In WWII, Churchill decided that the extremely fast growth of the Indian population in his colonial possession and the incoming threat of a Japanese invasion concerned him. He had little to no restraint when it came to dealing with the local populations and he took drastic measures as part of a ‘scorched earth” policy. He decided, as would any other goodhearted dictator, to make a good out of two bads.
On December 3rd, 1942, grain imports to India from Britain and its colonies were promptly denied. Food was needed on the European front.
3 million people died during one of the biggest man-made famines in human history on the basis of fear. Churchill was afraid that a large enough population in India would lead to bigger problems in the future such as a long-term lack of control that would lead a revolution. The world tension at the time served a perfect opportunity to put blame on the Japanese and Germans for the horrible fate that the native people went through.
Many of the world’s most recent atrocities were created as a way to control populations. Hitler killed the Jews to prevent them from overpopulating Germany. Stalin collectivized farms to prevent the Ukrainian population from growing too large and insular. Indeed, the United States in its infancy decided that there was not enough space for both Native Americans and settlers leading to millions of dead innocents.
China implemented the most extreme population control measure, a one-child policy which caused unprecedented amounts of female infants to die at the hands of their parents.
Today, the debate concerning population control comes up quite often. Fear of humans reaching capacity on this planet and experiencing a Malthus type apocalypse seems to ring around us. However, we as humans are not animal. We can adapt to our environment manifestly better than any other species. Perhaps we should not think like intellectual animals but as logical humans.
In the last few hundred years, overpopulation has gained traction in the minds of intellectuals and men of power. John D. Rockefeller decided in 1952 that the world population of 2.6 Billion people was exceptionally large and needed some good first-world control. He decided to create the Population Council, an organization that focused on trying to stop developing countries from growing their populations. This included providing free abortions and long-term contraceptives (3-6 years) such as IUD’s.
While these sound like humanitarian efforts, the intent then and now are not to help people but to prevent them from reproducing.
A high population is never a bad thing for a country. Every nation will have to go through a stage of high population growth at one point or another in order to develop.
Britain was the first country to experience this phenomenon. When effective medicine and hygiene was introduced, its population went from 6 million to 15 million in a small matter of years. This allowed for the Industrial Revolution to occur as a large working-class population was available to work in factories
It would be unfair, to say the least, to rob third-world countries of this opportunity to grow and develop into prosperous nations. There are numerous examples demonstrating the effects of a high population growth in a short period of time. China and India have surpassed the billion mark in population and both could be considered at their “peak.”
Initially, China was merely a poor agricultural nation. However, later that nation blossomed into an industrial powerhouse and a fully developed state with a very good standard of living equivalent to that of the United States. China experienced famines, population control measures and suffering. Clearly, becoming a developed nation is never easy.
Without the high population, China never would have been able to compete at a global level. Today, it is slowly handing that torch to India and its surrounding countries such as Bangladesh and Myanmar. Instead of focusing on cheap manufacturing, Chinese companies are starting to produce quality consumer goods and startups are burgeoning in population centers.
However, population growth in developing countries is not the end goal to achieve a prosperous world. We can’t sustain a continuously growing population of our species on earth forever. After a certain point, we will reach a ceiling on the number of crops we can grow on our land. Obviously, however, we cannot accurately predict when we will encounter such obstacles because we are not omniscient and cannot predict out agricultural innovation, but we do know that this ceiling will be hit at one point or another.
Humans are in essence stuck in a prison here on earth. We have limited space. To truly be prosperous, we need to look beyond the bars of our prison to the stars. Just colonizing the moon could expand our livable space up to 25%. However, we will not be able to achieve anything along those lines if we level our population and live in harmony with the planet, strictly controlling the population on earth’s land-mass.
We need an extremely large population explosion to burst the barrier that is keeping us inside of our cage. If we’ve ever learned anything from our history, we are very good at adapting and solving problems when we encounter them, not when we only suspect them. We didn’t solve the issue of sewage in streets until we had thousands of people die or the threat of Hitler before he attacked Poland.
To truly grow as a people, we need to double or triple our population to a point where the whole planet is bursting with humans. This can be sustained by extensive automation and rationing for a period of time until we find new ways to grow food and better ways to optimize the human potential. A population so high will be inefficient to keep on one planet and it will make more sense to expand into the solar system instead of staying here on earth.
A high population has never been a bad thing for a country in the long-term. A high population led to the invention of pesticides, mass-production, medicine etc.
We need to grow as a species to achieve what we were created to do: survive and spread our species.
We human beings are innately myopic, never accounting for the future and instead focusing only on the immediate, leaving room for confusion and fear when designing solutions for the long-term. Of course, by today’s standards and technologies, such dreams are implausible. However, a hundred years ago many would have said the same thing about the way we are living now.