# Population: What's a good target?

## What population to aim for, if we could regulate peacefully and ethically?   1 member has voted

1. ### 1. What population to aim for, if we could regulate peacefully and ethically?

• Under 2 billion
6
• 2 billion
2
• 4 billion
10
• 6 billion
2
• 8 billion
2
• Over 8 billion
2

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Suppose the human population could self-regulate in an ethical and humane way.

What do you think would be an ideal level for this planet?

this is a question that embraces all or much of science and technology, also biology and bio-ethics, but also (in my own view at least) AESTHETIC values, like fun, peace of mind, and beauty.

So it is a very general question----how one answers depends on many branches of science but also touches on morals and one's personal sense of beauty and even on one's religious ideas (some religions would probably wish to deny humans the options of self-regulating populaton because that is considered to be the province of fate or divine providence, in some religions it is already determined that there will be an apocalypse which wipes out the Earth's human population, so the issue of self-regulation is moot.)

Because it is a general question, touching on many areas of science and other kinds of thought, you are invited to think like a GENERALIST and apply everything you know, including individual preferences.

Assuming that humans already HAVE the ethical/religious/moral framework which allows them to regulate their population in a peaceful humane way, the question I am asking is WHAT LEVEL SHOULD THEY AIM FOR?

Less than 2 billion

2 billion

4 billion

6 billion

8 billion

More than 8 billion

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I would say four would be good. There would be more room but still enough people. Take away too many and society would probably collapse, too few would cause stressed enviroment. I think it would also depend on new inventions and ideas in the future to limit pollution and get more space.

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Thanks for posting, Justuit! It is interesting to know who says what, instead of just anonymous. And especially interesting when you give reasons.

I still hope that by some unexpected good luck humans will get their population down to a stable level where there will still be fish in the oceans and wilderness and jungle etc.

also it would be great if the resources per capita were so high that people could do really ambitious things in space-----not be so resource poor that everything has to go into survival economy. I would like people to have ambitions like sending probes to other stars' planetary systems and eventually seeding life out there. So personally I put a big value on not overstraining resources just for sheer hand-to-mouth.

I'd say same level you did.

Let's get some other opinions, hopefully supported by more alternative reasoning.

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yeah, 4B here also, its a nice figure in the respect that we have 6 billion NOW, and few less would boycot instantly the over-crowding problems in certain areas, and cut by a Third all the toxins we dump.

Im also a great beleiver in Quality over Quantity.

although I do think that alot MORE could be done in whats considered "uninhabitable" areas with todays technology also, much of that problem is largely Politics relating to Cash and the interest to actualy DO IT! (it doesnt affect me, why should I care?).

not only that, but Im a lover of Peace and Quiet, and places that this can be acheived in, Less People would ROCK!

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Can't think of a good reason to go for any one particular population level. As long as it is less than the present, 4bn. is as good as any.

Couple of observations on previous comments that may sound flippant, but are not meant to be:

1. Quality over quantity? (YT..): Yes, of course; higher quality dustmen, general domestics, shop assistants, auto mechanics, etc. Anything to maintain the comfort and lifestyle of the superior classes!

2. Rather than just a question of total population, the problem may also be one of distribution. If the populations of excessively dense areas were ditributed more evenly, those of us not in imminent danger of living shoulder to shoulder might find our "lebensraum" rather more restricted than it is now.

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I would say 8 billion as long as everyone starts being more responsible with their consumption and there are 2 billion more women than men. This planet gets uglier every day.

Of course, if we get better at human space travel we can continue with manifest destiny and keep our numbers here regulated while populating other planets. I can't wait.

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1. Quality over quantity? (YT..): Yes, of course; higher quality dustmen, general domestics, shop assistants, auto mechanics, etc. Anything to maintain the comfort and lifestyle of the superior classes!

rather interesting that you picked up on that point alone!, I wonder if perhaps its indicative of something

that was SO not my meaning behind what I stated ( I meant the planet as a Whole and our Habits here), but heck, seeing it YOUR way might be interesting too

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Yes, rather worrying I picked on that with a gut reaction! Perhaps I should steer clear of your project implicit, I might find I am not who I think I am. What the hell, too old to change now.

I know what you intended to mean, (Ithink) and agree. Just could not resist it. No offence meant.

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I said under 2 billion. A higher population is just too much for Earth. If we colonized Mars and the Moon, I would say that the total population should be about 4-6 billion.

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So the 2bn. that stay on earth could all be farmers and grow the food that we put in the food parcels we send to mars and the moon? I'll vote to stay on earth, then, could become quite nice......

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People on the Moon and Mars can grow their own food. And if everyone on earth (2B) were a farmer, they would only need to gow enough food for themselves and 1-2 other people. So there is no need for everyone on Earth being a farmer.

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• 4 weeks later...

Initially, four billion seems the most ideal, for reasons laid out by JustStuit and YT. However, a higher population upwards of 8 billion would give societies a chance to evolve faster and outward toward new locations, such as the colonization of cities build on the oceans (like in waterworld). Technology would be propelled faster with more people working at it, and Space exploration as well as any other advancement in science or medicine. Overcrowding is a problem, but when technology is utilized to better the environment, such as better waste systems and fixing the ozone layer, including finding a more economical and cleaner-burning fuel much faster, and when all of the earth is utilized for a livable habitat, a higher population shouldn't be a problem, IMO. And it seems to be going in that direction.

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Just a few thousand people would be nice. The planet would be pristine. The worst polluters aren't the biggest consumers, it's the Asians who pollute most. China's waterways and aquifers are mostly polluted, the air is a nasty mess and with 200 million unemployed crime is rampant.

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with 200 million unemployed crime is rampant.

Is the unemployment rate in China really that high? That is higher than India I think, and India hasn't even reformed its economy and improved its infrasture nearly as much or as fast as China has. I'm sure China was generating jobs far more jobs than India especially in the key labour absorbing area of manufacturing.

On another note I don't think population by itself, however big is a problem in itself. It is our neglectful and unsustainable approach to our enviroment that is destroying the natural world around us and is contributing to the problems we face[such as global warming]. I also don't think the world population will ever get much larger than 8 billion[if it reaches that anyway] as overall percentage growth has already been dropping for the last 50 years. Also eventually the vast majority of the world will be what most ppl call industrialized, and so we will be faced with ageing populations; not quadrupling ones.

Also, I think we could easily hold more than 10 billion, as the problem is not lack of food, but lack of distribution and unfair trade, infrastrucure and political instabillity. Obviously global warming is going to make things harder however for many poor countries, as deserts expand weather systems get more chaotic.

Phew! Sorry for the rant lol:D !

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Whilst I voted for 4billion I think my answer kind of depends... as always!

Many Western countries are becoming quite densley populated, or the cities are anyway, so in that respect maybe we should reduce the population. Also if you look at the numbers of unemployed and 3rd world countries we should also lower the number of people in the world, in effect eliminating the unemployed and 3rd world countries.

However if we could effectively (as a global civilisation) utilise all areas of the globe, maybe turning 3rd world countries into advanced modern civilisations then we have the capacity to increase our population.

However taking into account things such as (as previously mentioned) lack of distribution of food, political instability & other factors I don't think that increasing the population is really advised, because like the issue with 3rd world countries, you can help, help, and keep helping, but unless you get a significant number of Western civilisations to seriously get to together you will never solve the problem.

I think in theory we could increase our population, but in reality I would not advise it... and besides, what would be the point?

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However if we could effectively (as a global civilisation) utilise all areas of the globe' date=' maybe turning 3rd world countries into advanced modern civilisations then we have the capacity to increase our population.

[/quote']

It's ironic I think because as soon as these countries reach the level of "advanced civilizations" their growth rates too will be much smaller too. It's not just because there is capacity that population grows, as with most things the reasons are nowhere near that simple.

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