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It's A Crowded World!HUMANS AS BACTERIA

Bacteria
Sometimes it is educational to look at other models of things in order to find out what to expect in the far, far future. One such model is bacterial growth. This is an experiment that any student of elementary Microbiology courses will have to go through in the lab as part of their education.

The question is simple, what does the population growth curve looks like in a Petri dish?

Note: a Petri dish is a special type of container which, coincidentally enough looks like a dish and it is used to grow bacteria. And yes, you can search it in Wikipedia too.

The idea in this experiment is to study what happens with a species with no predators living in a closed environment with limited amounts of food. The classic curve looks as follows:

Bacterial Growth Curve

There are several phases of growth. They are:

  1. Lag: bacteria has just begun to multiply.
  2. Exponential: bacteria is multiplying as fast as possible (food is not a limiting factor)
  3. Stationary: bacteria is multiplying at the same rate as it is dying (food begins to become a limiting factor)
  4. Death: bacteria is multiplying at an insufficient rate to replace all the deaths (food is a limiting factor).

This curve, however scary it may look, is what awaits the human race. There is no escape from it. The world is indeed a "closed system" as physicists and engineers like to call such a system. Basically, nothing gets in and nothing gets out, with the exception of energy from the sun. Essentially, what we got is what we got.

If we now superimpose the linear and the compensated model, we can see the differences:

Bacterial Growth Curves - Models

The Green line represents the linear model and the dark Blue line represents the compensated model. Which one do you believe looks more like reality? If you answered Blue, then you are correct! The linear model is a figment of planner's imagination. It simply does not exist, at least not in a closed system.

And so, we come to the conclusion that the compensated model is the correct model, and this has significant consequences.

Humans

By 2070 approximately, the human population should be 35% larger than it is today. Big deal… It is ridiculous to believe that humans won't be able to produce sufficient food and energy to support humanity. Remember, it is a measly increase of 35% over current. However, what happens next is the interesting piece. What happens next is that humans will enter into the Stationary phase, this means ZERO growth. Yet, food stocks will continue to increase, wealth will continue to increase and many new sources of energy will become available by then. In other words, there won't be a catastrophe!

What this also means is that humans will be able to enjoy earth as never before. Standards of living will be increasing steadily and wealth will too… unless.

Unless what?

Unless planners get their way.

You see, zero population growth means demographic stability, but it also means economic collapse in managed markets. Why is this so?

Because politicians have been borrowing and spending in order to increase our standards of living artificially instead of letting the free market to do it naturally. Because of this insurmountable level of stupidity we have been living beyond our means since approximately the 1800s.

This fact can be highlighted easily. Public pensions have been set-up to take money from workers and shift it to retirees. When modern pensions were setup the ratio of workers to retirees was in the range of 5-10 to 1. By 2070 this ratio will be in the range of 1-2 to 1. In other words, pension plans will be dry. Governments will simply run out of suckers (i.e. taxpayers) from whom to steal money. This means that the growing number of retirees (which will be living longer) will simply lack the money to continue living! All government coffers will be empty!

The solution to the problem is, of course, let the free market operate. This will increase everybody's wealth and hence allow people to save enough for a comfortable retirement by themselves.

What zero growth means is that governments have no more suckers to bleed dry to support their lavish lifestyle. And so the sooner we reach zero growth, the sooner we will be in deep trouble because socialist and hence market management policies will continue!

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. It so happens that the zero growth is also dangerous for the free market since the economy does not operate by itself, it requires workers… workers that will be in exceedingly short supply! Sure, automation will solve part of the problem, but only part. People will still be required in vast amounts to make the economy work and this won't change for the foreseeable future.

To advocate for zero growth population is to advocate for the speeding up of the impending doom!

The absolute limit

Is there an absolute limit of population that earth can support? Of course there is! The problem is that this limit is unknowable. We simply cannot forecast what our science and technology will achieve in the future and therefore we don't know how many people can earth support. What we are saying is that in all likelihood, the so-called "overpopulation" problem is a myth. The most likely scenario is that humans will enter the stationary phase somewhere within one or two generations from and this will cause a large number of problems because we were given managed markets instead of allowing free markets to operate.

The overpopulation problem is not a population problem but an economic problem.

LINEAR HISTORY

We have commented many times before about the hazards of extrapolating as if the future is written in stone. This one is no exception. There are many revolutionary things in the horizon that will happen well before 2070, the least of them is that the singularity is coming. Self-aware computers are a non-forecastable event that will most definitively alter everything that we know and we are. Global warming is another event. Widespread chemical pollution drastically affecting human (and animal) fertility rates is another. Political involution or de-volution caused by global economic catastrophes is yet another. The number of endogenous and exogenous shocks that humans will be subjected to in the next 6 decades will dwarf everything that we have seen so far. We suggest you get ready.

In the end

Lastly, we need to consider the worst case scenario. What if everything fails and the human race is indeed on its track towards extinction. Would this be a tragedy? From an existentialist point of view, it probably would not be. Life is meaningless anyways. From a religious point of view, it wouldn't be because all people would eventually find their way into heaven, in any shape or form that current religions may conceive it.

But how about the universe? Will the universe miss us? Well, according to current calculations it is likely there are plenty of planets out there with intelligent life on them. Evolution will simply give up on humans and continue its work somewhere else.

CONCLUSION

The overpopulation problem is a myth. Earth can support what's coming and can do so efficiently and effectively, even when handicapped by socialistically managed markets. The problem is what comes afterwards. For the next phase the only possible solution is truly free markets…and this dear reader, is the big question.

You may choose to believe us or not, but it will be an interesting future (paraphrasing an old Chinese curse).

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

 

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