Overpopulation and Industrialization

Human population has always grown at an exponential rate.  We did not reach the one billion mark until 1804.  We reached two billion around 1935, and four billion in 1974.  The earth has more than 7 million humans now living on it.  Looking at these numbers alone, it is very easy to see that the population is growing at an exponential rate.  As we can see in the graph below published by the Pew Research Center, it is projected to continue increasing.  There is some hope that the rate of growth will slow down as citizens of industrialized countries tend to have less children over time, but only time will tell. ft_15-06-04_popcount

For our population to continue to rise as it has been since the dawn of man, there have been a few key events that allowed this to happen.  First, the development of agriculture was necessary to feed populations of increasing size.  Second, the industrial revolution needed to happen.  Industrialization prompted the building and expansion of the many large urban centers we have today.  Important new developments in manufacturing, medicine, and transportation allowed us to live better and longer than ever.  Without industrialization and globalization, we would not be logistically able to manufacture and distribute the goods required by such a vast population.  However, this raises a further problem: we are consuming more and more every year.  This BBC article I found raises concerns over whether we can continue to consume as much as we currently do.  It also points to the massive wealth inequality between people.  When a tiny portion of humans have most of the money, It makes it very hard for the poor to get a leg up.  We already can make enough food to feed everyone, but the logistics and distribution of wealth make that impossible.  If the population is going to continue to rise like this (which I would bet it is), we need to find a way to consume less in order to let others consume more.


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