Missing the Greatness Mark on Population

I routinely read articles on American Greatness, which are generally well-written, insightful, and well-researched. However, in a recent article, they really missed the mark on population.

In his 28 February 2023 article, The Population Crash, Edward Ring begins by questioning Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich's 1968 projection that because of population increase, humanity's demand for resources will outstrip supply.

Just because past projections regarding resource exhaustion were inaccurate does not automatically invalidate all more current projections. Saying so is a logical fallacy.

Ring realistically observes that:

Ehrlich's basic math wasn't necessarily flawed. In 1968, the world population was 3.5 billion, and today the total number of humans has more than doubled to just over 8 billion. Anyone with a basic understanding of exponential growth can appreciate that if human population doubles every 50 years, within only a few millennia, an unchecked ball of human flesh would be expanding in all directions into the universe at the speed of light. Which means, at some point, Malthusian checks will apply.

Ring observes that population in most countries is leveling off. Indeed, American women achieved replacement level fertility (2.1 children per woman) in 1972. Yet mass immigration is driving America's population to double this century, thanks to feckless policies of our Congress and Biden regime.

Ring also notes that fertility is inversely correlated with median income. In other words, countries with fewer children per woman exhibit more individual wealth - or perhaps less individual poverty.

Ring also notes that:

In China, a nation that enforced a “one child” policy from 1979 until 2015, absolute population decline has begun. With a current fertility rate of 1.3 (possibly lower, estimates vary), China's population peaked in 2021 at 1.4 billion and is projected to decline to possibly as low as 488 million by the end of this century.

Ring contends that declining population is inherently bad, completely ignoring China's depopulation dividend. He states that:

While the severity of the looming population collapse in developed nations is plain to see and beyond serious debate among demographers, it remains virtually ignored by politicians and the media... a fervent and effective pronatalist movement may be the only hope if humanity is to avoid total demographic collapse.

What's so bad about population stabilization?

Ring's fundamental thesis is that population decrease and stabilization is a bad thing. He seems to be suffering from a form of cognitive dissonance: we sure can't keep growing our numbers indefinitely within the borders of finite nations, yet any movement toward not doing that is inherently unacceptable. Perhaps Ring is conflating the economic imperative of unending growth with the biological imperative of sustainable non-growth. As Kenneth Boulding quipped:

Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad or an economist.

In the vacuum of economics, the impact of growth on our sustaining environmental ecosystems is discounted as an externality. But what is our actual impact?

The 27 February 2023 article, The global biomass of wild mammals, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, quantifies how dramatically humans and domesticated animals have come to dominate other "higher" vertebrates on our planet.

The global biomass (the living weight) of all wild terrestrial and marine mammals is estimated at 60 million tonnes (MT, or 1,000 kg or 2,200 lbs). This compares to a global biomass of 8 billion (and growing) humans of 390 Mt and our livestock of 630 Mt. Wild mammals now constitute just 5-6% of the total mammalian biomass on the planet.

In other words, "we and ours" have already massively outnumbered and out-weighed the mammalian life on our planet.

Perhaps stabilizing the populations of all nations at lower numbers would be a good thing - especially when considering the ethical and biological imperative of Living Within Limits.


Population, Petroleum, and Systemic Collapse - Peak Oil is real, by Peter Goodchild, Council of European Canadians, 18 May 2022.

Immigration, Population Growth, and the Environment, by Leon Kolankiewicz, Center for Immigration Studies, April 2015.

Overshoot and the work of William R. Catton Jr. by Fred Elbel, 7 February 2015.

Blip: Humanity's 300 Year Self-Terminating Experiment With Industrialism, by Frosty Wooldridge, 26 January 2020.

Thomas Malthus foretold humanity's gravest plight with clarity, by Frosty Wooldridge, 28 March 2013.

Anticipating the inevitable end of growth, by Fred Elbel, 23 June 2018.

The World's Most Important Graph - 2022, by Steve Sailer, VDare, 10 July 2022.

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?