POSITIVE FEEDBACKS AND THE OVERPOPULATION PROBLEM
By Jay Hanson April 9, 2007
Permission to reprint expressly granted.
The fact that global oil production is “peaking” now, in and of itself, is not a problem. The problem will arise in the “behavior”
of Americans who can not get enough resources to feed their families. In other words, “our peak oil problem” is really “our overpopulation problem” (too many people chasing too few resources). Moreover, since American government was specifically designed to mitigate social problems by increasing economic activity and all economic activity reduces available energy all measures that our government takes to mitigate our overpopulation problem will make our overpopulation
problem even worse.
SAME GENES, DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTS
Human behavior is determined by genes and environment.Genetically, we are still the same as we were in the 16th century.
What HAS changed since the 16th century is our “environment”.
Given our present environment, the overwhelming majority of Americans “decide” that fitness is best served by “cooperation” instead of “confrontation”. This is because cooperation (working at a job for a paycheck) works better than violence in our present environment.
When the day comes that most Americans can't feed their families by cooperation (as in post WW1 Germany), then they will “decide” to use violence and take resources from others by force. We know that this day is coming to the America for two fundamental reasons:
Ever-falling per-capita available natural resources. . . .
Sooner-or-later Americans will not be able to afford the fuel to drive to work. Sooner-or-later America's electrical grid will fail and our life-support system will collapse along with it (e.g., Katrina).
The design of America's political system.
Our Founders, for excellent reasons, didn't trust government, so they founded a government that was controlled by the rich via lobbyists.
It's based on a few core assumptions:
Individuals know best how to improve their lives.
The best way to solve social problems is through economic
The best way to increase economic growth is to simply ask people who are good at it for advice. That's why lobbyists are absolutely necessary to the function of our government. Without lobbyists, our “corruptible-but-otherwise-unqualified” elected officials and their appointed cronies would have absolutely no idea what to do.
In other words, elected officials are forced (by design) to ask the factory owner what government can do to increase his profit, so he will build more factories, provide more jobs, and then individuals can make themselves better off.
Elected officials are to keep giving the rich people (factory owners) a greater fraction of the economic pie so they will keep increasing the size of the pie. That's how our Founders designed it, and that's how public policy is made today!
Since our country was specifically-designed to solve social problems via economic growth, the only remedy our government can offer for social problems is even MORE economic growth. Thus, everything our government does to mitigate the problem (stimulate economic growth) will make our “overpopulation problem” even worse because all
economic activity reduces our dwindling natural resources.
THE NEW/OLD ENVIRONMENT
Thermodynamic laws inform us that sooner-or-later an “environment” which favors violence will re-emerge and Americans will become, once again, “red in tooth and claw”. As per-capita available energy continues to decline, more-and-more Americans will “decide” to feed their families via violence.
In the new/old environment, it will just make “good economic sense” to murder your neighbor, take his resources, and then invent a great excuse (hire an economist) to evade social responsibility for your actions.
 “Environment” in this paper is everything that is not a gene.
 Not only does all economic activity reduce available energy, all manufacturing activity also reduces available minerals: “We must emphasize that every Cadillac or every Zim let alone any instrument of war means fewer plowshares for some future generations, and implicitly, fewer future human beings, too.”
Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen http://www.dieoff.com/page148.htm
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