A U.S. with One Billion People ‘Would be Amazing’

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By Maria Fotopoulos

Maria is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow who focuses on the impacts of growth on biodiversity. Find her on Twitter | in | FB.

The writer’s views are her own.


 

September 13, 2017
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By so many objectives measures, and on a daily basis, the U.S. goes further down the rabbit hole on matters across the board. Today rule of law often is looked at askance. Facts are increasingly cherry-picked and massaged to accommodate an extreme POV. Common sense is at a premium, and what’s deemed politically correct is often so extreme that one has to wonder if one is living inside “The Onion.”

The public space is becoming evermore weird and bizarre. Outlandish is the new standard.

Thus, I probably shouldn’t be surprised by what was said September 6 by a guest on Tucker Carlson Tonight – but I was! In a discussion on immigration issues, Katherine Mangu-Ward, editor of a libertarian publication called “Reason,” offered up one of the least reasoned comments on population growth.

Mangu-Ward said, “If we had a billion people in America, America would be unstoppable. That would be amazing.”

Perhaps Mangu-Ward has been reading too much Julian Simon or Ben Wattenberg recently, or other material which has put her on her ill-informed path. Or, maybe in today’s wacky world of putting forth bad ideas as good, she was simply being a provocateur. But, Ms. Mangu-Ward would be better served, as would anyone who follows her publication, to read, as a starting point, The Limits to Growth, the Thirty-Year Update or CAPS’ “Carrying Capacity, Populations and People” and Leon Kolankiewicz’s piece on objective measures of just how strained Earth’s resources are. Or for an extremely easy-to-comprehend primer on population growth, there’s “The Population Fix.”

Whatever the case, Ms. Mangu-Ward’s statement, just at face value, seems delusional. World population, in just about two decades, has grown by more than 2 billion people, and now is at 7.5 billion – and growing. Ms. Mangu-Ward should watch the World Population Clock tick up before her very eyes.

If all of those references aren’t sufficiently enlightening for Ms. Mangu-Ward, I recommend she watch this video illustrating growth since 1 C.E. With this tremendous growth – on a planet that’s not getting any bigger – has come a degradation of our natural world, including decimation of wildlife. Then, there are the problems related to the continual need of producing enough food to meet growing numbers, to creating jobs, to meeting housing and infrastructure needs … the list is nearly infinite. Hard to comprehend how that all equates with “amazing.”

Or, as Dr. Albert Bartlett (1923 - 2013), who taught physics at Colorado University, said:

“Can you think of any problem on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any way aided, assisted, or advanced by having larger populations at the local level, state level, nationally, or globally? Can you think of anything that will get better, if we crowd more people into our towns, cities, states, nations, or world?”

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