Don't make room!

I think Isaac Asimov's 1969 SF&F essay "The Power of Progression" should be mandatory reading for everyone who thinks "sustainable growth" is anything but an empty phrase. The essay points out with simple mathematics that a positive population growth cannot be kept up forever, indeed not even for particularly long, since with time the entire mass of the Earth would consist of humans. Obviously this is not possible, what this means is that either we voluntarily curb population growth or famine, war, pestilence and death (and kaos) will do it for us.

In spite of this, almost all parliamentary parties seem to agree that we need more population growth in Sweden ((s) (mp) (c) (fp) (kd) (m)— interestingly enough (v) does not seem to follow this trend from what I've been able to find). And indeed, this idea of hte need for more people is not restricted to Sweden. The reason, when anyone bothers to come up with a semi-rational one, is that we need more people to take care of the elderly in the future. It then strikes one as strange that we already have quite a few elderly people and yet we have unemployment. So, perhaps making more babies really has nothing to do with whether the elderly will be properly cared for or not, but indeed quite a lot with resource consumption.

Indeed, a newborn baby in Europe or North America will put a strain some tens of times greater on the world's resources than a newborn baby in the third world. So, it seems quite reasonable that fertility restriction should primarily be aimed at Europe and North America. It seems that most people have realised this and are voluntarily restricting the number of children they have, so this seems an area where governments should not go meddling to try to push up the number of births again. If anything, we should award those without children.

Recently, I mentioned these points to my partner at a dinner. She said with obvious distaste that she didn't agree and wouldn't talk to me anymore. Such refusal of reality probably is what is going on in our good government as well.

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