Constant development is
the law of life,
and a man who always tries to maintain his
dogmas in order to appear consistent
drives himself into a false position.
In part, this section discussing various developments attempts to expand the previous scope defined in terms of different perspectives, which was said to parallel some aspect of earlier worldview discussions. However, the goal of the development section is more orientated toward future issues related to Population and Resources, Human Evolution, Climate Debate, Brave New Worlds and the Nature of Consensus.
Note: The discussion 'Evolution of Economics' initially outlined some resources and population issues in terms of the 'Growing Storm' and 'Concluding Commentary'. Some might also like to consider the arguments forwarded in a video lecture by Dr. Albert Bartlett, entitled 'Arithmetic, Population and Energy'.
So, as indicated, the scope of this section hopes to address some potential developments, which may affect human society in the next few generations rather than the longer timeframes normally associated with Darwinian evolution. Although some of the potential predictions may be unpalatable, the following quote by Aldous Huxley might be worthy of some consideration before rejecting the possibilities outlined.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
One of the biggest developments, when measured
as a relative change and impact, is the growth in the world's population.
Of course, the 'exponential growth' of the global population cannot
continue indefinitely as planetary resources are not infinite and
environmental impacts linked to pollution and global warming may one
day take a terrible toll.
In many respect, the graph above only reflects past growth without making any real assessment of its impact in the future. If we were to accept the fact that the global population cannot keep growing indefinitely, then we need to face up to the next question:
What is the probability that the issue of population will be addressed rationally?
China's one-child policy was introduced in 1978 and might be described as one possible approach to a reduction in population, albeit somewhat authoritarian in its initial implementation. As a result, the Chinese government now claims this policy has resulted in 400 million fewer births during the past 30 years, although China now appears to have abandoned this approach. However, others like Hans Rosling have argued for a very different approach:
"I meet so many that think population growth is a major problem in regard to climate change. But the number of children born per year in the world has stopped growing since 1990. The total number of children below 15 years of age in the world are now relatively stable around 2 billion. The populations with an increasing amount of children born are fully compensated by other populations with a decreasing number of children born. A final increase of 2 billion people is expected until the world population peaks at about 9 billion in 2050. But the increase with 2 billion is comprised by already existing persons growing up to become adults, and old people like me (+60 years). So when I hear people saying that population growth has to be stopped before reaching 9 billion, I get really scared, because the only way to achieve that is by killing."
While Hans Rosling's work provides a factual, and entertaining, presentation of statistics, it is not clear it necessarily represents the full impact of a global population reaching 9 billion by 2050, and possibly peaking at 15 billion by the end of the century according to some predictions. For while Rosling may be scared by the idea that some might be suggesting that population can only be controlled by killing, he appears to be ignoring the current statistics related to childhood deaths.
Note: About 29,000 children under the age of five, 21 each minute, already die every day, mainly from preventable causes. More than 70% of almost 11 million child deaths every year are attributable to six causes: diarrhea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth. As these causes are essentially preventable given the necessary resources, these children are already being killed.
As such, the issue is not just with the size of the global population but the quality of life demanded by all, not just the top 1%. See 'Concluding Commentary' for an initial perspective on the issues surrounding this debate.
So what, if any, potential solutions need to be considered?
Clearly, it seems that some may refute that population growth has
already become a major problem in terms of a sustainable ecology, or
alternatively, simply assume that future developments will always
offer up a solution. However, others contest the reality of such a
position, not only in terms of the technical realities, but possibly
in terms of any higher goals we might wish to attribute to human
existence - see Brave New Worlds for