Overpopulation not a problem for planet - Collegiate Times : Opinion

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Overpopulation not a problem for planet

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Posted: Monday, January 23, 2012 12:00 am

Josh Trebach’s article “Overpopulation: A US Issue” (Jan. 19) lacks credibility. You state that the “environment cannot sustain more people — we cannot even sustain everyone in the world today.” Your claims are unsubstantiated and misleading.

There is more food being produced per capita than at any point in history according to The Economist magazine. In fact, the proportion of starving people in the world has declined from about 35 percent in 1970 to about 18 percent in 1990. 

As recently as 2010, the proportion of starving people has dropped to 13.6 percent. These statistics are straight from the Food and Agriculture Organization. You can judge for yourself whether you think we are in danger of “breeding ourselves to our own


In addition, “carrying capacity” of the environment cannot be used to defend his claim that population is growing at a threatening rate. Carrying capacity refers to the amount of people that can be sustained in the current environment, for example, with the current technology. The developments in agricultural technology have consistently increased food production at a higher rate than population growth.

A basic understanding of economics would also help set the record straight. When a resource becomes more scarce, it becomes more highly valued. The higher price attached to that resource discourages people from seeking more of it. So in this case, if the means of human survival decline, the birthrate also will decline without any “deliberate precautions.”

Frankly, your conclusion “we need to take deliberate precautions to guarantee sustainable population growth right now,” is a little startling. Not only are you basing this claim on an unsound premises, you stop just short of saying people should not be free to decide how many kids to have. And this comes after you argue against politicians being in Americans’ bedrooms. This is an outrageous suggestion, especially because it is not substantiated with facts. 

-Dalton Kissell

senior economics major

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