Make Room

Hey, buddy, would you mind exhaling, so I can inhale? And scooch over, so I can sit.

Like many of the terrors invoked in the seventies by a prattle of progressives, overpopulation is a paper tiger. Frankly, even if you took the official figures, we’re nowhere near overpopulated. Take it from someone who’s been driving back and forth across the west on a regular basis. We could put several New York Cities in several states, and not notice except for a marked uptick in fraud. (and in Colorado, given Vote by Fraud Mail that would be lost in the noise.)

But it doesn’t take a very deep thinker, or delving too much into anything at all to realize all the population figures, PARTICULARLY the ones from the UN, are bullshit, and overinflated bullshit at that.

I might have a leg up on you guys on that, since I grew up in a nominally modern, industrialized country which tries really hard to know everything about its people, but is guesstimating when it comes to how many live there because: people lie. They lie for benes. They lie because it’s Tuesday. They lie because it’s fun. Also, even when they’re not lying, they make assumptions. Of course, for instance, I live with my parents. Because for the longest time they assumed that was my real home. Do I count twice? We’re lucky if it’s only twice. A few years ago, I found out that under my pre-citizenship name, I was still voting in North Carolina. Which is a puzzle, as I never voted under that name. But apparently I’ve been living for 30 some years in our starter apartment and am registered to vote. (It’s disconcerting. Oh, fraudulent too. But disconcerting. Like looking into a parallel world.)

In other words, simple words: humans are wiggly things, hard to count and moveable. Oh, and unreliable. AND the bias in counting is always towards more. Because governments derive more power from more people; fraud happens more easily with imaginary people. And, oh, yeah, authoritarians get power from panicking about “more people.”

But come on guys. There isn’t a single one of us that canvasing through the lines of our family doesn’t see precipitous DECLINE in the last 30? 40? years. From seven to two to one is not unusual.

Ah, but the THIRD world. Bullshit. On stilts. wearing a funny hat. The third world, being net recipients of aid benefit from claiming to have more kids, but from what I know from people who have family there they too are declining.

Oh, sure, more births than us. But don’t forget they die earlier and harder too. They need a ton more births. They don’t have that. Not anymore.

Same goes for our ghetto inhabitants. I have friends who work with that population and who are all up in arms about how they’ll “take over.” BAH. Sorry. Their lives are shorter and brutish. Sure, they reproduce more. But not as much as needed to expand. To go on, sure. But not to expand.

So, why do so many people on all sides of the spectrum believe the whole “World population is booming out of control?”

Oh, several reasons: suburbs have been expanding steadily. This is because even in the gentrified cities, we required more space than our ancestors. Or at least we demanded it. So, you know “Population must be growing because we’re building.” Except that’s not true.

Also apparently we identify people we have contact with, subconsciously, as “members of our tribe” and with electronic communications all our tribes are “growing.”

Plus, the US and other “developed” countries are being assaulted by unassimilated waves of “migrants.” The understanding is that these people are escaping the “teeming multitudes” in their countries. It’s bullshit. And the funny hat now has feathers.

Seriously. It’s just that as Marxism (the gift that keeps on taking) spread to the third world, often via their sending their best and brightest to our universities, the third world became less able to support even diminishing populations.

The truth is that a contracting world population is the only way to explain some of the recent economic and political developments.

And it’s terrifying.

Look, I know all the fantasies about how an empty Earth would mean everyone would be rich.

They’re bullshit, on stilts, wearing a funny hat with feathers, and blowing a horn with its ass.

They’re based on the Marxist idea that “resources” exist somewhere outside an humanity that can only distribute them. If you wonder why that’s bullshit, I invite you to look at the relative wealth of Brazil and the US, and the relative distribution of natural resources. And if you think the US is hiding the stash, come closer so I can hit you on the head.

The truth is that the only wealth, the only real wealth is people: they both give value to resources and make resources into things worth having.

Without people we have nothing. Not even a civilization.

And I’m going to bet you cash money we’re near a demographic cliff of unimaginable depth.

Don’t look down, it’s a long way to fall.

Go and make kids. and raise kids. And sound the alarm.

Because wealth is made of people. And we need more people.

416 thoughts on “Make Room

  1. L. Neil Smith observed (in “The right to own and carry weapons” in his essay collection “Down with power”):
    “The present population of the planet—six billion people—could fit, standing room only, into Rhode Island. In Connecticut, they could sit down.”

    1. At 10 billion, which is in the range of the official predictions for where human population will max out later this century before declining (yes, I read the post, bear with me), they’d need Delaware for comfortable standing room, and could easily sit down in Puerto Rico.

      More to the point, if that 10 billion lived in a single urban mass as dense as NYC, it would easily fit within the combined footprint of Texas and New Mexico. I wouldn’t want be on the team stuck figuring out how to engineer the water and waste systems for that hypurb, but it’s a useful hypothetical.

      The mid-20th century overpopulation-doom crowd got caught in the all-too-frequent fallacy of projecting a trend (in this case an exponential growth trend) without considering potential counter-forces.

      1. I’d DOUBT — hard — we’ll ever actually get to six billion.
        It’s all bullshit. On stilts.
        BTW there are now several demographers with me. And panicking.

      2. I appreciate the point but I don’t want to live packed in like that. Maybe most people do but not me.

        1. Living cheek by jowl as an old saying goes. Some folks thrive on that type of existence, drives the rest of us bat chit crazy.

          1. That — the going batchit crazy — was pointed to as being a reason the population panic merchants of the mid-century held population was growing dangerously … that too many people in too small a space would, like locusts, go bonkers andbring on armageddon.

    2. Our Fearless Leaders don’t trust the soldiers they’re counting on to shoot people for them with guns. There’s a ‘red-flag’ provision in one of the military appropriation bills.

      1. No, they don’t trust the ones they haven’t been able to purge/indoctrinate. That bill is aimed at those they are kicking out on “mental” grounds.

    3. As I calculate, the entire population of the Earth could be dropped in Lake Michigan and the water level would rise only slightly…And there are several bigger lakes in the world…

      1. The rest of the state of Illinois is already planning to do that to the inhabitants of Cook county, so your idea is just an expansion of that.

        1. Chop them up first and use them to feed the Asian carp that they’re trying to keep from getting into the Great Lakes. They ought to handily poison the carp so at least SOME good will come of them.

  2. My wife is on the voting roles twice. Maiden and Married. We even tried of years to get her off but none the processes we are told to take, work. My mostly dead father in law is voting Democrat here. I know he is mostly dead because he was sent voting materials from a well known former basketball star. That death certificate signed before Obama announce he was running is just a fake.

  3. The Prophet Harry Harrison predicted (in 1966) that we’d be massively over-populated by 1999. (Book was titled “Make Room, Make Room”).

    Amazing that it didn’t happen. [Sarcastic Grin]

    Note, every time that someone makes a Major Prediction of the future that is proven wrong they are a False Prophet IMO and should face the Old Testament punishment for False Prophets. IE Death.

    1. Aw hell. In that case, we’d have to resurrect Anthony Fauci a dozen times after stoning him to death each time. Come to think of it, HE probably wouldn’t have intervened to prevent the stoning if Fauci was the target. “Let he who is without sin… oh, the heck with it, Get him!”

      1. Jesus, attempting quell a vengeful mob seeking to stone an alleged adulteress to death, said to them, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

        At that moment a rock thrown from the back of the crowd struck the accused on the head killing her instantly. Jesus, his face displaying his extreme displeasure, stomped toward the source of the rock as the crowd parted to let him through. However, when he saw the person who threw the rock, all he had to say was:

        “Ah geez, Mom.”

          1. Wrong inflection. Has to be “Mommmmmm!” Got to get that exasperation tone.

            I’ve heard:

            “Dammit, I’m trying to make a point here, mom!”
            “Ah geez Mom.”
            “Mom! Stop that! Dammit!”

    2. I’ve always been struck by how the writers and moviemakers depicting the Overpopulated Future didn’t even think things through. Asimov and Harrison just looked at the population figure for, say, New York, and multiplied by four (or whatever). Thus the depictions of people living four to a room in Los Angeles.

      But of course — let’s assume for the moment that the official population figures are more or less correct — that’s not what happened. New York stayed the same size but Lagos got big. Addis Ababa got big. A dozen cities in India and two dozen cities in China you never heard of because they used to be fishing villages are now as big as New York in population. Same in Brazil. Same in Southeast Asia.

      It’s not that the world is getting overpopulated — it’s that the _underpopulated_ regions are catching up. Africa’s got a land area as big as the Moon — bigger than the Americas combined. Plenty of big rivers, year-round growing season, a Scrooge McDuck treasure-trove of minerals. It should have a _much_ bigger population than it does.

    3. Aye.

      Malthus was wrong.

      He was ignorant…or ignored the world’s greatest resource…which is inexhaustible.

      Human ingenuity.

      Got Dr. Norman Borlaug?

  4. I don’t get the people who think the only answer to overpopulation is ‘live with it and die on earth.’ Where are the legions of pioneers who are ready for the Moon, Mars, and extrasolar exploration? Yes, it’s hard. So what? Let’s get moving. >.>

      1. I’m a little too old and rickety, but I still dream about it.

        Then again, Shatner’s going into space at 90…

    1. Asimov wrote an essay about that pointing out that at the current rate of growth (when was writing) no near-term conceivable system could evacuate that many people from the planet, even assuming there was somewhere for them to go.

      The present official rate is 300,000+ per day, so I’m inclined to agree that if population pressure were a pressing issue this wouldn’t be a viable escape valve short of, say, squadrons of orion-drive people lifters, though what to do with that firehose of humanity would be even harder. I’m not sure it’s feasible to generate hundreds of thousands of additional slots worth of life-support capacity per day even under optimistic near-term conditions.

      Of course, it’s not a pressing issue so we don’t have to worry about it, and are not forced to pursue space colonization as a population relief valve.

      1. True. And in the meantime I am watching Elon Musk, who seems to be building like someone convinced we’re about to be hit by a planet-destroying meteor in the next twenty years.

            1. Unfortunately he’d either have to discover something brand new, or just change the existing laws of physics, to get anything resembling the popular idea of a flying car.

              Antigravity or cheap portable fusion power would do it. Easy!

              1. I’ve done the flying car rant before. One rant/disagreement per post, or I’ll wear out my welcome.

                I’ll just leave this here instead – a brilliant kid that does cool things with a workshop that I sort of envy.

                No supertechnology required: Just rotors.

            1. Hm. Banging into a rock with a high speed projectile. What could possibly go wrong?

              The more I watch NASA at work the more I conclude there is very little intelligent life there. A lot of that sentiment came from studying the details of the Space Shuttle Columbia destruction. One of those details is the NASA spec for the required strength of the wing leading edge panels: just strong enough to resist the impact of a rain drop at 100 miles per hour. DUH!

              1. Or all their long, complicated explanations of why it was impossible to inspect the damage in orbit.

                YO, dipshits! Have ya got a space suit and a rope?
                “It’s too dangerous!”‘
                Oh, yeah? Compared to what?

      2. I lost most of my trust in Asimov’s factual accuracy when I was reading his Book Of Facts as a teen, and discovered it was more like “Book of Commonly Held Beliefs I Didn’t Really Research If They Fit My Assumptions.” Not new stuff, either, and some of it was things like horse biology.

        Immediate issue with looking at the rate of growth? People who aren’t here aren’t adding to it.

        See also, the girls who were never born not having kids. For two, three generations, now.

        Who would be most likely to go into space?

        Young adults who haven’t reproduced, yet.

      3. RAH had a solution to that (Tunnel In the Sky).

        The “population explosion” was one place where the Lieutenant unfortunately followed the “accepted wisdom.” Not blatant message fiction, like the Harrison novel – but an integral part of many of his backgrounds. Especially in the juveniles (Farmer In the Sky, Between Planets, Time For the Stars, etc.).

    2. I suspect that the first permanent manned space colonies will be established for economic reasons. Historically that lead to towns and families.

      1. One of his assumptions that was incorrect.
        Unfortunately he appears to have been spot on with his prediction of the crazy years.

      2. Space civilization is going be quite interesting. I do tend to accept Isaac Arthur’s opinion that we will mostly end up building space habitats rather than populating worlds. (Titan is *far* more useful as a super cold computer farm, after all, and building in space is pretty easy once you can get key stuff into orbit. )

        The cool thing about space habitats is, you could build them modular. You own your personal plot and bolt it into the spinning habitat of your choice. Just pay for access to any external services.

        And if you go to a different company or decide you don’t like the hab, you can just unbolt and get it shipped to one you do want to live at.

        Actually sounds like a nice way to live.

        1. Yeah, Ol’ Isaac (who I’m much older than) constantly impresses me. He’s never been bitten by a small idea. Certainly give him that.

      1. I can’t find the cite, but I understand that as of the end of the Apollo program better hurricane tracking had, without regard to any other benefits, had paid for the entire space program in damage avoided.

    3. Agreed, but I don’t like the trajectory of our alleged Space Program…we haven’t been out of LEO since the 1970s, and the NASA bureaucracy is getting dumber and less capable by the minute…Musk may be our last hope this time around.,,

  5. Malthus’ followers tend to ignore the fact that we’ve also gotten much better at producing food. Medieval grain production was ecstatic with a 6 fold increase. Wheat was closer to 2-3 as I recall from my studies 40 years ago.

    And of course the Top Men assume that a) they will make it through any culling and b) their particular skill set will still be needed in a subsistence population. I rather suspect that they are wrong on both counts. Even if they make it through a) and b), who do they think is going to grow their food, produce their electricity, and build their infrastructure? It makes me think of the Golgafrinchans.

      1. Have to admit the theme made Paul Ehrlich a crap ton of money in book sales and speaking engagements. Doom and gloom apparently sells well to the masses.
        The good Doctor Fauchi seems to be following a similar path.

        1. naah, Fauci is gonna die in that office rather than retire, and Biden and Harris are gonna play Weekend At Fauci’s.

  6. Hong Kong & Singapore have almost nothing EXCEPT people. And thrive.

    And there are places RICH in natural resources (even excluding Venezuela) that do not thrive despite such glorious gifts.

    “If you can’t grow it, you gotta mine it. And if you can’t mine it, you gotta grow it.” is true. In the end, everything comes from the ground (solar? the light hits what? wind? wind pushes what?) BUT… the people, the… to use a movie-esque term, the idea-benders, they make. With them, free to bend the ideas and reality into them, you have everything. With them, or without them free to ‘idea-bend’ you have… nothing. Or close enough as makes no difference.

    The key to better a tomorrow is but a single word.
    It is NOT an easy word. It is a damned hard word.
    And that word is worth last bit of “blood, sweat, toil, and tears.”


    1. All value is created by farming, mining, manufacturing and construction. Everything else is just shuffling value-tokens around. Without the Big Four, there is no value behind the tokens.
      Governments can only print money; they can’t make it worth anything. They can make it worth nothing.

        1. I’ll disagree. All value is created by the application of the human mind to the physical world. Without application, most products of the mind are useless at best, and at worst, dangerous mental masturbation of the “ideas so stupid only an intellectual could argue themselves into it” sort.

          1. Your formulation is closer although I don’t think either of us quite captures it. Also, the engineer in me notes that some products of the mind that are turned into application lack value. Value is a troublesome concept.

  7. Our enemies never explain where all the stuff they want to ‘redistribute’ comes from.

    Our cave man ancestors had rocks and sticks. We didn’t get 747’s and Caterpillar D-9’s by ‘redistributing’ the rocks and sticks.

    Value is created by applying knowledge and skilled labor to raw materials. That is the basis of an economy. If there isn’t enough productive value creation going on, all the ‘redistribution’ in the world won’t make that country anything other than an impoverished hell-hole. As we have seen, again and again.
    Welfare is pay without work. In order to provide pay without work for some, others have to work without pay. We used to call that slavery. Now they call it socialism.

    1. Sure we did. Rocks and stick were the raw materials. Heavily modified rocks and sticks transformed by skilled labor into useful tools and effective weapons.

      Oh, by the way, you didn’t bring me a deer for those dozen arrows I made you. Good luck fixing them or finding replacements.

      1. Have you seen that knapped flint from the Alibates stone quarry in Northern Texas has turned up as far away as Northern Carolina? Man, when the only transportation was foot, people still got around, and traded their pretties and their tools (and in the case of the purple-banded flint of Alibates, their pretty tools) all over!

        1. A guy I know is quite good at finding old (ancient, really) arrowhead caches. One time he took off for 15 minutes and came back with a small handful of flint arrowheads. Impressive, since the local tool-type rock tends to be obsidian. OTOH, there are places where obsidian scraper blades litter the ground.

          1. The real question I have is how many of those arrowheads are any good? The ones we used to pick up at the Scotia NY, Mohawk River site were all rejects from their knapping. Too bad someone bought the property and bulldozed it to make a failing marina.

            1. The ones I saw looked pretty good. I’d doubt that someone would have bothered to transport flint rocks to Flyover County when decent arrowheads would have been compact.

              Not large heads; as I recall, they were no more than 1/2″ across.

              The obsidian tools ran across the spectrum from pretty good to utter reject. The area is prone to getting 2″ balls of obsidian (both volcanic and at one time, under water), and some of the left-over ball pieces have turned up. Considerably larger chunks are also present (likely ejecta from the late Mount Mazama), but the balls seem to have been handiest for small tools. Haven’t seen a knife beyond a TV show that covered the area (done by a lady who was on-camera staff for the Wipe Out game show; she did an episode of her new show that covered Tule Lake and Upper Klamath Lake, and one of the people she interviewed showed an obsidian knife. Can’t remember show or person names, I’m afraid.)

    2. > 747’s and Caterpillar D-9’s

      Apostate! Such devices undermine the value of honest proletarian labor!

      [points] “Reeeee!”

  8. Ahem. In order for me to make more kids, I’m going to have to outsource half of those resources. And I’m not a Muslim or fundamentalist Mormon, so there may be some push back on that. 😉
    On the other hand, I’ve had plenty of practice so I might actually do better the second time around.

      1. 65, and that shipped pretty much sailed before we wanted children. Got one. With a miracle, after 10 years, at age 32. No reason, let’s just say Birth Control was (is?) cheap … Didn’t bother using any. These days. Pregnancy would be a miracle of miracles.

        1. I wouldn’t think of it as “potentially”. 🙂

          Grampa Pete used to play 8 ball, and one of his favorite sayings was “Any port in a storm”. Considerably later, I figured that that attitude tended to correllate to the really nice fur coats Gramma used to wear… (Self wonders if he has some unidentified aunts and uncles…)

  9. Re: the Third World, specifically Africa, a quip I read in a book years ago regarding the application of modern medicine:

    “They’re still breeding like rabbits, but they’re no longer dying like flies.”

    That seems to have been true for a generation, but even according to official figures the TFR of, for example, sub-Saharan Africa has fallen from just under 7 in 1979 to 4.6 today with no slowdown in the curve.

    (Even if it’s only half that, though, it’s still growing, so a vast migration to Europe is still a thing to worry about.)

        1. Calmer Half has noted before “Nobody counts the rural deaths. Nobody knows what killed them. Most ebola outbreaks kill so quickly that the only way you know is if someone comes to the village and sees the bodies, before the jungle overtakes it. In a year, you can only see the remains of the huts if you know what to look for. In five, there is no trace they were ever there.”

          The rest of Africa is no more forgiving than that; life is cheap, and death is easy.

    1. Looking at the two largest extant populations India’s TFR is ~2.18 and China’s is about 1.7 (though I’ve seen figures as low as 1.3!). US is about 1.8. US used to be around 2.1 until around 2008, anything familiar happen then? Replacement rate is considered ~2.1 so India is JUST there, will likely dip below soon US, below.
      Looking at this Only Africa is solidly above replacement. South/Central America is just at replacement, Most of Europe
      and Asia are well below only the EX USSR ‘Stans are at or slightly above. If the sub Saharn Africans head north they will find hardly anyone there in 20-30 years to oppose them. They may not like the climate very much though. Of course who knows how good the African numbers are. As our hostess has pointed out oft times before there is a LOT of prevarication by the African Governments in the interests of getting more aid to steal so who knows what the real numbers are…

      1. I had read that there are many more men than women in India due to the introduction of gender screening and abortion to the country. There are many more men than women. So the population decline may be faster than expected.

        1. China has the same issue at perhaps a worse level. Two countries with excess young males as neighbors (and somewhat traditional opponents) is not a good situation

      2. I linked this at bottom of the thread, but you may be seeing by reply so wanted to re post.

        Long article but boils down to Demographics, Replacement is 2.1 number, and… basically just about everywhere is at something like 1.3 or less. China is at POINT .53, yeah .53. It’s almost like communist countries… people don’t want to bring kids into a shitty place.

        Even Japan is doing better at 1.3 Have a read, it’s very interesting. Also how China is over reporting population by something like 130 million people. Yeah that much. India has more people now. China went from 1 child policy ending in 2016 to then 2 child now 3 child. Bet they go to “have as many as you can policy” in about 45 minutes.

        Covid makes it interesting conspiracy as well if it is one that attacks the old and infirm much more. God I hope it’s a conspiracy theory.

        1. Yet more uggh. If that .53 number is right (and even if its somewhere between the official 1.7 and that) China has roughly one 20 year generation to do ANYTHING even vaguely military. After that their young males age out and India and Pakistan (and the ex Soviet Stans) have more bodies. That plays against China’s favoring human wave techniques. It also means their economy is going to crash. Although honestly that is not unexpected it seems Soviet style communism has a 50-70 year lifetime before it totally tanks. Given that Xi and his advisors have got to be scrambling to do ANYTHING to ameliorate/hide the oncoming decline. It’s going to make them super aggressive and super stupid, there’s going to be a bad 10-20 years (perhaps starting with 2020?).

          1. The 0.53 in the quoted article was NOT the TFR. Rather, it was “China’s population only grew by 0.53%.”

            Their TFR is still somewhere in the 1.x range.

            1. Thank you Balzaq for clarifying that. I’m surprised that given a 1.3-1.7 TFR there’s any growth in China. The only reason the US population is still growing is we’re letting folks (for some values of letting) in at a fierce rate, Can’t imagine china is growing via immigration, the only place worth migrating from is North Korea, or maybe Russia but the dominant Han Chinese are very suspicious of any other group of people and can be brutal (witness the Uighur).

            2. Thank you Balzacq! I missed that as well. Though the rest of the point in the article about how they have over quoted population by 130 million is still jaw dropping to me. And after reading a few other articles, that .53 was an average. There were lower numbers. Macrotrends is saying 1.699 is current. Given this discussion. and the 130 million woopsy above. Pull the other one, it’s got bells on it. Real number 1.2? 1.1? Less? Startling when thinking of 1/2 the population by 2100 IF that much.

              Article I posted above, had worldwide at about 1.5. I’m just quoting. You guys know this stuff much better than I do on a lot of counts. Young Historian “WhatifAltHist” had a hell of a good video that included quite a bit on this on Sept 29. Here: And fall out from the 4 trends of the 21st century. A lot of what if stuff but the stuff that is on more current events is pretty stunning a lot of the time. And excellent.

              And as I write this he put another one up 10 minutes ago on “Is China Naturally Authoritarian” Given how good he’s been on so many videos. I’ll be watching that shortly.

      1. China’s birth rates are basically fraud but, even assuming that, their population under age 24 has dropped by a third since peaking in the 90’s. True numbers are probably closer to half. The peak economic productive years are 25-54. If the feeder population drops by a third then the productive population will drop by a similar amount over the next few years. Again using the BS numbers, 2020 showed an absolute decline in peak working age population.

        They did it to themselves and the real pity is that their birth rate has already declined into the one child policy. The population would have stabilized without it and the one child policy is likely to kill them,

        No hyperbole, we’re talking Black Death levels of decline. The Black Death caused between a third and a half decline in population and that’s what we’re looking at in China.

        1. No hyperbole, we’re talking Black Death levels of decline. The Black Death caused between a third and a half decline in population and that’s what we’re looking at in China.

          Considering what happened downstream of the previous Black Death, maybe in a few hundred years Chyna will be fit to join the rest of the civilized world?

          1. China regularly killed off staggering amounts of it’s population during the periodic “divided” times when no dynasty was ruling the country. My vague recollection is that at the end of the famous Three Kingdoms period, the population was only one-quarter of what it had been at the start. And it started just after the Yellow Turban rebellion, which saw massive and bloody revolts throughout most of the more heavily populated regions.

            1. The period 1600-1650, dear Lord. Even without the Manchu invasion, just famine and disease because of the weather craziness caused 50% population drop, and even worse in some districts. And that’s after applying an “they’ve got to be exaggerating” correction.

              1. Things were so bad in China at the time that the Manchu were welcomed in. The Ming was falling apart, there were widespread rebellions, and the Manchu sent troops to assist the government.

                As it turns out, those troops reached the capitol just *after* the Emperor killed himself in despair (hanged himself in a tree on a hill overlooking the city, iirc). Literally no one was in charge. So the Manchu put themselves in charge.

                Then the Manchu went and ticked everyone off over hairstyles, of all things, but that’s a story for another time…

        2. China’s usual way of solving that problem are the usual solutions China has to that kind of problem-plague (i.e. the Crow Flu and if casualties aren’t massive in older people and young poor adults, I would be surprised), civil war, and general chaos until a warlord takes over the country. Then, the culling happens rather well, and there’s a lot of destroyed infrastructure to do internal investment on. Which has been Chinese history for centuries, and often by the same relatively small group of oligarchs.

          If there is any other reason for the mainland to hate Taiwan, it is that they don’t need the oligarchs…mostly.

      2. You know, this is actually bullshit. Europe started declining in the 60s.
        Imagine my surprise when I found out the average number of births per Portuguese Woman in the 80s was SIX.
        … I knew a family of six. And one of twelve. But on average, in the ten thousand or so families I knew/heard of, mom was Fertile Fanny with two.

        1. The 0-4 years old population in Portugal peaked in 1966 and has been in a streaky decline since. Western Europe peaked in 1968. Thee was a baby boom but no echo boom. Only the US baby boomers had children and they had it at a much lower rate than their parents did.

          I really don’t understand where all these Malthusian nightmares come from. They have no idea how many people live in Africa and Guinea Bissau (e.g.,) doesn’t really have any incentive to make an accurate count, the contrary in fact, nor the resources to make any count at all.

          For God’s sake, Brazil births peaked in 1988 and have been declining since and China made it government policy to restrict births and published reports bragging about it.

          Can none of these people add?

          1. THIS. Seriously.
            Though I’ll point out in the 80s EVERYONE NEW Portuguese women had six kids per and must be discouraged.
            This struck me as bizarre, sitting in classrooms, listening to this. It was like the covidiocy all over again.

          2. Baby boomer here. One of three boys, I have zero kids (got married really late), and my brothers have a total of 5 kids. Not sure about the next generation, but it seems to be between 0 and 2.

            $SPOUSE is also one of three kids, with siblings having one kid each. Her niece had a baby a year ago, but we don’t know their future plans. I’m hoping…

            1. Mid (?) boomer here. One of 3 girls. Between the 3 of us we have 8 children. So far only 3 grandchildren with one step-child. Hubby is a early boomer. His 3 siblings raised 5, of which there are 5 (?) grandchildren (might be more but not in contact with most of the 5, either way, counting spouses, not at 1:1 replacement). Youngest niece on hubby’s side is 44 years old. While oldest niece on my side is 32, youngest 20, so jury is out (although we only had one, not by choice, but still not replacement). If I expand out to my cousins, then the demographics improve somewhat for the next generation, but still not replacement levels.

    2. And they NEVER took in account the vast mortality from AIDS where for cultural reasons it was heterosexual. NEVER.
      They also never adjusted the figures for China and Russia.

      1. China vastly underreported its AIDS deaths. The first official story was that it was confined to Shanghai because that’s where Westerners were and thus the drugs and debauchery that came with Westerners. In the rural areas the infection rate for AIDS was about *double* that of sub-Saharan Africa. Rural peasants in China sell their blood for cash. “Bloodheads” go from village to village reusing needles…thus spreading AIDS (and a whole host of other crap). The local doctors were and are not allowed to treat those with AIDS or its related diseases. The local party officials know its worth their lives to send up real data, so there’s “no AIDS” in any of the rural areas, even when half a village dies from Karposi’s sarcoma.

        1. Oh, there’s also the limits of western medicine when it meets …. other practices. Like most of Africa and the East consider refrigerating their meds bad….

          1. I read something about a woman in rural China who was trained in both Western and traditional Chinese medicine. She used to sneak out at night to visit patients in her village and the couple nearby. Mostly her work was palliative, but even that was not allowed by the authorities.

            1. Traditional Chinese medicine isn’t all that traditional and seems to be more about male, um, enhancement than anything else. Before that it was willow for headache much like the west. Traditional Medicine was pushed by the CCP since there want anything else. healthcare in China is dire at best.

              1. My point was that either way, for either method, CCP approved or not, she wasn’t allowed to treat patients. Because if she treated patients then they would have to admit that there *were* patients.

            1. knew someone with peace corps, somewhere semi-civilized…. Thailand? at that, who found that all the meds that need refrigeration were basically useless. They will not use cold medicine.

        2. Prostitution is rampant in China. You actually lose friends and business by not joining in the standard trip to the brothel that follows just about any male social gathering, Like the huge crime rate, woman’s rights in China, Asia generally, is another myth that westerners have swallowed whole.

          I lived in HK, where it was common, they went to the mainland where it was beyond common and cheap. Working class Hong Kongers maintained what were essentially harems in Shenzhen, much less so now but the hookers and the brothels are still there. They hide it all behind being hair dressers.

          Since abortion is the most common birth control — you’d be hard pressed to find a working class Chinese woman who hasn’t had one — testifying to a lack of prophylactics, AIDS has to be huge.

          1. There’s a video where an American is explaining why he and his Chinese wife – who were living in China – decided to have their kid in America. One of the things that they showed in the video was the maternity ward in the hospital… which was quite literally right next to the abortion ward.

            Very creepy.

        3. Not just AIDS. Heard the other day the PRC was claiming they only had 5000 cases of COVID-19.

          Sure. I totally buy that. Yup.

            1. After the communist Chinese deliberately spread it to the rest of the world, while limiting the spread within China.

      2. A former Peace Corps worker wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal (I think) defending Trump’s comment about “sh@thole countries.” One of her comments was that a Senegalese woman going to market would routinely sell her, um, services to get a quarter for groceries. Just that custom would spread AIDS like crazy. Not to mention men who never saw a woman they didn’t want to screw, and then brought AIDS home to their wives.

        1. Does anyone have a link to that article? I know the one you’re talking about, and I’ve been looking for it for a while but haven’t been able to find it.

        2. Not to mention that it was apparently a thing that sleeping with a young virgin girl would cure AIDS. Arrrrgh.

  10. A lot of these issues are not issues of population, just piss-poor infrastructure and logistics. Often, these issues are due to local warlords and bosses that can’t comprehend that a smaller slice of a larger pie is still a larger slice. Or, having control of that larger slice of the smaller pie means that more people are dependent upon their “charity.” Or, that control means that they can give their useless cousin a job and maintain domestic harmony.

    I’m not sure I’ll be in the reproductive queue-distinct lack of women who like me that much, wealth, and a tendency to tell kids the truth with only enough sugar-coating to deal with the worst edges. But, I can make things and that’s what I’ll be doing.

    1. It was very nice when the COVID lockdowns first started. The freeways were pleasant to drive on and parking was easy to find. People moved out, and suddenly there were move-in specials and you could improve where you lived. I understand how people would think we were “overcrowded”, and how depopulation would improve things, but of course it was all caused by the no-growth government policies.

      1. There was also a lot of move-in specials because the landlords found it easier to “regift” things that other tenants had left behind and any tenant paying rent was better than no tenants paying rent.

    2. A lot of these issues are not issues of population, just piss-poor infrastructure and logistics. Often, these issues are due to local warlords and bosses that can’t comprehend that a smaller slice of a larger pie is still a larger slice.

      There’s a joke in the international development world: At a development conference, two government reps one from an African country and one from an Asian country get to know one another and become friends. The Asian rep invites the African rep to his home. The place is lavish, huge, and has a pool, tennis court, everything. The African rep says “How did you afford all this?” The Asian guy points out the back to a small road running across the back of his land. “Do you see that road?” “Yes?” “50% off the top.” The next year the African rep invites the Asian rep to his house. It too is huge and lavish. Even bigger than the Asian reps. The Asian rep looks at the African rep. “How did you afford all this?” The African rep smiles and says “See that road?” Asian rep: “There’s nothing there.” African rep: “100% off the top.”

      1. I’ve talked with enough people that did work in Africa, and the African would get 150% off the top. Mostly by having someone who works for him killing one of his rivals and splitting the money even with them.

            1. Kim du Toit would be easy to dismiss as a racist old Afrikaner curmudgeon (not that he is one, mind you, just that it would be easy to do so). Robert Calderisi, the author of the instant work, started off as an idealistic envoy from the World Bank who grew more and more cynical the longer he worked in Africa. The fact that he more or less agrees with du Toit says something.

              1. I’ve talked with missionaries and people that went to and left Africa for any number of reasons. My best stories was from one guy that went there as a security contractor for a major telecom firm. Nicest guy I ever met, but on the subject of Africa, his opinion could be summed up as “either go full classical Roman on them, or use bots to wipe the entire continent clean.”

              2. “Kim du Toit would be easy to dismiss as a racist old Afrikaner curmudgeon”

                Only if you don’t know his history.

            2. I only lived in Africa for one year so I can’t really speak from deep experience here. But at one point I was talking with a fellow missionary, who’d been in Africa quite a bit longer. And what he said was, “The only thing that will change Africa is the Holy Spirit.” For those not as familiar as I am with Christian doctrine, I’ll unpack that sentence a little. When someone trusts in Jesus, God (in the form of the Holy Spirit) comes to live in the person’s heart, and starts transforming his heart from the inside. There are countless stories of people whose lives have been changed after they trusted in Jesus: they used to be alcoholics, or verbally abusive to their families, or any number of things, and after God transformed their hearts, they became the kinds of people you’d want around you: kind to others, humble, free from addiction, and so on.

              And now that you know what the Holy Spirit does to change people’s hearts, you’ll understand what my colleague was saying. He was saying that the only thing that will change Africa (for the better, he meant: there are plenty of things that can change it for the worse) is for people’s hearts to be changed. And the only thing that will change people’s hearts, long-term and at a large scale to make a difference, is for them to trust in Jesus and welcome God into their hearts to change them from the inside. Government programs won’t do it; foreign aid won’t do it; only God has the power to do what is needed to make Africa into a continent full of functioning, healthy countries.

              Kim du Toit, as I recall, is either agnostic or atheist. So of course he doesn’t believe anything can help Africa. And he’s almost right, because he doesn’t know about the only thing (the only person, really) that can.

              1. As a paranoid agnostic, I’m slightly in agreement with you. Which says it all, really.

                The problem is you need to shift the culture, and the culture in almost all of Africa is tribal/clan based to an extent that nothing short of religion and/or a similar moral imperative is going to change. And, it’ll be the work of generations.

                1. And Christianity is pretty good at making people look beyond their tribe/clan and see others outside the tribe/clan as fully human. It was part of our founding identity: we are an offshoot of Judaism, and the earliest Christians were almost all Jews (the few non-Jews among the followers of Jesus are an interesting story but would make this comment too long). BUT very early on in the history of the Christian church, non-Jews were coming to believe in Jesus, and God performed miracles to make it very plain that they had equal status with the Jewish Christians. (See the book of Acts, chapter 10, for the most important example of such). This led to the apostle Paul, himself a Jew who used to be vehemently anti-Christian before he did a 180 and believed in Jesus, to write the following: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28). All the categories that people divide the world into and assign to “us” vs “them”: men and women, my ethnicity and those who are not my ethnicity, and so on… it’s a fundamental teaching of Christianity that those do not matter; the only thing that matters is that God has forgiven us and has accepted us as His adopted sons and daughters. So whether you’re rich or poor, from my country or the country that mine is at war with… doesn’t matter. As long as you too are a fellow believer in Jesus, you’re my brother or sister in Jesus Christ, no matter where you come from.

                  Which is why, even if I didn’t believe with my whole heart that Christianity is true*, I’d still bet on Christianity as the best bet for changing Africa for the better, over any other system of belief you could name.

                  * And I have a very strict definition of truth. For something to be true, it must accurately describe objective reality. Not just “I feel it to be true”, but rather “This is a fact whether or not I like it.”

  11. Can’t let this thread go without that most pertinent quote of Mark Steyn: “The future belongs to those who show up for it.”

  12. I believe we are in the times that were foretold when it was said that there would come a day when people would say, “Blessed are the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed. Then they will say to the mountains ‘Fall on us! and to the hills, ‘Cover us!”

    Powers, Principalities are leading this charge.

    1. Meh. Sorry, you can’t be for real.
      Now, as opposed to the middle ages?
      Dramaticism is not rational.
      We’re at best in profoundly uncomfortable times. NOT end times.

      1. I don’t know that Himself was talking about the end times when he said this. There are a lot of people these days who are wishing people dead. Even their own preborn children. So it seems to fit the message that at some point public sentiment will applaud the lack of children and a more general hope that everyone die. That seems to be where we are right now. I believe we have been “nudged” for millennia by those who wish death and destruction upon all humanity.

      2. No man knows the hour and the day.

        And in Afghanistan and China, they are adding by the hour to those waiting beneath the throne, crying out “For how long, Lord?” — and being told, until their number is complete.

    2. I’ll start considering people who like to chatter about this worth listening to when their predictions have a date which is not “now, and things go biblical in a few years”, aka the same timeframes Global Warming peddlers use.

  13. This is one issue where I disagree with our hostess.

    Like many of the terrors invoked in the seventies by a prattle of progressives, overpopulation is a paper tiger

    Exponential growth of anything can’t continue forever in a finite space. (So, even if we manage to do better than we could have expected in the 70s – a limit will be hit *somewhere*). Malthus may have been wrong (due to massive population movements and advances in technology) in the specific limit he feared, but it’s hard to come up with a universe where he *can* be wrong in principle. You would need not only infinite space/territory to expand into, but infinite dimensions along which you could expand.

    Long before we run out of room, we’re going to run out of the ability to non-destructively wring food from arable land. We don’t have vast tracts of unsettled *arable* land – we’re using all of it. With effort, we may be able to irrigate some of the western desert interior. Maybe if California stops destroying its water infrastructure, we can “re-terraform” the state and farm there again.

    If we develop the technology to turn rocks into food/water/oxygen (something we’ll more or less need to do for space colonization) – eventually you run out of atoms to rearrange in any finite space. (Or run out of the ability to reject waste-heat faster than you can generate it even with magic power sources.) If you don’t want Coruscant to … uh … coruscate as it melts into slag, there is a limit to its total power-production. If population continues to grow exponentially (and small variations in the rate only adjust things by logarithmic factors), eventually you run out of atoms in the *solar system* in only a few thousand years.

    If we get crowded to the point where no one can own space to tinker, we’ll stop innovating. If we stop innovating, we’ll run out of whatever the set of limiting resources is we’re currently using.

    In nature, animal population is limited by predator-prey cycles, and starvation. Territory is a zero-sum game. In bronze-age prehistory we’ve hit similar limited periods among hunter-gatherers and bronze-age herder/farmers where hunting/ arable territory was the zero-sum limiting factor. Our lack of a limit right now is due to technology dependent on frictionless global logistics and energy use – if Al Gore could wave his magic wand and eliminate the IC engine, 9/10 of humanity would starve and the remainder would be fighting over farmland usable with no engine driven technology.

    1. The problem with this is the same as that which drove population-bomb fears in the mid 20th century – the assumption of continued exponential growth. TFR for pretty much everywhere is falling at more or less similar rates, looking at the UN-published population sparklines, some countries just tumbled over the edge faster than others. There is not law of physics that says human beings must on average want to have kids at much more than replacement rate and population is only limited by famine, plague, and war.

      As I understand the direction historical analysis of the question has gone in the last couple of decades, Malthus is looking shaky as an explanation for population dynamics even within the agrarian paradigm people lived under for the ten thousand years or so prior to industrialization. Population growth for agrarian subsistence societies seems to have been slower than he’d predict even when for whatever reason there was a high ratio of available land to people, such as after the Black Death, for instance. At best, Malthus provides a sort of worst-case scenario look at where the ultimate limits of the system might lie, but most of the time real populations are bouncing around the configuration space well inside those limits, driven by other forces.

        1. If you see no future why participate in it? Any chance we can convince the Tranzi/SJW that the best way to lower their carbon footprint is to avoid children? Given a couple generations and they could be just a memory if they let us continue on. Of course they’ll want to enforce it like China did…

          1. They’re already not having kids. The problem is that they’re teaching everyone elses’.

            1. This! So much THIS!! They and the Usual SuspectsTM aren’t having children, so they’re “teaching”/corrupting everyone else’s. And they’ve been doing it for DECADES. 😭

            2. Not everyone else’s. Catholics, Evangelicals, orthodox Jews (and perhaps Muslims?) not so much. At my Evangelical church 3-5 kids is not uncommon in the 30-40 somethings. My younger daughters friends from the Christian group at her engineering school are married (at 24-25) and starting to crank out the kids. As Mark Steyn said the future belongs to those that show up and orthodox Christianity (vs Liberal Christianity or the Nones) in its various flavors as well as other conservative branches of the Abrahamic faiths are showing up.

    2. Exactly so on arable land. Crops produce much more income per acre and provide more stable revenue flow than do livestock, so everywhere that can reasonably grow crops already does. And vegetables are more profitable than grains (despite having nowhere near the caloric density), so there’s another skew wherever the water supply allows it. Most of the third world population increase derives directly from the West’s extraordinary ability to feed people who cannot feed themselves. That can only go on just so long before it hits an upper limit.

      I would add something else. Only about 20% of the people are human capital; the remaining 80% are either neutral or an active drag. More people helps if the increase is in the productive and inventive human capital; more people does not help if they are not.

      Right now, by bringing in every third world peasant we can find, we in the West are reducing our proportion of human capital. If they =were= human capital, they’d have improved where they came from, instead of coming to us to improve their lives for them.

      1. This is not actually right. There are mothballed farms across the midwest. ON GOOD LAND. Because the farms produce so much per acre, that prices for food are too low to support small farms.
        PLEASE look it up before you believe lies.

        1. I was piloting around Google Earth yesterday and just amazed by the amount of farms and fenced pastures across the Sahara and Middle East lost to a drying climate over the past 10 to 15 thousand years.

          1. um…. whatevs. There is a number of farms not just here, but in the NOrth of Portugal, completely abandoned and mothballed. Some of the most fertile land in hte world.

            1. Perspective: Portugal is almost exactly the size of Maine, and similarly has a lot of unplowable rocks.

              Wiki sayeth, probably close enough:

              “In 1998, 28% of the land was considered arable. Of the 26,000 km2 (7 million acres), 74% was cultivated with seasonal crops and 26% was under permanent crops. In 2001, the gross agricultural product accounted for 4% of GDP.”

              “A number of factors contributed to Portugal’s poor agricultural performance. First, the level of investment in agriculture was traditionally very low. The number of tractors and the quantity of fertilizer used per unit area was one-third the European Community average in the mid-1980s. Second, farms in the north were small and fragmented; half of them were less than one hectare in size, and 86 percent less than five hectares. Third, the collective farms set up in the south after the 1974–75 expropriations due to the leftist military coup of 25 April 1974, proved incapable of modernizing, and their efficiency declined. Fourth, poor productivity was associated with the low level of education of farmers. Finally, distribution channels and economic infrastructure were inadequate in parts of the country.”

              In the U.S., suburban development is a much bigger threat than is abandonment.


              1. A lot of land originally homesteaded for farms has been allowed to return back to timber …

                Then,, locally the farmland that used to exist to the south and north of us, has been developed. More to the west is going to be too as it has been added to the growth boundary.

              2. ….did you consider that, maybe, a group titled “American Farmland Trust” might be worth looking up to see if there’s some perspective to be considered in their goals when they are publishing a report called “Farms Under Threat”? Everybody in here knows how easy it is to lie with statistics, especially when it’s really, really hard to get data in the first place.

                Their stated goal is to get American farmers to use “environmentally sound” practices. They’ve been around since the 80s, and brag about being trusted by American Environmentalists.

                If that doesn’t get your alarm bells ringing…..

              3. It does have a ton of rocks. However, for the record, even the walls grow vegetation. RIDICULOUSLY fertile.
                So, bullshit. On stilts. Blowing a trumpet out its ass.

              4. > arable

                When you’re using a stick and a scythe, almost any land is arable as long as the soil is decent and there’s water. *Mechanized* farming, on the other hand, requires a certain type of land; reasonably flat, without things that get in the way of planters and harvesters.

                1. And don’t forget to define “mechanized”: An ox or horse drawn plow is enough mechanization to require removal of trees including stumps, and rocks.

                2. The definition of “reasonably flat” is not, however, on par with anything resembling “flat.” It’s not even I-can-build-a-house-on-that flat.

                  It’s more like “doesn’t curve too much over the width of whatever the largest harvester you use there is,” and “doesn’t have so many large rocks you can’t steer around them.” There are several fields near our house in Iowa that I swear they only keep in service so they can winter cows on the harvested field by the water, or something similar. I’m not sure how the dirt doesn’t slide into the creek! But the boys driving the tractors do slow down to something I don’t want to yell at them for, even if it is still too fast for inverting.

                  Heck, I can’t help noticing the now-tree-covered-fields in Virginia, where I only started looking because we drove past stuff and I went “…that’s a farm house. There’s the barn way in the back, that’s a hay barn….” It looked like a horror movie setting, tiny clearing and all.

                  1. My wife is from upstate New York, in a very rural area. (Her home town of three thousand people is the largest town in the county). Up in that area, there are a LOT of Amish farmers, who buy and farm the land that conventional farmers don’t want because it’s too curvy or too rocky. A horse-drawn plow can manage curves much better than a huge combine harvester, and can steer around certain sizes of rocks more easily, too. So even the land that’s not commercially viable for most farmers (who use modern farming technology) can still be farmed by people who, for one reason or another, have chosen to use different farming technology.

                3. Dear farking G-d.
                  Are you people high today?
                  Portuguese use tractors and machinery for farming, like everyone else. (rolls eyes.) They even have automated watering cranes. (whatever the hell they’re called. They look like cranes linking wings and on wheels. I first saw them in Portugal in the seventies.)

                  1. These?


                    And don’t worry, I couldn’t remember the right word last night when I was doing the squares-with-circles-on-them thing. I knew they weren’t wheel-line or hand-line, but “those sprinklers you don’t have to go change” seemed clunky and un-needed.

          2. Yeah, there’s a lot of ’em. Note too all the sheepfolds (those big roughly rectangular enclosures made of rough-piled rocks, that archeologists are so sure must have had some “ritual purpose”).

            Dr.Raoul McLaughlin has among his videos one on Roman excursions into the central Sahara… considering how far into the interior they went, marching on foot, even then it had to be less hostile than today.

            1. In the history of the Islamic conquest of North Africa, there are references to riding from Cairo to the Straits of Gibraltar without coming out from under the shadows of the olive trees.

        2. THIS! Outside property owners are taking ranch and farm land out of production, or are developing good farm land into exurbs that pay more. We’ve got plenty of land – New England is all re-grown forests, aside from a very few rugged areas. All that was once farmed, and productive. Now? Nope.

          1. Ireland too. The golden vale through Limerick and Tipp is some of the most productive land on the planet. The topsoil is several feet of pure black earth. Suburban houses now.

          2. I grew up in the middle of miles of new-growth forest in upstate New York. Said forest was criscrossed with tumbled-down stone walls marking the boundaries of the wheat fields that had been there about 100 years earlier.

            1. The walls were less to mark boundaries than to get rid of the rocks, because the soil was more rocks than dirt, and you can’t plow rocks. Easiest to turn ’em into boundary walls; that way they’re all piled up out of your way, and performing some function instead of just breaking your plow blade.

          3. Yeah walk in a “forest” in New England and soon enough you’ll hit a dry laid stone wall except for some spaces in northern Maine. New Hampshire was denuded of pine trees to make masts and flooring. Although honestly the reason the farms died here was that there are FAR better places to farm in the US as it expanded than New England with its crops of rocks and short and unpredictable growing season.

          4. You and Sarah are talking about this like it’s a bad thing, and I don’t understand why. Productivity is so high we don’t have to plant every square inch, yay! If productivity per acre drops, we have lots of reserve land, yay!

            1. They, and I, are responding VERY STRONGLY to the now repeatedly made statement that “every inch” of food-growing land is in use.

              Because it’s not just pants on head wrong, it’s flaming pants on head wrong, and it fails even very BASIC look-around-you checks… if you know what you’re seeing.

              An amazing number of folks think that if there’s trees now, there always have been. They are much more likely to break a leg when they find the remains of the house that was abandoned in the 70s and is now just basically gone. (Structures can last a long time. They can also go poof fast enough that you get lost because you don’t realize that you ARE looking at where it was.)

              1. Oh, okay, as in, “We’re using all the arable land and stretching the limits of the planet’s resources! Doom!” Got it. Yeah, that’s crap. I was confused because it sounded like people here were saying “all those small farms have gone back to prairie/woodland/rocks and that’s terrible”.

                1. Given how much fun it is when you finally see what isn’t there anymore, I’d be very torn if I did think it was bad. 😀

          5. Pffft. Productivity is questionable. Absolutely sucked for crops except on river flood plains and ocean glacial outwash plains; AFTER de-rocking. Rest of state was barely viable for grazing, and that also required de-rocking and field quarrying. And you still see farmers breaking haying equipment on bedrock and boulders sticking up in fields. However, lumbering is viable. Especially at today’s lumber prices. Forests really are renewable resources; just takes a human lifetime to regrow.

            1. More like a decade or two on growing the trees. Not a lifetime. That big farm down in Oregon says 10-12 years for theirs.


              For hardwoods, maybe– they vary too much on too many factors, can’t find a tree farm bragging about their methods.

              White Pine (that plus tree plantation should bring up the sites) looks to be closer to 40 years before the final harvest, but when they thin at 15 years they harvest as well.

                  1. It is 80 year rotation on Douglas Fir stands in the Cascades and Coast range. Or was when it was IP, Willamette, Weyerhouser, and Roseburg. Some Foresters were lobbying for 120 tree farm rotations. OTOH 120 year rotations would trigger “old growth” harvesting complaints … I may have been overheard stating/writing that someone complaining about 150 year old trees being harvested that the trees in question weren’t even HERE when the pioneer’s showed up … just saying.

                    OTOH a lot of local farmers have leased out their farm lands for longer term leases for hardwood and pine plantations in the valley. 10 to 20 year rotations. Wood is used for chips.

                    While neither Redwood or Giant Sequoia seed in the Willamette Valley, they do grow when planted, and they get BIG fast. Our 35 year old Giant Sequoia’s were 10×10′, each at ground level, and 8′ DBH. Neighbor’s Redwoods are just as big. Not much market for Giant *Sequoia because it is so brittle, that when it hits the ground it tends to shatter. If it doesn’t shatter, the color, while pretty, isn’t interesting past the outer two or 3 inches. Redwood OTOH does have the color and drops nicely, if not the tight grain, of slower growing locations. So there would be a market for a 35 year rotation for Redwood, in the Willamette Valley, if someone would exploit it.

                    1. Given the state, I wouldn’t be surprised if rotation was aimed more at causing trouble than at the wood. :growls rude things about a poor bird that had no choice in the matter:

                      The campground we’re at is using trees a good 20 inches around for firewood, because that’s what they have to thin away from campgrounds anyways. (from the bark, appears to be mostly some sort of pine, I haven’t seen any aspen rounds) The trees weren’t here when the campground got here…. 😀

                      Lodgepole up in Washington for the wild stuff was more like “come through every 10 years and thin it out,” where it’s allowed. A big windstorm comes through and if they’re lucky they can pick the whole thing up– reseed with the packable size seedlings and in five years you gets lost because you can’t tell where that big, nasty, empty spot was. {sigh, me, of course]}

                      A big difference between a tree farm and the forest is that they get water and fertilizer on the farms– and they can plant for maximum desired type of growth, and figure out if they want to encourage knot development, and….

                      Yeah, lots of variables.

                    2. We went to Yellowstone in ’90, two years after the ’88 fire. We enjoyed the vista’s while we could. Heard a lot of complaints about how it was “sad” that the trees were burned (some still standing, but dead) and “gone”. All they had to do is look down. Billions of seedlings already carpeting the ground. There were areas that reverted to meadow because the fire heat destroyed the seedlings, but not that many. Now? The complaints are “you can’t see anything”, and it is more difficult to spot wildlife more than a few feet off the road (other than Hayden or Lamar Valleys) because those trees now obstruct the views. Can see the process repeating on edge of Yellowstone Lake.

                    3. Lodgepole Pine. So they do not self thin. Assisted thinning in the NP, possible, maybe CTAP around the campgrounds and lodges, otherwise not likely. May eventually self thin, the grove suffers. But before fire hits again? Probably not. Repeat and rinse.

                      * CTAP – Cover Their Asses Protocol

                    4. Not much. It is amazing how you can watch an elk or moose maneuver into the forest, with a huge rack (because Yellowstone/Tetons) and have it disappear within feet of the forest edge. To Know a big grizzly, or in one case 5 grizzlies (mom, and 4 yearlings), are just inside the tree line. Know they are there, because saw them go in, and can see the vegetation moving, BUT no sign of a single bear. These were groves that were 30 to 60 years old with the lower branches broke off.

                      By the way, Teton mama grizzly and her 4 yearling cubs are fat. It is getting difficult to tell the 4 cubs from their mother! Didn’t see them this fall, but someone posted pictures of them. They are looking good.

              1. That’s the pattern at our family’s AR farm, once in cattle and feed corn / soybeans / vegetables of various sorts, now in timber (about 400 acres). For pulpwood if nothing else.

        3. There are lots of mothballed farms, but out here in the West most of ’em were not really very profitable, and a lot of ’em actually died clear back in the Dust Bowl era. Frex, Nebraska is full of ’em because farming in Nebraska can be good or so tough you can’t make it go, depending on the whims of the weather and the market. Here in Montana conditions are less wildly unpredictable; outside of some of what’s now Reservation land, I don’t even know of any mothballed farms (some old homesteads subsumed into larger spreads, and some eaten by urban sprawl, but no big swaths of failed or shuttered farms.) I do know of lots of WTF nooks and crannies in wheat, because there was just enough flat ground between the hills to make two passes with a combine.

          And considering how the Northeastern farms went back to forest long enough ago that they’re now being harvested for timber, seems to me it’s not recent market conditions so much as that back when we had lots of industry, just like everywhere else you could make a more steady living in a factory than you could on a farm, so goodbye to the plow. And my own grandmother lost her farm after her husband died and the Depression took away all the cash.

          Here’s some numbers:

          There’s been some shrinkage, about 9% between 1990 and 2007 (limits of that chart) but I’d guess probably half was in California where “water shortages” put a crimp particularly on fruit and vegetable crops; a lot of orchards dried up and blew away in the early 2000s. Used to be a lot of irrigated onions and carrots out in the desert, but pumping water got too expensive, and most were already gone when I moved down there in 1984 (tho you can still see corrugation and pipe in sat view). In SoCal now the only profitable crop is alfalfa, because the commercial dairies and stables will pay $650/ton for hay and that’s enough to cover the water bill (which can easily be six figures per month).

          Now, you can get some shocking numbers from the historical archive,
          agcensus.mannlib.cornell DOT edu/AgCensus/
          but if you look closely… literally every acre that is privately owned and is not urban is counted as a “farm” (which greatly inflates the acreage count). And in 1940, about five times more acres are listed as “crops failed” than “crops harvested” — which indicates to me that is ground that should be grazed but not farmed, because that level of fail means either irrigate or give it up.

        4. “There are mothballed farms across the midwest.”

          The late Dr Pournelle had a famous idea of paying lawyers not to practice law modeled on our farm programs that paid farmers NOT to grow food. How many of those mothballed farms are the fruits of that idea?

      2. My understanding is that much of the arable land in Africa is not being used efficiently. Western volunteers coming in and helping the locals dig irrigation ditches is considered a big deal. Given that, fully introducing American growing methods into that part of the world would likely make the food production there *explode*.

        1. The west stopping food aid would make local production explode. Seriously, do you have any idea how many farmers we’ve driven out of the market there because a shiploads of wheat and maize came in, and the warlords who seize it can still undercut the cost of local farming and turn a profit when they got it for a few bullets to at most a few bribes?

          1. I have an excellent book on the history of money that starts with the story of an African woman laboriously trudging up a hill to the local market with eggs and milk – the meager surplus production of her household – only to find herself unable to find a buyer for the latter at a price worth more to her than drinking it right there, all thanks to the stack of 1-gallon plastic jugs of milk for sale at a rock-bottom price, labelled “NOT FOR SALE – FOOD AID ONLY.”

          2. Yes, and no. I’ve heard stories about particularly ingenious locals being killed because they were “witches”, which in these cases meant that they’d come up with ideas that boosted their own agricultural output.. Obviously it wasn’t the clever, new ideas. Instead, it was because the farmer in question was a witch.

            So, yeah, do something about the foreign aid wiping out incentives for farmers. But you also need to find a way to teach farmers better methods of farming in a way that doesn’t cause them to start lynching each other for “witchcraft”.

            1. One would think that “sharing the technique with one’s neighbors” would prevent a lot of that, but that might just be utter ignorance talking.

              For all I know, sharing would be culturally unacceptable, or the farmer would be considered a idiot for giving his secrets to his business rivals, or he’d be accused of witchcraft anyway when one of the people he shared with got worse-than-hoped-for harvests.

              1. Using those techniques would require extra work, and learning. Much easier to stick with the older techniques, mock those who try something new, and lynch the ones who are actually successful with those new techniques.

                1. Yup. There’s a sainthood cause for Bl. Benedict Daswa, a school principal who was killed for witchcraft because he denied that the village disastrous storm had been caused by witchcraft, and especially that it wasn’t caused by Particular Scapegoat Guy, and especially that the village shouldn’t be taxed to pay for witching the Scapegoat Guy in return.

                  Apparently this brought up old wounds from when he quit the village soccer team because they decided to try witching their opponents, and then founded a new soccer team that won without witchcraft. So obviously he must have been doing witchcraft all that time. Obviously.

                  So yeah, they killed him pretty thoroughly, although it took a while. And it’s known that a lot of those who killed him were people who were friends, relatives, and people he’d helped.

                  OTOH, there is a sainthood cause and there was investigation, not just a coverup. So there’s that.

              2. This one, I’ve run into– the technique usually takes MORE WORK, it isn’t immediate, and it’s Not How We’ve Always Done It.

                Heck, half the folks here have run into it. It’s not that you studied, read the book and paid attention to the study guide, it’s that the teacher liked you and THAT is why you aced the test.

                “They’re a witch, kill them and take their stuff” is a toxic option, because it means anything that goes wrong is Not Your Fault.

                1. And the reaction does not respond to logic, either. “The teacher liked you, that’s the only reason you got a good grade! We’ll make your life hell!”
                  Teacher: Sees hell being made, does nothing.
                  “See? The teacher hates you! That means we’re right!”


                  Logic has to be taught to people. Carefully. Consistently. It’s one of the key foundations of civilization.

                  And one of my chief hates of progressives is they actively sabotage people learning logic.

        2. There’s a great documentary called “Poverty, Inc.” about aid organizations, both state-sponsored and NGOs and the destructive effect they have on local economies. Eye-opening.

      3. Exactly so on arable land. Crops produce much more income per acre and provide more stable revenue flow than do livestock, so everywhere that can reasonably grow crops already does. And vegetables are more profitable than grains (despite having nowhere near the caloric density), so there’s another skew wherever the water supply allows it.

        If your notion were accurate, there wouldn’t be 50+ years of people buying farm land to build houses on.
        (It’s mostly flat, there’s usually water, and there’s generally a usable road.)

        I would add something else. Only about 20% of the people are human capital; the remaining 80% are either neutral or an active drag.

        Kind of like seed corn is a drag on your yearly production, sure.

        1. Kind of like seed corn is a drag on your yearly production, sure.

          Chyna’s boom was almost entirely this. Turns out that if you don’t have children you can put a lot of resources into GDP (and then fake even bigger numbers!).

          Then you run out of people.

    3. We are not growing. Birth rates started declining in the sixties.
      How can you distrust government and trust their statistics? much less the statistics of an aglomerate of governments?
      Gellmann much?

      1. I’m rather relieved that world population appears to be stabilizing due to people’s free choices, as opposed to any number of nightmare scenarios where either starvation, war, or the coercion of some police state imposes a limit against people’s will.

        We managed to invent all the technology we currently depend on, and build a high industrial civilization with only 1/6 – 1/4 the current world population: Surely we have a ways to fall before *lack of people* becomes a serious problem? (There are many other things that can become problems for us: many sorts of economic and political sclerosis, fanatical ideologies, etc. But the period of greatest invention in our country (and also before certain measures of wealth plateaued for the median citizen) was when our country had about half the current number of people.)

        1. Dear LORD.
          NOT STABILIZING. It’s actually dropping like a rock.
          When they allow you, visit Europe and look around. It’s one frigging VAST old age home. You can feel it.

          1. I was startled in Poland. Why? There were kids! Lots of kids, more than I see in the US. Young kids, older kids. Moravia had a decent amount of kids. Austria? Fewer, and Vienna might as well be a kid-free zone, but that’s true of a lot of “big cities.” Plus I wasn’t in the residential area. Germany – what kids? I rarely saw anyone younger than their 20s.

            1. On business trips to Western Europe, I noticed much the same. OTOH, right now at work, in our small, distributed team of about a dozen, one of the Polish team members is out on paternity leave and one of the Indian members is out on maternity leave.

            2. It’s going to be a very interesting world in a few generations, because right now, as we still are adapting to the availability of the pill, even those who want kids aren’t having them, or are having them late. The next generation will see the desperation of two generations of women who put off biology, only to find biology didn’t wait… and then you’ll find that the only people showing up for the future are, by en large, the children of parents who wanted them and had them early and in large numbers.

            3. Poland…

              At the current rate of Polish population growth and military build-up and operational readiness, they could roll right over Germany, right now.

              In five years, max ten, they will be able to roll over -Russia-. (Look at the numbers. -bad- news for Russia. Big-time bad.)

              In 20 years, Poland would be able to take on both at the same time. But they won’t make -that- mistake.

              And they have good reason to remember how both treated them in the 20th century.

              So the question to ask is “business or pleasure first?”


              1. Ten years ago, a 20-something German woman I met in Seattle told me that Germans are an endangered species.

              2. The Poles are building their numbers NOT to fight the Germans but to fight the Muslims that will take over Germany, France, etc.

            1. Yup.

              I work at a manufacturing plant. We have a ridiculous amount of automation. But we also have lots and lots of people working here, as well. Automation is just a multiplier. Real people still need to be involved at every step of the process.

        2. China is definitely an example of “against people’s will”. And they may be crazy – they’re communist after all. But they might also be trying to fix (in a brutal way) something they legitimately perceive as a problem? There are cities over there so choked with coal-smoke that the air is barely breathable. There are podunk no-one-thinks-of-them towns that are larger than New York or Los Angeles. On the one hand, Communists could destroy Eden with a spork – on the other hand, population without appropriate infrastructure to support them (infrastructure that will only be built and maintained rationally if ownership is distributed rationally and protected) will burn everything in sight to stay warm. Our cities, without adequate sewage treatment, for example, could fill Lake Erie with sewage in only a century or three.

          1. Communist China has gigantic cities… with barely any residents. The country’s a mess. And it’s largely thanks to the CCP.

          2. 100 Years ago London looked like that. In my youth in the 60’s living down wind of NYC the number of days in the summer that the air quality was unhealthful was huge (trust me I was a severe asthmatic with 1960’s asthma meds a day like that ranged from massively unpleasant to potentially deadly). By the mid 80’s things were improving, by the 90’s those days were rare.

            As for population without proper infrastructure there is unfortunately one result. Some portion of the population dies off until either the infrastructure improves or the number can be supported

            1. We’ve been reminded locally what the ’60s and field and timber slash burning did to our air quality, that was accepted. Last fall “It is sooooo bad. Smoke with ash! Fires have never been soooooo baddddd!” … Locals who grew up here … Raises index finger “ummmmm, as a matter of fact ….”. Hubby was on a district wildfire crew that regularly got sent to out of district fires (not one of the hotshot crews that were there then and are utilized now). My overtime came from small district fires even though I wasn’t on a fire crew, or on-call wait time to see if any fires popped up from the lightening storms that swept through. Don’t know about the off district fires hubby was on, but the on district fires were lightening caused.

    4. I can’t fit infinite atoms into a unit volume.

      Hwoever, if I am making measurements, and estimating from them an increase in atoms, it is invalid for me to extrapolate beyond the data set. From theory we can hypothesize about such measurements that would overlook factors that would drastically limit the addition of atoms to volume.

      So, yeah, we can mathematically model human population growth.

      But, one result is that growth rate is related to the average age of the mother at first child.

      Rate of violent killings is important, but maybe more variable, and less often used in the basic demo of population growth. And, average age of men at violent death is less important, if most of the violent deaths are men. And the fraction of males violently dying is somewhat lower than half.

      These are things influenced by customs and culture, and customs and culture are not constant, not fully predictable, and not possible to directly measure and feed into a statistical model.

      Furthermore, if you are ignoring artificial sterility, a) sex acts between a man and a woman are of fundamental importance here b) What level of resources are invested in i) getting infants to reproductive age ii) equipping children with the skills to carry out investing resources to get infants to reproductive age.

      And sex acts have a thing that can scale weirdly with population density. There are a lot of adult males who prefer sex acts with adult females, and adult females who prefer sex acts with adult males. Otherwise, relatively few pregnancies would occur. But, there are other tastes for acts that fulfill these drives. Whether the tastes are natural and inherent, or learned, at the scale of higher population density, you have less information about the tastes of those near by. Which, in particular means less information about males with a taste for murder acts with females. It is also easier for such males to find vulnerable females at high densities. This is a phenomena that we do not have a full mathematical understanding of, and it would be very easy to create a model for that wildly overestimates the power of this negative feedback.

      If income becomes more difficult, and humans more frequent, you have the negative feedback of some folks deciding to invest less resources in children.

    5. We’ll have plenty of arable land, but it will either be tied up in ownership of people like Bill Gates and not used for food production, or the regulatory burden will become so massive that farming as a business becomes extinct.

      And we know how well State-managed farming works out…

      Downside: there’s no stupid friendly power going to be sending us massive supplies of food for free.

    6. Oh, camel dung. I recently drove through Lancaster County PA, one of the most heavily farmed places in the country. Lots of land around not under the plow which could be. And as to No engine driven technology – the Amish farms looked just as productive as the huge “factory” farms they sat cheek by jowl with, just smaller. Regardless of what Mike Williamson said in “Last Centurion”, when an Amishman has had a piece of land for a while, you can spread it on bread instead of jam. And plant shoelaces and harvest boots.

      1. There was a show years ago about a farmer that gave up all his machines and started plowing with a team of plow horses. They were a special kind from Europe. Big, Very Big Beautiful animals. He farmed less land but didn’t work harder and made about the same money. Part of that was from raising Plow Horses also other farm animals.
        The Overhead costs with the machinery was just costing too much. Overhead costs for the horses were almost nothing in comparison.

    7. We don’t have vast tracts of unsettled *arable* land – we’re using all of it.

      Not even CLOSE.

      Besides obvious things like the induced droughts in California– everywhere I have driven around the US, I have identified old farm land, FROM THE ROAD. And I am a mere novice at seeing what isn’t there, anymore– I miss a huge number of the signs that my dad would recognize, because he saw the abandoned farms when he was a kid, in the 50s.

      Farm land that has been left to go wild, because while it was good enough to live off of a century ago, we have better options right now.

      And that doesn’t even start on things like organic farming where we are deliberately choosing less effective means of growing things, or other countries where their practices would have to improve to reach merely insane.

      1. Was it AOC’s aide that vocally wondered what all of those squares on the ground were that the airplane was flying over?

        1. I think it was a journalist trying to figure out the squares with a circle in the middle. I may have missed a similar but more crazy one, though.

          I can’t be too hard on someone not recognizing that kind of irrigation system from the air, honestly, but the patchwork-quilt-of-farms is cartoon standard……

    8. We, as in the US, produces more food using LESS land than ever before.

      There’s vast tracts of farmland HERE that we ARE NOT using- a bunch has even reverted to wilderness, whether it be arid scrubland (see: nothern terminus of Tejon Pass, to Bakersfield) or to open plains (plains states) or simple woods (southeast and east coast, esp in Tobacco states)

      As for not having vast tracts of unsettled arable land, read the above, then start looking around on satellite views.

    9. The “Population Bomb” theory is about as useful as the “Peak Oil” theory. Or the “The next world war will be over fresh water” theory.

      People adjust. If your standard of living goes up, the cost to maintain it goes up, and the cost to raise a child to the same standard or better rises as well — and people naturally start to have less children. Oil use goes up, the cost per barrel goes up, people start finding out that previously unprofitable oil wells are now profitable, more oil can be extracted. Heck, at the right price point, you can *manufacture* oil.

      Same with water. Used to be desalination was crazy expensive and we were going to run out of water, and there’s only x amount of fresh water on the planet. Now Western Australia supplies 50% of its water to its biggest city by desal.

      Personally I hope this current period of turmoil will end up with a LOT of people rethinking ‘what the experts know’ and waking up to the fact that cheap energy is the solution to just about every single supply issue we have.

  14. Based on historical birth rates, hard to manipulate them decades later. The growth rate in prime working age population (25-54) in the United States will expand until 2031 when it will start to contract turning negative in 2042. It had contracted from 2006-2020 after the growth rate peaked in 1985. Everything in economics, inflation, interest rates, production, stock prices, all of it has been the playing out of the baby boom that was followed, only in the US, by the echo boom. Too, some of the social BS is a function of large population cohorts at the silly age.

    We ought to be expanding with the rest of the world, led by China, falling dramatically. It’s one of the reasons I’m convinced WuFlu and zho bi den are not accidents.

    Even using the official statistics, China is well into the largest “voluntary” demographic catastrophe in history. Japan is done and South Korea is worse than China. Brazil,
    And all of Europe, particularly the south, are fading away.

    We are on the cusp of the largest demographic decline since the Black Death, and I include the wars.

    1. And if China continues to sabre-rattle at India, we may yet get large scale land wars to add to that destruction of life and property.

      1. That’s been going on since 1845 (I just had cause to look up the history, and was surprised how far back the border spats go, still in pretty much the same places). China would like to have a clear route through Bangladesh as a southern port, but getting control of Afghanistan and their existing agreements with Pakistan will probably suffice, and somewhat relieve the pressure on the Indian border.

        1. I suppose they could take control of Burma and go over the hump that way to Bangladesh; but the cost of going over the mountain ranges, even if using railroad, I suspect would be prohibitively expensive just to have a port on the Indian Ocean.

      1. Don’t be snide. I get lied to for a living and know well how everything is manipulated. Still, it’s difficult to manipulate decades old birth rates that were built to support one narrative to support another. I have paper copies of the old reports. I acquired a set of Statistical Abstracts of the United States from a library that was throwing out it’s books. My day job doesn’t pay nearly enough for me to live where and how I want to so I live on the proceeds of investments, those proceeds derive from an analysis of demographics so I have skin in the game here.

        In any case, I’m agreeing with you even using the official statistics. When the lies can’t support a narrative, how much worse must the truth be? They count on no-one ever actually looking at the numbers, they deal with the press after all and they’ve gotten lazy.

        The demographics ought to scare the willies out of everybody and there’s nothing to be done about it.

        1. Yes. Sorry. But when people keep telling me that no, no, we’re really ten billion.
          OTOH seriously, I think this is like “Book sales are consistent”.
          They’re consistent because they’re extrapolated from originally made up crap.
          And yes. They should scare the crap out of people.

          1. No worries, I agree with you all the way down.

            Change in GDP equals change in population + change In productivity. I have worked out in great detail that most of the changes in productivity since the 70’s have been a product of the mix of age cohorts. It’s a mess since productivity is the residual from the relation between GDP and Population and the big productivity changes came with the industrial revolution, better agriculture, the germ theory of disease, and doctors washing their hands, so really the productivity changes came before the war and the rate has been much slower since. Everything since the war has been the baby boom working itself out.

            The upshot, a decline in population will cause a decline in GDP unless offset by a change in productivity but the older people are less productive than the younger so, ceteris paribus, a decline in population will lead to a decline in productivity too. I don’t understand why this is so controversial except, I suppose, that the great goddess Gaia demands it.

            Tech won’t save us. We in the US are in better shape than the rest but better does not mean good.

          1. One route to get extra births is ‘registering’ at-home births– with all the estimates that involves.

            I know there’s theft of kids and the elderly’s SSNs at the hospitals, I’d be surprised if miscarriage didn’t also end up with an SSN.

            Speaking of bad stats– last night I realized one of the ways that there can be so many divorces, besides it being registered in multiple states (for different party’s residence)
            Common law marriage. Add in folks who have been warned about the other party claiming it, bet there are a lot of protective filings.

            1. Don’t forget serial divorcees(ers?) — if I remember the stats correctly a divorced person is multiple times more likely to remarry & divorce again. If you get divorced 10 times does that make it 50% divorce rate when you add 10 other couples that didn’t get divorced at all?

              1. BIL and his wife between the two of them have been married 7 times and divorced 6 times … This time they’ve been married for 30 years … think it’ll take? 🙂

                OTOH hubby and I are approaching our 43 wedding anniversary this December.

              2. Those ones, I did know! The call-people-and-find-out-when-their-first-marriage-ended survey is part of why I knew the “half of all marriages end in divorce” thing was wrong, because it took until…. something like 35, 40 years for half of first marriages to end, period.

                But even with the been-divorced-several-times, the numbers didn’t work. So it was a wonderment. 😀

                1. Must be taking a super small sample and extrapolating it. If one just count my siblings, and our first cousins, from both sides of the family, the results are worse. Counting serial divorce, comes out 10 out of 17, divorce to total marriages. Which is weird, because if you go by our parents and grandparents it is 3 (including serial) out of 14 marriages. Maternal grandparents were married 72 years before passing away within 2 weeks of each other. While paternal grandmother survived grandfather 32 years after he died in their 28th year of marriage.

                  Not saying their statistical sampling method is accurate. Or even that 50% of marriages is accurate. But I can sure see where bias can be introduced, either way.

                  1. Census’ Survey for America or whatever it’s called. (bad connection or I’d look itup)

                    Their results *did* show a band of folks who were doing a lot of divorce and remarriage– roughly, Boomers. And not all of them, at that.

                    Which is why they started asking only about first marriage.

                    Most common cause of the end of any marriage in the US? Old age.

                    But comparing total filed marriages to total filed divorces is what the “50% end in divorce” claim is based on. Adding in an entirely different class, on top of the divorced-in-two-states aspect, is a HUGE jump forward in explaining that.

      2. So look at something like net calories consumed. That would be a good proxy for actual population. Everyone can’t be in on the grand conspiracy to inflate birth rates.

    2. Yup. China is all voluntary these days. The population has gotten used to only having one child per family, even with the removal of the One-Child Policy. When the government announced it was allowing couples to have more than one kid, there was a spike in births, but that spike only lasted for one year.

      Very sad.

      1. Development theory takes as a given–and lauds it as a positive–that educating women leads to falling birth rates. It is largely true, though. And even when governments try to incentivize births, they rarely manage to do so consistently or for long enough.

        1. China would probably still have a higher birth rate if it hadn’t forcibly dropped it to one child for long enough that there isn’t a single cousin in an entire generation of urban residents.

          Everyone has one kid. And I don’t mean like some places here in the US, where you might have a community where 90% of the families who have kids have one kid, while the remaining 10% have more. Pretty much the *only* families with more than one kid were families that had twins or triplets. You had no siblings. You had no cousins. Your friends at school also didn’t have siblings or cousins. Such things simply didn’t exist. Cousins were something that your grandparents might have had, assuming your grandparents and their cousins were still alive. But no one your age did.

          In that way, a culture comes to expect that you will have one kid, and no more. And then when the government belatedly realizes that this is a problem and lifts the restriction, it’s too late.

          Rural areas weren’t as bad off, since the restrictions were partially lifted much earlier, allowing for a second child if the first one was a daughter. I’m curious how the birthrate in Chinese urban and rural areas compares with each other these days, but the official numbers are useless for that sort of thing.

          1. I dunno. An awful lot of Chinese webnovels end up either coagulating an improbable number of martial arts disciple-siblings, or adopting an improbable number of surrogate daughters and sons, or just having the heroes start having large numbers of kids in the later stages of the novel. I think there’s a lot of pent-up hunger for large families, mostly restrained by tiny apartments and lack of reliable utilities.

            1. Remember that a lot of the people who obey like sheep read *The Hunger Games* and other dystopias while admiring the rebels.

              One manifestation of sloth is dreaming of virtue.

            2. And yet, now that the One Child Policy has been lifted, Chinese families are *still* only having one kid. I’ve mentioned it before, but when the restriction was removed, there was a slight increase in the official birth numbers. And then the following year, the birth numbers went back down to the usual number (which *everyone* knows is inflated). Everyone who wanted a second kid had one that year. But apparently not all that many Chinese parents wanted a second kid.

              Chinese readers might like stories with siblings. But they don’t seem to want them in their own families.

              1. I suspect it’s more than that. One of my favorite cousins in Portugal has ONE daughter. When we visited with our two sons, he said “We want another one so badly. But we can barely afford this one.”
                Taxes, mostly.

          2. That Chinese exchange student I was talking to who eventually asked, after a few too many of my family stories:
            “What is an uncle?”

            I still feel sick at the thought….

            That said, in addition to the cultural– China forcibly sterilized women after their one allowed child. Not in a pretty way, either. Doesn’t matter what the law says, those ladies are NOT going to be having another kid.

  15. I lately reread Isaac Asimov’s The Caves of Steel. The New York where Lije Baley lives has twenty million people crowded into 2000 square miles, which is 10,000 per square mile, or about 16 per acre. But New York today has just short of 9 million people in 300 square miles, or 30,000 per square mile—and it wasn’t much lower in population when Asimov wrote that novel (about 26,000 per square mile). That’s close to 50 per acre, and while a lot of them do live in high-rises, they aren’t forced into the 100,000-person housing blocks that Asimov envisions.

    It’s one thing for a writer to predict a catastrophic future; Asimov could reasonably suppose that 8 billion people meant living on the edge of starvation. But predicting a catastrophic past is quite another thing! Surely Asimov could have looked up New York’s area and population in the World Almanac for the year when he was writing?

    1. Baley’s New York had to produce… everything. “Outside” was very limited. So it took more space to support the same number of people. And since the city was also essentially an above-ground bomb shelter designed to resist nuclear attack, the distribution of internal spaces might not have been optimal for stuffing a maximum number of people in. And since Baley’s New York was on a previously nuked site, not all of it might have been inhabitable. At the time, All The Experts were saying Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be radioactive wastelands for millennia. In reality, they rebuilt and repopulated in less time than it took Boston to do its Big Dig.

      Asimov was famous for nit-picking detail when writing; I’d bet he had a notebook somewhere with the exact process he used to get his size and population figures.

      1. I didn’t see anything about a history of nuclear wars. We do see that in his novel Pebble in the Sky, but that’s set at least centuries later, if not millennia; there is already a Galactic Empire (in fact, its relations with Earth are clearly modeled on Rome’s with Judea), not just 49 Spacer worlds. And its radioactive areas are quite apparent, which we don’t see in The Caves of Steel.

        If Asimov wanted to convey that “New York took up this much area, and had this many people, but only X% of the area was actually inhabited,” he could easily have said so on the same page. But he didn’t. He just said that it was 20 million people and 200 square miles and that that was incredibly dense.

        I think it’s another case of “science fiction writers can’t do math.”

        1. I thought the I, Robot/Caves of Steel universe was only joined with the Foundation/Trantor/Pebble In the Sky universe by a last-minute retcon at the very end of the last Foundation sequel.

          The headcanon judges rule that to be an technical foul and consider the two universes to continue to be separate.

          1. Originally, there was no hit that the Robot Stories were related to the Foundation/Empire Stories, so yes Asimov retro-conned them as being in the same universe.

            Oh, the radioactive Earth of Pebble was “explained” in one of the later Robot Novels.

            1. Part of the reason why Asimov felt that he had to come up with a new rationale for Pebble is that the notes he added to the end of Pebble acknowledged that he’d been wrong about the possibility of humanity surviving the level of nuclear exchange required to generate the amount of radioactivity seen on Earth in Pebble.

              Something new was needed.

          2. Nonetheless, we have a vivid example of how Asimov portrayed a post-nuclear-war Earth, from the same decade as The Caves of Steel. It was a lot more ruined than that Earth, and had a lot fewer people. And I’ve read all three of the Baley/Olivaw novels over the past year (the third of them for the first time) and don’t recall anything about a nuclear war in any of them. Can you quote a statement about Earth having had a nuclear war from that series?

            1. No, I can’t, and that’s the point. Pebble In The Sky-style Nuked!Earth doesn’t exist in the Baley/Olivaw universe, so saying “oh well the hive cities are half nuclear bunkers since they went through a nuclear war” is incorrect.

              1. Yes. That’s exactly the point I’m making.

                I think Asimov just came up with his figures for how many people New York had in how much area, and didn’t check to discover that the New York of his own time had roughly three times the implied population density (and didn’t look anything like his hyperurbanized future). I don’t see any evidence that he had come up with a rationale for New York having large uninhabitable areas to raise its population density.

                Indeed, since 30,000 per square mile demonstrably did not need that sort of massive urban architecture, we might guess that New York needed to have at least three times that effective population density; say maybe 100,000 per square mile. Since Asimov’s unadjusted figures imply 10,000 per square mile, it needs 90% of the city to be uninhabitable. If it’s that bad, it would make better sense for them just to move somewhere else and build a new smaller city!

                1. I checked the wiki article for “Caves Of Steel” and nothing in the article points to a nuclear war as the reason for the enclosed cities of Earth.

                1. Well, maybe, in terms of the internal timeline, but he wrote Pebble in the Sky quite a long time earlier.

    2. As I mentioned up above– I suspect Asimov didn’t look up much unless it didn’t match what he already thought. (He had a better excuse than Neil deGrasse Tyson, who does the same when there is really easy chances for research before making a claim?)

      Not bad for a story teller, annoying when looking for information.

  16. There they were on the ark, the elephant pair, the two dear deers, and, among the snakes, a pair of adders. The water dropped, the ark grounded and Noah opened the hatch and shouted; “OK guys, everybody out, Word came down, big guy says, go forth, be fruitful, and multiply!” and…

    Everyone left the ark, pair by pair, except the pair of adders.

    Noah: “Hey why you guys still in here?” snakes replied; “We can’t multiply.”, Noah: “Why?”, they: “Because we’re adders.”

    So, Noah sat on a stump and thought, got up, chopped some trees, cobbled them together, built a table.

    The adders saw it an slithered happily out of the ark.

    Why? You may well ask.

    Because anybody, even adders, can multiply on a log table.

    OK, groan, carp, I know it’s an oldy but moldy but I couldn’t resist tossing it into this population pot.

  17. Wealth needs people but I suspect it also drives down birth rates. Antibiotics and decent sewage: convince people that their children have a good chance of surviving to adulthood, and they stop having so many children. Education: once most women have a fourth-grade or better education, they stop having so many children. Economics I’m not so sure about, because reading about the industrial revolution has given me the impression that there wasn’t enough work on the farm for young children. But once the dark satanic mills got going, the six-year-old could contribute to the family income. They still do in parts of India.

    1. To an extent. We are by nature scavengers. Instinctively we stop reproducing when there’s enough food. For reasons obvious.
      BUT also socialism which prevails in much (most?) of the world makes the young indentured to the old. This means a lot of people want kids, but it’s economically beyond them at the ages they CAN have them. This without counting how “feminism” has poisoned man against woman and vice versa.

      1. I’m still determined to make two or three. Not ten, however. No three sets of triplets. Not even one set, thank you. A couple sets of twins would be okay, I suppose.

    2. Part of it is the rise of feminism and reliable contraception, birth control, and abortion. Give women real control over their reproductive system, and a legal environment where they can tell the man, “That’s it, I’m done spending 9 months pregnant and uncomfortable for your kids”, and this is where you end up.

    3. For most of recent history (ten millennia or so), population growth has best been described as “glacial” in all but the most conducive circumstances, under which it was merely slow. That means that average couples had a bit over two children that survived to adulthood. Unfortunately, that meant they had to try to have substantially more children than that, as many died in miscarriage, birth, disease, youthful accident, famine, or war. Populations where women weren’t spending a lot of their fertile years actively trying to make kids contracted, unless the difference could be made up somehow. This set of realities put thick walls around the sort of culture that wouldn’t go extinct in the pre-modern environment.

      After the onset of the age of industrial plenty, there was an overshoot as old tendencies ran up against new material realities and led to the sort of confused fears we’re making fun of in this thread, but I think the mistake lies in thinking that what pre-modern people wanted was all 10+ children they conceived. I think modernity may reveal that what most people wanted all along, and still do, was 1 – 3 children that survive to adulthood.

      1. Sorry, that should be “…had a bit over two children that survived to adulthood and *and succeeded in having children of their own.* I blame the distraction caused by the burbling baby I’m bouncing on my shoulder. 🙂

        1. Yeah, my mother had four children, all of whom survived to adulthood. Counting “died in a car accident the year after graduating high school as “to adulthood”. He, obviously, didn’t reproduce. My younger brother will be 39 in December, and I still wonder what he plans to do when my parents (68) pass away, as he has no useful skills or income as far as I am aware. My sister (36) has health problems that preclude her carrying a child, and also so far as I am aware does not have anyone to partner with for that endeavor.

          I just turned 41, got married last year at 39, and my husband is currently hospitalized with a catheter. Has been for over a month. He’s much better, and hopefully will be out of the hospital by the end of this month, but it will be a while before we can resume normal activities, and even longer before accumulated stress issues would make pregnancy viable. We’re investigating alternatives, but so far the only children in my generation (meaning the grandchildren of my parents. Chronologically, I’m an X and my youngest cousins are Zoomers) are coming from the unmarried, unskilled, uneducated impecunious portion.

          So while my mother reproduced, successfully, at more than the replacement rate, she’ll likely only have one of those four in any kind of position to reproduce again, and even then it’s chancy.

      2. Exactly. Industrialization, sanitation, agronomy, antibiotics, and contraception, roughly in that order, each opened up a larger “configuration space” in Directrix Gazer’s formulation elsewhere in this thread. And so the population has skyrocketed in the last 200 years because it could, and the larger spaces came one upon the other so fast as to not allow for stabilization in between expansions.

        We no longer need ten kids to make sure 2.2 survive to adulthood, and many people are satisfied with one. So we’re bouncing off the top of the new, vastly larger configuration space, not because of famine and pestilence, but because evolutionary-psychology demands are being met.

        In 100 years, I would expect that we would approach the bottom of the configuration space and people would start having more kids again. They might not even realize why they’re doing it, but some combination of evolutionary psychology and biological impulses would be at the root.

        A declining population from the current high isn’t necessarily a bad thing from the 50,000-foot viewpoint. It’s going to lead to all sorts of social ructions because we (for 1st/2nd-World values of “we”) have structured our societies to indenture the young to the old. That’s a massive historical anomaly, but there’s no reason why it’s required to have a functioning society.

        Adjustments will happen. Retirement will become a thing of the past, especially if lifespans lengthen. Institutions will be remade — the Ponzi scheme in academia is already rattling to a stop. Like every other change, it’ll suck for some people to be in the middle of it, but life goes on.

    4. Problem with the “wealth drives down birthrates” idea is that it is confounded with a bunch of other crap.

      If young people are browbeaten from birth with the idea that their existence is a catastrophe and the only way they can make it good is by not having children, does that count as Wealth? I wouldn’t count it as such.

      1. And when the women are all told that career is greater than family, and they are failures if they want to marry and have kids . . . Enough will believe it to cause problems.

        1. Since the only “wealth” being measured is economic– which doesn’t measure work not done for pay– then by removing women from cooking unless it’s for pay, and from childcare unless it’s for pay, and from teaching unless it’s for pay, especially if you make it MUCH more common by using social pressure to tell her she MUST do this INSTEAD of children, and definitely before, or she’s a failure….

          That would correlate lower birth rates with higher economic outcome.

          Just…not the way that they meant.

      2. But birthrates have declined with modernity — meaning mostly female literacy — in plenty of places that aren’t infected with pomo western guilt. Iran, for one.

        1. Iran has different factors. Dowry vs. brideprice. Unlike most Muslim countries, most Iranian men have to pay brideprice to get a wife. This may take them and their family a while to raise. Sometimes families agree to take it on faith, but eventually they’re supposed to pay up, even if it’s on the installment plan. If not, a man could get imprisoned for bad debt.

          (The bride’s family also gives the groom some really nice expensive gifts, though.)

          Anyhow… stumping up the money for brideprice and groom gifts can delay marriage. The more it’s delayed, the less time you have to have kids.

          And there’s a lot of other factors, like if the wife is actually living with the husband, or has gone home to her parents for some reason. It’s hard to get pregnant long-distance.

        2. Problem: how do you measure female literacy?

          We in the US right now have trouble measuring literacy, period– even when we can decide on a definition that most everyone will agree to. I suspect that it would end up using something like public education as a stand-in for literacy rates– in which case all the students that *weren’t* on the books wouldn’t be counted, no matter how well they read, and no matter that they taught their children.

          1. I suppose we could go back to “read and wrote Latin, in addition to her local vernacular language”.

            1. For various Shi’ite reasons, Iran/Persia traditionally didn’t have any beef with female literacy. They had female imams and female scholar “saints,” one of whom founded Iran’s largest library back in medieval times (Mashhad/Meshed, a shrine that accepted book gifts to Allah). Most families couldn’t afford literacy for anyone, of course.

              Yes, the library reading room is divided by sex, but… that used to be the case in a fair number of Western places. The really sad bit is that the library closes earlier for women, or did back in 2011 when I ended up looking through their website.

            2. ::big grin:: Oh, that would be a FUN one to spring next time the “none of America can read” hoo-ha comes around again….

    5. There are at least two kinds of wealth that could matter here.

      One, how much caloric surplus do you have for bureaucrats that produce no calories personally, and make things different for the people who do produce the calories.

      Two, after the bureaucratic intervention, what resources does the bulk of the population have for investment into children.

      If the bureaucrats are petty, destructive effers, parents are going to have much less potential calories available.

      If the population makes destructive ‘investments’ of resources into their children, then fewer infants will grow up to reproductive age equipped to work on the next generation.

      Bureaucrats messing up the economy to the point that parents think university degrees are necessary investments is a form of anti-wealth.

      Schools whose level of responsibility makes them baby sitters on par with Jeff Dahmer are anti-wealth.

      Anti wealth can be produced from wealth.

      1. Traditionally governments have restricted food and water to help control their populations. “Obey or starve” is a wonderful stick for rulers.

    6. I think it has more to do with the expectation that both members of a married couple work in a profession that brings money into the marriage. Means less time for kids. And having kids is a big sacrifice, even with daycare.

      And depending on where you live, it can require a lot of sacrifice (compared to your peers) to live in a household with just one earner, and kids.

  18. I read a fun paper that attempted to figure out how honest countries are about their reported GDP by using the proxy of how much visible light they generate, as measured in satellite images. The results were that most of the 1st World – Europe, the US, Japan, etc. – show a tight correlation between reported GDP and nighttime illumination. China, on the other hand, was substantially below the curve, showing 10-30% lower light levels than would match reported GDP. I don’t think they analyzed Africa and other 3rd World countries.

    I wonder if some similar externally-measurable proxy could be used to determine population…

    1. Don’t forget the literal black hole that is North Korea. Hardly any light visible at all.

    2. 60 million vacant “homes” in China. That doesn’t include the ones that haven’t been sold. Less than 20% are bought by first time home buyers. After three years being vacant, they will have crumbled away since they’re made of cardboard. Literally.

    3. There was enough common sense information in the 1970’s to show the USSR GDP was fake.

  19. Re birth rates. I’m sure folks are familiar with the trope that the US has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. The calculation for infant mortality is quite interesting. In the US (and most other 1st world countries) an infant is counted as a live birth if it’s alive upon departure from the womb. Thus preemies are counted even if they die an hour later. BUT, in other countries (especially less developed states) preemie infants are only counted as live births IF THEY REACH THE 9 MONTH MARK OF A NORMAL BIRTH. So, a 30-week baby won’t be counted as a live birth until 6 weeks later. If the baby dies prior to that it doesn’t count as a birth at all.

  20. This is a horrible problem. Currently, with China facing a demographic cliff, China is threatening war with the US, Taiwan, Australia, and India. Any spark could set off war but an underlying cause is the demographic disaster in China, and Xi seeking control for life.

    As has been pointed out, socialist countries are uniformly declining in population. Even semicapitalist European countries are declining rapidly. And this will likely continue.

    Developing capitalist countries tend to have population growth level off as they become wealthier. Socialism can obviously increase the speed of decline.

    The United States was once a place with a greater birthrate in it’s population despite high standard of living. My mother had explain to me that when in college in the late 1940s it was popular to plan to have four children. And my mother did. This was a hangover of the eugenics movement in the early 20th century. The larger growth rate in the US also was based on the Christian faith of the general population. As this faith has declined, birth rates are declining further. The US move to socialistic tendencies does not help.

    This issue needs to be addressed soon. People generate wealth and prosperity . A decline will be destabilizing .

    1. I’m afraid it’s too late for that. If they all start having babies now, it won’t build growth for at least 20 years and conditions would get worse before they get better.

      I’m not really given to the whole “black pill” thing but things are really, really bad in China. They’re going to get old before they get rich.

      One might ask why Xi the Pooh won’t travel to the G10. perhaps he knows that his office might not be there when he gets back and maybe he’s thinking that all the people need is a short, victorious war to take their mind off revolution.

      1. The Chinese public have also made it plain that they’re not interested in having more than one kid. That’s what they grew up with, and that’s the societal expectation nowadays.

  21. Haven’t gone through all the comments, since it is suppertime, and the Daughter Unit and I have a 4-month old infant to tend … but I had read in various places that cities in Africa and the Near East can’t possibly have as much population as they claim. That looking on Google Earth shows barely traveled roads, not as many buildings as would contain the population claimed, nothing like enough infrastructure to support the numbers claimed to live there.
    YMMV. I honestly can’t recollect where I have read this – possibly Rantburg.

    1. Tour streetview. You can get a pretty good idea how many people are actually there, even when it’s just photo dots.

      Bangladesh is interesting. It’s maniacally well-covered by streetview, must have paid by the inch because every goat track is covered multiple times. Now, check out the different years. There are big chunks of the older parts of every city that in 2009 were abandoned or are nothing but a brick wall around a tumbledown nothing much. In 2019 (I think was the latest) most of those have become 5 or 6 story apartments. But probably half are empty. You can easily spot occupied or empty by the laundry hanging on every balcony. Conversely there are chunks of inner city that are clearly at 100% occupancy, with the odd empty buildings scattered around.

      Europe does not have these largely-empty cities, and neither do the Americas (outside of the long-dead parts of the Rust Belt) nor SE Asia, far as I’ve found. But they’re all over sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt, and the Middle East. They’re probably a pretty good proxy for government corruption. China of course overbuilt madly but we don’t get to see those so directly.

      For bonus entertainment, look for a photo dot in the middle of the DRCongo. Now, check out the associated view. Congrats, you have found Wakanda!

      1. Taking google-street-view tours of other cities is actually a lot of fun in general. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, in that other countries are resistant to letting a foreign megacorporation work it’s tentacles into their business), not very many countries have complete coverage anymore.

        I was wandering through some Mongolian city the other day:
        Lots of signs in Russian (apparently more business with them than China in that random city)

        1. From what I understand, the Mongolian written language uses Cyrillic characters. This is because Mongolia was basically a Soviet puppet until the Communist regimes collapsed (whereupon the Mongolian government – which was communist – arranged for a fully democratic election, and got voted out of office; there was no violence involved that I’m aware of). I’ve got a friend who’s Mongolian, and its even odds whether a given Facebook post by her is in English, or uses Cyrillic characters.

      2. Look up ADV China on the tubes of you. They’ve been deported I think, but they would ride motorcycles around China, through villages, and empty cities and show you what it,looks,like behind the facade. The best thing is they’d read the graffiti advertising so you could find out what was actually for sale.

        I haven’t been back to China in 20 years and won’t likely ever go again but everything they’re showing is what I saw 20 years ago, only much much worse.

  22. I might have a leg up on you guys on that, since I grew up in a nominally modern, industrialized country which tries really hard to know everything about its people, but is guesstimating when it comes to how many live there because: people lie. They lie for benes.

    Oh, goodness, look at Japan!

    It’s to the point that the only time a visit to give a gift to the Oldest Living Inhabitant in an area ends with the discovery that they have been dead for a while is when it happens several times in a row and they DIDN’T check before showing up.

    And Japan is famous for being all Follow The Rules.

  23. That’s a grim situation to be facing down for sure, though expanding on those thoughts, especially whatever part I might play in the whole children game, probably isn’t a good rabbit hole to fall down tonight. Suffice to say the only population I’ll be looking after at this rate is the feline population. I’ll leave it at that and wish those still able to go forth and multiply the best of luck in doing so.

  24. “ Go and make kids. and raise kids. And sound the alarm.
    Because wealth is made of people. And we need more people.”
    The problem with this are all of the grifters, mooches, and welfare scam artists. I’ve mostly raised my two children and I’m currently paying for two college educations. When my hard working, tax paying children enter the work force all the childless “gimme dat” mooches who were to “busy” doing vastly important things will expect my children to work and provide the mooches social security and medical support in their old age. Having children is pure sacrifice for the working and middle class. Only the rich and the “gimme dat” subsidized poor can really afford to have children in this day and age with the way our society is set up. Professor Reynolds is fond of saying “you get more of what you reward”. At this point in time and for the last several decades raising children responsibly in the middle class has been punished by our government and society. Childlessness and irresponsible single motherhood has been celebrated and subsidized. I’m proud of my children, and I love them very much; but when I dispassionately examine the monetary, emotional and temporal investments that were required to get them this far, if given a do over I would have to think long and hard before being a working class or middle class parent in America today

    1. Rolls eyes. HARD.
      Yeah, mooches and leeches. Or as you can tell, humans responding to the wrong incentives.
      Mooching and leeching is cultural. And not DEEP culture. It’s just …. responding to incentives.
      Stop the incentives, and those are productive people.
      Oh, incidentally, you can pay for college educations for your kids. Or set the money on fire. The second might be more productive, and I say that as a parent who made the same mistake, and not because my kids aren’t hardworking, etc.

    2. Eventually, the mooching will stop. And it will stop when enough people get fed up with it. That will happen either because the mooching become too pronounced, or the pie that’s being mooched from shrinks too much to tolerate the mooching.

      But one way or the other, when it becomes a serious enough problem, it will be brought to a sudden halt.

      1. Oh absolutely. It just won’t happen via voting, or court cases, or anything except blood in the streets.

    3. Only the rich and the “gimme dat” subsidized poor can really afford to have children in this day and age with the way our society is set up.

      And once again, somehow, I don’t exist….

      It’s possible.

      You have to think, and plan, and work like crazy, and yes it’s a sacrifice. Especially if you homeschool.

      But take that nonsense and flush it down the toilet, it’s not just a lie it’s a like that attacks those who do the freaking work while excusing those who DIDN’T.

      1. Sacrifice? Compared to what? Financially? Not really. We made our choice.

        We only have the one child. Did we ever go to Europe, Asia, or even Hawaii? Um, no. Would we have gone if we weren’t raising a child? Um, no. Are we going now? No.

        OTOH the wonder when a 4 year old watches ants work. The wide eyed wonder seeing a doe or elk just off the trail. Watching him watch a bear pull off berries, from the safety of a truck. To watch him play tour guide at the double train loop, just west of Banff. Information he’d had just learned and watched a train actually go on the track through the lower tunnel and loop back on itself. Everyone thought it was adorable. To watch a child give an adult instructions on how to pickup leaves; so it took a lot longer than otherwise. Should I go on? Anyone who has raised, or is raising, children knows exactly what I’m talking about. Most of us wouldn’t change the experiences for anything.

        Also, the teen years? I swear that is nature preparing parents to let the offspring leave the nest and fly.

        1. Compared to the stuff I’m assured is so normal as to be mandatory for life– like spa days, or going out to eat regularly, and at places without a kid’s menu. Living somewhere that is based off of the kids being able to be outside and getting to offspring-stuff, rather than parental-appeal stuff. Cars chosen that way, too. And vacations. My folks never had a choice of school districts, but did the same you did– took the kid with them to work when they could.

          Treating kids like family, not pets.

          Sister in law’s good friend was one of those sent home during the shutdown.

          She has discovered that she actually likes being around the kid, and the big, wonderful birthday gift of an overnight visit to a spa to be pampered meant…she wanted to be home with her husband and son, about five hours in.

          … I do think most of us would wish the ears-shut-off-not-listening feature could be at least sometimes deactivated, though.

          1. Guess we’re weird then. None of the items on the list of “so normal to be mandatory” has ever been on either of our to-do list, let alone on our must-do list. This is before kid, after kid was raised, and now. The only list any of them are on are hubby’s must-mock-list, if the topic comes up …

            I think we went to a new fancy expensive, not family friendly, restaurant once on purpose, and another one on accident, in our few years of marriage … We avoid the type like a plague. Oops. I’m wrong. Might have hit a couple last couple of weeks on our trip. One in Red Lodge, MT, the other in Estes Park, CO … There had to be more family friendly options, but boy did the tourist towns hide them. Estes Park, where we were for more than a few nights, we ended up buying bread, cheese, and lunch meat, for our late lunch/dinner options. I’d already packed the between meal snacks I need on hand, just went through more of those.

              1. None of that routine, fancy stuff ever sounded appealing to me either, though between games and cats it could be said I just blow my money on different weird things and can’t really talk. Not that this makes the whole me of all people having kids at some point thing any easier for me to wrap my head around, especially at my age and being in such bad shape mentally…

                1. Well there is that … looking at current 4 cats, 4th most recently acquired, and the one dog. (To date, for anyone keeping count, that is 15 cats, and 3 dogs, if one doesn’t count the inlaws one we inherited for however briefly). We tend to pay for elderly care too. None of which is inexpensive; especially now.

                  We’ve also done the RV thing over the last 32 or so years, just recently passing it on (selling) to someone else, and basing the finances for current excursions utilizing hotels. Again, not inexpensive.

                  1. Sad part is that was the milder, bite had largely faded version of what was rattling around in my head earlier that day. I’m mostly better now, thankfully, after some serious walking.

            1. It’s not so much that I *like* it, as that it’s a way of life.

              Like how if you want to eat, you’re going to have to cook; if you ate, then you need to wash up. A well lived duty is a reason to live, and it’s fulfilling.

              “Like” is just not quite the right word.

              It needs doing. I wouldn’t be here if someone else hadn’t done it– a lot of someones. I can do it. I should do it.

              1. It’s comfortable?
                But I did like it too. Which is weird, because I don’t like “generic” kids. But I LOVED raising mine. It was so much fun. And I suspect I’d like raising other kids too.
                Yes, exasperating, exhausting, etc. But to watch them grow and become themselves! that is worth everything.
                BTW I do agree with d. Adolescence is designed to make us want to throw them out. And then one day they are adults, and incredibly protective of you, and you just…. They’re your little kid and a wonderful adult, and your heart sort of bursts.

        2. Anyone who has raised, or is raising, children knows exactly what I’m talking about.

          Apparently not everyone. You can tell the one’s who don’t by their complaining about how it wasn’t worth it because taxes.

      2. Fox… you must be part unicorn. That’s why people have trouble believing in you. Every one knows Unicorns don’t exist so can do impossible things Every day! You and Ox get the Mythological table.;)

        1. If I was home I’d go dig up the Hobbit and copy down some of the “we’re here, you just don’t notice us” stuff. 😀

          Besides, you Don’t Exist, too! Conservative geeky lady who is single, doesn’t have kids or an ex husband, and is interested in males? Don’t exist. All the sane females are taken.

            1. Must’ve gotten you crossed with someone in my head– but my husband had to point out to some of our geek group that I had been there while they were complaining about exactly that. 😀

          1. Well, considering how many geek girls I meet run the gauntlet from Full Woke to “But Right Wingers are so mean/crazy/only care about big corporations” soft left that people meet it’s not like you can blame us single non-left geeks for feeling like our female counterparts may very well be unicorns… =P

              1. Me, too. Which is why still single when the BBESP introduced me to my now-husband. I was 38. To be fair, I was also overseas (as I was quite a bit 2000-2020. 9 years, total. 10 if you count the deployment). Being an Odd in the military, especially long-term, can make it really difficult to pattern-match to a mate.

                Okay, and the documented SJW takeover of geekdom in the last twenty years makes it difficult and dangerous to go looking, as well.

                1. Sounds like single, not-left geeks really need a place of their own away from leftist nonsense to meet and mingle. Of course that’s easier said than done, especially with so many tech companies being woke, not to mention how the wokists always bully their way into everything before turning it into their personal toilet…

                  1. I’m working as hard as I can. As of right now, I need 3 females, 25 to 40. Unfortunately a lot of right wing females date leftist losers. G-d knows why.

                    1. On the first part, take care of yourself and your stories first. We can wait. 🙂 This is just a subject my black dog really likes to get bitey over for some unholy reason. As for the why, not sure other than maybe a misguided sense of “it’s not right to judge someone by their politics and he’s a nice guy otherwise” or the “maybe he’ll change if I explain it well enough” take on the whole bad boy thing. Not like I’ve got much of an understanding of the subject, though, so I’ll freely admit to just spitballing here, and likely doing so very badly.

  25. The population thing is a meme, ten words and a picture designed to create an emotional response. And like all memes, it’s highly simplified and mostly wrong, with a hint of truth buried in the lies.

  26. It seems apparent that in some of the more ‘Fashionable’ circles of the wealthiest of people in the West that there are simply too many people in the world. Too many of THOSE people. You know, not like them. After all, how many landscapers does it take to plant the pansies in the water feature?
    We have all seen the mutterings of the mouthpiece academics and political operators. I think it was a guy named Eziekel Immanuel who advocated for sterilants in drinking water? This thread highlights the fact that demographically, Human kind is in heap, big trouble. The advent of the pill, coupled with the relentless campaign to ensure that every female possible is taking it has had its effect. -I don’t want to get into the weeds of how it is marketed, or whether it is good or bad. The real danger here is the desire of these fashionable people to kill. If they were patient, the population collapse they long for would come; but that has with it the unpleasant side effect that they will too, grow old and die off before this comes to fruition. This is an intolerable inconvenience. Where’s the fun in killing millions if you don’t get to pull the trigger? I saw a true story years ago, about two tigers that attacked an elephant. they leapt on it’s head, scratched out its eyes, tore at it, but couldn’t kill it. They never had any intention to. After a while they grew bored and sauntered off into the jungle content to let their victim die in agony. How very human of them. The desire to kill, to capture another creature and rend it is as fixed in our DNA as having fingers and toes. Civilization has tried to harness that energy into non-violent outlets so men could live together: Commerce, service, religion, -you get the point. When these urges are no longer restrained then someone has to die, and with the last century of rivers of blood shed across the world we cannot ignore what happens when the will to kill is unleashed. I don’t know how, but we in the West need a revival. -That’s not the word I really want to use there but at the moment can’t think of a better one. A revival of the ideas of the enlightenment, of such things as the truth of belief in good and evil, of G-d and the fact that we as a species are still utterly benighted when it comes to understanding the world around us, the Universe, or ourselves.

  27. Well, just found out about another little bit of wrongness…. Here’s the video. There’s a lot of preliminary chatting, and it gets down to business about ten minutes in.

    Apparently, back in 2016, the guy who currently is running the Carmelite orders, male and female, decided to tell all the cloistered contemplative female Carmelites that they weren’t allowed to be cloistered anymore, and should “get with the times” and become active sisters instead.

    Mind you, the whole reason for being a Carmelite is to be a contemplative. There are various houses and orders with various levels of activity and cloistering, depending on the needs of the local church; but the male and female hardcore contemplatives, who do constant prayer for everyone in the world, are pretty much the living reason why Carmelites have made a difference through the centuries. They live in poverty and austerity.

    So yeah, the Vatican Congregation for the Religious is now “helping” by rewriting the nuns’ constitutions and rules by fiat, with the permission of their boss, and apparently the goal is to get nuns to quit. Especially the young nuns who are the future of the order, but also the old nuns who gave their life to the order and often have no living relatives.

    Now, obviously most orders that have been around long enough will deal with cruddy bosses, cruddy bishops, and even a few hostile or annoying or venal popes. But “let’s destroy or suppress the orders that are doing well and that people like” is one of the most obnoxious.

    Suppressing orders or religious houses, or rewriting their Rules is supposed to be for actual criminal behavior. Things like “stealing money from the faithful” or “swanning around in luxury carriages and going to brothels for sex, instead of staying home and living in poverty” or “hiring mercenary soldiers to run the local area like the Mafia” or “hiring assassins to try to murder a bishop.” The temporary suppression of the Jesuits in the 1700’s is still controversial, mostly because it punished the good while letting the evil get away with whatever they’d been up to. Arguably a lot of orders should have been suppressed or put under supervision for stuff that happened during the abuse crisis, although I think only the Legionaries of Christ were. (They were founded by Maciel, a guy who was totally up to no good from day one, so a total reset of his cultish crud was really needed.)

    But yup, Pope Francis recently has been suppressing and all-but-suppressing religious orders and lay groups left and right, as well as violating all kinds of charters and rights that date back to the Middle Ages, mostly in order to put his guys in charge of them. At first it seemed to be a money grab for orders and groups that had money put aside in the bank, in trusts or investments, or which had lots of donations coming in; but now it seems like they’re going after orders just for being healthy and attracting young people with vocations.

    Just as in the Sixties and Seventies, apparently the future is not supposed to include priests or religious, unless they are very woke and very determined to be the last generation to serve. Bleh.

  28. I had three children. My daughter has three children. Both of my sons have had one child each. My younger son’s fiancee has two children. He and his fiancee are planning to try for one more after their wedding. We are doing the best we can afford. 😉


    Long article but boils down to Demographics, Replacement is 2.1 number, and… basically just about everywhere is at something like 1.3 or less. China is at .53, yeah POINT .53

    Either this article or another the demographic expert said the expected China’s population number to be off by 130 MILLION. If needed I’ll see about finding the source. May have been “Whatifalthist” on youtoube

    It’s almost like communist countries… people don’t want to bring kids into a shitty place.

    Even Japan is doing better at 1.3 Have a read, it’s very interesting. Also how China is over reporting population by something like 130 million people. Yeah that much. India has more people now. They went from 1 child policy ending in 2016 to then 2 child now 3 child. Bet they go to “have as many as you can policy” in about 45 minutes.

    1. India also has an even more skewed gender ration than China in its population, based solely on cultural bias, NOT government fiat. That cultural bias also has other implications, because a lot of is based on caste issues. China has issues with ethnic nationalism, though it is so overwhelmingly dominated by the Han that it is hard for outsiders to see that until confronted by it because they are not Han. India has issues with ethnic and religious nationalism, and the different groups are large enough to cause internal governance issues. (There was literally an exchange of fire between officials of two different states in India recently, both thinking they were acting on official business.)

  30. Africa: 17% of the world’s population and 60% of it’s (potential) farmland.
    That means the other 83% of us live on 40% of the world’s farmland and still wind up bailing Africa out.

    1. A LOT of that farmland is being bought by China. Or the corporations (and governments) that control it are being bought and bribed by China. Mostly via loans that use what little industry and infrastructure they have as collateral.

      And while “climate change” writ large is very much a globalist stick used to prod people around, environmental destruction is a real thing, and happening in Africa where Chinese corporations and government (not a LOT of separation there) have influence.

      1. I am completely unworried about China buying up stuff in Africa. I suspect in a conflict between Africa and China, Africa will win. Like I commented here a week ago or so:

        Elbonia: We’re tired of paying the vig. Nationalize all the things!
        China: You can’t do that! Stop, or we’ll… uh…
        Elbonia: Send the mighty Chinese Navy?
        China: Um, uh, we’ll badmouth you to other creditors!
        Elbonia: Other than you, nobody would loan to us anyway. Got anything else?
        China: We’ll take away all our maintenance people and —
        Elbonia: Your fancy stuff will rust into a ruin next to all the other rusted ruins around here. So what?

        1. I think you’re correct. China doesn’t have the reach and African rulers don’t care anyway. I’m their own way the CCP is very naive

          1. yeah, they think that rattling sabers is asia will impress countries that are across an ocean…

              1. Maybe we have badly misread them, and they have a totally awesome genius master plan.

                Yeah, I know I’ve been gloomy and angry recently, but I’m not /that/ gloomy.

  31. Anyone who thinks America is better off with 350 million people than it was with 170 million is smoking some strong stuff.

    We’re way overpopulated for my money. It’s time to grow up and stabilize at replacement growth levels so I can NOT be forced to live with China-level traffic jams.

    1. Oh, grow up. You want to tell folks they need to grow up, you try it, first.

      You offer no support other than appeal to ridicule and a suggestion of either cash or personal certainty, and expect it to sway people into organizing their entire lives around your claimed desire to have the population of the late 50s?

        1. I think he commented once or twice before, but yeah, rather. (Might just have seen similar name somewhere, brain is road fried….)

          I’m sure someone, somewhere, can come up with some way that life in the US isn’t generally better than 1957.

          They probably weren’t doing the dishes or such, but….

    2. So, now that I stopped throwing up every hour (not your fault, Beanstalk boy, but you didn’t help) interesting questions, Jakey:
      HOW do you know we have 350 million? Because I kind of doubt it, and since Clinton our census has been free-form, to count “uncountables.”
      Why do I doubt it? Because ten years ago we were 300 million. Are you going to say we got five million a year over the Southern Border? Are you, Jackey? Or is eeryone reproducing like rabbits?
      Second, you’d like room.
      Sure, get out of NYC. DRIVE. This country has miles and miles of miles and miles.
      Go forth, and isolate yourself.
      Or do you want to live ina city but dictate its size.
      Jackey, you’re an idiot. Mental age ten.
      IF THAT.
      GROW up. Adults think.

  32. I will not despair. I’ve been thinking about my own family. It all depends on how you count it. For example, tracing back to one grandmother and her two sisters, the generations unfold in the aggregate as: 3 -> 6 -> 11 -> 16. So three sisters each had two children, etc. However, for one line, (“A”) it proceeded as: 1->2->3->0. For our own line,(“B”), it proceeded 1->2->5->10.

    If you looked at only line A, which now has no members of child-bearing age, you’d say everything is doomed. On the other hand, if you only looked at line B, where already 6 of the young adults are already in committed relationships, and most of the others are inclined to have families, but haven’t met the right person yet, you’d say everything is ok.

    There does seem to be a difference, though. The members of line A whom I knew, were much more left-inclined, politically, than line B. It’s anecdote, not data, but I do think that the more conservative (or, not gender-studies influenced) members of my children’s friends are more inclined to pair off at appropriate ages, than their more, um, politically correct peers.

    I was interested in this Foreign Policy article at the time (2009):

    He points out that, The 17.4 percent of baby boomer women who had only one child account for a mere 7.8 percent of children born in the next generation. By contrast, nearly a quarter of the children of baby boomers descend from the mere 11 percent of baby boomer women who had four or more children.

    I don’t think the population is shrinking, necessarily. I do think the formula of education (debt) & career first tends to delay childbearing for many women, and make it impossible for some.

  33. Hi,

    Longtime admirer. Can you say where you’re moving to? We are also fairly desperate to escape Colorado, but can’t figure out where to escape to.

    Thanks and best of luck.

    1. No. We considered TN, and they seem to be stupid in pockets. TX and FL are too…. visible.
      So we went east and low altitude, but not out of the west. If it weren’t for the low altitude thing, I’d look to Montana and Wyoming, or Utah.

      1. TN has lovely rural areas and terrible urban areas, unfortunately. I have relatives in some of the good spots, but the microclimates on the east are iffy with my allergies. South Carolina has good places across Sam’s Gap that I keep meaning to come back to, and there’s a divine barbecue place up that way that every human being should eat at, at least once.

        I only know Florida of a few decades past, and even then it was… strange to me. Got along with the ex-Cubans great. The Miami area barhoppers, beach bunnies, and retirees? Not so much. Hope your new place has decent folk around. Too many folk these days going about without the sense the Lord gave baby ducks. Got to keep the good ones close, never know when you might need a friend.

      1. Nice people up that way. At least the ones I met were. But flat… well, I’ve been on oceans that weren’t as flat as Iowa. *chuckle* I like my little mountains. The place where I was born, you get sunrises at nearly ten am in the winter time.

        1. I offended the nice lady at one of the campgrounds who was telling us about a mountain peak that was TWO THOUSAND FEET HIGH!


          My home *valley* was twice that elevation. Surrounded by mountains.

          I giggled.

          Oceans are a good comparison, though, there’s a ton of ‘waves’.

          1. I’m from Alaska. In college in Massachusetts a friend of mine from Boston said he’d never seen a mountain he couldn’t walk up in an afternoon. This was in context of me taking over his D&D campaign when he graduated, and asking things like “how high up is that storm giant castle” and him saying 2000 feet because those were some of the highest mountains on the continent… [sigh] Yeah, that number quadrupled instantly.

            The thing about Southcentral Alaska that’s different from practically everywhere else I’ve been is that there are no foothills. It’s flat glacier-scoured plain and then BOOM! MOUNTAIN!

            1. 0.o
              I… well, I guess if you measure the mountain from its foot….? They do call the NorCal ones I grew up around the foothills, and the Washington ones are basically mountains that are set on top of mountains….

              It’s so fun to find blind spots, especially in nobody-was-injured ways like that.

              1. Go to Wasilla, AK in Google maps, switch to 3d earth view, and fly around a bit, especially to the east and southeast, and you’ll see what I mean.

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