sustainable Population Levels Using Footprint Data
  9 Optimum population

I beg women to wonder why they want babies

We are indeed in the valley of the shadow of death. "All conditioned things are impermanent" says Buddha, "The world is afflicted by death and decay". Whatever you do its certain your children will suffer, will be feared by death and will die.

Desire, love, sentiment, seduction, family, sexuality all point to a single object : children. Even if it is not especially your wish they all condemn you to have something growing in your womb that will seriously endanger you as your are maintained in chemical camisole.

We are pushed to do such by a Darwinian selection process that modeled our chemical and later our mind for billion years that make the procreation process a tremendous drug experiment.

In front of our parents and ancestors we think we have a debt because we would not exist without them having done exactly what they did. Disrupting this chain is an insupportable idea and silently act as chain letters.

Having children serve also the need of having somebody that have the chance of tacking care of us when old. It is a sort of return on invest imposed to our children they have no choice but to do the same, just like a Ponzie pyramid.

Children may also be a way to social position. Whatever kind of improvement you expect, it will have its price usually your freedom and sometimes it can be as heavy as risking your live or struggling for it and for your children for the remaining of it.

Please lady don't feel you have to.

Thanks to kat, nat and fanfan for hearing me and for lecture.

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Hosted by the courtesy of  
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