Fix Over-Population While Still Experiencing the Joys of Parenthood

October 2007

Fix Over-Population While Still Experiencing the Joys of Parenthood:

(My idealistic, arrogant, I'm-young-male-and-single solution)

  1. Form a tribe or group of like-minded adults; I'd suggest between ten and twenty people to a group.
  2. Feel free to have (spread among the group) a number of children equal to, say, one child per couple. That'd give you half as many kids as adults, over time.
  3. Bring them up communally. No child would be an only child, and every adult would be partially responsible for all children… one big happy family.


A. You are not your biology. Exercise some self-control. If you need to leave a legacy, start spreading ideas or education. Go read about memes.


A. Stop being so damn possessive. Children should belong to the tribe – it's better for all concerned. I mean, let's be honest; the western nuclear family (generally speaking) isn't exactly the epitome of functionality and health. And hey, on the bright side you'll get to avoid experiencing the miracle of childbirth.

Q. What's this all about? Why?

A. We have far too many people on the planet already, and at current rates of growth (~1.3%) we've got about 800 years until there's 1 person per square metre of the planet [ref]. And everyone is still having babies, even as they're starving to death in some parts of the world.

Eonsim commented:

This sort of idea would be interesting, if could find the right people. However I'd think 2 children per couple would work better, replacement level is better at least for western societies.

As for too many people on the earth, quite possible. Though I think it's possibly a case of too many people in some countries/regions. I think any country should be self sustainable over the long term, with out requiring ecological damaging practices, that will cause the society to collapse at some point when conditions get less forgiving.

Currently reading a NF book called "Collapse" by Jared Diamond. It's about various societies that have collapsed, or are close to collapsing, and the things they've done or are doing that leads to those collapses, environmental miss management being one of the prime problems. Once I've finished it you may be interested in reading it.

Matt commented:

I'm not sure that the per-country/-region thing works. There's a pretty compelling argument that population naturally controls itself only when it depends on locally managed food-supplies – for example, Africa's population is exploding even amidst the famine and starvation, largely due to (the theory goes) food being shipped in from elsewhere. And because the food keeps coming, the population keeps growing (there's no incentive for it to not) and they need more food… which keeps coming.

Also, yes, replacement level would be good if everyone was doing it, but I think it's better that those with the ability to do so begin putting the brakes on now, instead of waiting for the rest of the world to join in. And maybe we need to over-compensate a little to allow for those parts of the world that will continue to refuse to join in.

KT commented:

Thinking about this subject makes me sad. I hate it. It makes me rail and rage on the inside, at nothing in particular. Possibly something to do with the destruction of a life-long dream. Yeah. That's my deeply unhelpful contribution to the discussion. (A: get over it.)

Christina commented:

What's the life-long dream, Kat?

Nato commented:

I'm guessing it's something like this

era commented:

Say no to baby factories! Down with capitalism! * cough * ahem... sorry, wrong meeting.

Greg commented:

Matt, are you saying we should just stand idly by while Africa starves itself back to a renewable population level?

My understanding is that countries go through 4 stages of development- in the first its subsistence living, with high mortality rates canceling out the fact that people have as many children as they can. In the 2nd and 3rd, various factors (better medicine, less manual labour, better agriculture etc) mean that people are much more likely to survive to childbearing age- however everyone still has lots of children. Finally, in the 4th stage, people are two preoccupied with their hedonistic, materialistic western lives and so forth to want chlldren, and also children become an economic liability rather than an asset (ie they are to be looked after rather than sent out to work)

So, lets all try and help poor countries become wealthy.

(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_transition for more info- apparently there's a 5th stage now)

KT commented:

Nato: :p yeah something like that...

Anyhow to get back on topic, that said, the shared parenting thing sounds fantastic, one kid or many kids. Somewhat reminiscent of Plato... was it him that suggested everyone be as promiscuous as they please so that no one will know which kid is whose, and then they'll all be everyone's responsibility? You could throw that in the mix for a laugh.

Incidentally I wonder how one would regulate the one child per couple rule. Abortion? (ick) Sterilisation? (unfortunate if your first kid dies...) The pill? (but who's gonna make you take it if you don't want to?)

Then there's the question of what would happen to our society when the population started dropping. e.g. what would happen to all the empty houses. I suppose we're clever enough to come up with something though. Maybe it would start a new wave of immigration, once prices started to plumet and all. Whole African villages could relocate to the suburbs of Christchurch... Might be kinda fun.

It's an odd thought to entertain, even for a moment, that western society could willingly and by sheer self discipline relinquish its place on top of the world. Just kinda lay down and die, seeing that our time is up. Wildly improbable but still curious.

Nato commented:

KT: Western Society's time is up? Not sure about that. And even if there is a bit of decline, Isn't that a bit like telling a 25 year old to just give up because he is past his peak?

Anyhow. I have a better plan. Put contraceptives in the water supply, have some high cost anti-dote to the contraceptive. That'd limit the population!

Anaru commented:

An interesting post.

One potential problem is finding a group of like minded individuals. So one alternative is, if you are willing not to have kids then don't but rather offer assistance to family and close friends. One lady I have met up here told me that she looked after a niece for a week each school holidays from when the girl was 5 until she was 14. She is very close to this niece and plans to be involved in the lives of her children also. It doesn't require living a in community but is still a blessing to those involved.

Just my two cents.

Ruth commented:

I was talking to someone at work about this today. She said that population growth is actually decreasing (esp europe, nz) and there are big economic ramifications of that. Apparently the more liberal info out there doesn't give the full rationale and you need to look at early UN stuff to get the full story (which is apparently easy to find online). And what I thought was the most interesting-when aid agencies give aid they encourage sterilisation and contraception and countries have to take that along with food etc. Anyway, don't know how accurate any of this is but you thought you might be interested. She also said that if you want to talk with her about it (she seemed quite fired up about it! hehe) that you are welcome to go round for a cup of tea :) (or i guess email her if you are not going to be in the waikato anytime soon!)