Why all the population control hate?

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tastybrain
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Sep 30 2011 13:53
LBird wrote:
tastybrain wrote:
Is that seriously all you have to say? Yeah, it's a common sense definition, one that the vast majority of the population would understand and accept.

Oh, I see. A bit like the 'common sense' definition of, err.., say, err... 'the free market', for example?

Explain to me exactly how using this particular common sense definition is as intellectually dishonest as invoking the "free market." Would you reject ALL definitions as the majority understand them? I suppose every single word and concept is tainted by the evils of bourgeois society.

LBird wrote:
tastybrain wrote:
I could not be less interested in abstract, metaphysical debates about the meaning or validity of the concept of "nature".

We're Communists, who try to use the scientific method of uncovering a 'hidden nature', which is not directly understood by 'experience'.

Heraclitus: 'nature hides itself'

Einstein: 'the theory determines what we observe'

You're using the scientific method here? That's news to me.

LBird wrote:
tastybrain wrote:
Again, I am taking as my starting point in all of this communist revolution...

What is 'Communism' to you? From which philosophical point of view?

Oh gee, I don't know. Maybe a classless, stateless society with production for need rather than for profit, direct democratic decision making, social and economic equality, the abolition of money, wage labor, etc, and so on and so forth. So pretty much what most other posters on this site mean when they say 'communism'. Oh, but this might be a common sense definition, so perhaps it should be avoided.

LBird wrote:
tastybrain wrote:
Yes I am interested in practical problems and questions, if this makes me bourgeois then I'm bourgeois.

You came to this conclusion, mate. I didn't say it.

Well if this is true then much of the proletariat is bourgeois. Come to think of it, there are plenty of bourgeois who don't care about "practical problems and questions". Are they proletarians/communists? Good luck recruiting people to your communist movement if you insist that before asking "practical" questions they submit to your philosophical rigmarole and provide a satisfactory "philosophical bedrock."

Once again,

Quote:
Explain to me why I need to provide a satisfactory philosophical bedrock or whatever before we consider the practical problems and solutions which you are effectively dismissing.

LBird
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Sep 30 2011 14:19
tastybrain wrote:
You're using the scientific method here? That's news to me.

Well, since you don't seem to know anything about 'scientific method', it clearly will be 'news to you'. That's what all this discussion is about.

tastybrain wrote:
Good luck recruiting people to your communist movement if you insist that before asking "practical" questions they submit to your philosophical rigmarole and provide a satisfactory "philosophical bedrock."

I'm not trying to 'recruit' anyone. I'm trying to have a philosophical discussion with fellow Communists about 'nature'. Why get so tetchy?

tastybrain wrote:
Once again,

Explain to me why I need to provide a satisfactory philosophical bedrock or whatever before we consider the practical problems and solutions which you are effectively dismissing.

Once again, because your 'philosophical bedrock' will determine what issues you identify as 'practical problems'.

You see 'population numbers' as a 'problem'. I'm trying to explain why you think this way. It's because of your unexamined philosophy.

And why the fuck Khawaga doesn't help, rather than hinder, this process, I'll never know.

LBird
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Sep 30 2011 14:30
Khawaga wrote:
Sure, I agree with that. But for stopping the drastic decline of the ecosystem we don't need your philosophy to identify the problems. They've already been identified more or less (even the bourgeois scienctists get it right sometimes), what is lacking is the will to do it because it clashes with the accumulation of capital.

Please, Khawaga, you have a go at explaining to tastybrain why they're mistaken to lump in 'population' as a problem with other ecological problems.

Khawaga wrote:
I might very well be crasser in what I write, but in essence I am doing exactly the same as you're doing.

What? This sounds like mindless tit-for-tat.

And I never started personal abuse with anyone - after being abused, accused of 'bad faith' (remember that one, comrade?), 'interrogation', 'egotism' (whoever was that?), etc., I've expressed my incredulity that the essential discussion has been ignored, in favour of other posters 'scoring points'. But I'm sorely tempted...

tastybrain
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Sep 30 2011 21:16
LBird wrote:
tastybrain wrote:
You're using the scientific method here? That's news to me.

Well, since you don't seem to know anything about 'scientific method', it clearly will be 'news to you'. That's what all this discussion is about.

Wikipedia wrote:
to be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning

I don't see any empirical evidence so far...

LBird wrote:
tastybrain wrote:
Good luck recruiting people to your communist movement if you insist that before asking "practical" questions they submit to your philosophical rigmarole and provide a satisfactory "philosophical bedrock."

I'm not trying to 'recruit' anyone. I'm trying to have a philosophical discussion with fellow Communists about 'nature'. Why get so tetchy?

Again, I DON'T CARE about meaningless philosophizing in regard to "nature". That is not what this thread is about at all. Talk to me as if I am some worker you don't know from Jack who thinks democratically, non-coercively lowering reproductive rates might be a good idea.

Lbird wrote:
tastybrain wrote:
Once again,

Explain to me why I need to provide a satisfactory philosophical bedrock or whatever before we consider the practical problems and solutions which you are effectively dismissing.

Once again, because your 'philosophical bedrock' will determine what issues you identify as 'practical problems'.

You see 'population numbers' as a 'problem'. I'm trying to explain why you think this way. It's because of your unexamined philosophy.

For this statement to have any relevance whatsoever, you must disagree with me in what I identify as practical problems. Do you really disagree that mountaintop removal and other egregious forms of ecocide are problems? I have already explained why population is one factor, amongst others, which must be addressed if we are to solve these problems in a post-capitalist, post-State, post-class society.

LBird
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Oct 1 2011 05:09

tastybrain, to have become a Communist you must have seen through some of the lies told by our society, for example, 'free markets'. These are based on philosophical ideas that you have rejected.

All I'm saying is that our society is permeated with ideological views which determine how we all understand things. I'm trying to encourage you to continue with what you've already started to do: ask questions about 'common sense' and 'what most people think'. Becoming a Communist means one has to reject the 'common sense' view of economics, politics, history, sociology, etc., etc.

And also of science and nature.

I'll leave it at that, mate. Thanks for at least engaging with the discussion, which many haven't done yet.

tastybrain
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Oct 2 2011 17:04
LBird wrote:
tastybrain, to have become a Communist you must have seen through some of the lies told by our society, for example, 'free markets'. These are based on philosophical ideas that you have rejected.

All I'm saying is that our society is permeated with ideological views which determine how we all understand things. I'm trying to encourage you to continue with what you've already started to do: ask questions about 'common sense' and 'what most people think'. Becoming a Communist means one has to reject the 'common sense' view of economics, politics, history, sociology, etc., etc.

And also of science and nature.

This is all very true, and I don't think "common sense" definitions and concepts should necessarily be accepted. Nor should they be rejected in every case. Not every bourgeois concept is equally flawed or mystifying. Some, like the "free market," are worthless intellectually are are more or less propaganda. Others, like how to build a bridge or a modern ecological understanding of the impact of "populations" on the environment (obviously flawed because it fails to take into account varying consumption and social position within those populations, but we are taking communism as our starting point, no?) I see as fairly sound.

I don't think a revolutionary movement can afford to throw out every single body of knowledge that has developed under bourgeois society. I see no problem in accepting the core insights of disciplines such as engineering or agronomy while re-orienting them to serve need instead of profit. As Khawaga has said, bourgeois science has been forced to recognize some of the problems resulting from the continued dominance of capitalism. Even if they fail to offer real solutions and flog capitalist pseudo-solutions, I so no reason to reject the insights of bourgeois science in such matters as global warming, the poisoning of the oceans, etc. I fail to see the fatal philosophical flaw in my thinking. And I fail to see how environmental degradation is not at least partially affected by population. To me it is a simple equation of resource consumption per person times number of people times "greenness" of technology. With communism will come a leveling out of resource consumption. We can develop better technology to reduce our impact but I don't see anything wrong with also attempting to reduce or at the very least stabilize our population, as long as that reduction is carried out peacefully, democratically, and with utmost respect for the individual.

LBird wrote:
I'll leave it at that, mate. Thanks for at least engaging with the discussion, which many haven't done yet.

Yeah, no problem. You've forced me to think through my ideas on this matter but I'm afraid I still don't see a need to abandon this goal as one of the many goals of a revolutionary communist practice.

LBird
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Oct 2 2011 17:34
tastybrain wrote:
I don't think a revolutionary movement can afford to throw out every single body of knowledge that has developed under bourgeois society.

No, I agree, we can't - I'm not a 'Proletkultist'!

I'm not sure if this is welcome news to you, but even Trotsky would have agreed with you!

Quote:
Leon Trotsky and Aleksandr Voronsky fought against the proletarian culture movement, labeling it self-contradictory and antithetical to the Marxist position on bourgeois art and science. Trotsky and Voronsky argued that the proletariat must hold aloft the highest technical, artistic, and scientific achievements of the bourgeoisie, as they had value for all of humanity.Trotsky believed that the study of bourgeois art was necessary for the artistic education of the Proletariat. In addition, Trotsky argued that it would be impossible for the proletariat to develop its own artistic forms, since by the time the proletariat succeeds in its historical mission of overthrowing the international bourgeoisie it will cease to exist as a social class.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proletkult

Cheers again, tastybrain.

NIHILIST
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Aug 31 2013 19:29

OK, in my opinion and I am trying to think about this logically, the earth has limited resources ( arable land ) for producing food ; eventually this would become impossible to sustain regardless of the political machine. Even if in the foreseeable future it is not a problem logically it eventually would be. If capitalism is the reason, and the solution to these problems is to overthrow a government or political philosophy then it implies some kind of faith that capitalism will be overthrown. If capitalism can not be overthrown then overpopulation definitely is a problem.

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 31 2013 20:03
NIHILIST wrote:
OK, in my opinion and I am trying to think about this logically, the earth has limited resources ( arable land ) for producing food ; eventually this would become impossible to sustain regardless of the political machine. Even if in the foreseeable future it is not a problem logically it eventually would be. If capitalism is the reason, and the solution to these problems is to overthrow a government or political philosophy then it implies some kind of faith that capitalism will be overthrown. If capitalism can not be overthrown then overpopulation definitely is a problem.

This assumes that population outstrips agricultural capacity/productivity. That's probably a reasonable assumption under capitalism, as it's presently organised at least, but I do think it's dependent on social relations. I mean, birth rates tend to fall to ~parity in more developed countries where child mortality is much lower (and necessity for child labour is less). That implies population growth would plateau with a more egalitarian wealth distribution. Plus, there's an enormous potential for hydroponic vertical farms and the like, if need be employing synthetic light powered by renewables.* Now there's very little chance of that being cost effective any time soon under capitalism, but under social relations where preventing hunger trumped cost-benefit analysis diverting resources to make sure nobody goes hungry would seem likely.

* there's still an issue of nutrient depletion in the absence of synthetic fertilisers, but nothing an economical use of faeces probably couldn't fix.

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Chilli Sauce
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Aug 31 2013 20:18
Quote:
nothing an economical use of faeces probably couldn't fix

Best libcom line ever.

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Mr. Jolly
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Aug 31 2013 20:36
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Quote:
nothing an economical use of faeces probably couldn't fix

Best libcom line ever.

Taking my lead.

S. Artesian
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Aug 31 2013 21:06

Not worth it.

NIHILIST
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Aug 31 2013 22:26

Thank you for replying intelligently and humorously!
I am going to assume for sake of argument, that population does or will outstrip capacity, not only of arable land but also living space. This process can not logically continue indefinitely; regardless of whatever machines or inventions capitalists or other forms of government invent.

Are human beings going to mine the oceans for building materials to create these structures? I really don't want the conversation to progress into science fiction scenarios. In my mind a redistribution of wealth and change in government could at best only prolong the inevitable catastrophe. If more people are better off wouldn't this lead to a healthier breeding population?
I'm not saying it would, I am truly asking the question.

This has been a philosophical problem I have that is at odds with my liberal views.

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Malva
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Aug 31 2013 22:41
NIHILIST wrote:
If more people are better off wouldn't this lead to a healthier breeding population?

As far as I understand, in more "developed" countries people tend to have less children and have them later in life. Were this level of development to spread (and I'm not saying that it can) it seems more likely that the world population would reach a peak and decline. This malthusian notion that overpopulation is the source of the world's problems is simply bourgeois ideology.

NIHILIST
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Aug 31 2013 23:15

I would like to add that a cursory internet search of 'population control' gets many hits from people deriding the very idea that it is a concern. Also from reading what their arguments are, they are definitely not communist, anarchist etc.
They seem to be "right wing-god bless america-how dare you suggest we are doing anything wrong-love it or leave it types".
Try telling the First Peoples of the Americas that the influx of European colonists are not the problem, but their governmental philosophies, or the people of the Maldives that there would be plenty of land only if they became communist etc.
To me this is not a political problem, it is the problem with us as human beings and what we have come to.
Believing that communism alone or any other type of governmental change will fix this is too easy, it is a copout that does not address the issue and if true, I think is more important than anything.

radicalgraffiti
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Sep 1 2013 00:13
NIHILIST wrote:
Thank you for replying intelligently and humorously!
I am going to assume for sake of argument, that population does or will outstrip capacity, not only of arable land but also living space.

thats a stupid assumption

NIHILIST wrote:
Try telling the First Peoples of the Americas that the influx of European colonists are not the problem, but their governmental philosophies, or the people of the Maldives that there would be plenty of land only if they became communist etc.

1. what do either of those have to do with population?

2. why do you assume that native americans and people in maldives are thick?

Ablokeimet
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Sep 1 2013 05:45
NIHILIST wrote:
OK, in my opinion and I am trying to think about this logically, the earth has limited resources ( arable land ) for producing food ; eventually this would become impossible to sustain regardless of the political machine. Even if in the foreseeable future it is not a problem logically it eventually would be. If capitalism is the reason, and the solution to these problems is to overthrow a government or political philosophy then it implies some kind of faith that capitalism will be overthrown. If capitalism can not be overthrown then overpopulation definitely is a problem.

OK. We live on a finite planet and Liebig's Law of the Minimum applies. Our (i.e. the human race's) numbers are limited to the quantity which can be supported by the most relatively scarce thing that we need. However, what is scarce and how scarce it is, is subject to a massive amount of socially determined variables.

At present, the human race is engaged in wanton destruction of the environment, because we are organised according to the blind strivings of capitalism - a system which assumes that nature is both a cornucopia and an inexhaustible sink. When we overthrow capitalism and establish Libertarian Communism, we will be able to take rational control of society - the human race will at last determine its affairs collectively. The most immediate and obvious change that would ensue would be the relative equalisation of consumption, but there are more profound changes that would also ensue, some over the following years while others take decades:

(a) Socially unnecessary work would be abolished, leading to a great shortening of the working week.

(b) Environmentally destructive activities would be ceased, because the workers performing the work involved would no longer be chained to these activities by their need for a wage.

(c) Industrial processes would be re-engineered so that necessary production could occur in non-destructive ways.

(d) Goods could be made to last, thus enabling a great lowering of production and its resource use requirements, with a simultaneous increase in living standards.

(e) With the end of alienated labour and socially imposed differences in living standards, the drive for mindless consumption, and particularly "consumption as display", would cease.

With all of these things, we would find that the burden that the human race imposes on the environment would massively decrease. We would be able to make huge strides towards a sustainable society. This would, however, be insufficient for actually reaching sustainability.

To be sustainable, society would need to cease using non-renewable energy. If we don't stop before than, we'll stop when we run out. We would also need to stop using non-renewable resources like deposits of iron, copper, potash, etc. Once again, if we don't stop before then, we'll stop when we run out. This means either finding renewable substitutes, or making those substances renewable by means of closed loop industrial processes and 100% recycling.

Finally, it is only within the limits imposed by these constraints that we will be able to determine what a safe "carrying capacity" of our planet is. I can make a guess and say 1-2 billion people, but I'll probably never live to find out. I can say, however, that if we get rid of capitalism, we'd have quite a long time (in the order of centuries) to make the necessary adjustments, in terms of lifestyle and population, to become fully sustainable. If we don't get rid of capitalism, we're going to Hell in a hand-basket, because capitalism is unsustainable, no matter how low a population you start with.

NIHILIST
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Sep 1 2013 06:43

Thank you, thank you, thank you ; this really hit me like a brick, I needed something, some kind of hope! You have truly given me something to grasp. I was at a loss... existential bullshit?
Thank you for responding intelligently, instead of just deriding my argument.
However I think it implies some sort of faith that this will be, or could be accomplished.
Is science, industry, medicine, etc. the cause and possibly the cure to this dilemma ?

A coin is examined, and only after careful deliberation, given to a beggar, whereas a child is flung out into the cosmic brutality without hesitation! -Peter Wessel Zapffe

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Chilli Sauce
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Sep 1 2013 06:57

Possibly of interest nihilist:

http://libcom.org/library/inefficiency-capitalism-brian-oliver-sheppard

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Kureigo-San
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Sep 1 2013 09:03

It's our electric connection to each other with technology that gives the impression of overpopulation. With TVs and internet, the whole world is in a sense just a small village.

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plasmatelly
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Sep 1 2013 09:15

There's a couple of myths out there that are often the drivers behind arguments for population control - first that previous famines have been in some way linked to over population, second that people are in some way unable to decide how many kids that have themselves. The tone of the population control camp is usually hysterical, as though we all starve to death on Wednesday the 14th. The rules of population control are always directed at the poor and are in no small way racist and anti-working class.

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Auld-bod
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Sep 1 2013 18:34

Plasmatelly #262

‘…that people are in some way unable to decide how many kids that have themselves.’

Now I agree with your post - with this slight reservation. Many people (mainly working class) are under considerable pressure to stop their ‘evil sinful tricks’ in using birth control. Millions of people, particularly women, are under religious and cultural coercion to (not) control their family size. It is wishful thinking to imagine it is otherwise.

I remember well a man who lived in the next close to me ordered the priest out of his house and told him to “Mind his own f***ing business”.

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plasmatelly
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Sep 1 2013 19:48

Auld bod - you're right that there may be pressures other than parents choice. Also over the years we should include political pressure in there too.

44
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Sep 1 2013 20:33
Malva wrote:
NIHILIST wrote:
If more people are better off wouldn't this lead to a healthier breeding population?

As far as I understand, in more "developed" countries people tend to have less children and have them later in life.

This is partially (maybe even predominantly, dunno) due to the financial pressures of child-rearing and the desire to be financially secure before starting a family.

Those pressures would disappear along with capitalism, so I'm not sure how big of a factor this apparent trend is.

(Coincidentally, I was reading this thread the other day, and nearly resurrected it just to say LBird's posts contain some of the most hilarious sophistry I've ever seen.)

NIHILIST
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Sep 2 2013 18:39

In the last 200 years the population of our planet has grown exponentially, at a rate of 1.9% per year. If it continued at this rate, with the population doubling every 40 years, by 2600 we would all be standing literally shoulder to shoulder. - Stephen Hawking

NIHILIST
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Sep 2 2013 18:44

"In accordance with my conception of life, I have chosen not to bring children into the world. A coin is examined, and only after careful deliberation, given to a beggar, whereas a child is flung out into the cosmic brutality without hesitation." - Peter Wessel Zapffe

NIHILIST
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Sep 2 2013 18:54

Human activities account for over one-third of N2O emissions, most of which are due to the agricultural sector, I guess that is because they aren't Communists or Anarchists.
It is absurd to blame everything on politics instead of just admitting there are too many of us.

NIHILIST
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Sep 2 2013 18:54

Human activities account for over one-third of N2O emissions, most of which are due to the agricultural sector, I guess that is because they aren't Communists or Anarchists.
It is absurd to blame everything on politics instead of just admitting there are too many of us.

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plasmatelly
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Sep 2 2013 19:03

Ok NIHILIST. You've convinced me there are too many people. One too many.

NIHILIST
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Sep 2 2013 19:13
plasmatelly wrote:
Ok NIHILIST. You've convinced me there are too many people. One too many.

OK very funny, but really if I was gone the problem would still exist, just not for me!