World Population Is Predicted to Start Decreasing during This Century

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Torstai 21.3.2024 klo 18.54 - Mikko Nikinmaa

When the news is flooded with bad news about climate change, biodiversity loss, overuse of natural resources, environmental pollution etc., good news often go unnoticed. And the true good news has in the past years been that the world population is predicted to start decreasing before the end of this century. It will then continue to decline so that in about 300-500 years the population is back to around 2 billion – a marked decrease from the present 8 billion. This change will mean that all the environmental problems mentioned above are easier to tackle. One must notice, though, that the population decrease does not mean that we need not to change our ways of life to be environmentally sustainable. Otherwise the population decrease will only mean that environmental collapse takes place later than it would happen if human population continued to increase.

However, when the population starts to decrease, one needs to develop completely new economic principles. Today, a decrease of population is seen as a problem. Politics and governance have population growth as a wanted phenomenon. In the present-day thinking, only population growth enables the existence of welfare society. The wellbeing of societies is dependent of economic growth. This idea must change. Instead of aiming at getting more and more, societies should be satisfied with things being adequate.

In terms of climate change and other environmental actions, immediate responses are required. Their effectiveness is helped first by diminishing population growth and then by population decline. On the other hand, the principles for economics and politics, developed for declining population, need to be established in about fifty years. I hope there are scientists who are presently developing ideas for economics beyond year 2100.

Avainsanat: climate change, economic growth, sustainability, socioeconomics, politics

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