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Subject: Ten in TwentyFifty.  Let's talk population control.
According to the most recent Economist magazine, there's a good chance the world's population will hit 10 Billion by 2050.  This doesn't seem like too large a number, nor does it seem to be happening too soon.  Certainly by some estimates we could have hit that by 2010.

For some time I have worried about the Earth's human population, and our impact upon our environment.  It's not as if we've got a lot of water or atmosphere to spare, right?  Check out this great image by Dr. Adam Nieman, which shows exactly how much we've got of each, with rather startling clarity:

[Image: /grafx/GlobalVolume.jpg]

The core of the Economist article was that the population growth rate will slow itself, due mostly to the simple fact that wealthy people have fewer children.  The stats don't lie:

Quote by The Economist:
In some countries the speed of decline in the fertility rate has been astonishing. In Iran, it dropped from seven in 1984 to 1.9 in 2006—and to just 1.5 in Tehran. That is about as fast as social change can happen.

Source: The Economist

I was trying to extrapolate this a little.  What happens when the population peaks, will it start to fall?  If all the nations of the world can advance themselves, with the associated shifts in cultural norms (ie: less consumption) and technology (cleaner energy), what happens when the population bulge passes us by?

The bulge is the thickest demographic.  As parents now have fewer and fewer children, their own age group will have a greater population (think baby boomers).  This will lead to a fairly drastic population decrease as large parts of the population start to die off in a comparatively short time, and then what?

What happens when we end up with fewer people?  How does the technology advance?  I can see a time when we start expecting more and more of the fewer people we've got left (I say 'we' as a global we, as I fully expect I'll be dead before this is a problem).  I think it's safe to say there'll be less of a lazy attitude amongst parents and children as every person is suddenly asked to perform a wider or more important role than their parents.

I imagine a situation where the whole world becomes like Japan is right now: aging fast, without enough kids to support the older generation.  They're experimenting with some very drastic ideas, and I don't mean the robots (no one's surprised about that), I mean the imports.  Japan, an insular nation with a healthy fear of the foreigner, is bringing in foreign workers to take care of their elderly.  Sure, it ain't happening fast or without problems, but that it's happening at all is a sign Japan's really kind of freaking out about the problem.

I'm still mulling this one over, there are a lot of variables and the thoughts are still settling in my mind.

What are your thoughts?
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