Does the world need a global one child policy?
[ 21/September/21 ]
- Does the world need a global one child policy?
Something very closely approximating it is required for those who choose to stay on earth long term.
- Can the world continue to support the increasing global population in the future?
- If we had a global child birth policy do you think it should be the same the world over? Or do you think more carbon producing countries like the US should have tighter restrictions than other countries such as Sweeden who produce far less CO2/person/year.
There are finite limits to the amount of energy we can deploy on this planet, and maintain ecosystems, so indefinite growth at a fixed exponent is not possible, and there are limits to the amount of people we can have on the planet with levels of technology and freedom and responsibility that those educated individuals would consider reasonable.
We do need to move away from a carbon based fossil fuel set of energy technologies.
We also need to use automated systems to deliver a high basic standard of living to every person on the planet.
We also need to deploy indefinite life extension to all who are interested in it, as it is actually required that most people have a reasonable probability of living with the long term consequences of their choices if we are to reach any sort of stability with any reasonable degrees of both freedom and security.
It is a very complex strategic topology we find ourselves in, and as yet very few individuals have a reasonable grasp of the major strategic threats, or the available mitigation strategies.
Central control is not a survivable strategy.
Nor is control by any set of elites.
The only class of strategies with a reasonable probability of long term survival involves genuine cooperation between all levels, classes and instances of agents.
Given the multiple levels of fundamental uncertainties present, the only strategic frameworks with any significant long term survival is one of diversity, at all levels, all classes of agent that are not actually an unreasonable threat to the existence of any other class of agent.
Fundamental cooperation is actually the only survivable game in town. Provided fundamental cooperation is in place that gives a reasonable guarantee of life and liberty to all, then we can build survivable competitive systems on that base – but without such a base competitive systems necessarily self destruct eventually.
CO2 and global warming are essentially trivially easy to solve, once we have achieved a stable cooperative base between all levels of agents, and that is not a trivial problem, it necessarily involves eternal evolving ecosystems of cheat detection and mitigation systems; which are part of everyone’s responsibility.
- Do you think that a reduction in global population would have a direct effect on climate change?
Not necessarily – it is only one factor among many.
- Would you support a global one child policy?
The only way a general one child policy is supportable is if every individual has reasonable access to indefinite life extension, and all individuals have what they consider reasonable levels of security, available technology, and freedom. And that demands of everyone levels of responsibility commensurate with the levels of freedom claimed.
As explained above, it demands global cooperation between all levels, classes and instances of agents.
Nothing less than that actually has any reasonable probability of long term survival.
One needs to deeply understand how fundamental cooperation is to the emergence and survival of complexity at all levels of evolution. That is actually really complex strategic topologies based around long term survival in the face of fundamental uncertainty and eternal classes of emerging external threat. It is not a path for the faint hearted to explore. I have been exploring it for over 50 years, since the Cuban missile crisis, and it took some interesting turns once I completed undergraduate biochemistry in 1974 and realised that indefinite life extension was a realistically achievable thing (though extremely complex to actually implement at scale).
Solving climate change is easy once we deploy fully automated manufacturing on the moon, as launching mass from the moon to orbit does not require rocketry, it can be done with linear motors (O’Neill mass drivers), as there is no atmosphere to limit ground velocity. With sufficient mass in orbit, we can manage the amount of solar energy reaching the earth, and actually manage climate for stability, eliminating any risk of further ice ages or sea level change.
Large scale populations in orbit is possible in large O’Neill cylinders, encased within slowly rotating radiation shields built largely of unaltered rock.
Sources of nitrogen and hydrogen are issues, and they are solvable at scale on timeframes of decades.
So something approximating a one child policy is only supportable if there is general affluence for everyone, with degrees of freedom all consider reasonable, and that demands levels of responsibility from all, and freedom without responsibility necessarily eventually destroys the boundaries required to maintain that level of complexity. Very few people have much idea just how complex life in general, and humans in particular, actually is.
This is a very complex problem space.
Any attempt to over simplify it will of necessity lead to destruction.
The strong evolutionary pressures present to produce brains that simplify complexity is actually one of the greatest threats we face.
There do in fact seem (beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt) to exist classes of complexity that are irreducibly complex. No set of fixed rules can be used to navigate such complex systems. Eternal exploration of eternal novelty is actually the only class of strategies with any significant long term survival probability. Fundamental cooperation is required to sustain such novelty (eternally). And that is complex, as it requires eternal exploration of mechanisms to identify and mitigate any and all levels and instances of cheating on the cooperative.
Current overly simplistic competitive economic and political systems are not survivable long term.