The world population growth rate is slowing.

In his recent essay in The Des Moines Register, Jonathan Wilson wrote regarding the Earth’s population, “The current rate of population increase is simply not sustainable.” That statement is literally true. The rate of the world’s population increase has been slowing for decades. According to a forecast by the United Nations, which is more pessimistic than other forecasts, the world population is expected to peak at about 11 billion people near the end of this century and then begin to decline.

A clear pattern has been established. As countries around the world have become more affluent, their population growth rates have slowed. As people gain more income and wealth they have better access to birth control and respond to the various costs associated with having more children by having fewer of them. So, maybe the best thing we can do to further slow the rate of population increases is to help people in poorer countries to improve their economic situation. We might best do that by reducing barriers to free trade. Good jobs in poor countries will also result in fewer people wanting to illegally immigrate to other richer countries like the U.S.

Link to Johathan Wilson’s essay in The Des Moines Register:


One thought on “The world population growth rate is slowing.

  1. Good job stating it simply for Register readers. Two of my recent columns on this subject:

    The Sierra Club and Me

    Back in the early 1970s I planned a backpacking trip in Idaho. While visiting over supper at my friend, Bob Gardiner’s house in Berkeley, a student named Janet who was renting a room there said she planned on going to Idaho with the Sierra Club. I went along.

    We hitched to Grangeville, Idaho. I remember sleeping in the city park there. We tore out any “improvements” the Civilian Conservation Corps had made in the nearby Selway-Bitterroot wilderness during the Great Depression. The Sierra Club brought ribeyes and watermelons by horseback 15 miles from the nearest road.

    In the paper last week was an ad placed by the Sierra Club. It was opposing a new carbon dioxide pipeline. Bruce Rastetter’s Summit Carbon Solutions would take the carbon dioxide from ethanol plants and other industrial sources to be sequestered underground in South Dakota or used where CO2 is needed for other uses. The Sierra Club claims it will enable the use of fossil fuels rather than discourage it.

    There are projects springing up all over the world to capture CO2. Orca just opened in Iceland. It is a $15 million series of fans and tubes designed to take CO2 out of the air and pump it underground. It can do this for at least $600 per ton. In a year Orca will capture 3 seconds of humanity’s production of CO2 (and put it where plants can’t use it). Beverage companies will pay $110 per ton for CO2.

    The ethanol industry is in love with the “deadly gas” pipeline. They use coal and natural gas to cook the corn and their owners must feel terribly guilty about that fossil fuel use. By the way, the fact that the ethanol plants don’t cook their corn with ethanol should be a clue to anyone about the legitimacy of any ethanol mandates or subsidies.

    Let’s look into the reason for all of this hullabaloo. It is that coastal areas will flood from melting ice raising the sea levels and warm areas will become uninhabitable because they will be too hot for life. Watermelons have changed “global warming” to “climate change” because of inconsistent data. Watermelons are green on the outside and red on the inside.

    Human activity is blamed for the changing climate and some believe that activity can be managed by law to mitigate our effect. Even the vaguest computer models have failed to show any significant move in that direction that doesn’t make things too expensive for our society to absorb, especially those living on the margins. The means and consequences are rarely, if ever discussed by the watermelons.

    The watermelons claim to be concerned for the poor. But their actions indicate that concern has led to illogical and overly simplistic policy positions. The rich, who supposedly hoard wealth to the detriment of the poor, are the ones who have proven skills developing useful industries that make things better for the poor.

    But as government is recruited by scam artists seeking government help for industries that can’t pay their own way (such as ethanol and windmills) the Red’s claims are validated. Class warfare ensues and legitimate businesses are demonized and handicapped by regulation and taxation as they are lumped into the same boat as ethanol and CO2 pipelines.

    Someone will pay the $4.5 billion to build the pipeline. The Reds will say the money should go to social programs or more unsustainable climate mitigating scams. But that view leaves out those of us who actually earned it and deserve it.

    I will be siding with the Sierra Club but not for the purpose they profess. The pipeline is simply a waste of money.

    Carbon Dioxide, Hazardous Waste?

    I missed the Summit Carbon Solutions meeting at Maynes Grove Lodge yesterday. As I wrote earlier, Summit plans to build a $4.5 billion pipeline to transport carbon dioxide to North Dakota for burial (so plants can’t use it). It was an informational meeting presumably to fulfill state requirements and maybe attract investors.

    Well I sure miss Monty Python. Those guys did comedy right. Summit is doing it like a billion dollar game of who can take the most money out of a productive economy and make it look right. What makes so-called conservatives buy into this wacko environmentalist garbage?

    How ironic real conservatives joined forces with leftists to oust “constitutional conservative” Steve King from Congress. His support for socialist alternative energy scams was the opposite of constitutionality. And his language regarding “undocumented” residents sealed his fate with so-called moderates. Yet the leftist / environmentalist steam roller keeps chugging along. Many conservatives support big government meddling like ethanol mandates. Companies like Summit present a bizarre project like a CO2 pipeline as a legitimate use of resources.

    We met a nice guy while shopping yesterday. The topic of where to put savings came up. He said he’s thinking of putting some money in the carbon capture pipeline.

    Further discussion led to agreement that all government mandates and subsidies ultimately lead to wasted resources. Short term thinking dominates as long as a bailout is expected. The real issue is personal. What does he do with the fortune he accumulated through decades of hard work? The hope that a fascist alliance of business and government like carbon capture or ethanol can get us old guys through a comfortable old age looks better than 1% interest. He may be right to invest in this craziness. It’s been almost 45 years since I thought the farm program made no sense and couldn’t last.

    The trepidation about where to invest is well-founded. A lot is written about the ominous debt across the world. There is a huge amusement park in China that sits empty because the developer is broke. But word has it that his debt is minuscule compared with the debt of thousands of communities across that country. Here, we have mind boggling student loan debt. To deal with these imbalances the only option will be for governments to monetize it.

    Basically that means loaning banks billions of dollars at no interest forever. That means people like our new friend can’t earn enough interest to maintain his retirement income. In a free market savers go through banks to loan to borrowers. Now the Fed has replaced those savers as a source of capital. Savers are discriminated against. So our friend sees nowhere else to go but insane… insane wasteful and ridiculous pie-in-the-sky nonsense that makes sense to him at this point in time but will ruin the lives of coming generations through wasteful misallocation of resources.

    It’s a shame that such a beautiful system as a free market voluteeristic economy has been hijacked by opportunists who apparently lacked good ideas for an actual valuable niche in society, no matter how well-intentioned they may be.

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