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MAX KUMMEROW CURTIN UNIVERSITY, PERTH, AUSTRALIA (ECONOMICS) VICKI WATSON UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA MISSOULA (ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES)

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Presentation on theme: "MAX KUMMEROW CURTIN UNIVERSITY, PERTH, AUSTRALIA (ECONOMICS) VICKI WATSON UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA MISSOULA (ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES)"— Presentation transcript:

1 MAX KUMMEROW CURTIN UNIVERSITY, PERTH, AUSTRALIA (ECONOMICS) VICKI WATSON UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA MISSOULA (ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES) Implementing K* Choosing and moving towards optimum global carrying capacity for humans

2 Observe or choose? Positivism: change beliefs if they differ from facts Ethics: try to change facts, where they differ from beliefs  Scott Gordon History and Philosophy of the Social Sciences Natural sciences: Observe & report Social sciences: Observe, design, create, choose, act “economics is a moral science….it involves introspection and judgments of value”  J.M. Keynes Letter to Harrod

3 Choose K* (optimum) < K (maximum) ? Humanity can adjust reproduction behaviors to target a preferred population level, K* (K star) Feasible (and cheap) via birth control, abortion, sterilization, education, economic incentives Implement via institutional changes  Cultural family size preferences  Health care & family planning technology & delivery  Education & empowerment of women  Pro or anti natalist policies & incentives

4 Choice of K* depends on many factors:  Desired standard of living for self and others  Dietary trophic level (how much meat to eat?)  Expected rate of technology innovations (increases K)  Exhaustion of natural capital stocks (decreases K)  Space allocated to other species  Worry about risks of changing the planet too much  Aesthetics & preferences for space, congestion, freedom, wildness  Worry about future generations

5 Human Fertility 2.1 = replacement rate with low mortality = “natural” fertility rate without contraception Before 20 th century, child and infant mortality rates (~500/1000), TFR ~ country fertility rates range from 7

6 Demographic momentum Populations increase for 40+ years after fertility falls  One child policy 1979, 900 m., China peaks 2040, 1.4 b.  Births exceed deaths after fertility falls Between 1972 and 2012  World growth fell from 2% to 1%  But population doubled from 3.5 billion to 7 billion. Growth 80 million per year, 1 billion in 12 years

7 World Fertility Experiment Results 28 peaceful countries TFR 1.6, 28 violent countries TFR 4.7 (41% low,43% mid, 16% high) Source: U.N & World Bank figures

8 Backlash against family planning Reagan & Bush opposed abortion, cut family planning budgets Birth control linked to environmentalists, opposed by polluters Labeled racist by political left (Marx opposed Malthus) Some assumed problem solved due to falling fertility Focus on “growth” and “jobs” disregards ecological limits, assumes population growth a goal Male opposition to empowering women (key to lower fertility) Population almost a taboo subject, even at ecology meetings

9 Theoretical v Actual Demographic Transitions Assumption: Occurs automatically with modernization Reality: Requires empowerment of women, education, legal abortion, leadership, PR campaigns, funding, major cultural changes, not at all certain to be completed

10 1 billion to 10 billion in 250 years, (7.2 b. now) Growth in poor, high fertility countries = migration pressures

11 Projections contingent on future fertility Medium, low and high fertility differ by 1/2 child/couple Medium assumes convergence of all countries to near 2.1 (replacement) by Current country TFR ranges from 7 U.N. Population Projections 2012, billions ConstantLowHighMedium

12 Culture as an evolutionary selection factor “In developed countries, family size preferences make “cultural selection” the strongest driver of evolutionary change. Moreover, Lamarckian transmission of acquired characteristics does occur with “memes.”” Kaufman, Eric Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth, 2010 Fundamentalists of all religions have more children, even in the context of developed countries 2 Mormons 1829, 14.1 million 2012 = 9% growth rate

13 Fertility differences change population proportions fast >2.1 exponential growth, <2.1 exponential decay Secular 1.5 kids Fundamentalist 3 kids%Secular % Fundamentalist Total Population Weighted avg Fertility Gen % Gen %66.7% Gen %80.0% Gen %88.9% Gen %94.1% Gen %99.8%

14 Current economy unsustainable Species holocaust, ecological instablity Climate change Half of world’s food from natural gas (N2+CH4) Soil loss exceeds soil formation on crop lands “Energy slaves” from fossil fuels) increase output multiplying Labor in production function by 200  Y =f(T,K,L*200)

15 In 1800 small economy, big world Now big economy small world 30-50% over long term carrying capacity Exponential growth, fixed resource Herman Daly: Steady State Economy

16 Reproduction a fundamental human right All must have equal childbearing rights  Reject racism of early Social Darwinists But reproduction creates external effects on others And emergent effects—climate change, extinction Individual rationality causes collective irrationality  Game Theory Prisoner’s Dilemma  “Tragedy of the commons” So regulation of family size by society justified

17 Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Case Against Kids New Yorker, April 12, 2012 Some additional people add to quality of life, but too many make life poorer, less safe In biology, too much is as bad as too little  (like number of people in a lifeboat)

18 Personal rationale for K* Check your ecological footprint: (author’s takes 7 earths to support everybody at my level)http://www.myfootprint.org/ So multiply current population by 1/7 Multiply by ½ to allow slack in the system and allow ecosystems to recover Conclusion: K* = about half a billion people Allows scale economies, high energy urban lifestyles  10 cities 10 m, 20 cities 5 m, small cities 200 m, 100 m rural

19 Feasible paths to 500 million Global one child for 4 generations (or faster or slower)  8 (in year 2025), 4, 2, 1,.5 (by 2125?) ) Or higher mortality & permanent decrease in K  Lovelock predicts 1 billion by 2100  Limits to growth predicts collapse, 10 billion to 5 billion by 2100

20 Fertility transitions implemented by: Choose target population and path to K* via public debate Top level government leadership Empowerment and education of women Cultural change (via education, research, etc.) Public relations campaigns (Mexican novellas) Legal abortion Subsidies for birth control “One child” or “two child” policies Subsidize first child, internalize external costs of third child  World Bank The Global Family Planning Revolution

21 Family planning alone not enough to save the earth Reform media and education  Inform not sell (current mass media profit motivated)  Educated public essential for democracy to function Reduce population  Transition half done, needs completion Steady state economy  Huge cultural change (less greed, less consumption, more “leisure”)  Cuban and “happiness research” development model—salsa & relationships, not stuff Protect environment  Carbon tax, protect bio-diversity Social justice  Universal human rights & equality Synergy, interdependence & simultaneity

22 Low fertility K* feasible utopia Operate economy on current solar energy inputs End depletion of natural capital stocks Economy of abundance rather than scarcity Long lives, high energy lifestyles, peace Reality check:  Sweden: kids do not starve, peaceful, forests, TFR 1.8  Afghanistan : TFR 5.5, violence, infant mortality 120/1000

23 21 st century moral choices Standard of living? (How much energy use?) Do future generations count? Do other species matter? Can the world be stable & peaceful half rich and half poor? Low birth rates/long lives or High birth rates/short lives?

24 Astronaut’s insight: “It’s a long way to the next waterhole” The Home Planet, Kevin Kelley, editor.


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