Episode 4: Poverty: Where We All Started

WOW I dont even know what to say!!

Was this site created by a few high school dropouts who just decided to claim ignorant comments and opinions as facts? Or are we seriously looking at the possibility of having to endure this ignorance on a large scale while trying to focus on more real issues... like saving the earth which is indeed in a lot of danger??!!

Technology VS Population

According to economics, as the current society is organized, the more of something there is, the less it is worth. By this method, overpopulation reduces the price of the average worker. Only educated workers will be worth enough to escape poverty. As education is too expensive to begin with, the average third-world inhabitant will live its life in poverty due to overpopulation.

The advantages of "overpopulation" you cited are merely the result of technological advances, which are the result of interaction rather than overpopulation. The global amount of people is irrelevant to science, the actual scientific contribution and cooperation defines the technological advances. Europe is much richer than Africa, even though more people live in Africa, but they don't have as much technological advantages. (I am not implying Africans to be inferior, I am merely stating the current state of affairs.)

The GDP per capita to total population ratio per country clearly shows that the average person is richer the less people there are in total. Just compare Liechtenstein and India to get a good example. Let me make this absolutely clear: THE MORE PEOPLE THERE ARE IN TOTAL, THE POORER THE AVERAGE PERSON IS. Global data confirms this. The exception is when the people are closely interacting, because then people start getting richer again.


POPULATION CONTROL A must for poverty removal

I agree that population control by itself cannot remove or reduce poverty. Governments can increase the rate of people getting out of poverty line by providing oppurtunities for their economic development . This rate can be further increased by providing the beneficiaries an oppurtunitiy for voluntary family planning as small families help people in improving their living standards.


Yes, people living in poverty need concrete aid such as food, water, and shelter. But to say that family planning programs "miss the point" is a fallacy. If it was so easy to get this type of aid to the poor, we wouldn't have the astronomic levels of suffering in impoverished areas all over the world (urban, suburban, AND rural; in third-world countries AND "civilized" Western society!). It is ignorant to imply that the amount of people who need this type of aid and their ability to get it isn't compounded by overpopulation of those areas. It is (or should be) obvious that those living in poverty are also likely to have many more children than those who don't, which increases the amount of people needing aid, which there already isn't enough of. It is also ignorant to imply that the social and economic demographics of those who reproduce the most are not important, as a child born into poverty is more likely to stay that way. We have been struggling for generations to get a handle on poverty without success, and as each generation of poverty increases in size, the less likely that we will EVER get a handle on it. Overpopulationisamyth.com uses statistics and "science" that seems logical at face value, but further research exposes the fallacies. There is definite overpopulation among the poor, and there are few resources to break the cycle. The problems that the middle and upper class could possibly endure if there was a significant reduction in population are quite different than how such a decline could affect the poor. For example, yes, as one generation of workers retires a new generation needs to step in to fill their place, but what about the fact that the majority of the poor are unemployed or underemployed? Do we want just as many (if not more) of the next generation to have to fill their shoes as well? Doesn't it stand to reason that if the population slightly decreases there will be more job opportunities for those born into poverty and less likelihood that they will follow in their family's footsteps? Just in the US alone, public school classes are overcrowded and there are limited resources (i.e. art and music programs, technical schools, etc.) for additional education for those who can't pay for it. Less reproduction would equal less overcrowding, which could equal more opportunities for kids who can't afford it to get a better education. These children can grow up and fill any "gaps" in the workforce instead of the "gaps" left below the poverty line! And if there are less poor people in need of assistance, there will be more assistance to go around. Obviously, something needs to be done about poverty that hasn't been done yet, and I would love to here a fact-based rebuttal with what can realistically be done without decreasing the population of those living in poverty. I'd be even more interested to know how it could be done if abortion was outlawed and "family planning" resources were abolished.

I think you missed out Technology and Politics, people.

I hear a similar argument made often by lassez-faire capitalists, when claiming that capitalism is what has increased the standard of living over time. What I always have to remind them, and would offer up as a suggestion to the authors of this site, is that what has caused this increase in the standard of living has been technology, instead.

Of course, I am extremely sympathetic to the argument that when a population increases there are more minds available for technological increases, but that relationship is sketchy at best, and the advances in technology have historically had more to do with the socio-political cirumstances of the society in question. I mean no tangent, but, for example, a democratic society provides a much larger advantage for this progress than, say, a theocracy. Even one who condemns birth control and has ballooning population as a result.

I am just saying that making the case that 'larger population = increased standard of living' is so vague and simplified as to become all but peripheral. In each case, the structure of society has proved a far more potent factor than mere population size (or capitalism), as the technological advances which enable such increased standards seem to flourish most when the population have the means to work together cooperatively, instead being in competition with one another.

So, like, let's get more democracy, so that people can vote themselves greater benefits. That seems to help an awful lot.

Good Article on the whole, but missing the bigger picture?

'poorest nations in the world are often among the least populated'
Hold on a sec... Your very much mixing up cause and effect (did anyone teach you science?), poorer nations get less populated because people move to richer nations, not the other way round. Your comparison of the Congo and Netherlands is just geographical coincidence as you have used population density. You could compare Australia with India, and get the opposite result.

I do agree with you that less people will not solve poverty, but surely it will still be a better situation. If we had less people, I definitely agree that although there would be less poor people, there would be less wealthier people to help them move up so in fact population levels play no part in poverty at all - but surely if both worlds are equally as bad (I.e. population doesn't matter), you would prefer the world where there are less poor, starving people! I.e. less 'bad stuff' in the world, even though the net 'good and bad stuff' is equal.

'Family planning" programs miss the point, especially in places like Africa' - I agree with this as well, but its quite a bit easier to say to people - stop having unprotected sex, than to give out food, water and shelter to the increased population who are now in poverty. It probably is actually worth it in the long run, becuase the cost of having to solve the real problems like shelter would be reduced in a smaller population, meaning they can be solved quicker. One condom is far cheaper and easier than a lifetime of handouts!

Also this does contradict your earlier point, to an extent, that reducing population will reduce the wealthier population that supports everyone else as much as the poor, making both worlds as bad as each other - most of the population reducing tactics are used in, as you've suggested, poor countries like Africa, where indeed it seems like a win win situation, because there isn't any middle class that supports the population that would be reduced. In the US and Europe, it is clearly nonsensical to bother, but in such cases as above, it seems like a win win for everyone.

You claim that as population has grown, the percentage of poor has gone down. But that is only an association, not a direct link (who taught you statistics?), you're mixing up your aims, from 'overpopulation is a myth', now to 'overpopulation is a good thing'. Overpopulation is not a good thing. Poverty rates will naturally go down through time regardless of population, because they are in poverty! They will live shorter lives than everyone else, and so it will always decline if there isn't any big changes like war. This has accelerated thanks to the amazing advancements of medical care, increasing the gap in life expectancy. You've just put a link with something else which will increase as time goes on... Population (of course you want to now say that's not going to happen).

Finally, linking with war, it is difficult to put examples of situations in places with high rates of poverty, because they all have very different situations. For instance the Congo you mentioned, had one of the most, if not the most, corrupt governments and leaders of all time in their Kleptocracy. Rwanda had their near genocide, resulting in an extremely low population, as well as an extremely low quality of life. Essentially the main point I'm trying to put is that at BOTH ends of the population scale, where it is underpopulated, and overpopulated, life is pretty bad. You are only arguing the former, whereas I think it has its limits and the best place for population to reside is somewhere in the middle.

In conclusion, I'm not saying overpopulation is causing poverty. I'm just saying that it makes it worse when it's gets overboard, you've argued it actually helps poverty, but only up to a certain level. It's like how you can directly draw a link between age and time in the hundred meters. But it has it's limits... You wouldn't say that a fifty year old can run it in no time at all. In fact, as you get older, you eventually start to get slower... This is precisely the kind of link I think is with population and poverty.

I you reply, please don't request that I back up everything with worldwide data, unless you really can't understand my reasoning, like you do to every other long post. Thanks :)


But according to the newest info on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_India

India is indeed a very rich country climbing on to the 10th place.

Must be a point there, but I don't see one...

Total GDP or total value doesn't represent in any way the amount of poverty in that country.

Overpopulation is still a myth

Sure birth control reduces the number of poor people, but that isn’t going to help the poor countries move out of poverty. To reduce poverty, they must be educated and given proper health care so that they can use their own minds and collaboration to build a better life for themselves. If aid was given in this way there would be a higher reduction of poverty. Simply reducing their numbers will not change the fact that they are poor.

While you may be say I’m picking exceptions regarding my choices of Congo and Netherlands, Australia and India are actually the rare cases. Australia is mostly desert, incapable of habitation. It is one of the most urban countries where it is habitable. India, on the other hand, has much more habitable land and its wealth as a whole is rising, thanks to the revival of foreign trade. In fact, it isn’t really considered one of the top poor countries of the world.

Population growth does not mean overpopulation. Overpopulation is still a myth. There’s room for more people on this planet. The more people able to work together the better the chance is of reducing poverty, from the inside out.

We need

That was an excellent article about the public perception of poverty and over population. Poverty is the state of not having what we need. It is a terrible state to be in, to be sure, but it is the state we all revert to when our support structures are removed. microsoft-chat.com

Yet your source is wrong

The ultimate resource is smart people, not just people.

Do remember IQ is logarithmic and the outcomes are more related to thinking cycles rather than number of people (you can take a hundred morons and never figure out a solution to simple 110-IQ problems).

In that sense, I believe any help other than educational to poor nations is a waste of energy and a failure of vision that will cause many more deaths in the long term - but you're allowed to waste your energy and help those people to their doom if you prefer donating to NGO's ;)

So whoever Julian Simon is, his idea was incomplete, probably out of political correctness -


Okay, as I said in the first post, I agree that birth control will never ever solve poverty and I clearly said I agree that your idea is the key to solve it, but in the short term, for very poor countries where they are in bad circumstances, birth control on the short term will be really helpful in reducing the long term problem - and in combination with actual solutions like improving education, the long term will be better off than if we simply focused on your solution. The optimum solution would be to combine both. Not just focus on either Reducing population or improving actual living conditions, but both. I'm just saying that birth control is an important factor, and shouldn't be disregarded completely as you suggest.

Secondly, yes, I guess India with Australia is an extreme case. But (from the source at the very bottom) at the top 18 most densely populated countries, they include Bangladesh (at the very top), Rwanda, India, Sri Lanka, phillipenes, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nepal, Nigeria and North Korea. No, none of these countries are really super poor (except for Rwanda perhaps), but they're not as prosperous as you seem to suggest that population brings. Sure the list also includes the uk, Japan, Netherlands & Germany, but i think it's fair to say, looking all the countries, that we are both wrong. A higher population does not mean that there is less poverty, but on the flip side, it does not mean there is more.
Population is associated, but is not causing poverty. You should have learnt this difference at your first science class in high school.
What it probably the case is that countries that are fairing well economically like the uk, have high immigration rates, increasing the population a lot more than other countries. Poorer countries then loose population through emigration, so their population goes down. Now indeed immigration has a double whammy, because a healthy immigration rate helps the country, whereas a high emigration will cause problems, but . It's a bit like the chicken and the egg thing, (except that from evolution, the chicken was first), now the chicken in this instance isn't population, the kick starter was simply the culture and political stance of the country way in the past. The uk culturally became capatalist, and culturally there was a big push on development, inventions and industry - propelling the way forward.... Not a big population! Nowadays a healthy population is one of the many factors that are important for a countries economic well being, but it is not as you have made it look - it was never and is never the sole cause of wealth. Look at the Soviet Union, they had a huge population, but a very poor economy because of a variety of political, historical and encironmental factors. Their economy only grew after stalins notorious five year plans, which as a side effect, had catastrophic famines, which led to deaths of perhaps 10 million people - I.e. population dropped significantly. It's about a heathy balance, not too big, not too small for populations.


Poverty and Overpopulation

I have an idea how to stop poverty. How about STOP HAVING CHILDREN. As far as I know the story with the stork has been proven inaccurate. Having children is a choice. Most of homeless people are families with children. Does anybody think that maybe the reason they are homeless is because they chose to have children when they couldn't afford them? And don't tell me they don't have enough money to buy condoms, but they believe they will have enough money to raise one, two, three or 7 children.
Let's be realistic. The main reason why the world is going to hell is because overpopulation. But of course nobody has the courage to say it. We all love children, right? How about starving children, homeless children, abused children? Instead of sending supplies to all these poor families and poor people we should start sending them condoms. The majority of poor families have more than one child. How is that possible? There are 2 poor people they have nothing to eat and they decide one day: "let's have a child, that will solve all of our problems". The first child is born, they are still poor and they said: "let's have another one, that will make it better". And so on...
Children’s welfare will improve as there are fewer of them to care for. Considering the future world we are creating for future generations, procreation today is like renting rooms in a burning building, renting them to our children no less.

Want to read some interesting stuff? Check this out: http://www.vhemt.org/

Oh got it. Value of life = money.


We are too caught up in how people impact the world monetarily. Utilitarianism has taken over, and the world is losing its sense of common, simple values. That's why most people completely disregard the morality of such perverse and disgusting institutions as contraception and abortion. The world has thrown natural law and decent ethics out the window because they aren't conducive to "progress". And "progress," as everyone knows, is about...well...MONEY.

Not at all.

You say, "We all love children, right? How about starving children, homeless children, abused children? Instead of sending supplies to all these poor families and poor people we should start sending them condoms." Oh, ok. So the child is the problem. Why? Well, they cost money. And of course that child's worth nothing if it doesn't make us some dough.

Wrong again.

You're looking at a human being as a stack of money. The larger the stack, the better, right? Wrong. Have you ever thought about the intrinsic value of a human life? Have you taken a second to appreciate the beauty that exists within every living person? How about a baby? Are wealthy babies somehow more valuable than poor babies?


Maybe the poor people have more babies because, detached from the vanity of the material world, they can take an honest look at who we are and what is meaningful in life. Maybe these selfish procreators see something you don't. Maybe they see a person as a new opportunity to love. Maybe they see a natural beauty that we don't even deserve. Maybe when they see a human being, they see a child of God.

Every new person is a new chance to see Christ.

Brave Effort

This effort is probably wasted, but did you read the article at all? People aren't just mouths to feed; if that were the case, of course having more mouths to feed would result in greater starvation/poverty. People are also producers who can grow food, innovate new ways to produce more food, etc.

True, with every child you get an extra mouth. But you also get an extra pair of hands and an extra mind.

Wasted effort

Yes, people aren't just mouths to feed. Yes, for each person you get not just an extra mouth but an extra pair of hands and an extra mind. But let's be realistic and look at the facts. The poor reproduce at greater numbers than the wealthy and the middle class, with five times more unplanned pregnancies and six times more births than wealthier women. Children born into poverty face a wide variety of obstacles that make the "cycle of poverty" very hard to break. They have more health problems (physical, mental, and emotional), less educational opportunities, and often fewer role models and less guidance than their wealthier counterpoints, all of which help keep them stuck in this cycle. By the time they are old enough to utilize their hands and mind for economic purposes, there is a high probability they will follow in the footsteps of their families. Yes, there are ways to break the cycle, most importantly through education and job training, but there just aren't enough resources to go around. Until we can adequately assist everyone who needs it, increasing, or even just maintaining, the amount of people living in poverty is clearly not the answer!