With Earth’s population hitting 8 billion for the first time on November 15, there are sure to be a lot of people talking about overpopulation. Overpopulation is the idea that at a certain level, our socioeconomic structures will not be able to handle a population that exceeds the limit. The thing about that statement in relation to humanity’s recent achievement is that there is no relation. 8 billion is an impressive number of anything, however, Earth can absolutely sustain humanity for several more centuries to come. The Earth is very large and a lot of space is wasted with inefficiencies and profit motives.
Capitalist Exploitation and Imperialist Aggression
The fact of the matter is that in the capitalist and imperialist world humanity lives in there are too many people. This system creates haves and have-nots so there is a natural limit on how many human beings can exist and thrive in this system. The longer that this system exists the less humanity can thrive. The reason why is that if ever further profits are the ultimate goal then the wealth of entire nations begin to trickle into fewer and fewer hands at the top. This is why a handful of incredibly wealthy people can have the same amount of wealth as half of humanity. This is an extremely inefficient way to run the world. It leaves entire regions of the world with very few resources and creates “kings” in an era that isn’t supposed to have any.
The unequal distribution of resources is a major factor in the problem of overpopulation. It must be reiterated, however, that overpopulation wouldn’t be a problem in a post-capitalist system. The fact of the matter is that humanity created a system of haves and haves nots. It was progressive during the feudalist era, and it got rid of feudalism, however, the population of the world is suffering from the consequences of capitalism being here too long. When only a handful of people have the same amount of wealth as half of humanity, that is a red flag for major capital distribution problems in the global economy.
The Profit Motive
The profit motive is the other major problem with overpopulation. Profit motive is the concept of motivation for profit. Put simply, the profit motive is what drives all economic actions within America. If one seeks to profit, they have a profit motive. However, the profit motive has consequences. In the grand scheme of things, when a global economy seeks greater and greater profits over an extended time, the result is a heavily exploited group of people and a few people that reap the benefits of exploited labor.
Eventually, this happens to entire regions. Entire nations become exploited for their resources. This state of the world is bad for the population of the world. The exploitation of millions of people for labor and their land’s resources is bad. This structuring of the world simply turns the world economy into a grocery store for imperialist nations.
Overpopulation Is a Non Problem
Ultimately, overpopulation is a non-problem. The reason why is that it is a consequence of the current status quo. Overpopulation wouldn’t be a problem if the global economy prioritized cooperation instead of competition. If the global economy prioritized people over profit the world could look different. No human being would ever starve again. America alone wastes 108 billion pounds of food a year. Yet, this food is wasted because it isn’t profitable to distribute it to places that need it.
If the global economy shifted its focus, not on greater profits but genuinely trying to make the world better regardless of whether or not it was profitable it would be great. Earth has finally reached 8 billion people, which means that there are many more people that are being exploited for their labor. The world needs to deal away with the system of haves and have-nots. If not, the next time the world hits a new population record, it may not be such a good thing.
Written by Kenneth Mazerat
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Featured and Top Image Courtesy of James Cridland‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image Courtesy of Nick Saltmarsh‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License