Is Western Society on the Brink of Collapse?

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The Empire State Building and large portions of midtown Manhattan are seen without power as a result of Hurricane Sandy. October 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
The Empire State Building and large portions of midtown Manhattan are seen without power as a result of Hurricane Sandy. October 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

Our runaway consumption habits and growing inequality could lead to the collapse of Western civilization, according to a new short paper slated for publication the journal Ecological Economics and written up at The Guardian’s Earth Insight blog. Noting that warnings that the end is near are often “controversial,” the interdisciplinary analysis looked at the factors that have caused civilizations to collapse in the past and makes a compelling argument that we may be headed in that direction. According to The Guardian:

By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilizational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor]” These social phenomena have played “a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse,” in all such cases over “the last five thousand years.”

Currently, high levels of economic stratification are linked directly to overconsumption of resources, with “Elites” based largely in industrialized countries responsible for both:

“… accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.”

In the scenarios the researchers studied, the “elites” were the last to feel the effects of the collapse, which, at first, were only apparent to those beneath them on the social ladder.

In both scenarios, Elite wealth monopolies mean that they are buffered from the most “detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners,” allowing them to “continue ‘business as usual’ despite the impending catastrophe.” The same mechanism, they argue, could explain how “historical collapses were allowed to occur by elites who appear to be oblivious to the catastrophic trajectory (most clearly apparent in the Roman and Mayan cases).”

However, the paper’s authors wrote that it’s not a given that we will go the way of the Romans. If we take action to halt climate change and rein in inequality, the worst-case scenario won’t be realized. “Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion,” they wrote.

Read the full article about the study at The Guardian »

Correction: This piece originally stated that the short paper referenced was actually a NASA-funded study. That was an inaccurate characterization. NASA developed the research tools used in the study, but did not oversee the study. We regret the error, and have corrected it on this page.

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  • Victoria Love

    “Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion,” they wrote.” Good luck with that.

    C’mon, Bernie. Now is the time.

  • Dave

    To what? Lose spectacularly?

  • Alex Sawyer

    With that attitude, yes. It’s obvious the way we’ve been doing things isn’t working, so why not work for some real change? People need to start thinking outside the box, and that includes considering alternatives to the two-party system.

  • Alex Sawyer

    One thing nobody ever seems to talk about in regard to the planet’s well-being is the extraordinary benefit to the environment if we all adopted a vegetarian diet. We waste enormous amounts of food, water, and land raising animals for meat — precious resources that could be used for feeding the world.

  • B D

    How can resources be distributed equally? Who does the distributing? Some government bureaucrat? That’s not going to work and everyone knows it. Change the systems that allow Wall Street Bankers, Hedge Fund Managers, and that lot to make obscene amounts of money while they destroy the economy and markets for the rest of us. Nationalize the power companies – their CEO’s don’t need to live like Kings and make millions while senior citizens shiver in their 55 degree homes. But let’s not go full blown socialist. that never works.

  • Dano2

    If you’re talking about sustainability, changing the two-party system is akin to putting a piece of scotch tape on a bleeding artery. We haven’t been sustainable for over 150 years and the day we mark ‘overshoot day’ is earlier every year.

    I = P x A x T

    Best,

    D

  • http://www.facebook.com/RPManke.solar RevPhil Manke

    The world is not in need of food for their bodies, but for their Spiritual truth.

  • Anonymous

    What makes anyone think the “elites” have learned from history? If the elites are oblivious to the unsustainable trajectory they have placed us all on, and are unwilling to acknowledge the part they themselves have played in creating this mess, how can we logically expect them to change and do something that is positive for all? Have they ever “got it” in time to avoid the inevitable crash? History, sadly shows, that “no” they have not. Ergo we are doomed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RPManke.solar RevPhil Manke

    Second choice voting , lobbying reform, single payer medical, amend the Constitution, no private sector jobs allowed for ex representatives and senators or presidents. How am I doin?
    Stock trading fees. Carbon tax with solar production credits.

  • Martin Miller

    Light’s article is especially poignant, and a call to action. People need to organize, if not crowd fund against the dark money interests financing the downward slide… Like the Koch brothers and their fossil fuel interests.

    Overpopulation and resource overuse are not long term threats. They are ‘right now’ threats…

  • Robert L

    I disagree. Religion has been the bane of humanity for all of its existence. It’s legacy has been suffering and death on a cataclysmic scale. the best hope for humanity, and I believe it will happen in the next several hundred years, is for humanity to abandon religion and embrace logic and reason. It is our only hope.

  • Steven Breedlove

    This isnt new or news. The income inequality spin is great to keep em coming back. But the problem is ecological overshoot complicating inevitable energy descent. Read JM Greer, check out the PostCarbon Institute on YouTube or read Richard Hienburgs work. It is a matter of scale. Collapse is the reduction of scale. It’s a homecoming of sorts for humans as animals. If only we weren’t adding climate change to the already volatile mix…

  • Steven Breedlove

    The waste is a matter of scale. In fact, a healthy closed farm system requires animals. We eat too much meat–the proverbial we– And it is a significant problem, but we also can’t pretend that if everyone adopted being a vegetarian that we could feed the world. Price control crop dumping, and petrofertilizers leading to topsoil loss, and shady IMF brokered deals that force Somalis to plant peanuts for French oil manufacturers are much more readily tackled than trying to convince an Inuit that he needs to eat kale instead of seal.

  • Steven Breedlove

    “Logic and reason” actually fulfill the same subconscious role in the brain as religions. There is some kind of salvation if we just… Secular religions are religions. The whole No Gods, No Masters thing makes sense, but Bakunin (or even Nietzsche) had a tinge of egoism and self righteous “logic and reason” about them.

  • Dick Jones

    Want to save the planet? Don’t have children. I’m not being cynical or ironic. Overpopulation is the reason our future is unsustainable.

  • Steven Breedlove

    Not true necessarily. What about deforestation? US population is somewhat static, Japan’s decreasing, most of Europe static or shrinking, yet some 80% of world forest consumption goes to these places.

  • Anonymous

    There is a fundamental flaw in the primary economic system of the world; a fundamental truth that is not taken into account as the basis for all that happens. I won’t pretend to know what the timeline to complete breakdown might be, but it certainly seems we are currently pushing very hard at the limits of failure.

    The seemingly trite truth is: We are all in this together. Stated another way: we are all intimately and inextricably interconnected and interdependent. Everyone is dependent upon and interdependent with everyone else for any and all success that is ever achieved. “I built it myself” and “I earned this myself” constitute a complete illusion and delusion. In spite of the fact that everyone contributes to every success, very few currently ever profit from such success; instead, a very few gain far beyond their real needs, all at huge costs to a great many and to our home, Mother Earth.

    From this fundamental flaw in the mindset of all involved, arise all of the other major and minor problems with “the system” that are usually focused upon: over consumption and wonton waste of resources, pollution, climate change, over population, distributive injustice, social injustice, inequitable compensation, etc.

    Any economic system that does not recognize and take this into account is doomed to ultimate failure. It’s not at all helpful to quibble about the details while ignoring the flawed basis for all that we do. The world economy is suffering as did the Titanic after colliding with the iceberg, and our responses have been like trying to patch holes with bandages while bailing with thimbles.

    The best way to change the system is for everyone involved to suddenly wake up and recognize that we are indeed all in this together, that there is no way to avoid or evade this basic truth, and to quickly change our ways completely. Realistically, of course, this will never happen; we will exterminate ourselves long before there might ever be any possibility for such mass enlightenment. So, what will it take? Armed revolution? That may be inspired by enlightenment, but it will be driven and fueled by anger and desperation, it will be poorly led and chaotic, it will be extremely destructive and wasteful of resources and lives, it will fought against great odds, pitting the ‘have nots’ against the ‘haves’, and it will most likely fail miserably – for everyone, including the ‘haves’ because they are totally dependent upon the ‘have nots’ for everything they have.

    Non-violent political revolution will take a while, perhaps longer than we have, but it’s the only realistic way forward for everyone – together. A few in positions of power will need to see the light and step bravely forward to lead. Many, eventually multitudes, will need to stand with these few leaders to occupy our world with a greater understanding that we are all indeed all in this together; that no one really succeeds unless everyone succeeds. This will depend upon much open-mindedness, open-heartedness, bravery, determination and harmonious cooperation. Can we do it? Yes! Will we do it?

  • Richard Fallis

    The British are a good example to follow. They
    did not so much collapse as divest and struggled hard and long with the
    issue of equality. Although still not there, many of their efforts
    deserve our study.

  • Anonymous

    We humans are just another organism, another part of the biosphere that threatens to unhinge the fine balance of the entire planet. Our primitive brains are incapable of comprehending what we are and what we need to do. Despite the science, we’re little more than naked apes who look up at the sky and fear. Science can take us to the edge of the universe but that is not going to open up the part in us that holds the key. We truly need to connect to one another and our place in the universe (a universe that’s as much “in” as “out” there.) What is the one thing that can lift the species up? Not religion but a belief that we are connected to the great wonder that is this amazing reality, this blessed gifted moment of life and consciousness. We need science to show the doorway to a connected and universal human spirit or else we’re all lost.

  • Ronald Rees

    Let’s go to a 4 day work week here in the US. Work four eight hour days and get paid for 40 hours. Overtime pay for those who work more then 32 hours. Make it an executive order, “a mandate”. That gives a plus or minus 20 % change depending on what particular item is up for debate Example. Vehicles: Less pollution. A 20% pay raise. More cash flow in the economy. More time off to do those things you don’t have time for now…like raising your kids. Going to school (part time). More jobs for the un-employed.

  • Anonymous

    A person who is 80 years old today, has seen the population of the world triple in their lifetime. It took humans thousands of years to reach 1 billion – it happened around 1804. Since then we have been busier than bunny rabbits and have exponentially increased our population to 7 billion in a little over 200 years. The Earth can’t handle that fast of a population growth. Deforestation is happening because we need more and more food and other things daily. We’ve also managed to cure illnesses, become more able to withstand natural disasters, and we’ve increased life expectancy – the Earth can’t create a plague any longer to cut population down. We’ve figured out how to cure most of those. Is the answer not to have children? It wouldn’t hurt if people didn’t keep having 4 or 5 or more children.

  • Anonymous

    The gap between rich and poor is pretty big in the UK. There’s plenty of better examples to be found in europe in terms of inequality and prospects for lower classes to move up.

  • Rain,adustbowlstory

    So discouraging. Sadly, the operative metaphor in all of this seems to be the old frog-in-boiling-water-keeps-tolerating-more-and-more-heat. As long as we don’t let bodies of starving people pile up in the street, most people will just slog along rather than rebelling. Added to that the fact that students get zero education in how to be activists….

  • David Wilson

    Well, maybe the article didn’t mention it, because that is a completely different point than this article is examining? Does every article about the “fate of the world” have to mention every variable in the equation, can’t we just have separate articles for each one of that vast myriad of variables, instead of one magnum opus of many million words?

  • Melissa Houck

    It is true that deforestation and other environmental disasters are the direct result of exponential population growth, but don’t bank on “the Earth can’t create a plague…”. It’s happening with AIDS and other diseases, and, as Bobricks alluded to above, each “cure” opens a niche for a new disease to fill, whether by mutation of organisms that did not affect humans before or by selection for more resistance in ones that are already in our social ecosystem. Evolution leaves no niche unfilled.

  • Warden

    No the Earth won’t stop spinning, but in either concept it is in our animalistic nature to “claw ahead” we’ve only made it more corrupt, civilized, and organized. No matter which thing in the world you talk about everything tries to be on top, with humans money or morals determine our survival. With anything to be on top is what we all secretly crave, we want to be an elite, it’s a structure that’s been around since the beginning of time where the ones who claw prevail past the ones who don’t. Put simply we don’t always have to be on top to survive, just be the one with the claws.

  • Anonymous

    My parents told me that, in the 60s, overpopulation was going to destroy the world in a couple generations. As a youngster in the 70s I remember that pollution was going to destroy the world in a couple generations. In the 80s AIDS was going to destroy the world in a couple generations. In the 90s global warming was going to destroy the world in a couple generations. In the 2000s terrorism was going to destroy the world in a couple generations. All of these things are problems, but definitely overblown. Dinosaurs were wiped out and something else arose and took their place.

    Same thing with us. All this alarmism and saying it’s “too late” makes people want to just throw up their hands and say “well, I may as well have as much fun as I can, then …”

  • JonThomas

    “… No one is breaking down doors to go anywhere else.”

    Sorry, but this is not as true as the ethnocentric viewpoint would proffer.

    European nations have long been troubled with immigration issues. In regard to population density vs. sq. mileage, along with the strain on resources and governmental programs, these countries are arguably having greater difficulty dealing with people ‘breaking down their doors’ than is the U.S.

    “Have some faith in the inherent superiority of your own nation…” is way too subjective a statement to offer as any rational or advice for anything.

  • http://pandoranage.com/ Dante D’Anthony

    Humans are what the “Earth” made us through 500 Million years of unbroken dog-eat-dog struggle. Now, you lament the Human condition and absolve “the Earth” of anything to do with Humanity, as it were? Well, look at the “Earth” again please-from the smallest patch of dirt, to the coral reef, to the rain-forest jungles-a relentless battle for space and food, an unbroken non-stop war of everything alive with everything else alive-for 500 Million years. Compassion, fairness, justice, order, law, reason-all the unspoken premises in your statement are in fact “Human” values. Unfortunately, you’ve been brainwashed since birth by an environmental movement that beats a one-sided indictment against Humanity with a relentless gonging clamor.

  • Jim Kristi Seattle

    Sure, let’s have a discussion that solves the problems of the world. Excuse me, but having lived 65 years now I’m certain I cannot solve the problems of the world. Can’t even solve the simpler of my own problems. Mostly the world’s problems are caused by greed. When you come up with a solution for that one let me know… let everyone know, PLEASE! And let’s get to implementation as quickly as possible. I have a sneaking suspicion that many of the other problems will just go away if we tackle that one first.

  • Daniel Lowe

    Well said. The problem is that Capital essential owns our political structure. Our modern elections are really about the illusion of choice: we have a “choice” between 2 elites, both of which have already been co-opted by large corporations prior to election.

    Until we take the Power out of Money, we’ll never get the Money out of Power.

    So, how do you take the absolute Power out of Money, without going to socialism? I’m not being sarcastic, it’s a real question I’m asking as a challenge. I’d like to know the answer.

  • poppypop

    What I would add to the article, since they reference the Romans and Mayans as examples of imperialism that went corrupt and failed, is that there were so many examples of these two cultures very, very well documented, and the failure was still able to occur, even though in the Western Media culture they only deal with those two empires as a way to invoke a certain aura around those time periods which existed well over the current Western civilization that definitely had more wisdom, technological advancements and more wealth to be anchored and distributed. So I would conclude that even though mankind has had several versions of Imperialism attitudes displayed, man still suffers from some strange DNA that keeps demonstrating a proclivity towards selfishness and greed that cannot be controlled or regulated. In the 21st century what good does it do to constantly bring up the past Empires without ever resolving the ROOT cause.

  • Norman Morris

    We have poisoned everything: our Earth, society, education, our health and we have no consideration for our futures. I don’t think it is going to be a collapse, but I do think we are headed for one heck of a meltdown. But not to worry, the one percent are going to continue to live long, prosperous, easy lives while living atop and on the backs of the middle class and the poor. Oh, wait. That is already happening, isn’t it? Maybe if only a few of us stop voting in officials whom are not fighting for our better interest and not owned by some large company, we could continue to have something good to be left over in the end for our children? But that is not going to happen because we are selfish beings, bent on our own destruction, as long as we continue in the hopes of trickle down economics.

  • Smedley N

    No, we’re doomed.

  • AnnaFrieda

    I think the Western world is moving into the next phase, where rampant consumerism is on the way out because people realize that what they need most of all is clean water and decent food and meaningful jobs that relate to their lives. The shift in attitude, where people care more about the environment, their neighborhoods and healthy living than the almighty dollar, will be quite unsettling to the elite, who suffer from the delusion that everyone wants to be like them. It will, and already is, a painful transition to a saner existence, because the corporate goliath and wall street gekko won’t go down easy.

  • Anonymous

    I agree – too many people will just slog along rather than rebelling because it’s easier than challenging authority. The “Tea Party” types know there is something wrong with the current economy, but it is easier for them to demonize the poor as lazy beings dragging them down than to look to the real problem which is that the system is broken and needs to be changed. That would be too much work for them. They are sheep.

  • Norman Morris

    Thank you. You make perfect sense.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like it about time to get solar cells on every home. Gee, I wonder if that would boost employment and our electrical demand in our country?

  • Anonymous

    There is a way to prevent the absolute collapse that is being predicted here but it would take an awakening that affected the whole of mankind on a greater level than religion, culture, or economics ever has. The real flaw of mankind is that we don’t realize that we are no longer constrained by the concept of scarcity. We have the technology to adequately provide for all of humanity but there is no motivation for anyone to do anything because those with the majority of the wealth contribute minimally to life sequence of humanity.

  • David Wilson

    With all due respect, and speaking only for the decades I was “aware,” the 80s and beyond, no one said Terrororims, AIDS, or even global warning was going to destroy the world in generations.” Nor is this article talking about “destruction of the world.” Whatever the issue exactly is here, it has more to do with the hyperbole in your own mind & the minds of your parents, not what the rest of the world was talking about. The critical thinkers on the world don’t try to reduce this to a simple binary thing (“total destruction” vs “all OK”) like you do. You may not think AIDS, pollution, or overpopulation had a large impact, because it did not bring your personal world crashing down around you, but it actually did.

  • Maribeth Wester

    Thank you, AnnaFrieda – we would do well with a leader for all this, but we haven’t had one for some time…..have you watched The Shift? I hope we make it through this, without having to sacrifice everything and start over.

  • Anonymous

    History teaches us humans are fatally flawed when it comes to power. Any little bit of power causes us to cease correctly perceiving ourselves as one speck in the Universe, inevitably followed by constructs elevating self to infinite worth while all else is of no value.

  • M Gjerdrum

    The article says not one word about Fukushima, and that is the real problem. I am so sick of these articles that dance around the truth……..the truth is that we face our own extinction thanks to Japan and TE{CO. I recently read TEPCO will not be held responsible for the global genocide………how sick is that?

  • GregoryC

    That won’t leave anyone left to vote for.

  • GregoryC

    They are misguided. I wouldn’t come to the US. We’re the only industrialized nation that doesn’t provide universal health care (as opposed to mandatory purchase of for-profit health insurance), social safety net, living wages, guaranteed jobs, retirement/disabled security. If I were young & healthy I’d leave the US for Scandinavia or Australia. We’re not the greatest nation on Earth. We may be the biggest war criminals and greedy group of people on planet Earth.

  • GregoryC

    I think the British Elite, political, economic and defense, have embraced the neoliberal agenda.

  • ComradeRutherford

    Even the redoubtable Amy Goodman on today’s Democracy Now, kept talking about Fukushima as if it were in the past…

    TEPCO has no idea where those molten cores are. Look up ‘corium’…

  • ComradeRutherford

    The Earth is degenerating these days. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer obey their parents, every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.

    – Assyrian Stone tablet, 2800 BC.

  • Anonymous

    The world didn’t end back then, but what happened to Assyria?

  • ComradeRutherford

    Yes, their own little corner did come to an end. I believe this is the same thing that we see today with reactionary ‘conservatives’ claiming that these are the End Times. Yes, reactionary Conservatism is dying out, but not much else…

  • Sally Strange

    Funny, I heard about how TEPCO is having trouble locating the melted down cores… on Democracy Now.

  • ComradeRutherford

    Yeah, so why did she keep saying on the show I heard on March 19 (discussing sailors on the ‘Ron Reagan’ being radiated) that this was a past event and not still a problem?

  • Anonymous

    If it seems to you that what I wrote is “not really true, at least not in a significant way,” that is due to lack of understanding what I wrote or your inability to see the truth of it. Supporting your view with the disruption and loss of a large number of lives and with the observation “that the “elite” are largely insulated from direct consequences of these things until if & when they get much, much worse” indicates you don’t quite grasp my message.

    Yes, short term evaluation tends to suggest “insulation” from things. Long term, however, the connections and results become painfully obvious. IF we were all more sensitive to our interconnections and interdependence, we wouldn’t have to wait so long – until things get “much, much worse” and so many have so needlessly suffered. When collapse does come, it will be the “insulated elite” who will fall the hardest. Envision the Wall Street types leaping out of high windows – as has happened before.

    I’m not really arguing for or against anything in the study. Rather I am pointing out what is behind the problems mentioned, all of which are unsurprising results of the fundamental flaw in our world economic system. Any “solutions” applied to such problems are merely band-aids that will ultimately do nothing to “fix” things. At best, they may only delay collapse a bit, meanwhile expanding and prolonging hardship and suffering for many.

  • RICHARD RALPH ROEHL

    The problem is bigger than Western nations. All of civilization is facing ‘collapse’… and possible EXTINCTION.

    Old Coyote Knose… that the EXPONENTIAL growth of the human baboony population and the global consumer economy on Planet Over-birth Earth, a fragile HOST ORGANISM of FINITE space and FINITE resources, cannot be sustained much longer. EXPONENTIAL GROWTH of anything in a closed looped system ( Earth ) is not progress. It is insanity. It is suicide. It augurs a major EXTINCTION EVENT.

    1. Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad!(off).
    2. Where there is no insight, the people perish.

    ‘Collapse’ is a euphonistic understatement to describe the future of humanity (a.k.a.: ewe-man-unkind).

  • RICHARD RALPH ROEHL

    The Earth didn’t have 7.25 BILLION human consumers on the planet back then.

  • RICHARD RALPH ROEHL

    The ongoing radioactive contamination horror emanating from the Fukushima time-bomb nuke plants in Japan is too terrifying for many to contemplate.

  • M Gjerdrum

    It is time to stop hiding from the truth, denial is literally killing all of us.

  • M Gjerdrum

    It is time for people to demand action and coverage.
    US propaganda is insulting to anyone with an IQ over 80.

  • David Wilson

    OK, I suffer from lack of understanding and inability to see truth. Got it. You know, I wasn’t even disagreeing with you, I was actually complementing the maturity of your view; all I was saying was that everyone is not as mature in their viewpoint as you are. Or at least, how I thought you were based upon your first post, before you started to impugn my thinking skills. Sigh.

  • David Wilson

    p.s. I can say the same for you. Your talking about how even the elite will eventually be affected when it gets bad enough misses the point. This article isn’t about “long term,” predicting how they will react THEN, it’s about how they react NOW.

  • Anonymous

    No, it is too much BS to contemplate.

    It does not and cannot contain the necessary amount of radioactive material.

    There are events but they are not caused by the use of orthodoxe science. No birds dropping dead from the skies during the Chernobyl accident.

  • Anonymous

    Nope, not at all, Fukushima plant does not contain enough radioactive material for that to happen, it is basic math.

    There are Events but they go beyond what current science can explain.

  • R. R. Roehl

    May you enjoy the pro-nuke cancer that karma will send to your door.

  • Anonymous

    False.

    Quality (or lack thereof) is the problem.

  • Anonymous

    Blame the places where the deforestation is happening.

  • Anonymous

    Birthrates are rapidly falling worldwide now, while diseases grows resistant to medical advances.
    Biological terrorism/genocide, pandemies and another Carrington Event are only a question of time.

    Deforestation is unecessary, the available arable land would be more than enough if it was properly used.
    That would mean the current regimes would have to be overthrowed entirely, thought.

  • Anonymous

    False.

    Deforestation is unecessary, the currently used arable land would be more than enough if it was properly managed using the available technologies.
    Birthrates are dropping, also.

    That would mean the current regimes would have to be overthrowed entirely, thought.

    Creating a new disease that is just as far-reaching as AIDS won´t cost even a billion dollar using current technology, eventually biological warfare will happen.
    Pandemies happens too, another Carrington Event. Won´t be 9 billions in 2050 or 2040, maybe not even 1 billion..

  • Dick Jones

    True.

    If you do the math every person needs about an acre of land for sustenance alone, there are 7 billion people on earth, and that means we absolutely NEED about 20% of Earth’s land just to live – not excluding the land which cannot be used for agriculture (mountains, desert, etc). Add in general infrastructure and you’re on a collision course with disaster (roads, cities, golf courses, etc). We’re literally screwing ourselves to death.