Social Question

6rant6's avatar

Would the world be a better place with half as many people or twice as many?

Asked by 6rant6 (13672points) April 14th, 2011

Let’s pretend that there’s a world referendum.

You get to vote for what the eventual population of the world will be.

If the decision is to halve the population, no one will be killed to achieve it, but governments will adopt policies that discourage having children; if the vote is for increasing population, governments will adopt policies that encourage people to have children.

When the desired level is reached, governments will fix the policies to achieve zero growth.

So, do you vote for twice the current population or half of it?

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31 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

Neither, but the world will be a FAR better place when governments get the hell out of things that should be none of their damned business!

Blackberry's avatar

Half as many….I would really like to hear arguments for twice as many being anything beneficial…....

KateTheGreat's avatar

Neither. Corruption finds it’s way into things no matter what.

6rant6's avatar

The question is about taking one of two choices. It’s not about whether you like the choices. It’s not about whether governments are efficient or technocrats are moral.

It’s a simple choice. Which would you prefer of the two choices offered?

flutherother's avatar

Half as many people would be better. Twice as many would be an unimaginable disaster as the world could not support them .

crazyivan's avatar

How many of them would be smoking hot?

CaptainHarley's avatar


Choices about most things that affect millions of people are never “simple.”

cak's avatar

I can’t imagine more. There is already so many underfed people and unimaginable levels of poverty. Kids drinking dirty water…I think we have enough.

@6rant6 When you put a question in Social, it allows people to answer more off-topic than in General.

@CaptainHarley- I agree. The idea of the government stepping in is very scary. Too much government, already.

6rant6's avatar

@cak, yes, but I can try to keep them from answering another question… or the same one they always answer.

6rant6's avatar

@crazyivan Either twice as many, or half as many. Not that any of them will necessary see you as a breeding partner…

Coloma's avatar

½ as many people and twice as many animals and double the plants and trees too!

6rant6's avatar

Where could they all go if the population doubled?

Well if the entire land area of the world had the population density of Cuba or Slovenia instead of Equador as it does now, that would accommodate twice as many people.

Here are some other population density equivalents:
Half as many people – as dense as Brazil
Five times as many – UK
Seven times as many – India
Twenty times – Bahrain

Blondesjon's avatar

I don’t know about size but I do know that most folks, whether they admit it or not, believe the world would be a better place if everyone would just think and act like them.

before you all freak out, i did qualify my answer with most folks and, if the world were a better place, you would all agree.

Coloma's avatar

The solution is to rid the world of sociopaths, narcissists and passive aggressives. WHEW! We’d all breathe easier! lol
Can ya tell I’m dealing with some human bullshit right now? lol

ddude1116's avatar

Neither, not enough people will take jobs that involve building enough supplies so that everyone is well nourished. We’d just land in a small-scale of what we have today, except with less expansion.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Excellent! We have your seat on the first cattle-car to the camps. : )

Coloma's avatar


haha, right, of course, we mean everyone ELSE, we don’t wanna ride in that cattle car. lol

CaptainHarley's avatar

Exactly! : ))

YARNLADY's avatar

@CaptainHarley I have been responsible for making choices that could lead to the result I suggest. I wish others would be as responsible in their child bearing choices.

JLeslie's avatar

Probably it does not matter either way. If I had to choose I choose half I think.

I once read a sci fi book many years ago where mega bulding were bulti, like verticle cities, and the land was still used for farming and parks. So, if we get rid of suburban sprawl,a nd condense living conditions andnow we can even have hydroponic farms and a variety of options to accomododate a large poplation. It would be best to get clean fuels before it doubles, or we may not be able to see each other through the pollution though, and a Gene Roddenberry peaceful United Earth would be a good idea.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Some explanation on that would be great, but I have a sneaking hunch that it won’t be forthcoming.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Yes, I read that ( as I recall ) short story. A rather depressing dystopia. : ((

JLeslie's avatar

@CaptainHarley It wasn’t a short story. But, I would guess there are many books out there with similar themes for the future.

CaptainHarley's avatar

The story I’m thinking of used the term “Chi-pits Constellation” for the massive city-buildings between what use to be Chicago and Pittsburgh. Ring a bell? : )

mattbrowne's avatar

The world is a far better place today compared to the time with half the world’s population.

To quote Matt Ridley: What we see now is a world with more democracy, freedom, and human rights than ever before, more productiveness, wealth, and education, better health and longevity, less poverty, hunger, and illiteracy, more knowledge, conveniences, and recreation, less bigotry, violence, and unfairness, more cooperation, compassion, options, and choices.

If we manage to increase the rate of innovation significantly, especially for food production, renewable energies and the reuse of most resources, it is very well possible that 13.8 billion people of the future are better off than the 6.9 billion today. However such an accelerated rate of innovation will very likely lead to zero population growth.

Population specialists believe that 9.2 billion in 2050 will be the peak.

lloydbird's avatar

”..half as many..” or ”..twice as many..” as a strict criterion, is not really a helpful choice.
An overall population that is stable at an optimally efficient/beneficial level, is more desirable.
And it goes without saying that a suitable socio/political method (i.e. Co-operationism) would need to be in place. This video (Pick it up at 11mins and the first half of pt.2) has some interesting things to say on then matter.

crazyivan's avatar

@mattbrowne Glad to see someone hitting on the most important point. Food production is and energy production are the keys to allowing for population growth. I think that people should weigh that more heavily when they decide to buy organic foods, which yield about 15% as much food per acre. I also think we need to be more realistic about GM foods as well, but I suppose all of that is starting to creep way off topic.

flutherother's avatar

If they can manufacture 12 billion pairs of rose tinted spectacles then why not go for it.

mattbrowne's avatar

@crazyivan – This why it’s so important to look at second- and third-generation biofuels, see

such as microalgae in seawater farms built on barren land, therefore not competing with food production.

josie's avatar

Half as many, but only so long as I get to pick which half

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