Growth leads to catastrophe
The continuous growth of anything amounts to a terminal cancer on its host/environment.
You're at https://57296.neocities.org/growth.html
(last worked on: September 25th, 2021 --by <craiger oochi at outlook dotty com> )

Our World in Data is free and accessible for everyone. Help OWD do this work by making a donation.  (click to enlarge)

* "Our World in Data" projects some hope by way of demographic transitions in 5 stages, the last of which is (somehow) presumed to be sustainable. Given the trends already becoming manifest, however, I suspect the last stage will balance fecundity with crowded, grinding attrition --at best. More likely (IMHO), population will plunge.

* 6/8/2020: There was sharp critical reaction to writer-director Jeff Gibbs' and producer Michael Moore's film: "Planet of the Humans" --and see Moore's comments on that at a Rolling Stone interview:

> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcqSTX2yDNc

The most ecological and progressive minded segments of our society are in a deep state of avoidance about overpopulation and the long term effectiveness of alternative, "sustainable"/renewable sources of energy. For some level-headed commentary, try the 2020 April 29th, May 11th (near the end) of Peter B. Collins' PODcasts. Salon fielded recent analysis by Sophia A. McClennen. Thom Hartmann's PODcasts have been quite critical of Planet. (More about Peter B, Hartmann, and other alternative news/commentary.)

* There's a ray of hope, in that a consultancy: Post Growth Institute, is attempting to make a living by putting into sustainable business practices and economic policies --the real limits to growth, wealth accumulation and consumption that we must all eventually come to grips with.

PGI brought it to my attention that, late in 2020, the President of Ireland made an amazing speach --in part/s:

From the President of Ireland's official web page:

“Neoliberalism has sought to de-democratise the State, the economy, and society, and re-secure the patriarchal family”. --

"The neoliberal model of economics that has dominated policy for almost 40 years has been shown from the perspective of its social outcomes, empirically researched, to have deepened inequality, impacted negatively on the poorest, but also, from an ecological perspective, it makes achieving sustainability near impossible. It is built on an assumption of exponential growth – and leaves existing consumption models unrevised."

"A steady-state economy does not necessarily result in economic stagnation and falling living standards. Economic stagnation is the unexpected and unwelcome failure of uncritical use of a growth economy concept, such as that which we witnessed as a result of the financial crisis in 2008 and the resulting so-called ‘Great Recession’ that impacted so disastrously on our country. Rather, what I propose is established as the result of deliberate political action recognising the inherent flaws of our current model of growth ad infinitum."

Unfortunately, that we're over-populated, is still too impolitic to pronounce --per:

"There is an alternative paradigm which is gaining acceptance as our only realistic alternative to avoid the continuation of yawning inequality and ecological devastation. This new paradigm is one based on a steady-state model in which an economy is comprised of a stock of physical wealth (that is, capital) which remains proportionate to its population size. Populations can continue to rise in this paradigm without the need to further exploit and destroy natural resources because of the positive role that technology and resource decoupling (such as improved energy efficiency) can contribute to improve the productivity of our capital stock, our natural endowments."

* Still: President Micheal Martin scores highly and is to be applauded --and here's more:

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An Ecological Precipice:

We must not ever forget that policies --economic, social, environmental-- are sourced in assumptions and ideas as to how economies function, and are connected with change and society. Over the last four decades, the theories of those such as Friedrich Von Hayek and Milton Friedman, have gained strength to create a paradigm of unrestrained, unregulated market dominance, a communications order with a discourse that "privileges" aggressive individualism without social responsibility within and beyond borders. It is a model that is the source of the exponential, insatiable growth of commodity production, consumption, accumulation and despoliation of the planet.

Professor Wendy Brown, in her 2019 book, In the Ruins of Neoliberalism, describes how, from its inception, neoliberalism flirted with authoritarian liberalism as it warred against robust democracy, repelling social-justice through appeals to market freedom:

It has attacked the value of society and fetishised individual freedom, re-defining the concept of freedom in a reductionist manner to "market freedom", as part of its legitimation of inequality.

Above all, Brown argues, neoliberalism's intensification of nihilism, coupled with its accidental wounding of white male supremacy, generates an apocalyptic populism willing to destroy the world (through, for example, war and aggression, ecological obliteration) rather than endure a future in which this supremacy disappears.

Our prevailing economic model is, of course, unsustainable from economic, environmental and social standpoints. It is a model that privileges the insatiable accumulation of the few at the cost of the many and their children's future, the very future of the planet itself in terms of lost biodiversity. Karl Polanyi, quite prophetically, identified as far back as the 1940s that such a self-governing model would have catastrophic consequences for society and its relationship to nature.
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See:

> https://www.resilience.org/stories/2021-04-19/climate-action-and-the-role-of-engineers-speech-at-the-engineers-ireland-annual-conference/

> https://president.ie/en/the-president/michael-d-higgins

* A group I've been failing to mention (and shame on me) is Population Connection: the largest such organization in the United States. You can see by PC's FAQs that their heads and goals are in good places. (I lost track of them 20 years ago --or so-- when they changed their name from "Zero Population Growth", which at the time seemed --to me-- rather milquetoast, compared to another group at the time: "Negative Population Growth".) Membership brings you their excellent magazine.

** "Having one [less] child equates to a reduction of 58 tons of CO2 for each year of a [would have been] parent's life"^. Getting rid of a car [ie: shooting it] saves 2.4 tons a year." --and see.

^ We intuitively get the point, but please don't ask me how that got calculated.  :-)

The "Will Providers":

* No less a popular personality than Bill Nye ("the science guy") has turned out to be a "will provider". He thinks we can boom along into a world population of 10 billion simply by redistributing our resources --or so he stated during his show.

* Meanwhile, capitalists/"free marketeers" assure us that the invisible hand of Adam Smith will provide.

* Religionists, of course, are confident that God will provide (at least to their denomination's faithful).

* On October 6th, 2017, I was prompted to revisit this page by the dismal denial that population is a problem by the political left (by which I mean "liberals" and "progressives" through Marx informed socialists). Late in the game, socialists are coming around on emphasizing ecology, global warming and alternative energy, but we're still getting that old harangue about how redistributing the wealth will provide. (Which would, of course, move underclass and 3rd world peoples closer to the top of the food chain, consuming and polluting more like red blooded Americans.) Even that enlightened soul, Prof. David Wolff --stops at redistribution.

And the hits just keep on coming.

* A promising TED Radio Hour installment opened up by assailing structural factors toward growth in our culture --which was soon curtailed in favor of pleas for recycling innovations --so no cigar. I recall but scant mentions of population growth, and nothing about controlling it.

* The dire warnings IPBES report (a United Nations body --the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) as covered by the news I watched today (5/6/3019), was mum on over-population. To his credit, Brent Goff --the host of Deutche Wella (DW.com), twice asked an IPBES presenter to comment on the projected world population's growth to 9 billion, but she wouldn't go there. Today's PBS News Hour host (William Bringham) and ABC's host (covering the same IPBES report) didn't bring it up at all.

Oh big *sigh*. --Perhaps it's time to just batten down the hatches, ride out the coming catastrophes --and hope that civilization-2.0 will get it right. We'll certainly be leaving our inheritors plenty of examples of how to get it wrong --and what results from over-crowding the planet.

* In short: the situation is not looking good.

* While I've hammered on growth issues in my earlier web pages (say: Small and TCT), "growth" was long overdue for a page of its own --if only to witness and express my appreciation for some of the few voices in the wilderness who've long been struggling against the tide and the cultural mindset of growth.

* With a few exceptions (such as visionaries Malthus, J.S. Mill, C. Douglas Lummis, William Vogt, Paul R. Ehrlich), we've heretofore mainly seen treatments of community, urban,  and state size --in book titles like: E. F. Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful, Human Scale by Kirkpatrick Sale (Sale is bringing out a sequel: "Revisited"), and The Breakdown of Nations by Leopold Kohr. Somehow, authors like Sale, Schumacher and Kohr could speak to problems of communities, technologies and states becoming too large and complex  --while having little to say about population growth.

* Other welcome exceptions read more like laments: "The Limits to Growth", commissioned by the "Club of Rome", Prof. Stephen Hawking, Colorado Springs' Professor Bartlett, Brian O’Neill and Ted Turner. Thanks also to Julia Whitty's "The Last Taboo", Fred Pearce's "The Coming Population Crash", the 1999 founders of "Alternatives to Growth Oregon" (I still have some of their videos), and in 2011: Dave Gardner's (and team's) film: Hooked On Growth.

* Raw Story's Ana Kasparian noted the downturn in child bearing among the millennial generation, stating: "--the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the average family will spend close to $304,500 on a kid from the moment he or she is born to when the child turns 18. That means that a middle class family will average $17,000 a year for one child, and that doesn't even include heavy medical bills, special/private school or a college education. --The Economic Policy Institute found that a whopping 30 percent of a minimum wage earner's income would go toward childcare alone. For parents living in New York, that number jumps to 80 percent.

The Atlantic's James Hamblin commented: "There is not enough space to house and feed everyone. Population growth has us on course for catastrophic famine and war that result from overpopulating a planet that is growing ever less habitable."

* Wikipedia has a good summation of steady-state economy concepts --which ends by considering the good work of ecological economist Herman Daly. There might not be anyone in that summary who comes across better than (the included) J. S. Mill, but my hat is off to this presentation.

* Overpopulation.org. There find a banquet of compelling population related articles, served and maintained for 20 years now by Ms. Karen Gaia. (Thanks for staying the course, Karen!) There you'll find:

(And as cited at the top of this page): "Why Population Matters:  Having one fewer child is the most effective way an individual would have to fight climate change. The next best actions are selling^ your car, avoiding long flights, and eating a vegetarian diet, according to a study published in Environmental Research Letters. These four actions reduce emissions many times more than things like recycling, using low energy light bulbs or drying washing on a line."

"Carbon emissions must fall to two tons of CO2 per person by 2050 to avoid severe global warming, but in the US and Australia emissions are currently 16 tons per person and in the UK seven tons. 'That's obviously a really big change and we wanted to show that individuals have an opportunity to be a part of that,' said Kimberly Nicholas, at Lund University in Sweden and one of the research team."

"Having one fewer child equates to a reduction of 58 tons of CO2 for each year of a parent's life. Getting rid of a car saved 2.4 tons a year, avoiding a [round trip] transatlantic flight saved 1.6 tons and becoming vegetarian saved 0.8 tons a year." {Go to Overpopulation.org for the rationale behind those numbers.}

^ Um: to stop that car from running around and burning gas, wouldn't you have to shoot and bury it?  :-)

* Growthbusters (and see their movie) is the best of recent outreach on population issues. Here and at other good venues, Dave Gardner looms large. He operates out of Colorado Springs, spreading awareness in the foot steps (and beyond) of Professor Bartlett (who also appears in the movie).

It's encouraging that I could easily find engaging and favorable reviews for Hooked On Growth.

At http://www.resilience.org/stories/2012-10-17/growthbusters-movie-review/ --

Growthbusters --The Movie (a review)
By Stuart Jeanne Bramhall (originally published by The Daily Censored):

"Growthbusters is the inspiring story of Dave Gardner’s efforts to challenge conservative Colorado Springs’ failed growth promotion policies. The film begins by focusing on the insanity of local councils cutting essential public services to “jump start” growth. However it also takes a broader theoretical look at the overall failure of economic growth to solve the global economic crisis. More importantly it tackles head-on the deeper and more serious issue of population control – and the conspiracy of silence on the part of institutional environmental groups (such as Sierra Club) on the issue." (This is a long, readable and informative review, so please take the link. --Craig)

At http://transitionvoice.com/2012/01/growthbusters-hooked-on-growth/

--is another good and favorable review at Transition Voice, of which the following is a snippet.

Review of Growthbusters: Hooked on Growth

"Does growth always mean prosperity?" "---We know our farmland, fisheries, timber supply, atmosphere and economy are all in decline. And we may see that driving all of these trends is the relentless expansion of human population, now over seven billion.  /  Who you gonna call?"

"What Growthbusters brings into high relief, however, is that there are layers of contradictory and self-defeating assumptions we all carry about the notion of growth.  /  Socially, culturally, and politically, our unexamined ideas about growth get in the way of coherent public discussion or policy. City councils tend to over encourage growth in order to increase their tax bases, only to be surprised by tomorrow's traffic congestion, declining quality of life, and rising expenses for new schools or roads.  /  We think growth will create new jobs, and then we're surprised when those jobs go mainly to newcomers to the community, with no net improvement in life or economy."

"Growthbusters by Dave Gardner, 98 minutes, $19.95-$199.95 (private copy to public showing rates.)"

(Interested in holding a public showing, I examined the DVD's label, packaging, its opening legends and extras, trying to find copyright/use restrictions, but found none --until reading this review: $199.95 --!  Guess I'll just settle for making this web page instead. --Craig) (Which recalls a long ago experience when I got fired up and ordered a set of video tapes from the Christic Institute. It was so ham-strung with use/showing restrictions that it didn't even seem legal to donate my set to our public library. --Craig)

Take this link: http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc_22_2/tsc_22_2_growthbusters.shtml

--to read another informative review by Fred Elbel, of which the following is an extract:

"---the viewer {might} dread a full 90 minutes of pietistic feel-goodism based upon some naive compendium of “10 things you can do to save the planet.” This is decidedly not the case; the movie is a well done, engaging, and moving documentary."

"GrowthBusters: Hooked On Growth is a tremendously important documentary. It is the story of one man's crusade against his own city's growth mandate, and of a civilization which can still achieve the potential of sustainability. GrowthBusters presents interviews and perspectives from dozens of experts world-wide and is both visually stimulating and editorially coherent. Frequent changes of perspective — from personal to local to international --seize and maintain the viewer's attention."

My "review": I found Hooked on Growth to be a less well transitioned (than did the above reviewers), somewhat strained in its humor --which is needlessly broad and prankish at times (like staging a phone call to the Pope for a condom order --which might be why our local library turned down a donated DVD). Perhaps Hooked On Growth meets young moderns "where they're at" (or is meant to).  --Craig

* A ray of hope: "sex dolls" --which use to be pathetic looking inflatables, but they've since evolved into a diversity of often appealing silicone creations, as well as (yet) rudimentary "sexbots": robotic devices which even pretend to "artificial intelligence" --per:

https://www.cnet.com/news/realdoll-harmony-ai-app-realbotix-sexbot/

https://fabiusmaximus.com/2017/03/30/a-look-at-sexbots/

Search "sex dolls", "sexbot" or "sex robot" at Amazon.com and up comes a selection of products --!

While you're at Amazon, peruse the free pages of David Levy's: Love and Sex with Robots.

* It's easy to imagine both genders "grooving" on comely and compliant artifices --for those out of reach of, or who've abandoned human-to-human sexual relationships, --and to the point of reducing or even reversing population growth.

* What I can't imagine: trundling these realistic silicon dolls around. Check out the shipping weights: it's going to be worse than doing adult foster care dead lifts. I expect we'll be reading buyer comments at Amazon --about being loath to ask for help in getting their new purchases in and out of bed.

* Self-powered, actual, "BiCentenial Man" type autonomous robots are a long ways off yet.

This (September 27th, 2017) addendum was originally intended as a contribution to Thom Hartmann's forum/s, but the process of joining, downloading and posting got too complicated for old man me. I  thought  I'd read that joining, logging in and downloading PODcasts was free, but after several initial downloads, I ended up with a hijack tool bar (which I later learned how to get rid of), then no recognition of my password and no download access when I got back on. (One needs to pay $7.95/month, and then be a bootlegger if you care to share an MP3 with anyone).

Best I stick with freebie PODcasts from the likes of Peter B. Collins.

* So I can't recover the segment I was concerned with, but when Thom was ramming into a commercial break, he disparagingly muttered something which conflated population control/policy with eugenics. (To be fair: during an on-air broadcast late in December (2017), Hartmann suggested that endless population growth, while delighting economists, might not be the best thing for us or our planet --and even intoned the feasibility of negative population growth, so he must be of two minds.)

How can humanity ever dig its way out of the mire we're in if the term "eugenics" is commonly used to discredit and dismiss (somehow) limiting population growth? (Let me be clear --that both concepts are essential to realizing a civilization that's worthy of the name.)

This, like climate change denial, is the sort of hopeless, brain plumbing stoppage which encourages aware individuals to "grab all you can and live for today".

* And let us not saddle the concept of eugenics with the brutalities of past "racial supremacy" zealots. (Modern biology has found that popular concepts of "race" have no genetic meaning.)

* Think on it: what's so wrong with intervention in order to discontinue the inheritance of (say) cystic fibrosis or color blindness? Can we at least endorse current practices of private counseling, and voluntary eugenic measures?

We seem to be light years away from making such preventive "negative eugenics" public policy, but can I at least raise a few sparse cheers for "the rights of the unborn"(?) --to be born healthy, whole, wanted, sheltered, provided for --into a safe, uncrowded community setting with ample natural resources? Who speaks and lobbies for the voiceless unborn?  Why do "progressives" default on that to the Christian right?

* As to the overpopulation issue, we've already outstripped Earth's sustainability by a factor of three!

Of course the details on that vary, depending on how far we expect to extend our western standard of living/consumption to the "undeveloped" world.  Judging by the Asian economic dynamo, and given the chance/option, I'm guessing that "3rd world" nations will tend to fill up with hoards of obese consumers --just like here in the good old U.S. of A.

* Again: we've recently been introduced to "ecosocialism" and its new-found environmental concerns. I have to intuitively agree --that the savings from getting rid of capitalism's obscene waste and futile gambles would feed a goodly portion of all the world's hungry people. However, ecosocialist statements about "sustainability" via rational economic planning and a more equitable distribution of wealth ring hollow --without also addressing population growth.

For a good example of today's state-of-the-art socialist thinking, see Eve Ottenberg's book review (as a Truthout Op-Ed) of Ian Angus' new book: "A Redder Shade of Green". Does the progressive left follow this thinking to its logical conclusion --of growing vegetables in our hair and taking turns breathing?

The Female Condom:

* The concept is obvious: supply a contraceptive (and prophylactic) barrier to the person whose genitalia doesn't grossly change size (the barrier can then be made of less pervious stuff), and to the person who is most at risk, should pregnancy occur. As far as I know, there's currently only one female condom available in the United States: the "F2C", manufactured by Veru Health. Unfortunately, it's somehow getting redefined as a prescription based pharmaceutical item, with the retail cost bumped up from $3.50 to $20 each --! This device can be made of stuff that's superior to thin latex male condoms --toward the prevention of the spread of AIDS, so Veru Health's greed would at first appear to be a serious health threat. It isn't, however, since hardly anyone has been purchasing F2Cs.

* In my 39 years of experience in presenting and promoting the female condom concept, and with only a few commendable exceptions, even intelligent, progressive, well informed women (and especially "feminists") have been reflexively opposed.

* While the history/herstory of contraception is ancient (IUDs, for example), the history of the female condom goes back (to the best of my knowledge) to the 1930s "Gee-Bee", which seems to have been similar in design to today's FC2. (I vaguely recall that the FC1 was made of less pliant material.)

* In about 1980 an alternative emerged: the "panty" or "garment" condom, later promoted as the "Bikini Condom" and then the "Janesway", per:


(click to enlarge)
Back in 1980, I thought my design for a similar contraceptive garment was original and I tried to give it away. Maybe I did, since current (perhaps expired) patents (and seemingly unsupported claims of patents) reach back to about that date. I believe they all claim originality --as one would expect. I've twice withdrawn my posts and desisted from further correspondence so as not to contradict such claims (which could very well have been made in good faith) and once in response to such a request --due to "delicate negotiations being underway". (Early on I was encouraged to lend a correspondence hand by a panty condom developer who also seemed to be proceeding in good faith, and with whom I thought it best to not bring up the matter of my 1980 design.)

As of October 4th, 2017, Googling on these names and terms turns up lots of porn but very little relevant information that's current. Here's a good overview of what was shaking in Columbia and Uganda as of 2015:

> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucNpI6DaF1M

--and from 2008, what appears to be the last testament from Janesway:

> http://www.janesway.net/org/p+p/index.html

* Now that 30 and 20 years have passed since the two most prominent (IMHO) patents were granted, I'm posting this history to my "Growth" page and am reposting some of my old stuff, laments and correspondence summaries.

The getting of FDA approval and patents are such sorry-ass undertakings.


My web page philosophy: "Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly" --especially if it's my personal best.
(And thanks to "Tree" of Eugene for that quote.)

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