Anticipating the inevitable end of growth

Professor Al Bartlett once observed that

The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."

Human population growth over the course of history has generally followed an exponential curve. The problem with exponential growth is that everything seems ok until the point of discontinuity - that is, where the ecological systems that support such growth are no longer adequate to do so. With exponential growth, when things get bad, they get bad in a hurry.

Speaking of population, Michael Anton asked in a June 21, 2018 Washington Post article, Why do we need more people in this country, anyway? Michael Anton is a lecturer and research fellow at Hillsdale College (worthy of your support) and a former national security official in the Trump administration. He wrote:

As Capitol Hill Republicans attempt for — what, the eighth? ninth? — time in the past two decades to jam through an amnesty that their voters have explicitly, loudly and repeatedly said they do not want, it’s worth asking a question that is rarely raised:
Does the United States — population 320 million and rising — need more people? If so, why?
To most ears, the question sounds blasphemous, which illustrates the rottenness of our immigration debate. Actually, “debate” is far too generous. One side has made sure that there is no debate. Good people want more immigration, and bad people object or raise questions. An inherently political issue has been effectively rendered religious, with the righteous on one side, sinners on the other....
After at least two decades of wage stagnation and even decline, now that we’ve finally reached the nirvana of full employment (and who knows how long it will last), why not take advantage of this tight labor market to raise wages across the board? Especially for the working and middle classes that got nowhere or even lost ground during the housing, finance and tech booms of recent years?
Just about everyone knows the answer: because the business community does not like tight labor markets and the concomitant necessity to raise wages. That’s bad for the bottom line. The solution? More workers! And so the Chamber of Commerce annex — a.k.a. Capitol Hill Republicans — dutifully attempt to do their donors’ bidding at the expense of their voters’ interests....
now, for the first time facing real pushback from those whose interests more immigration does not serve, the left is more open in exhorting their side and demonizing the other. Hence this year’s “How Democracies Die,” by Steven Levitsky, states openly that immigration favors Democrats, so the more the better....
So again: Why do we need more people? For the extra traffic congestion? More crowded classrooms? Longer emergency room and Transportation Security Administration lines? Higher greenhouse-gas emissions?
We know how more immigration benefits big business and the Democratic Party. No one has yet convincingly explained how it benefits the American people as a whole....

Chris Martenson focused on growth in his June 22, 2018 article, The End of Growth - Either it ends, or we do. It's worth reading in its entirety. Excerpts follow:

More and more, I hear that folks are feeling frustrated and betrayed, combined with a sense of loss and despair. I feel this way, too.
As I've written recently, I observe this is due more than anything else to a widespread demoralization society is suffering from....
At a deep level, what ails us is not a host of unrelated, intractable problems, but the fact that our model of pursuing eternal economic growth simply isn't working anymore. It doesn’t work for the planet’s increasingly strained ecosystems, nor does it work for the bottom 99% of folks in society (i.e., the non-elites).
The various health epidemics noted above are merely symptoms of a larger acute spiritual crisis.
But viewed at a certain angle, this may be a good sign.
Why? Because in order to shift from one model to another, the old one first has to become unbearable.
And, as the data cited earlier is making increasingly clear, our addiction to growth is killing us and the ecosystems we depend on.
Look, if you're a well-nourished human being -- physically, emotionally and spiritually -- then you have a heartfelt appreciation for the Earth.  You can clearly see that it's achingly beautiful, perfect, and abundant....
he loss of life on this planet, the diminishment of once complex ecosystems into barren, simplistic shadows of their former selves, is a source of very real and profound sadness.  It is my belief that the existential dread many of us feel is our registering this loss of life -- consciously or not -- as Nature retracts her abundance....
The point of all this is that the one and only way out of this box in which we find ourselves is by adopting a better model for living. And to do that, we first need to re-write the narrative that guides us. 
If we do this, anything is possible. We can create a future of abundance and prosperity....
Narrative #1: Growth is Always Good, More Growth Is Always Better
Literally every time you read anything about economic growth it's always, unerringly, framed in positive terms.  This serves to reinforce the idea of growth being “good.”  It’s virtually never questioned or famed differently....
Narrative #2: Growth Is Now The Enemy
There was nothing wrong at all with we humans expanding into our biosphere as it could support our population, as does any and every organism in existence.  The problem was in failing to self-regulate our consumption to a sustainable level. 

Heck, it’s worse than that because we didn’t just fail to regulate ourselves; we just ignored the math. 

Here are some simple math problems we could have easily seen coming, but chose not to:

... Which brings us back around to the idea of demoralization which is both running rampant and gaining ground.  It’s what happens when your cognitive map no longer functions... Demoralization is actually a realistic response under certain conditions....
We have to become the change we wish to see.  We live in the era where The End of Growth is taking place.  It’s a critical and important time to be alive and we each have a vital role to play....
Which leads us back to Professor Al Bartlett's greatest question: 
Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?"

And that leads us to ask: since mass immigration is driving America's population to double within the lifetime of children born today, why do we not have zero net immigration into the United States - that is, where net out-migration equals net in-migration?




Tucker Carlson interviews Michael Anton, Fox News, June 23, 2018: Why do we need more people in this country, anyway? (starts at 1:40).