To follow in Dr. Leibniz’s and Dr. Pangloss’s now nearly three-century-old claim, “This is the best of all possible worlds,” it would seem obvious that at present we are now in a vastly better condition. The most compelling proof is that human life expectancy has gone from about twenty-nine years in their time, to approaching eighty years in many places in ours. Another proof is that our mother Earth is supporting 7.5 billion people, and in their time only 760 million. That’s 9.9 times as many people now, and we are better fed than they. Some people claim the soils are now depleted of essential nutrients, but that argument seems weak when seeing so many healthy people. When anthropologists examine the skeletons of people of that era, they show signs of having been in poor health.
Wars, famines, diseases were rampant back then that are almost non-existent now. Those earlier people would see us as living in heaven; even poor people in poor countries have many of the advantages of our fantastically successful world, such as the rarity of war, famine, and diseases. Also, the unfortunates of our world have access to incredibly high-quality media. Granted they must filter through vast amounts of inferior stuff, and a glut of ads, but there are good things to be had with a little wisdom when choosing.
The problems of our world population are those of too much success. Our world society is so super successful in creating people, who need food, housing, transportation, and an abundance of other things, that we now face a coming shortage of Earth’s natural bounties like air, water, and fertile soil. All of these new shortages would not have happened if the world population was not ten times bigger and still doubling in forty years. Or alternately, at our present rate of consumption, they would have lasted ten times longer because the rate of consumption would have been ten times slower. At that slower rate the Earth might have been able to remain in a stable sustainability.
It is possible to carry this line of thought further with more details, but why bother, we are in a wonderful world at the moment. Also, this bounty will probably continue for a few more years and get even better due to technical improvements, but it won’t last for generations of population doubling. Young adults of today will almost certainly live in a world of population control. If humans don’t somehow choose to reduce population voluntarily and find a way to live sustainably with the resources available, natural processes will find a way. In forty years, with a population of fifteen billion, a collapse of ninety-five percent would only reduce it back to still be double the level in 1725.
Things have never been better than this current Best of All Possible Worlds!