Nigel Farage has said that a population of 75Million in the UK is too much and that the potential reduction in the quality of our lives would be a price not worth paying. It is time to call a halt to this unsustainable population growth. Let’s grow our economy to deliver quality of life and not quantity.
Against – James Delingpole
“Of course the elephant in the room is overpopulation,” says Mr Expert, tapping the side of his nose.
Perhaps you identify with Mr Expert. Perhaps you even are Mr Expert. Either way, you’re not only extremely irritating but also totally wrong.
Let me explain.
The world’s population is round about 7 billion. This sounds a lot. It’s certainly a lot more than it was in the days when a priest complained:
“Our teeming population is the strongest evidence our numbers are burdensome to the world, which can hardly support us from its natural elements. Our wants grow more and more keen and our complaints more bitter in all mouths, while nature fails in affording us our usual sustenance. In every deed, pestilence and famine and wars have to be regarded as a remedy for nations as the means of pruning the luxuriance of the human race.”
The priest’s name was Tertullian and he was writing in 210 AD when the world’s population was a mere 250 million. But do you notice something interesting? Even back then, educated types were wringing their hands over the great “overpopulation” problem. It seems to be hardwired into our psyche: this idea that there are too many of us and unless something urgent is done to slow our growth rate, disasters will ensue.
See also, Thomas Malthus.Ah, but just because Tertullian was wrong and Malthus was wrong doesn’t mean we’re wrong to worry about overpopulation today, does it?
Not necessarily, no. But maybe this will allay your concerns, somewhat.
“You could, for example, fit everyone in the world into the state of Texas, and with plenty of room for each person. Texas is 268,581 square miles, so with a world population of 7 billion, you’d have a density of about 26,000 people per square mile. That is about the same as New York City and is considerably less than Union City, New Jersey (about 53,000 per square mile.). Many other cities around the world have even higher population densities, from Delhi, India (about 75,000 per sq. mi.) to Manila, Philippines (over 110,000 per sq. mi.). Since the world’s landmass is 732 times the size of Texas, this would leave enough room for population expansion, farmland and pristine wilderness—you’d hope—to allay the fears of even the most fanatical Malthusian doom-monger.”
That last paragraph, by the way, comes from my book Watermelons – which nails the overpopulation myth and a lot of other green fallacies besides. You might also care to read my new book The Little Green Book of Eco Fascism – out just now in Biteback.
And if you’re still not persuaded after that, there’s really no hope for you. My suspicion, though, is that it’s not really “overpopulation” you’re worried about. Rather what concerns you is the effect unchecked immigration has had on our crowded island. On that, I agree with you. Why do you think I’m a member of UKIP?
FULL DEBATE AT
The Tap Blog is a collective of like-minded researchers and writers who’ve joined forces to distribute information and voice opinions avoided by the world’s media.