Too Much Life on Earth? – NYTimes.com

Too Much Life on Earth? – NYTimes.com.

I.H.T. Op-Ed Contributor

Too Much Life on Earth?

The specter of overpopulation was raised once more in 2008 by the decline in global food stocks and rapid deterioration of the environment. The figures are frightening — 218,000 more mouths to feed each day, 80 million more each year, a global population now close to 7 billion.

But overpopulation is as much a question of culture as statistics, and has worried humanity for a long time. In the 4th century B.C., when the world had a population of less than 200 million, Plato and Aristotle recommended strict control of birth rates by the state. The populationists have long been at loggerheads with those who favor birth rate control. Populationists claim overpopulation is an illusion; Malthusians warn of dire consequences.

For a long time no reliable statistics were available, and the debate was primarily philosophical, religious or political. Now there is plenty of data but the positions are still largely ideological or religious. The debate touches on fundamental questions regarding life and its value, hence the passion that it raises.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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