In the previous installment of this article we addressed the problem of overpopulation, confronting it with the need of people to continue having children, despite everything.
But Is it a path as suicidal as it seems? What solutions can we apply if people don't seem willing to accept them?
More people, more people solving the problem
A revulsive idea to stop overpopulation is to aggravate the problem. Now overpopulation is burdensome for the planet, but we haven't seen anything yet. When the Chinese, for example, begin to live under US standards, resources will begin to diminish at a really alarming rate.
This constraint could work as an incentive for many more minds to work to solve the problem of overpopulation. How? Well, perhaps increasing resources, as we explained in Natural resources are finite, but human ingenuity is not so much: getting where there is none.
It is a stony path because we will depend on human ingenuity, on collective innovation, on chance, and that there really is a viable solution to our predicaments. We may find some insurmountable wall. We may need more minds working on the problem we have available. But we have always lived, generally, on the razor's edge, and it always seems that we have come forward (and people have continued to have children, even more before, in more disturbing conditions than now). By simple inertia, we should trust it.
Also, how else will we really reach the stars if we are not bound by circumstances in the form of overpopulation and need for resources?
In that sense, having children would be the best way to invest in scientific research.
Another force that could ally against the problem is spontaneous regulation. It seems that today we have fewer children than before because there are not so many risks of them dying. That is, families are usually large when the probability of death of some members is high: in this way, the family will survive, after all. But if the probability of survival is high, parents often prefer to have few children in order to invest more resources in them.
That is to say, prosperity could self-regulate birth in the future, especially in countries, such as Chad, where having large families is common.
If this force is too powerful, it will nullify the previous one, which would propel us to innovation and the conquest of new finisterres. But perhaps both work in balance, so that the road to unbearable overpopulation is not too fast or traumatic. Or perhaps the only way to innovate and find radical solutions is through extremely urgent and traumatic circumstances. We do not know, and we will have to discover it on the fly.
So, the next time I see my friends procreating (not seeing it at that moment, you already understand me, but seeing the result), because instead of being horrified I should perhaps discover the skull and say something like “thank you for helping to make a little better world. ” What prevents, of course, also continue to discover the skull before access contraceptive methods, to avoid tragicomic situations like the one you can see in the video above, courtesy of the great Monty Python.