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Too Many People—Or Not Enough?

Too Many People—Or Not Enough?

Somewhere around 1794 Thomas Malthus, oft-cited, predicted that humans would soon run out of space to live on the planet and exhaust its resources, ending civilization. (My words, but that’s the gist of it.) The world population at the time was about one billion people, though I doubt they had a very accurate count back then.

Today, we’re close to eight billion. Studies are now appearing indicating a global population decrease in the years ahead, caused by much lower fertility in developed countries, disease, war, and natural disaster.

The future isn’t going to be about exhausting resources so much as finding the manpower (“person power”?) for needed jobs, or developing the artificial intelligence and mechanization to perform them without people. China, long a tyrannical advocate of one baby per family, is now trying to incentivize multiple children in households, and people are resisting it.

It reminds me of the old cartoon, of the dog and the man who report to work in the factory each morning, all alone. The dog is there to make sure the man doesn’t touch anything, and the man is there to feed the dog.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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