This well written and scholarly book Global Catastrophic Risks by Nick Bostrom and Milan J. Cirkovic is a must read for everyone who is interested in human survival or human extinction. That should mean that this book has a wide audience, everyone, and it should be a world-class best seller. Instead it’s hard to find in any bookstore but it is available online at Amazon. Here in Berkeley, where the atomic bomb was first conceived, it isn’t even available in bookstores. How curious is that?! These intelligent Berkeley physicists make a method for destroying humanity but the bookstores don’t even stock a single copy of a classic book on how humanity might just possibly avoid being incinerated by their weapons. Everyone’s just doing their job and since a physics job demands so much intelligence and hard work there isn’t anything left over for coping with the problems which they created. Oh, well. C’est la vie. Unfortunately, it seems no one else has what it takes either – including these 25 highly educated and clear thinking authors.
These acknowledged authorities in their fields seem to be sleep-walking through their problems because they don’t acknowledge the root source of their assigned special problem. Each author appears to put on blinders and only look at the part of the problem that fits their specific overly narrowed specialty. The problem doesn’t exist in this book only, in fact the recent Copenhagen World Climate Conference specifically forbade discussing the root problem – exploding total population numbers. To put it simply what does it matter if the Earth’s CO2 per person is reduced 20% if there are 100% more people expecting to be living a higher standard of living. The doubling time rate for world population is about 40 years but the problem is that the high rate of increase is upon a huge population base. World population probably won’t double in 40 years because there will be a collapse. It is impossible to predict when because it could happen at any moment and could have happened at any time in the last fifty years. But the stressors that will trigger the collapse are worsened day by day be the excess population making excess demands on the sustainability of the environment. With the population expanding the rate of destructive exploitation will increase until some critical shortfall occurs. Then things will get worse very quickly. This wont be a conflict of opinion, or of ideologies or of religion it will be a shortfall of some critical necessity like, rice, corn, rice, soy beans or perhaps a mineral like oil, water or copper.
This book concludes with the idea that bringing all of the world into one political system would be to create a hell on earth. It is to be avoided at all cost. And yet when one considers the population problem in the longer term all of the world must abide by some population which can be sustained. If that cannot be done then Mother Nature will come to the rescue and destroy far more completely than any sane human would ever consider doing.
No one likes the Chinese solution to their population problem — one child per woman — but it has been an economic blessing for the new generation of Chinese. That type of draconian demand would be impossible to enforce everywhere in today’s world because it would have to be enforced upon every woman in the world. But in the future, especially after a Doomsday or two has been endured, the reasonableness of a stable population small enough for the Earth to supply an abundance to everyone will seem the best way for everyone to live.