Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Aging Research and the Population Crisis

One of these days, aging research is likely to have some kind of breakthrough. A real breakthrough.

And, perhaps even more importantly: there are likely to be a lot of incremental improvements in medical care that extend lifespans.

This is good news in many ways, obviously...


If this happens before we have begun to solve the population problem, it is going to be a disaster.  

There are elements of both the right and left that are ideologically committed to denying that we need to address the population problem. From the right, we are told that we have to crank up the population so that the terrible scary Muslims don't "outbreed" us--and so that the economy can continue to grow forever and ever and ever...  From the left we are told that any concern with the population is racist since it inevitably means (to the lefty mind) that we are eugenicists who want fewer brown people and immigrants.  

These people are the population equivalent of global warming denialists. They're not only wrong, but they're passionately, politically committed to being wrong. They're passionately committed to a course of action that there is simply no reason to be committed to. As in the case of climate change, the potential cost of inaction is massive...and, even if we act, and we're wrong, we still end up with a better world. (Albeit at some cost...)  Less pollution and fewer people would be good ends even without the threat of a looming crisis.  

We have to throttle back on population growth--before it's a crisis. There's still time for us to take reasonable, modest steps to change the trajectory of population growth. Every year we wait, however, makes it more likely that we will face an unmanageable crisis rather than a manageable problem.

Nobody's going to listen to this, of course.  

But I'm saying it anyway.


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