Too many births, too few deaths, and too much technical advance may well be the recipe for humanity’s doom.
I was reading a book the other day – a very good book, of which more in due course – that quoted a piece of research done a few years back among senior multinational management. It showed that, compared to the US population as a whole, psychopaths were four times more common in that rarified community.
Three years ago I was chatting to a cerebral repair surgeon, and he opined that the incidence of frontal lobe syndrome was almost certainly much higher among merchant bankers than the rest of us. People with FLS lack the social niceties and financial caution of the rest of us: this can be genetic, but is more often the result of lost cerebro-spinal fluid – following an accident or previous surgical procedure.
I’ve often wondered over the years if this also applies to politicians. It certainly applies in advertising, where I met several people with obvious psychopathic traits; but with politicians, it’s more a sort of banal grubbiness that comes across. Almost all of them radiate it, but the ones that hide it well usually make it to the Cabinet. Meet a few of the latter, and you will soon understand the problem that lies behind the last sixty years of doing nothing followed by panicky cynicism. Everything – and I mean everything – is about them. And they really do want everything: the status, the limos, the fame, and above all the munneeeee.
There are two theories relating to such abnormality, and I think the truth is that they are both correct. The first states that if you design jobs needing psychopaths, you will get psychopaths. The second says that psychopaths crave power and wealth – so like bank robbers, they head for where it resides. I’ve seen obvious cases of both histories many times over during the last four decades.
But today I’m more interested in another related question: why do those jobs exist in the first place?
Globalist multinational management is required to do two main things: force local managements into line, and fire people. It’s a job where people people talk about headcount, and ‘the numbers’. Poverty and sympathy are not in the lexicon.
Investment bankers are there, allegedly, to fund the larger end of business and the occasional management buy-out (MBO), help private companies go public, to find and then match merger partners, and generally keep capitalism in growth mode.
In practice, this more often means allowing individuals to reap vast rewards by selling out, hoodwinking the markets about the real potential of companies, asset stripping, and firing people.
And senior politicians are supposed to be there to run the country for the greatest benefit of the greatest number hahahahahaaaaa. In fact – as every day demonstrates – they work in favour of the special interests of those who give them the most money…and to hide blunders, embezzlements, murders etc they’ve committed along the way. (I’m not joking, believe me).
The jobs exist because the system is flawed in the first place, but we’ve been over that one a dozen times. More to the point, however, they exist for three other vital reasons:
1. The planet is now dominated by the global nature of complex mercantile capitalism, and the inevitable problems that arise from supranational ego or geopolitical energy considerations trying to control nationalism.
2. The human species may have become more sophisticated, but it has not evolved. We therefore have, day in day out, difficult issues being tackled by the more brutish end of high intelligence.
3. The are far too many human beings on the planet.
Taking those three factors as a whole, I would argue that 2 and 3 have caused 1. There are too many mouths to feed and bodies to water; and the problems that creates are being fudged or put off by élite cynicism and/or insouciance because we simply aren’t ethically bright enough. But there would be much less of a problem if our extreme nature as a species hadn’t plumped for the system we have in the first place….and so carelessly produced umpteen offspring per family.
The population issue
Population growth is far too often discussed in a mathematical and physical way involving square meters, survival rates, food, water, changes in diet, air, and the size of the planet. My point is and always has been very simple: I really don’t care what might happen in the future, because the problem is already here and out of control. And – as I shall expand along the way – the very interconnected nature of it almost certainly spells doom for Homo sapiens.
The issue is not one of “what are you on about there’s more than enough food and water we could cram five times more people onto the Earth”. The issues are that the numbers we have already produce incredibly complex problems…..and we haven’t evolved in our capacity to either see that, or develop a sound, long-term solution.
Ebola is a difficult disease to transmit. It is growing fast in Africa because the continent has populations too large for the infrastructure to look after, and the psychos in charge are too busy shuffling money off to Zurich to worry about those less fortunate members of their flock.
Both China and India are forced into an insane level of export output in order to earn them the money just to keep pace with the housing, aspirational, and abject poverty problems they face. The same is true of Brazil and Mexico. Once the Mao generation reaches retirement age (roughly 2022) the Chinese in particular will face a demographic time-bomb of aged care.
The British National Health Service is in constant crisis because Britain has the exact same problem – albeit at a much higher standard of living. But the NHS is also crumbling because it is so vast, the bureaucracy required to run it inevitably gets in the way of working out what to do next. The last fifty years have seen an explosion in medical cures…but they all have to be paid for. And – once applied – they all add to the survival rates….which then become an aged care etc etc etc.
In the US, some five States and four cities are now bankrupt. Added to the cultural problems produced by a melting pot where not everything melts all that well is the issue of welfare complication and health provision caused by massive population growth. In France, we see the same thing.
But rather than deal with it, the Establishments in charge operate on the following basis:
* Ignore it * Deny it * Give the wealthy all the money and services they require to insulate themselves from it
* Put it off * Reinvent money so we can have everlasting amounts of it * Cover agricultural land with houses.
They do this because they are pain averse, corrupt, in the pockets of Big & Rich, but above all because they are largely bereft of any behavioural and ethical evolution. They are, to be blunt, venal tribal chiefs trying to run countries, but being paid not to by businesses trying to rule the world.
Forget extrapolations, having fewer children, population clocks and all the rest of the ignorant bollocks: the problem is right here, right now. We could have a global pandemic wiping out half of us next week, and there’d still be too many of us.
Take a look at this 1800-2014 UN graph below. I’ve marked it up to try and illustrate three points:
The three wiggly lines after 2020 needn’t bother us, other than to say they’re 3 UN estimates of future growth, and they mean “We don’t know”. For me, it’s the history lesson that’s important here:
1. Experts have largely sterile debates about when the Industrial Revolution began, but for me it’s around 1770, and is really motoring by 1840. In the 1800-1920 period marked above, you can see that the world population doubled. It doubled in just over a century…having taken eighteen centuries to double from the previous (estimated) level.
This is despite the fact that during the 1800-1920 period, five massive wars took place in the largest population centre, including the greatest mass slaughter per month in history.
Large-scale industrialisation (and the technological advances that go with it) cause an exponential surge in human populations. That’s the point I’m trying to make: as soon as Big takes over from Small, the rate of growth advances over tenfold. That produces huge cities. Cities that need to be run, built, and made law-abiding.
2. We see this again at the start of the blue line above. From 1951 until the oil crises of the early 1970s, the West had its fastest ever economic growth, and the greatest ever real increase in spending power. Between 1954 and 1982 – just 28 years – world population doubled again, from 2.5bn to 5bn. Key factors here were greater longevity thanks to better diet and improved healthcare.
This second timespan is where the damage is done. In 1800, the urban planner had 1 problem to ponder. By 1982, he has 5. Throw two tennis balls at somebody: they will almost always drop one. Throw five, the chances are they won’t catch any.
Again, the same points: impossible complexity, but without the human evolution to deal with it.
3. We’re now heading for 7 billion, but the rate of increase is no longer the issue. Insoluble problems of administration and provision have already arrived: sure, we know that there’s enough food for everyone…but markets dictate where that food will be. Most of it is where it is least needed.
In this third phase, however, two new developments occur to exacerbate the problem. First, a hitherto unequalled advance in physical road and air transport takes place beyond the West. And second, the internet arrives which – along with satellite TV and portable telecoms – means the world is joined up as never before.
It is not, of course, joined up culturally. This is the mistake all braindead globalists make, and its one reason why the USSR, the EU and China are all facing the same problems of nationalist aspiration. The point is that not only have we gone in just over two centuries from artisans making stuff locally in a largely rural environment to global financial service and fiat currency nonsense: we’ve also made isolation on the planet virtually extinct.
This is what has happened, I think: the ‘success’ of lots of people doing unfulfilling jobs has led to social, economic and fiscal structures so vast and imprenetrable, the models of central and supranational government have become unaffordably expensive, and universally unsustainable….because the main side-effects of that material success have been a population explosion coupled with wholesale ethical dilution. Mammon has not only come to the fore, religion has been discredited.
And we haven’t evolved as a species to deal with any of it.
The joining-up of planetary travel and communication now makes that evolution virtually impossible. Because one of the key factors triggering evolution is missing: isolation.
Environmental change and isolation of groups of organisms play an important role in evolution. Isolation means that organisms of the same species are separated, and happens when there is something between the organisms that they can’t cross. Organisms used to become isolated as a result of continental drift, major oceanic disasters, climate change causing rising sea levels, massive volcanoes messing up the food supply and so on.
When organisms become isolated, different types of them are also not able to reproduce together, so variations and mutations that occur in one group are not necessarily found in the other group. The longer the groups are isolated, the more different they are. They eventually become different species.
One advancing theory about why we have big brains follows this line of thinking. When the climate of Africa changed some two million years ago, tree-dwelling man came out of the trees because the trees died from lack of water. Once on land, the species lost the helicopter view supplied by sitting on high branches – so arrived Homo Erectus. But once on land, a whole new set of fast-moving predators had to be foiled. We developed a blood-supply method of running faster and further than, say, big cats. The only way to do this was to expand blood supply to the consciousness controller – the brain. The only way to house the veins was a bigger brain. So arrived Homo sapiens, the intelligent thug.
Were a natural disaster to occur today, the access to the area would be repaired, and the population involved would be crawling with aid workers. Global communications would raise lots of money. And so what would’ve become isolation five hundred years ago becomes….nothing.
It’s possible that our very success at survival and reproduction will wind up turning us into a dead-end species – and one where the unpleasant tasks we’ve created for ourselves will continue to attract the psychopaths. Some medical colleges (notably in Australia) are already developing ways to artificially ‘cut off’ or varietalise genes in order to produce test-tube evolution. But it’s a little late to be starting now…with the world in a mess from the sort of disordered thinking generally emitted by bright yobs.
Either way, global interconnection and cultural mélange will inevitably make natural selection’s job more and more difficult.
It is notable that, with more and more population growth since the mind nineteenth century, natural selection appears to have speeded up its attempts to develop nasties to bump us off. The human sensitivity to salt, for instance, is now thought by many geneticists to date from roughly 1920. As we all need salt, developing a deadly human sensitivity to it was a smart move by natural selection – but medical advice and drugs have already cancelled it out. We remain victims of our own ‘success’.
Viruses are mutating more quickly than ever before, and new varieties are appearing every week. This is probably part of the same process….’let’s have a cull’. Ebola, for example, spreads quickly where governments most lack the equipment to deal with socio-medical complexity. So too, AIDS is now endemic among several African populations.
Harsh as it may seem, for the good of future generations all right-minded people should now be thinking “Bring it on”. Only shock on a massive scale will shake us out of the torpor of acceptance among our electorates – and only a reversal back to modernised community living will aid in the process of producing the right kind of Homo Superior in the future….while killing the inevitably hyper-inflationery madness of neoliberalism.
Yesterday at The Slog: The y words that hold back progress