7 trillion looks like a typo, but no, the maths shows that either by continuing the actual global population growth levels typical the 20th century, or achieving 2% per year or far less than what is currently happening in Nigeria, the maths produce this number in a relatively short time!
A key theme of this blog is that, while population growth is no longer the threat that it once was, economic policy has yet to adapt to the slowing in population growth. While population growth has slowed since the 20th century, growth is not at 2% as some dangerous people advocate, and all the world is not like Nigeria, it is still worth understanding just how quickly things can escalate and not take for granted the slowing population growth that is both happening, and needed, to avert crisis.
Does it feel crowded now? Can you imagine Earth inhabited by not 7 billion (7,000,000,000) humans, as we have now, but 7 trillion (7,000,000,000). That would be one human for every 3.3 meters x 3 meters of habitable land on the planet (calculation below). Around 10 square meters allocation per person to live, grow food all of one food and that is without allocating any wilderness for other living things or trying to allow space (corridors?) to move outside your own space. This is a level we would reach if were able to continue peak 20th century population growth rates.
The USA does have a real problem.
Donald Trump has a campaign slogan ‘Make America Great Again’. So has America stopped being great? The USA has changed from a country where most people saw their incomes increasing and saw themselves getting richer, to a country where most now see themselves getting poorer. For people seeing themselves as becoming poorer, America seems not as great as it was. Donald Trump may not have the answer, but so far he is the only one in the campaign saying he sees that there is a problem, and he recognises the pain, and that America is as great as it should be. I suggest this is propelling Trump forward, and if the Democrats keep denying there is any problem, then Trump could go all the way.
Look at the graph to the right. From the mid 1920s, until the early 1980s the gap between the rich and poor in the USA closes. Most of the population were getting closer in wealth to the rich, so they also felt richer. This was also a period overall of real wage growth, people not only felt richer, the were getting richer. From the early 1980s gap between most people and rich started widening again, making people feel less and less rich. Over this same period most data sources has seen no real median income increase and many suggest for the most recent few years there has been an income decline. So while middle America is at best going nowhere the rich still get richer than ever making everyone else feel relatively increasingly poor. Continue reading
A quick internet search with the keywords ‘lead crime’ in the search bar will reveal many articles such as this which all propose that lead pollution in the air caused a dramatic increase in violent crime. Any victim of violent crime in affected locations has a right to feel disturbed by this, but what about perpetrators of violent crime? Continue reading