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Disease vs. Population control

30 July 2013, 09:45

**spoiler alert**

I succumbed and followed the mainstream last weekend and sat down to read Dan Browns new book, ‘Inferno’.

Whilst it has his typical chases through cities in Italy and almost killing the reader with his drawn out and excruciatingly detailed descriptions of the architecture and sites, he left me to ponder in regards to the World’s population and how totally out of control it has become.

Everyone will remember the hype when we hi t the seven billion global population mark, however, what I did not know was the following:

In 1800 – the global population was one billion people, so it took from the dawn of time to reach this figure.

By 1920 – we had doubled (in a 120 years!) to two billion people

By 2010 – the earth’s population hit a staggering six billion people (we basically trebled in 90 years)

So by applying the same growth rate as shown above, the global population by 2100 could be over eighteen billion people.

Here is where the ‘Malthusian Catastrophe’ could come into play. A gentleman born in the late 1700’s had a theory that the planet would only sustain a certain population and once it had reached its peak, nature would find a way to level out the demand on her natural resources. He suggested that Plagues, Famine and diseases would assist with population control. Consider that we had the Black Death (also known as the Bubonic Plague) in the mid 14th Century, when the population in Europe was starting to explode; the impact was that it wiped out over one hundred million people. It was never totally eradicated and evidence exists that it has reared its head multiple times in Europe and taken its toll on a lesser scale. Nowadays we do have antibiotics to cure this disease, which by the way still exists. So what about the Ebola virus, the Aids pandemic, the ever mutating flu virus? Are they all nature’s way of curbing the population again?

In the Book mentioned at the beginning of this article, a scientist introduces an airborne virus that spreads through the global population within a matter of days. We discover that he has not released something heinous that has people falling down dead like flies; instead, he has created a virus that attaches to each person’s DNA that can render them infertile. Not everyone on the planet however would be unable to reproduce as each individual is different and the genetic make up (regardless of ethnicity or social stature) would decide whether they could or could not bear children. Therefore a global population controlled without the pain and fear of dying from disease or starvation.

This has definitely given me something to think about. As to whether it is moral/ethical is one’s own personal opinion.

(References: Wikipedia / freedictionary.com / Princeton.edu / Dan Browns ‘Inferno’ 2013/ worldometers.info/worldpopulation)

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