And Then There Were Too Many

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

What is hazarded is not our life - but our quality of life. As any insurance actuary will attest, we are governed by statistical datasets.

Consider this single fact:

About 1% ofrepparttar population suffer fromrepparttar 132506 perniciously debilitating and all-pervasive mental health disorder, schizophrenia. Atrepparttar 132507 beginning ofrepparttar 132508 20th century, there were 16.5 million schizophrenics - nowadays there are 64 million. Their impact on friends, family, and colleagues is exponential - and incalculable. This is not a merely quantitative leap. It is a qualitative phase transition.

Or this:

Large populations lead torepparttar 132509 emergence of high density urban centers. It is inefficient to cultivate ever smaller plots of land. Surplus manpower moves to centers of industrial production. A second wave of internal migrants caters to their needs, thus spawning a service sector. Network effects generate excess capital and a virtuous cycle of investment, employment, and consumption ensues.

But over-crowding breeds violence (as has been demonstrated in experiments with mice). The sheer numbers involved serve to magnify and amplify social anomies, deviate behaviour, and antisocial traits. Inrepparttar 132510 city, there are more criminals, more perverts, more victims, more immigrants, and more racists per square mile.

Moreover, only a planned and orderly urbanization is desirable. The blights that pass for cities in most third world countries arerepparttar 132511 outgrowth of neither premeditation nor method. These mega-cities are infested with non-disposed of waste and prone to natural catastrophes and epidemics.

No one can vouchsafe for a "critical mass" of humans, a threshold beyond whichrepparttar 132512 species will implode and vanish.

Luckily,repparttar 132513 ebb and flow of human numbers is subject to three regulatory demographic mechanisms,repparttar 132514 combined action of which gives hope.

The Malthusian Mechanism

Limited resources lead to wars, famine, and diseases and, thus, to a decrease in human numbers. Mankind has done well to check famine, fend off disease, and staunch war. But to have done so without a commensurate policy of population control was irresponsible.

The Assimilative Mechanism

Mankind is not divorced from nature. Humanity is destined to be impacted by its choices and byrepparttar 132515 reverberations of its actions. Damage caused torepparttar 132516 environment haunts - in a complex feedback loop -repparttar 132517 perpetrators.


Immoderate use of antibiotics leads torepparttar 132518 eruption of drug-resistant strains of pathogens. A myriad types of cancer are caused by human pollution. Man isrepparttar 132519 victim of its own destructive excesses.

The Cognitive Mechanism

Humans intentionally limitrepparttar 132520 propagation of their race through family planning, abortion, and contraceptives. Genetic engineering will likely intermesh with these to produce "enhanced" or "designed" progeny to specifications.

We must stop procreating. Or, else, pray for a reduction in our numbers. This could be achieved benignly, for instance by colonizing space, orrepparttar 132521 ocean depths - both remote and technologically unfeasible possibilities. Yet,repparttar 132522 alternative is cataclysmic. Unintended wars, rampant disease, and lethal famines will ultimately trim our numbers - no matter how noble our intentions and how diligent our efforts to curb them.

Is this a bad thing?

Not necessarily. To my mind, even a Malthusian resolution is preferable torepparttar 132523 alternative of slow decay, uniform impecuniosity, and perdition in instalments - an alternative made inexorable by our collective irresponsibility and denial.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Visit Sam's Web site at

The Ecology of Environmentalism

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Social ecologists profferrepparttar same prescriptions but with an anarchistic twist. The hierarchical view of nature - with Man atrepparttar 132503 pinnacle - is a reflection of social relations, they suggest. Dismantlerepparttar 132504 latter - and you get rid ofrepparttar 132505 former.

The Ethicists appear to be as confounded and ludicrous as their "feet onrepparttar 132506 ground" opponents.

Biocentrists view nature as possessed of an intrinsic value, regardless of its actual or potential utility. They fail to specify, however, how this, even if true, gives rise to rights and commensurate obligations. Nor was their case aided by their association withrepparttar 132507 apocalyptic or survivalist school of environmentalism which has developed proto-fascist tendencies and is gradually being scientifically debunked.

The proponents of deep ecology radicalizerepparttar 132508 ideas of social ecology ad absurdum and postulate a transcendentalist spiritual connection withrepparttar 132509 inanimate (whatever that may be). In consequence, they refuse to intervene to counter or contain natural processes, including diseases and famine.

The politicization of environmental concerns runsrepparttar 132510 gamut from political activism to eco-terrorism. The environmental movement - whether in academe, inrepparttar 132511 media, in non-governmental organizations, or in legislature - is now comprised of a web of bureaucratic interest groups.

Like all bureaucracies, environmental organizations are out to perpetuate themselves, fight heresy and accumulate political clout andrepparttar 132512 money and perks that come with it. They are no longer a disinterested and objective party. They have a stake in apocalypse. That makes them automatically suspect.

Bjorn Lomborg, author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist", was atrepparttar 132513 receiving end of such self-serving sanctimony. A statistician, he demonstrated thatrepparttar 132514 doom and gloom tendered by environmental campaigners, scholars and militants are, at best, dubious and, at worst,repparttar 132515 outcomes of deliberate manipulation.

The situation is actually improving on many fronts, showed Lomborg: known reserves of fossil fuels and most metals are rising, agricultural production per head is surging,repparttar 132516 number ofrepparttar 132517 famished is declining, biodiversity loss is slowing as do pollution and tropical deforestation. Inrepparttar 132518 long run, even in pockets of environmental degradation, inrepparttar 132519 poor and developing countries, rising incomes andrepparttar 132520 attendant drop in birth rates will likely amelioraterepparttar 132521 situation inrepparttar 132522 long run.

Yet, both camps,repparttar 132523 optimists andrepparttar 132524 pessimists, rely on partial, irrelevant, or, worse, manipulated data. The multiple authors of "People and Ecosystems", published byrepparttar 132525 World Resources Institute,repparttar 132526 World Bank andrepparttar 132527 United Nations conclude: "Our knowledge of ecosystems has increased dramatically, but it simply has not kept pace with our ability to alter them."

Quoted by The Economist, Daniel Esty of Yale,repparttar 132528 leader of an environmental project sponsored by World Economic Forum, exclaimed:

"Why hasn't anyone done careful environmental measurement before? Businessmen always say, ‘what matters gets measured'. Social scientists started quantitative measurement 30 years ago, and even political science turned to hard numbers 15 years ago. Yet look at environmental policy, andrepparttar 132529 data are lousy."

Nor is this dearth of reliable and unequivocal information likely to end soon. Evenrepparttar 132530 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, supported by numerous development agencies and environmental groups, is seriously under-financed. The conspiracy-minded attribute this curious void torepparttar 132531 self-serving designs ofrepparttar 132532 apocalyptic school of environmentalism. Ignorance and fear, they point out, are amongrepparttar 132533 fanatic's most useful allies. They also make for good copy.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Visit Sam's Web site at

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