However, as populations evolve and become more literate and healthy, they resent the sorts of intentional failures and abuses of power that result in those kinds of pruning events. We spent billions of hours every day fighting back against deadly diseases; we continue working to minimize the losses of war both material and human; we are ending slavery and abject poverty and ignorance all over the world.
As any population increases in health and intelligence, its replacement rate declines. From the article:
It’s not a conspiracy. It’s evolution, and it happens with absolute natural mechanisms that involve no great plot nor plunder as humanity becomes more healthy and educated and longer-lived. It’s a necessity that it does so. Not a bug; a feature. If it didn’t, we would start seeing overpopulation at some point. As Melinda Gates points out in the newsletter that the tweet links to,
…it bears repeating, because it is so counterintuitive. When more children live past the age of 5, and when mothers can decide if and when to have children, population sizes don’t go up. They go down.
This is just the first time in human history we may be able to do it intentionally without hurting people or dealing with pandemic disease outbreaks or what have you, the mechanisms that have traditionally kept humanity’s numbers somewhat in check. The mechanisms that we’ve spent the last several hundred thousand years to overcome and have done a pretty admirable job of it over the last few hundred years.
Now we have to shift gears to avoid becoming victims of our own success. We will, and we are shifting gears. It’s a process that is happening as a side effect of everything we think we’re doing. We’ve overwhelmed our environment and we’re pushing the absolute limits of sustainability, so our instincts and behaviors are changing in response. We don’t need gigantic families of 8 or ten or fourteen kids to handle all the chores on a self-sustaining farm anymore. “Be fruitiful and multiply,” at least as it’s been understood by religions and states and nations and civilizations for thousands of years, is no longer an effective philosophy for the long-term survival of the species, so the species will abandon it.
That will take time to get used to, but it will happen and we’ll adjust.
What it does not mean at all is that Bill Gates and some shadowy group of Very Wealthy People have set some kind of expiration date on the species at which point we will stop growing or else!!1!11one. It does not validate, in any way, the paranoid fantasies and gratuitous misunderstanding of anti-vaxxers and anti-GMO’ers nor does it validate the nonsense put forth by conspiracy-minded clickbaiting morons like Alex Jones his army of imitators throughout the socio-political spectrum in new media today.
It’s just math and the natural functions of math being a living species, and a bunch of smart people ran some numbers and said “if things continue improving at the rate they have been, this is when we’ll see world population start to decline naturally.” If you want to adjust your thinking to that reality and be prepared for it however you see fit and appropriate, do so.
No conspiracies. No screaming headlines. No gleeful Michael Stipe to sing us out. Just a note from a bunch of folks who make it their business to know these things that stuff is gonna change and here’s how.
It’s the end of the world as you know it, and that’s just fine. It’s not something anyone is “forcing” or “making” or “doing.” It’s just how things will continue to go as long as we continue to improve the world.
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