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More peopleNever in world's history the growth in absolute number of people has been on current levels. The UN thinks based on analysis of current population growth processes that the earth population will stabilize around 10 billion in the year 2050. Stabilization because increasing property everywhere has proven to lead (besides to slower dead rates) to less births (smaller families): which will stabilise the world population at a certain level. Of course prediction of such an on many futures factors based figure is very difficult. The historical earth population figures are: 1bn-1804, 2bn-1927, 3bn-1961, 4bn-1974, 5bn-1987 and 6bn-1999. The current world population is approximately 6.7 billion, and the 7 billion number will be reached in 2011. So there a new 1 billion people every average 12 year since 1974. A steady increase of more than 210.000 a day (according to the CIA World Fact Book). An impressive figure that certainly has and will have effects on the global markets. People are good 'stuff', a contribution to the global social, economic and environmental balance, each live is desired and valuable: it's not up to people to decide on other peoples right to live. Yes, population growth is a challenge, but talking about over-population is premature. Everybody who has travelled a lot knows that 98% of the land of the earth is really under-crowded instead of overcrowded. Overpopulation doomsday preachers are mostly city based people with no kid experience (never been touched by the miracle of giving live) and reactionary visions on technology and society, wanting to influence other people's life too easily for the sake of maintaining their small narrowed overcrowded polluted world. The rural area's on earth still have declining population which automatically drains the social and economic quality of life in these rural area's. Everything is relative. Remote office technologies will revitalize rural populations: cheap houses, clean air and social structures will become due internet technology parallel non conflicting, each other enforcing powers. Yes, there are huge issues to address. Yes, people lives today too concentrated (mainly in cities) in too small area's. Yes, there is no energy for 10 bn as the 2 bn western people now use (but also for that 2 bn, cheap and abundant energy is running out, so everybody faces the same challenges): PeakOil/PeakX has no more to do with population growth that is has occurred some years earlier, really not anything more than that. Yes, there is no iron for 10 bn people (but we will use other new construction material as iron becomes too expensive: minerals/elements are maybe not the problem: we can 'work around' this huge problem as cost of minerals/elements will rise). Example: The very high Petronas Twin towers in Malaysia doesn't have a steel core, but a core of enforced concrete (scary thought for such a high buildings). Yes, there is no soil to give 10 bn people each 100 kg of wheat intensive produced meat a year (but there are less wheat intensive production methods and we need to find meat replacements in our eat cultures that taste as good or even better as meat prices will rise back to the relative high historical levels that they where). Yes, the concept of cities losing with each energy and food price increase more of it attraction. Cities are in nature energy and food deficit. Food deficiency can be (low energy demand / low space demand) solved (see, but cities still will be energy deficit unless fusion or other 'tapping or harvesting' technology will make energy again cheap and abundant available, till that period the energy market situation is not positive for the city concept. The prices of real estate in cities will move to rural levels with each energy and food price rise time after time a little further. Less crowded, greener cities and more populated, more tech rural area's will be the result. And yes Thomas Robert Malthus his "An Essay on the Principle of Population" (six enhanced versions between 1798 en 1826) is interesting, but it's written before birth control inventions, and in times without the Internet (where therefore cities and rural area's had total different and separated functions), a barrier that's fading more and more away by the function increase of the Internet. Today again 211.090 people more live on planet earth. Like economies needs young generations, the earth needs young populated nations. Old people are finishing things, young people are building things. We need smart governments to steer this. Not in totalitarianism dictating, but intelligent solutions stimulating.

Author: Gijs Graafland

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