January 29, 2011

Malthusian Egypt

From my last posting about Egypt, last summer:

The population of Egypt is now approaching 84 million, having doubled in the last third of a century. The latest UN population projection is that Egypt will hit 130 million by 2050.

One way or another, they aren't likely to get to 130 million.

107 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes they are. Although maybe not in Egypt.

RAH said...

Malthusianism is BS, Steve.

The population pessimists are maybe the only people who've been more wrong than the race deniers over the last few decades.

The world has a lot of problems. Overpopulation is not one of them. Read Julian Simon.

RAH said...

And as far as population being "the great unmentionable" you forget that in the 1960s and 70s population control was the most fashionable cause around.

What happened? Well, the populations of nations kept increasing and food production increased at a faster rate. Life got better everywhere except for a few black countries and some nations cursed by communism or Islamic fundamentalism.

In other words, Malthus' ideas were falsified. How anyone can think that Steve's pedestrian PC views were ever verboten is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

Strangely enough, there is very little evidence of mass Egyptian immigration into Britain.
We've got huge numbers of just about everyone else, but Egyptians are very few and far between o the streets of London.There are vastly more immigrannts from all sorts of exotic places in subsaharan Africa - Congolese are increasingly common as are Ugandans, Zimbabweans, Kenyans, South Africans etc, but precious few Egyptians.From what I've seen on television, Egyptians seem to be dark caucasians ans seem to dress in a very westernised way (the men at least).

Anonymous said...

So just what are the Egyptians going to for bread now that 1.3 billion Chinese have the the wherewithal to buy up all the grain?

Isn't free trade great?

Anonymous said...

Going back into ancient history, one of he biggest and crassrst mistakes the USA ever made was to stymie the British lead attempt to seize the Suez canal from Nasser's appropriation.
That idiot John Foster Dulles could only think in terms of 'Colonialism = bad', plus he had a hidden agenda in weakening Britain.
That act had the effect of giving a nod and wink to Arab nationalism - which 20 years down the line lead to the Arab oil embargo and an economic catastrophe the west has never really pulled out of.
When the British bulldog bullied the Arabs, they behaved respectfully and obsequieouslly - they knew who was boss.

Anonymous said...

How on earth does such a poor country support so many people? Do they take the US aid and dole it out to people for subsistence welfare?

Handle said...

Oh, they'll get there. And so will all the other Muslim countries according to CNN.

What they won't get is any improvement in the average standard of living. And if there's a war and somebody takes out that Aswan Dam, they're toast.

Grumpy Old Man said...

They're moving in next door.

Big Bill said...

Sam Kinison tried to tell them.

Nathan Cook said...

It's a bit premature to stake out the position that Egypt will hit Malthusian limits within 40 years when GDP per capita is well above $2000 and productivity is both growing and lower than what it should be given the amount of human and physical capital (and why is it lower? Because of government policies designed to protect the autocracy rather than encourage growth).

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't worry about them, there's plenty of land in Europe and North America that our leaders will be happy to donate.

jody said...

this is another thing which we don't talk about in the US. the population explosion in the third world. because europeans are culturally dominant, most of us seem to remain under the idea that europeans are also numerically dominant. indeed this is a fundamental maxim of liberal ideology. liberals see european cultural influence everywhere (as we all do), and seem to think europeans are also the numerical majority everywhere. so they don't understand what the big deal is with the all-out attack campaign they are waging against european peoples in every nation.

things we generally don't realize: mexico will be bigger than russia in about 15 years. that's WITH the constant 1 million mexicans leaving mexico every year and coming into the US. dumps that we NEVER talk about or even think about, like indonesia and bangladesh, are already far larger than russia and japan.

the philippines is already much bigger than germany, and in 10 years, vietnam, egypt, and ethiopia will all be bigger than germany.

the congo and even thailand, THAILAND, are all fairly bigger than the UK. right now. not in the future. today. as are iran and turkey, though we sometimes think about iran and turkey.

this excludes very big third world nations that we may, occassionally, think about, such as pakistan and nigeria, which are all also much larger than russia and japan and twice as big as germany and three times as big as the UK. and we didn't even talk about brazil at all here, but it's going over 200 million inhabitants in 10 years too.

white liberals would not only have this population explosion continue, but regularly demand that smart scientists and engineers in the first world work hard to crack food and medicine and water and energy barriers so these third world populations can continue to grow. "How will the planet sustain this many people?" by forcing the europeans to come up with even more innovations, apparently. oh, and by having them displace themselves too. they have to turn their nations into third world nations.

jody said...

correction: vietnam is already bigger than germany.

Veracitor said...

From that NYT story about Cairo's new satellite cities:

"The juxtaposition of rich and poor highlights one of Mr. Abdelhalim’s greatest concerns. The new cities, he says, tend to highlight Egypt’s already striking imbalance between rich and poor, and could sow the seeds of future troubles...

"Haram City was conceived as an affordable neighborhood for lower-middle-class professionals, but the government has bought hundreds of units and is filling them with some of Cairo’s poorest inhabitants — importing the city’s historic class tensions to the replacement 6 October City.
"

Let's see. The New York Times says that it's a bad idea to exacerbate class tensions by placing poor people in middle-class neighborhoods in Egypt. But, says the NYT, it is a legal and moral imperative to do so in Westchester County.

I'd bet NYT writers envy Chappaqua residents a lot more than they do citizens of Cairo.

Anonymous said...

Don't Mention the Population

Last night, in the ONT, AoSHQ featured an article on the doubling of the world's Muslim population by 2030.

Anonymous said...

Deja vu.
It's like 1979 all over agiam, except this time it's not the Shah, but Mubarak.
All we need now is for he oil price to go through the roof - and the mother of all recessions to be unleashed.

Mr. Anon said...

As far as I can tell from a cursory reading of sources on the web, the egyptian economy consists mainly of agriculture and tourism, with the balance made up of some fossil fuel extraction, transit fees from the canal, and foreign remittances from a large population of egyptians working abroad (Wikipedia says the current population of Egypt is 79 million, not 84 million - perhaps the discrepancy is accounted for by those egyptians abroad).

Sounds kind of like Mexico but without the pot and meth business. Can that really support 84 million people? I guess it can.

Anonymous said...

I just hope they don't come here.

Tino said...

A lot of third world economies are clearly in the Malthusian trap. Even more obvious examples are oil-economies, raw-material-economies and aid-economies.

(Egypt is slightly different since they are is in a Malthusian trap that they themselves created through bad policy, rather than due to natural constraints. In principle Egyptian young people should be able to work in manufacturing like young people in Malaysia)

But economists proved that the west wasn't in a Malthusian trap in one particular moment in history, so now they think that the Malthusian trap is proven wrong forever. Economists are often very dogmatic.

Anonymous said...

Don't these people know how to use birth control? If they limited the size of their families maybe their countries wouldn't be such dysfunctional shitholes.

Anonymous said...

I've often felt Mike Davis is doing the most important work that no one cares about.

I realize that his political views are not going to be popular on this blog, but he does fascinating stuff:

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/82655/tomdispatch_interview:_mike_davis,_turning_a_planet_into_a_slum

TD: Just lay out some of the figures on the slumification of the planet.

Davis: Only in the last few years have we been able to see urbanization clearly on a global scale. Previously, the data was untrustworthy, but the United Nations Habitat has made heroic efforts involving new data bases, household surveys, and case studies to establish a reliable baseline for discussing our urban future. The report it issued three years ago, The Challenge of Slums, is as pathbreaking as the great explorations of urban poverty in the 19th century by Engels or Mayhew or Charles Booth or, in the United States, Jacob Riis.

By its conservative accounting, a billion people currently live in slums and more than a billion people are informal workers, struggling for survival. They range from street vendors to day laborers to nannies to prostitutes to people who sell their organs [for transplant]. These are staggering figures, even more so since our children and grandchildren will witness the final build-out of the human race. Sometime around 2050 or 2060, the human population will achieve its maximum growth, probably at around 10 to 10.5 billion people. Nothing as large as some of the earlier apocalyptic predictions, but fully 95% of this growth will occur in the cities of the south.

Anonymous said...

"In principle Egyptian young people should be able to work in manufacturing like young people in Malaysia."

But aren't Malaysians more hard-working and more docile? This would always make them more attractive to factory owners.

Anonymous said...

Malaysians are not hardworking. Malaysia is kept afloat by an ethnic Fujianese population, from China's mercantile southeast, that constitutes about 1/4th of the population. The Malays live off the Chinese. If left to their own devices, Malays would create the same sort of society that their coethnics in the Phillipines and Indonesia have made.

Anonymous said...

Agriculture, tourism, resource extraction, and the canal are limited quantities. When the population grows beyond the point at which these assets can provide a suitable living for the inhabitants, the Malthusian limit is reached. There's then a choice: let living standards decline, let the population die off, or decrease the birthrate. In Egypt, whose society is rigidly controlled through patriarchal extended families and Islam, they've opted to bring down their birthrate through increasing the marriage age.

When families marry their daughters later and have fewer kids, thee family is in more of a position to afford to feed everyone.

Anonymous said...

"In other words, Malthus' ideas were falsified."

That's like saying that because I drove drunk once and didn't cause a crash, drinking and driving must be safe.

Malthus gets criticism because one of the greatest events in human history, the event of economic growth outpacing population growth, began occurring just after he wrote his ideas. This occurrence does not negate the fact that more people means less income per person, that 99.9% of human history was spent in a Malthusian trap, and that parts of the world have still never left that trap.

RAH said...

That's like saying that because I drove drunk once and didn't cause a crash, drinking and driving must be safe.

No, it's like if you kept crashing while sober and ever since you've been getting drunk while driving you've become one of the safest drivers on the road, so you conclude that drinking and driving makes you a better driver. You'd be reasonable in assuming so.

Malthus gets criticism because one of the greatest events in human history, the event of economic growth outpacing population growth, began occurring just after he wrote his ideas. This occurrence does not negate the fact that more people means less income per person, that 99.9% of human history was spent in a Malthusian trap, and that parts of the world have still never left that trap.

The only parts of the world that never left the trap are still in it because of political misrule. When a resource starts running low prices for it go up, naturally reducing consumption and creating incentives for new inventions, production methods, etc. The more humans there are, the more likely the process is to work due to more people experimenting and able to meet the world's challenges.

If anyone wants to say "Malthusian Egypt" they have to show that since its population has been growing the country has fallen behind by some objective measure of well being: literacy, life expectancy, etc.

rob said...

In principle Egyptian young people should be able to work in manufacturing like young people in Malaysia.

As Yogi Berra or someone said,

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

SF said...

Malthus has been wrong since we learned to use fossil fuels to increase our outputs. When we run low on fossil fuels, the species will be in a position of population overshoot.

Mr. Anon said...

"RAH said...

And as far as population being "the great unmentionable" you forget that in the 1960s and 70s population control was the most fashionable cause around.

What happened? Well, the populations of nations kept increasing and food production increased at a faster rate. Life got better everywhere except for a few black countries and some nations cursed by communism or Islamic fundamentalism."

People in white countries read Paul Ehrilich's book and assumed that THEY were the problem, and so THEY behaved accordingly. Populations in Europe and the Anglosphere would not have increased much beyond 1970 levels but for massive immigration. It was in the third world that populations took off, and that largely sustained by foreign aid (in the case of Africa) and the Green Revolution. How likely is another Green Revolution?

"The world has a lot of problems. Overpopulation is not one of them. Read Julian Simon."

I don't have to read some libertarian economist to tell me that something that is a problem is not one. This country is already too crowded for my liking. It need not be so.

People who deride Malthus live in economist fantasy land, where demand creates things, rather than the other way around.

Mr. Anon said...

"RAH said...

Malthusianism is BS, Steve.

The world has a lot of problems. Overpopulation is not one of them."

Egypt now:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xWiBCIxjIk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VorMWFePpY

Hundreds of thousands of young men taking to the streets, shouting "Allah Akbar".

Sounds like a problem for someone.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

"And as far as population being "the great unmentionable" you forget that in the 1960s and 70s population control was the most fashionable cause around. What happened?"

What happened? The Left realized there was more damage to be done by bringing that excess population to the West. The group that used to go by Zero Population Growth (now called Population Connection) won't even touch immigration as a manner of controlling population. Perhaps David Gelbaum got to them, too.

Engineer Dad said...

Don't Mention Egypt's Population?

Our local San Francisco NPR ration station recently pointed out that once the present government falls and its president resigns, the country will become a liberal and progressive democracy and a plentiful and proud future is assured!

Since everyone is equally intelligent only the stupid could think otherwise.

Freedom is slavery and poverty creates wealth, so donate to your local NPR station today!

Anonymous said...

"Life got better everywhere except for a few black countries and some nations cursed by communism or Islamic fundamentalism."

Right. The places with the highest population growth. Africa and Islamic countries make up like 2 or three billion people.

Life's better everywhere? Maybe. But, the places that are doing best are those with the lowest population growth.

BTW, 83 million unemployed Egyptians aint a good thing. That's all I thought Steve was getting at.

Anonymous said...

"Egyptians seem to be dark caucasians ans seem to dress in a very westernised way (the men at least)."

To me, Egyptians seem to be a mixed black/white group. This is evident from their darker complexions compared to Lebanese/Syrians, and perhaps more importantly features such as curly hair.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much of an impact the zero population growth movement and cultural liberalism had on Western birthrates. Nobody I know bases their fertility decisions around politics.

Besides, the East Asians have an even worse problem with fertility, despite being pretty conservative and family-controlled. The only difference is that East Asia substitutes technology and capital goods for labor, while we import labor from the southern hemisphere.

I'd say that concerns related to lifestyle and wealth, combined with access to abortion and birth control, are the root of the fall in fertility.

Truth said...

"People in white countries read Paul Ehrilich's book and assumed that THEY were the problem, and so THEY behaved accordingly. Populations in Europe and the Anglosphere would not have increased much beyond 1970 levels but for massive immigration."

Yeah, that's why you and none of your buddies here have any kids; because you all read some book 30 years ago.

RAH said...

Right. The places with the highest population growth. Africa and Islamic countries make up like 2 or three billion people.

Black Africa I think is different for HBD reasons. But Muslim countries to have growth only have to avoid crazy governments like the Iranians or Taliban, which they manage to do when the US isn't pushing for this democracy nonsense.

Life's better everywhere? Maybe. But, the places that are doing best are those with the lowest population growth.

I don't think so. Japan's been stagnant for decades. The US has had the highest population growth of the first world nations and the fastest growing economy.

IQ, culture, etc. are better predictors of wealth than population growth rate, but all being equal more people is better.

Whiskey said...

Well, Europe was pretty depopulated from the end of the Roman Empire in the West, up through the Early Modern Era. By some accounts as many as 40% of Western Europe's people were wiped out by the Black Death. While places like Egypt surged in population.

Egypt had been up through Roman times the bread basket of the entire world. The Moldboard plow not being around (allowing cultivation of Europe's thick soil in places like Britain or Germany) until AD 800 or so.

Too many people can be a Malthusian "innovation trap." Think about it -- the bigger the population, the greater the bureaucracy, various castes, entrenched interests, and so on. This would explain why China, and Hindu India, despite originating things like the compass, paper money, gunpowder, the zero, and algebraic equations, never did anything with them, and dynamic, relatively unpopulated, technological change friendly Europe took them and constantly improved them.

Because there was not a massive population to resist the change and if you didn't do it, your neighbor WOULD, and conquer you besides!

Le Sigh said...

@ Mr. Anon:

Don't be an idiot. Western birthrates declined because non-mouth breathers decided that having six or eight brats running round the house was hardly an ideal family situation. With the corresponding decline in infant mortality, it was the right decision.

Whiskey said...

Let me add that the WSJ estimates that about 1% of all world oil goes through the Suez Canal, and Egypt is a major cotton producer. Since Interior Secretary Chu hopes California farms dry up and blow away (to save the Delta Smelt!) so expect Cotton to reach new highs, as Egyptian cotton stays off the market for some time. Like Ivorian cocoa, years of "globalization" (meaning, domestic under-investment and relying on cheap foreign imports) have hard-wired the West to global commodity shocks.

Yes another oil shock (particularly if Saudi falls, and they are worried). Another Arab-Israeli war (all but certain now, with Iran joining in) will also do that. While Obama looks like Jimmy Carter Redux.

Yep, Ike blew it big time, reining in the French-British-Israeli effort to retake the Canal. He should have backed them. We should never have turned over the Panama Canal (thanks Jimmy!)

But eventually SWPL status mongering ala NPR costs real money and blood.

The obvious solution for Egypt's excess population and demands for a better life is conquering neighbors across the Med: Greece, Italy, etc. Its not like they have real militaries, and the sea can be a highway with even the poorest boats and a GPS. Albion's Seed notes that people in East Anglia in the 1600's preferred to go to the Netherlands, rather than travel by land 60 miles, it was more convenient, while fearing the "Dunkirkers" who would maraud as pirates upon the fens and flat marshlands.

Anonymous said...

"Last night, in the ONT, AoSHQ featured an article on the doubling of the world's Muslim population by 2030."

Will the loser who keeps promoting that worthless blog stop it already? Everyone who posts there is an idiot. They worship Palin/Bush, consider Jonah Goldberg to be an intellectual, and they would have no problem importing millions of Third Worlders if they weren't Mexican or Muslim.

Back to Egypt.

I have to agree with RAH. Malthusianism is garbage. Technology has made rapid die offs impossible in second world countries like Egypt. It's not terrible that bread costs too much there, Egyptians are FAT and they could use less grain in their diets. Also, as Egyptians start to earn more money, they will have less kids.

Descartes said...

Its amazing how as much as this blog steers off the topic of white nationalism and more thought out stormfrontism, half the commentators revert everything back to it. Its either comments on immigration, attacks on liberals, or some kinda amateur biological explanation for everything.

Anyways, as I can tell the Nile is historically plentiful, and likely under the Mubarak regime, productivity in that sector has increased. Their hasn't been anything like the Rajiv Gandhi program that has tried to reduce birthrates(cutting it nearly in half in India) in parallel with a rise in productivity.

To add, Egypt is more or less the cultural nexus of the Arab world currently(despite everyone thinking the UAE is), and which this status has been growing for the past several years. The population rise(alongside being a new favored son of US imperialism)likely was one of the major factors in that.

Anonymous said...

And if there's a war and somebody takes out that Aswan Dam, they're toast.

Precisely. The Israelis were laughing up their sleeves while the US, followed by the Soviets, poured money into that project in the 50s and 60s: the Egyptians were essentially building a sword of Damocles over their own heads. If blown at high flood, it's been calculated that the wall of water would be 150 feet high and moving at over 100 mph when it hit Cairo. Over 60 feet high and 50 mph at the outer fringes of the Delta.

The Nile Valley is a steep-sided narrow trough for most of its length -- just perfect for keeping the flood fast and high.

Estimated casualties would be over 98% of the population of Egypt. Virtually a complete national annihilation.

It would take a thermonuclear hit, though. Conventional explosives, even FAE weapons, simply wouldn't do. The Aswan high dam is a rock and clay structure 960 meters wide at the base, 40 meters wide at the crest, 111 meters tall and 3,600 meters long, with massive structural redundancy, and built from compressible materials, so even a non-thermal tactical nuke isn't going to do enough damage to it.

unamusementpark said...

"Malthusianism is BS, Steve. . . . The world has a lot of problems. Overpopulation is not one of them."

If by "the world" you mean the world as an ecosystem, then yes, arguably overpopulation by humans is not a problem.

But if you replace "the world" by "the world as we know it," by "America," or by "the kind of civilization I want to live in" (as opposed to the conditions in, say, fast-breeding Africa), then overpopulation of certain parts of the world, followed by mass emigration and leading to demographic takeover, might be a real concern.

The Wobbly Guy said...

Like many here, I hesitate to commit fully to either camp - I think it all depends on conditions.

Malthus would be right if the population and culture of any given state lacks the drive, institutions, or sheer IQ to innovate their way out of the trap. We can see it in South Asia - if it wasn't for Borlaugh, they'd be starving. At that point in time, they simply could not perform the necessary research.

Can we ALWAYS expect favorable conditions for cornucopia growth? I doubt it. Rising global food and energy prices is the clearest indicator of that.

Always, the cornucopians always assume technological innovation and progress is right around the corner. I'd counter by stating that we've been picking off low-hanging fruit all this time, and it's only going to get tougher until we solve fusion.

RKU said...

Actually, from what I've read birthrates in the last decade or so have plummeted in most of the other Arabic countries of North Africa such as Algeria and Tunisia. They're supposedly down close to replacement level these days, just like most of the bigger Latin American countries such as Mexico. I'm not exactly sure why Egypt might be an outlier, but there's no reason to believe it won't follow the same trend within a few years.

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone so worked up over the population growth of the middle east and north africa?

The fact is that most of the middle east/north africa is exhibiting either negative fertility rates, or fertility rates at replacement level.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2e/Countriesbyfertilityrate.svg

I actually expect those numbers to decrease with female literacy. Egypt is a replacement level.

Mike Courtman said...

Perhaps in a case like this we should start talking about relative Malthusianism rather than classic Malthusianism.

Lets say relative Malthusianism means declining quality of life and political instability caused by rapid population growth without corresponding economic growth. Using this definition we can say that relative Malthusianism is alive and well and spreading rapidly in the Middle East - ie, three countries in about 10 days!

"Strangely enough, there is very little evidence of mass Egyptian immigration into Britain."

Anonymous said...

I am afraid that I have to agree with Paul Ehrlich and his quote "Anyone who denies Malthus is either a fool or an economist".
It's an iron, immutable law of nature, just like the sun rising in the east.
Think: If Malthus was junk, the entire surface of the globe would be a zillion foot deep in bacteria right now - and no bullshit about 'productivity' please.Just try to see further than the end of your nose.
Darwinism is predicated on malthusianism, in my mind Malthus deniers are as silly as Darwin deniers.
Anyhow, young Egyptian men are revolting purely because *they have nothing left to lose*.Perhaps they are not walking skeletons yet, but as everyone of them internalizes, they simply have no prospect of stable employment of any kind, no prospect of marriage and a family and as men and human beings they realise that they are being psychologically destroyed in the cruellest possible way.
The fact is Egypt simply cannot provide work for its teeming millions.I've got no time for Mubarak, but I doubt if any new leader could do better.

agnostic said...

Interest in Malthusian views rose steadily from the time he became known right up through the mid-late 1970s, after which it's been steadily falling:

Malthusian

So right at the time when the initial, seemingly unbounded progress had begun to plateau in the industrial world, people decided that Malthus and logistic growth was one of those "obviously false" ideas.

You gotta love Thinking People. With them running the ship, what could possibly go wrong?

Simon in London said...

"Yep, Ike blew it big time, reining in the French-British-Israeli effort to retake the Canal. He should have backed them. We should never have turned over the Panama Canal (thanks Jimmy!)"

I agree with Whiskey!!! :-O

"The obvious solution for Egypt's excess population and demands for a better life is conquering neighbors across the Med: Greece, Italy, etc. Its not like they have real militaries, and the sea can be a highway with even the poorest boats and a GPS."

Whiskey is an idiot again!!! :-O

Whiskey - 'Egypt' is not going to 'invade' Europe. What is actually happening is that southern Europe is already being invaded, but the great bulk of the invaders/immigrants/asylum seekers are black Africans, from much further south. They have far less to lose and far more to gain than do the Arabs along the Med's southern shore.

The only Muslim country that poses any kind of a conventional military threat to Europe is Islamist Turkey; and Turkey (a) threatens only the Christian Balkans and (b) will only undertake militay action* with the support of the USA.

*Against Macedonia, Serbia etc, in support of the Muslim minorities there. Possibly Greece could be attacked, but as our 'cradle of civilisation' Greece has political cover from the West that the other Orthodox nations lack.

Analytical said...

@ Agnostic:

Egypt was up against Malthusian limits for a very long time.  The Nile muds were rich, but could not be continuously cropped because they were flooded much of the year.  The Aswan High dam allowed continuous cultivation and irrigation, but by ending the annual floods it also cut into soil fertility.  Without lots of inputs of fertilizers, the Nile lands would have become more or less barren.

Despite the Green Revolution advances and all those fertilizers, Egypt now imports 40% of its food.  Other ME countries have it much worse; Saudi Arabia has given up on growing wheat and milk cows and has to burn huge amounts of fuel just to have fresh water.  When supplies of fuel start falling short of domestic needs, things will not be pretty.

I don't think we'll have problems with invasion.  A few solar-powered blimps with sensors can spot the invading boats.  Sinking the boats is as simple as dropping rocks on them from a few hundred feet up; the sea does the rest.

Laban said...

Why did fertility decline in the West? IMHO a mixture of cultural (60s cultural revolution, legalised abortion) and physical (the Pill) things - and the existence of the Pill reacted on/facilitated the cultural change).

Best overview of the cultural change is by a (female, childless) American writer called Lionel Shriver :

To be almost ridiculously sweeping: baby boomers and their offspring have shifted emphasis from the communal to the individual, from the future to the present, from virtue to personal satisfaction. Increasingly secular, we pledge allegiance to lower-case gods of our private devising. We are less concerned with leading a good life than the good life. We are less likely than our predecessors to ask ourselves whether we serve a greater social purpose; we are more likely to ask if we are happy. We shun values such as self-sacrifice and duty as the pitfalls of suckers. We give little thought to the perpetuation of lineage, culture or nation; we take our heritage for granted. We are ahistorical. We measure the value of our lives within the brackets of our own births and deaths, and don't especially care what happens once we're dead. As we age - oh, so reluctantly! - we are apt to look back on our pasts and ask not 'Did I serve family, God and country?' but 'Did I ever get to Cuba, or run a marathon? Did I take up landscape painting? Was I fat?' We will assess the success of our lives in accordance not with whether they were righteous, but with whether they were interesting and fun.

I've devoted a whole series of posts to this issue as manifested in the UK.

Anonymous said...

(liberals) seem to think europeans are also the numerical majority everywhere

Really? I got the impression they were more about banging on about the unfairness of representing only the "global minority" (i.e. White people) in various endevours (cinema, politics, &c.). In stunning contrast to their normal rank minoritarianism.

...

In terms of a food crisis, we have plenty of food, but supply routes are an issue and we need to work out how to produce higher yields without using so much oil (we're at peak fossil fuel after all, and in any case hopefully have better uses for fuel) or smart ways to waste less.

There is also an issue that the undeveloped world needs to be able to produce something, for their own good (not becoming world food stamps recipients) and independance if nothing else. Perhaps the market will do this, but in any case, raising awareness won't hurt.

....

Ultimately, in the long term (whether it is a short long term or a long long term) the world will be Malthusian unless we understand how entities that push for a Malthusian world evolve and get in front of that evolutionary process (which I have faith we can).

Anonymous said...

Oh, for the 'good old days' whnen Egypt was run by King Farouk.
An amiable buffoon and British puppet, Farouk was THE doyen of gossip columnists throughout the 1950s, when there were actually interesting people around to gawp at, rather than second raters like Anne Nicolle Smith and paris Hilton.
A bon viivant to end all bon vivants, Farouk was noted for his appetites for food, fine wines, sports cars - and by no means least women.Farouk's harem was legendary, comprisingly mostly of concubines, apparently 'seduced' on the spot.Also noteworthy was his pornography collection, apparently the world's largest (even bigger than the British Museum's), in those pre-internet days.

Anonymous said...

Of course, it was the Russians who built the Aswan High Dam.
In a spectacular disply of perfidy and ingratitude, Anwar Sadat dropped the Russians like a hot potato and took the American shilling, all due to the fact that bread riots back in'77 scared the Hell out of him.

Anonymous said...

Of course, Egypt was a de-facto British colony for around 100 years.The Ottomans in their decline more or less gifted Britain Egypt in gratitude for British efforts in containing Russia.This lead to bitter dispute and rivalry with France, which for some reason, long regarded Egypt as its 'own'.Things came to a head in the infamous 'Fashoda incident', during the high-noon of Victorianism (what with pith helmets, waxed moustaches, clipped public school tones and stiff upper lips), in which Britain and France very nearly came to blows over posession of Egypt - if this incident had actually escalated into full scale wat between Britain and France, the consequences for the modern world would have been enormous, it is a forgotten great 'what-if' of history.
Anyway, many British soldiers were stationed in colonial Egypt, and this was in the day when an Englishman was as lily-white as the driven snow.For some reason the derogatory racial epithet 'wog' (not a word I care to use myself), arose amongst the British Tommies to describe a native Egyptian.
A few years ago UN head Boutros Boutros Ghali, an Egyptian, complained bitterly that British Foreign Office attacks on him were based on the fact that he was a 'wog'.

Anonymous said...

Malthus is wrong because someone wrote a book saying so? It just shows how supposedly literate people can lack common sense. Any high school kid can understand that there must be some upper limit of population that a country can sustain. What's the prognosis for Egypt with 160 million, 300 million residents? China recognized this and threw off it's ideological binders, instituting it's draconian one child policy. It had to to preserve itself for the long run. The job for the western developed countries in the future will be to build an iron wall around itself so the irresponsible third world can't use us as their dumping ground. The unthinking masses of of those countries will just drift towards eventual chaos and some form of biological suicide. We can't let them drag us down with them.

Anonymous said...

I think whether the Malthusian trap is correct depends on whether the Peak Oil theory is also correct. I'm guessing Malthus didn't understand how petroleum would impact civilization. But if you remove oil from the equation, then his theories may very well be correct.

Anonymous said...

>And if there's a war and someone takes out the Aswan Dam, they're toast.

>It would take a thermonuclear hit, though. Conventional, even FAE, wouldn't do it.

Is the Aswan that much bigger than the German dams Barnes Wallis blew? Multiple hits required, yes, but I'd say ten shots with Barnes Wallis dambuster bombs would peck through. And they aren't cutting-edge anymore -'Tis sixty years since WWII. It's not just the IDF Egypt worries about, it's the Sudan and Ethiopia that want to dam the Nile upstream. If Egypt stomps them, they'd know where to hit back.

OhioStater said...

Mangan says Egypt is the world's biggest importer of wheat (Malhusian) and Federal Reserve stoked commodity inflation is fueling some of the unrest.

You said Africa has never approached it's max population. What would the population of Africa rise to if all of the land and water was fully exploited? More people than Asia?

Anonymous said...

it was the Russians who built the Aswan High Dam
typical marxist cutural destruction- its STILL destroying painting on temple walls, etc and broke the ancient cycle of the Nile- kind of like what marxists like to do with all natural cycles- try to defy reality.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, 80% of the population receives food assistance from the government.

"when GDP per capita is well above $2000"

So if 4 people have reported wages of $1 for the year, while one person has reported $10,000 ...

Jonathan S said...

Anti-anti-Malthusianism:

That a thing is successfully mitigated does not suggest, let alone prove, that that thing isn't problematic.

That a prediction has yet to come true does not suggest, let alone prove, that it never will.

Technology has saved us from the Malthusian abyss, and may it continue to do so, but to expect it to do so ad infinitum is reckless optimism.

RKU: Actually, from what I've read birthrates in the last decade or so have plummeted in most of the other Arabic countries of North Africa such as Algeria and Tunisia.

Slowing the rate of a problem's growth is not the same thing as reversing it.

RAH:it's like if you kept crashing while sober and ever since you've been getting drunk while driving you've become one of the safest drivers on the road, so you conclude that drinking and driving makes you a better driver. You'd be reasonable in assuming so.

A study which found a ridiculously counterintuitive correlation between heavy drinking and safe driving (which would be much better than your example's sample size of one, i.e. argument-by-anecdote) would be doubted, and its likely anomalous results then re-tested by "reasonable" people.

Whiskey said...

Simon, you're thinking formal state action. I'm thinking Visigoths, Franks, Ostrogoths, Saxons, Jutes, Angles, Vandals, all pouring across the border to a depopulated, mostly defenseless Roman West.

If the Muslim Brotherhood starts shouting that Egyptian men should get on boats and "conquer" the Greek Islands, Crete, Rhodes, the mainland, Sicily, and Italy, along with the Balkans, who will stop them?

You don't need an Army, an Air Force, a Navy, when your ahem, VICTIM has none either. Italians, Greeks, Macedonians, Serbs, etc. will all run away. The US will not protect them (certainly not under this Muslim President and SWPL elite leaderships) and Russia is too constrained.

There is all that "stuff" -- land, buildings, consumer goods, people, to be seized by young, ambitious men with an AK 47 and nothing to lose. History suggests it WILL BE SEIZED. Unless you think human nature and "things" have just changed so violence, greed, duplicity, and cowardice are just erased from humanity.

RAH said...

Anti-anti-Malthusianism:

That a thing is successfully mitigated does not suggest, let alone prove, that that thing isn't problematic.

That a prediction has yet to come true does not suggest, let alone prove, that it never will.

Technology has saved us from the Malthusian abyss, and may it continue to do so, but to expect it to do so ad infinitum is reckless optimism.


Well, anything taken ad infinitum won't last. What the anti-Malthusians are saying is that whatever the "carrying capacity" of the world is we're nowhere near reaching it, and won't be for the foreseeable future. Saying "Well, we have to reach a population limit eventually" is not an argument.

More people means more consumers but also more producers. The net contribution of most able bodied human beings is positive and when it's not it's because of government policy that promotes welfare, public sector employment, etc. Worries about fewer resources are misguided: more scarcity leads to higher pricing/more conservation, more incentives to find new resources, more incentives to recycle, more incentives to find alternative technologies, etc.

Anonymous said...

"Don't these people know how to use birth control? If they limited the size of their families maybe their countries wouldn't be such dysfunctional shitholes."

Hell no. They are still in natural selection mode where they breed till they experience mass starvation and the smart/strong bastards survive.

Simon in London said...

Whiskey:
"Simon, you're thinking formal state action. I'm thinking Visigoths, Franks, Ostrogoths, Saxons, Jutes, Angles, Vandals, all pouring across the border to a depopulated, mostly defenseless Roman West."

Those guys all had armies. Each of the barbarian hordes had an organised force at its nucleus. The Romans had armies too, and they fought battles. The Romans lost more battles than they won, so they lost.

I've just been reading Bryan Ward-Perkins 's 'The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization' BTW, if you haven't read it yet you'd probably enjoy it.

Your vision of the Muslim Brotherhood ordering the population of the Islamic world to sail to Europe is interesting, but I'll pass on critiquing it. The Brotherhood's actual plan to take over Europe seems to be going fine as-is.

JSM said...

"What the anti-Malthusians are saying is that whatever the "carrying capacity" of the world is we're nowhere near reaching it, and won't be for the foreseeable future."

Depends on your definition. If you're talking straight-up ability to produce enough calories to keep 20 billions in subsistence existence, you could be right.

But what if you define overpopulation as too dam* much traffic and stink and uglification (counting both trash and people)? In that case, we overshot the mark about 3 billions ago.

David Davenport said...

Going back into ancient history, one of he biggest and crassrst mistakes the USA ever made was to stymie the British lead attempt to seize the Suez canal from Nasser's appropriation.

An alternative view is that one of "he biggest and crassrst mistakes" Blighty's leaders made after 1945 was stopping the British led attempt to take back the Suez Canal merely because Washington said "Stop!"

That even in 1956 really showed who was boss and who was the obedient miniature bulldog in the "Western" world. Britain didn't have to stop.

Dwight Eisenhower would have done nothing except talk "tut-tut, so deplorable" political talk if the UK, or whatever one wants to call the place, had persisted.

Saying the USA thwarted Britain in the Suez incident of 1956 is a British excuse for British faint-heartedness.

Anonymous said...

But what if you define overpopulation as too dam* much traffic and stink and uglification (counting both trash and people)? In that case, we overshot the mark about 3 billions ago.

Traffic? Are you that unimaginative? Really, you can build more roads.

But if you consider humans "uglification" I guess I can't change your mind.

Analytical said...

DDE had the fiscal weapon to use against Britain had it not bent to his well on the Suez crisis.  He had piles and piles of bonds denominated in Pounds Sterling.  He threatened to cause a domestic crisis in Britain by crashing their exchange rate and bringing the populace onto the streets because they couldn't afford squat.  You know, kind of like Egypt today, and the "Asian Flu" of 1998-9?

More people means more consumers but also more producers. The net contribution of most able bodied human beings is positive and when it's not it's because of government policy that promotes welfare, public sector employment, etc. Worries about fewer resources are misguided...

More people does not mean more arable land, more water, more fish in the sea.  There are societies which are starving because their expanding populations have divided all the land into plots too small to feed families.  Once stuck in the trap of grinding poverty, there is no way out this side of a population crash.  The West had theirs with the bubonic plague, which arguably helped kick-start the Industrial Revolution as labor became dearer than land and capital.

Anonymous said...

"What would the population of Africa rise to if all of the land and water was fully exploited?"

"Fully exploited" depends on who is trying to do the exploiting. Different people have different abilities.

"What the anti-Malthusians are saying is that whatever the "carrying capacity" of the world is we're nowhere near reaching it, "

Yes, GDP would rise with more people. That doesn't mean that GDP per capita would rise. It would most likely fall. (unless the population increase involved people who are better than average in economic productivity/innovation)

Do you think it would be fine if the world currently had 40 billion people? Maybe would be possible for human population to be that high under current technology. But even if it was, we'd all be extremely poor. How would that be a good thing?

RAH said...

More people does not mean more arable land, more water, more fish in the sea. There are societies which are starving because their expanding populations have divided all the land into plots too small to feed families. Once stuck in the trap of grinding poverty, there is no way out this side of a population crash. The West had theirs with the bubonic plague, which arguably helped kick-start the Industrial Revolution as labor became dearer than land and capital.

Much of what's said here can be falsified by a simple Google search.

Start with "world food production per capita."

JSM said...

Huh. More roads? Oh, so THAT's why LA is a cluster---- from 4 am until 10 at night and there's traffic jams at midnight. They forgot to build enough roads.

Where do you propose to put those freeways? Triple-decker 'em? Hey, that'll work. Sunlight's overrated, anyway.

When *you* manage to get me my flying cars I was promised by all those Utopian Sci-Fi flicks sporting 50 million people per city I used to watch, then you can have your unlimited population growth, 'kay?

As an aside, what's the over/under for the next Loma Prieta?

More roads equals more noise, more stink, more ugly.

And, yeah, most of the seething mass of 6.5 billion people is godawful to look at.

Anonymous said...

"Start with "world food production per capita.""

Because we all know that that production increase and current level is evenly spread throughout the entire world population?

I'm starting to think that you're just trolling.

TGGP said...

Greece is the fifth largest importer of conventional weapons in the world, and its military spending as percent of GDP is the highest in the EU. Something like 8% of the Greek population are immigrants (many of them from the Balkans), so I wouldn't say they've capitulated on that front. Anecdotal evidence, but a Greek I knew in school told me that all Greeks have a deep hatred of Egyptians (surprised me, as I thought Turkey would be the object of enmity).

I'm guessing that Whiskey didn't know anything about the Greek military specifically, but ignorance has never slowed him down before.

Anonymous said...

I really just cannot understand the stupidity of the anti-malthuians.In their stupidity, they remind me of the immigrationists and the globalists - blinded by WSJ and 'The Economist' style propaganda.
They must be deaf, dumb and blind, nay no other explanation however charitable is possible.
Have they not seen the slums of Lagos, of Delhi, of Manilla,of Dhaka, of Nairobi, of Karachi, the despair, the hunger the misery?, have they not witnessed the Mexican invasion of LA and how that city has turned into a sh*thole in the past 40 years?, do they not spay their own cats and dogs? - Ar they really just STUPID?
I can only assume that most of have lead very pampered, sheltered lives and have had no first hand experience of REAL grinding misery - otherwise their stupidity is just inexcusable.
Rather like Gautama Buddha, I just wish those smug pontificators (who think they are 'smart' because they've swallowed wholesale some trash theory from some trash right-wing economist), would actually get out of their ivory towers and actually go and see what real poverty is all about.
On second thoughts, if these idiots still control the debate and the government, then the misery and poverty will come to them - and it assuredly will - with the 'open borders' immigration these fools peddle along with anti-malthusianism.

Anonymous said...

What is generally not well known is that Thomas Robert Malthus was, by training, a mathematician.
His law can be suumed up as thus "Whilst the population grows by geometric progression, the means for subsistance can only grow by arithmetic progression".
This is a very succinct, elegant and economical way to sum up a great profound truth.I wonder how many of the malthus deniers actually understand the import of those words?

Toma said...

I live in an area that once was very pleasant and in recent years was voted the safest medium sized city in the country. But when I first moved here, the reputation was'nt quite as good, but the density of the traffic was significantly better. Population growth has not been why the quality of life has suffered, so much as the percentage of people who fill the roads, the size of the vehicles have doubled in total mass and total numbers of vehicles have increased.

So not only do we have to worry about sheer numbers, but as populations increase their income, like India and China and a huge developing middle class in South America, they consume more food, more product and drive bigger and bigger vehicles. Which only accelerates the depletion and destruction of natural habitat.

So its not about the numbers totally, but yes I am against population increase of any kind, we have been over populated as a species I think three billion people ago.

Something will happen to take our numbers down, nature does not like one species of anything, whether its potatoes, lemmings, rats or people.

So as we argue with our heads and minds about this, in our hearts, we know our time is running out...

Anonymous said...

Of course in Egypt, the antagonists, thus actually stirring up the trouble are young,fit testosterone fuelled men - at the peak of their strength, intellect, idealism and libido.
In a tradtional Arab society, of course, there is no sexual outlet apart from marriage.The frustrated Egyptians know that with there non-existent job prospects, the chance of marriage is zero- this is fuelling the rage and anger.Also in a polygamous society such as Egypt the great unwashed see King Faroukh like figures with large dollops of cash Darwininly monopolising women.
The rage fuelled by this humiliation cannot be understimated.

Silver said...

Whiskey, a simple glance at wikipedia would tell you that you're dead wrong about the military preparedness of Greece and Italy.

Conquering these countries is the "obvious solution" for Egypt's problems only in the minds of the most consistent pinhead to ever post here.

Simon, most of Greece's immigrants are Albanians. The only people that have any serious sort of problem with them are the (doctrinaire) nationalists. Other people also arrive, but it's a trickle, not the swamping of Whiskey's fevered imagination.

Swampings of course occur, but they require a government's approval, eg Iraqis flooding into Syria and Jordan, or Mexicans into the US. No Greek government would ever approve of allowing millions of Egyptians to flood in (probably not even the commies -- who love to parade around African "refugees" in the hopes of guilt-tripping people into accepting more of them -- would approve of that, but you never know with those cretins).

The only Muslim country that poses any kind of a conventional military threat to Europe is Islamist Turkey; and Turkey (a) threatens only the Christian Balkans and (b) will only undertake militay action* with the support of the USA.

*Against Macedonia, Serbia etc, in support of the Muslim minorities there. Possibly Greece could be attacked, but as our 'cradle of civilisation' Greece has political cover from the West that the other Orthodox nations lack.


You might have also heard of Russia.

In any case, there's no anti-muslim oppression in those countries. Muslims there are the mildest thing going and the people are used to them (and vice versa). A stream of sociopathic Arab types could change that dynamic but if immigration restriction catches fire across Europe it won't have to come to that.

Simon in London said...

Silver:
"You might have also heard of Russia."

Russia might be willing to fight Turkey on behalf of the Orthodox Christians of the Balkans, but Russia is not willing to fight America, as we saw in Bosnia and Kosovo. America is not willing to fight Russia either, as we saw in the Georgian/Ossetia war. So as long as the USA is supporting Turkey and the Muslims I don't think Russia is a major factor.

Re Greece, Greece of course has a rather strong military, not as strong as Turkey but hopefully enough to defend against Turkish invasion. Egyptians in boats with AK47s are no threat to Greece, or any part of Europe.

What Whiskey needs to understand is that men in boats *without* AK47s, who come as 'refugees' not as conquerors, are the threat. Europe can still defend itself against external *attack*, but is unable to defend itself against those who come cloaked in the shroud of victimhood. Europe is defeated at the political-moral level, not at the military-force level.

Simon in London said...

Silver:
"In any case, there's no anti-muslim oppression in those countries"

There was no anti-Muslim oppression in Yugoslavia or Serbia either, but that didn't stop the Muslim uprisings once they were strong enough. Islamic expansion is offensive, not defensive.

The Albanians including the KLA seem more criminal than Islamist, but the Bosniak Muslims voted in suit-wearing Islamists. Certainly Macedonia is at risk of Muslim/Albanian takeover.

It doesn't really matter if most Muslims in the Balkans are or were only nominal Muslims; if Turkey is looking for a casus belli she'll find something. Not that I think a Turkish invasion of the Balkans is likely, it's just the only not-totally-ridiculous contemporary Muslim military threat to Europe I could think of.

Of course in the medium to long term some major European nations may become Muslim controlled through demograpics; an (eg) Islamic France could certainly pose a significant military threat to its neighbours. Most likely though France, Britain, Holland etc will spend decades wracked by Lebanon style internal conflict and even civil war, capable ownly of threatening their own populations. I don't think Europe AD 2100 will look anything like Europe today. In hindsight the ca AD 1650-2000 period of the nation states will seem a lost golden age.

Anonymous said...

Those who doubt Malthus should consider the example of Ireland.
In 1801 when Malthus was writing, Ireland had what he described as the 'prodigious' population of 7 million.Over two hunderd years later the island of Ireland can't even muster 5 million, despite very high population growth.
Starvation and emigration due to overrun carrying capcity saw to that.

Anonymous said...

American incomes have stagnated for 40 years, whilst Chinese wages, on the average, have increased by around 15% per annum for decades now.
"What has this got do with Malthus?", I hear you cry.
Well, China's population skyrocketed decades ago when all those workers were born.Thanks to the globalists, China has turned that to her advantage, and used it to race American wages to the bottom.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Traffic? Are you that unimaginative? Really, you can build more roads."

No. You build 'em.

"But if you consider humans "uglification" I guess I can't change your mind."

Perhaps this will change yours:

http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/

JW Ogden said...

I second the post by RAH. The population pessimists are wrong.

It is almost impossible for a country to be over populated if the world is not over populated. A lot of people can live on a little piece of land. Food production is what takes land and food can be imported. Julian Simon was right and still is.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

"Europe can still defend itself against external *attack*, but is unable to defend itself against those who come cloaked in the shroud of victimhood. Europe is defeated at the political-moral level, not at the military-force level."

Well said. The historical term for any mass population shift is "invasion." We're not allowed to use that term today, but I'll continue to do so anyway...

rob said...

More people means more consumers but also more producers...Worries about fewer resources are misguided: more scarcity leads to higher pricing/more conservation, more incentives to find new resources, more incentives to recycle, more incentives to find alternative technologies, etc.

More people = more producers! Fantastic, I'm going to go into my next job interview, be all like 'hey this isn't a Malthusian company, is it?" They'll be all 'Nah man, eff Malthus!" and then they won't even interview me. They'll give me a job because more people means more production. This anti-Malthusian company will kick the living shit out of every other business on earth where the 'tards in charge limit their hiring cuz they be too stooopid.

As for incentives: there have always been incentives for so much awesomeness: baldness cure, aging cure, malaria vaccine, flying car. I'm sure you can think of two or three others. Why don't this shit exist? Dizzam dog, I figured it out. The incentives are there, but it can't be done; so cranking up the incentive wouldn't do dick.

dores said...

The birthrate decline drastically during the 19th century, long before birth control pills. Whatever they were using (and there were some things that worked, like sponges, condoms and uterus caps) they worked. The French were famous for their low birthrate by the late 1900s. Americans went from an average of about 6-9 kids per family in 1800, to 3 or 4 in 1900. In the 19th century, by 1880, 20% of all pregnancies were aborted. That's hard to believe, but it's a medical statistic that's I've found in the most respected sources.

Simon in London said...

Me:
"Europe can still defend itself against external *attack*, but is unable to defend itself against those who come cloaked in the shroud of victimhood. Europe is defeated at the political-moral level, not at the military-force level."

Captain Jack Aubrey:
"Well said."

I learned an awful lot from Martin Van Creveld's "The Transformation of War" (1991). Bill Lind's '4th generation war' theory is useful too.

RAH said...

I really just cannot understand the stupidity of the anti-malthuians.In their stupidity, they remind me of the immigrationists and the globalists - blinded by WSJ and 'The Economist' style propaganda.
They must be deaf, dumb and blind, nay no other explanation however charitable is possible.
Have they not seen the slums of Lagos, of Delhi, of Manilla,of Dhaka, of Nairobi, of Karachi, the despair, the hunger the misery?


Um, ever see how those places were when they had a third of their current populations?

These comments remind me of a guy who wins one bet and thinks he knows everything. Just because you guys understand HBD doesn't mean you have any reason to be overconfident about your ability to explain anything else. The understanding of economics here is atrocious. The ability to analyze data isn't much better. Julian Simon wrote the following in the intro to The Ultimate Resource

You may look skeptically at some of the data - such as the statistics showing that world food production and consumption per capita are going up, even in poor countries, year by year. You may ask, "But what about the evidence that supports what everyone `knows' - that the world is headed toward starvation and famine?" There simply are no other data. The food data are from the UN and U.S. government, the only data there are. If UN and U.S. officials often make statements inconsistent with these data, it is because they have not checked the evidence or are purposely disregarding it. Some of the other data are more subject to argument. I have tried to give you an honest shake on the data, but you must be the judge.

If after you read the book and still doubt the general theme that conditions have been getting better, I pray that you answer this question: What data would you cite to contradict the proposition that the material conditions of life have been
improving? And if you cannot cite any data, ask yourself: what imaginable data could conceivably convince you? You will find that most relevant data are contained either in this book or in my forthcoming book, The State of Humanity. (If there are still other data that you might seek in this connection, please write me.) But
if there is no conceivable set of data that might convince you to the contrary, then there is no scientific way to address your reservations. If no data could falsify your belief, then your position is a matter of metaphysical belief, on the same intellectual footing as theology rather than science.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

"It is almost impossible for a country to be over populated if the world is not over populated. A lot of people can live on a little piece of land. Food production is what takes land and food can be imported. Julian Simon was right and still is."

Sure, people living in Country X can import food from Country Y...so long as the people in X are making something the folks in Y want to buy.

Even in America now the average amount of land per person is about 7.5 acres. This may sound like a lot, when the average person's living space is maybe 1/16th of an acre, assuming a 1/4 acre lot and 4 people per house. But consider that the other 7.4375 acres has to provide the water, food, and other natural resources necessary to supply that person's wants and needs and it's really not that much - especially if you want room left over for other life forms.

Given the mass movement to the suburbs over the last 6 decades (and the flight from California during the last two), all indications are that people would prefer not to live in overcrowded conditions. It drives lab rats crazy, and it drives humans crazy, too.

As for my own personal breeding habits: so long as Congress and the Left seem to think mass immigration is all fine and dandy, my wife and I will continue to have as many children as we'd like.

Silver said...

Re Greece, Greece of course has a rather strong military, not as strong as Turkey but hopefully enough to defend against Turkish invasion.

You'd also have to factor in a renewed "Balkan League," with the Serbs and Bulgarians (perhaps also Romanians) siding with Greece. In the event of an armed invasion even the nationalists there, who to this day mutually hate the crap out of each other (even those you'd figure should be natural allies)*, would put aside their differences and unite against their ancient foe. Given the condition of those ex-commie armed forces, they wouldn't necessarily add much more than manpower, morale and moral standing, but these are important factors in any conflict.

*That hatred seems to me to have subsided significantly since the dawning of the internet age. The economic issues of the 90s have largely been resolved, which is an important factor, but I've intermittently participated in Balkans forums since the 90s and it's my impression that the voices of moderation are much more prominent today.

There was no anti-Muslim oppression in Yugoslavia or Serbia either, but that didn't stop the Muslim uprisings once they were strong enough. Islamic expansion is offensive, not defensive.

You have to be careful here. "Muslim" in the Yugoslav era was an ethnicity, meaning a Bosnian of the Islamic faith (today they're called "Bosniaks"). In the wake of the Yugoslav state's downfall it was entirely appropriate for them to desire a country of their own; agree or disagree as you will, but that hardly amounts to an "Islamic uprising." There were plenty of other muslims (small 'm', not an ethnicity) in Serbia and Macedonia who didn't in any way "revolt." So, while, yes, Islam can quite rightly be described as expansionist, even theologically so, it's not necessarily the case that adherents of that faith will blindly follow what some people insist are its dictates.

Silver said...

The Albanians including the KLA seem more criminal than Islamist, but the Bosniak Muslims voted in suit-wearing Islamists. Certainly Macedonia is at risk of Muslim/Albanian takeover.

It's hard to say. You can't just extrapolate the birth rate differential (totally favoring Albanians) because, (a) it's likely to recede, and (b) there will be more interethnic mixing than has ever been the case and you have to figure the mixed stock won't see any advantage in a "takeover" scenario. Even if they remain nominally muslim they'll be like the Turks there.

Turks (unlike Albanians) tend to be quite well liked in Macedonia, and are certainly well-adjusted to their status there (ie respected, not demeaned). My father, who is a Serb from Macedonia (family originally from Kosovo), had plenty of Turkish friends, many of whom he'd trust with his life. (In some things, though, he would not trust them at all and advised me not to trust them either -- life's full of ironies). You'd be laughed out of the room if you tried convince Macedonians that Turks were a terrible threat.

Bulgaria's another case entirely. The Turk in Bulgaria is the Albanian in Macedonia. Bulgaria expelled a few hundred thousand of them in the late 80s. Interestingly, that action didn't incur much in the way of Turkish retaliation -- probably for the geopolitical factors you touched on. Things have been patched up quite a bit since then. I've toured Istanbul a bit and gotten into conversations with shopkeepers that speak Bulgarian and I must have been assumed to be one myself and never noticed the slightest hint of animosity. Of course, I'm always quick to call myself "Macedonian," which I consider a lot "safer" than saying Greek or Serbian (like an American playing it safe by calling himself "Canadian") so I can't be totally sure of that. Many times their eyes lit up and I was invited to stick around for coffee or tea. Very warm people. Maybe nothing a WN would want anything to do with ("non-white slime" and all that) and a terrible choice for immigrants but very warm people nonetheless.

Anyway, the point of all that is to seriously question Turkish Islamic expansionism. The Islamists among them are definitely a concern, but Islamism butts heads with Turkish nationalism, which is still strong (and forward-looking).

Silver said...

Europe can still defend itself against external *attack*, but is unable to defend itself against those who come cloaked in the shroud of victimhood. Europe is defeated at the political-moral level, not at the military-force level.

Yes. What gets me is what a cinch it all was, too. "Oh, poor me, [sob story] [sob story] [sob story]...and on top of all that we have to face your racism" was all it took and whites (your kind, Britons, Germanics etc) totally crumbled. Totally. To the point where the very idea that they have any sort of racial concerns or interests has become outrageous on its face.

In any case, it is what it is. And that's why today tact, above all, tact is so necessary. WNs, apart from some notable exceptions*, simply can't comprehend this. For them it's simple: they have an enemies and enemies need to be fought, plain and simple. They can't grasp that it's not an external struggle (at this stage); it's an internal struggle, a struggle with themselves; a struggle to establish the fundamental concept that, despite all that has occurred (immigration, mixing etc), racial self-interest is a legitimate political pursuit -- one that doesn't necessarily have to come at the expense of others (indeed, it's perfectly possible for it to reward others). WNs totally fail with this latter point. Not only do they insist it must come at others expense, they want it to. They're in thrall to revanchism. That that only serves to solidify and confirm to other whites the rightness of their antiracist stance is totally lost on these people.

*Even one as polished as Jared Taylor can't help himself sometimes. Consider that "ahm insuhlted" reaction he had to some Mexican saying what he liked about America was the diversity of the people there. Being insulted by that point, and hoping, by relating the story, to encourage others to be insulted by it, is, in today's world, just silly -- what the hell does it help to be insulted by what millions upon millions of Americans undoubtedly believe? Christ, of all the possible reactions "insulted" would have to be one of the dumbest.

Simon in London said...

Silver - thanks for the interesting Balkan info. One thing to remember though re "group X likes/hates group Y" is that these things can flip pretty fast. Eg: Pakistanis were well-regarded here by middle-class Brits until 9/11 and the Pakistani reaction to it gave the natives a sudden shock.

Silver:
"it's an internal struggle, a struggle with themselves; a struggle to establish the fundamental concept that, despite all that has occurred (immigration, mixing etc), racial self-interest is a legitimate political pursuit"

I agree. I also agree about the haters, though I don't think most WNs (depending on definition) are haters; the real haters have hate itself as the goal and can easily flip from eg neo-Nazism to Islamism or deep-green Environmentalism or Antifa-ism, whatever gives the best hate-outlet. People who love their own people don't tend to hate others.

Mr. Anon said...

"JW Ogden said...

I second the post by RAH. The population pessimists are wrong.

It is almost impossible for a country to be over populated if the world is not over populated. A lot of people can live on a little piece of land. Food production is what takes land and food can be imported."

Sure, food can be imported. If you have something valuable in exchange. And if you want to be at the mercy of people who may hate you.

I understand that Egypt imports a great deal of its food - you might like it there.

ATBOTL said...

"Whiskey - 'Egypt' is not going to 'invade' Europe. What is actually happening is that southern Europe is already being invaded, but the great bulk of the invaders/immigrants/asylum seekers are black Africans, from much further south. They have far less to lose and far more to gain than do the Arabs along the Med's southern shore."

Black Africans are a large and increasing percentage of the immigrants to Europe. In Paris and London you see more blacks than Middle Eastern types.

Svigor said...

Too many people can be a Malthusian "innovation trap." Think about it -- the bigger the population, the greater the bureaucracy, various castes, entrenched interests, and so on. This would explain why China, and Hindu India, despite originating things like the compass, paper money, gunpowder, the zero, and algebraic equations, never did anything with them, and dynamic, relatively unpopulated, technological change friendly Europe took them and constantly improved them.

But China and Europe are far more similar in terms of area and population than China is to any one European country. So we're ignoring the question of why China was one big, state with so much area and population in the first place, compared to Europe, with a (more) similar amount of people and territory, went in the opposite direction.

Why did China zig, and Europe zag?

Analytical said...

China zigged and Europe zagged because of geography.  China tended to be one empire, and suppressed innovation because it was disruptive.  Europe was a host of competitive states, and adopted innovation because failure to keep up with advances meant conquest.

Evil Sandmich said...

Anyone who is not a believer in Malthus obviously hasn't heard of a country named Haiti.

JSM said...

Svig,

Would you say "analytical" missed the point?

David said...

>It is almost impossible for a country to be over populated if the world is not over populated. A lot of people can live on a little piece of land. Food production is what takes land and food can be imported. Julian Simon was right and still is.<

It's almost impossible to die from impoverishment if there are plenty of other people to give you food.

As one of his handlers once wryly remarked: "It costs a lot of money to keep Gandhi in poverty."

Rob's comment was the most brilliant takedown of Julian Simon I've ever read, and it's in just the tone that Simon deserved. Among high-achievers who produce valuable things, an increasing population is a benefit, or at least no harm; but people who are hardly able to pull their own weight fill up a country only to impoverish it. Even in the mythical land of majority achievers, there is a limit: producing more than one consumes, in net, is obviously in conflict with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. There is no such thing as infinitely expanding wealth because there is no such thing as magic (or infinity).

Svigor said...

JSM said...

Svig,

Would you say "analytical" missed the point?


:D

Or maybe he's having fun with me. I always wonder that when it seems over the top. :)