Some years ago (about 30) I watched a television show of former science advisers to the president of the United States.

They were asked what problems the U.S. faced in the future. Four or five of the dozen or so said it was “depopulation.” Since then I have told others of this, but few (if any) have believed me. Now I would say “depopulation and aging populations” are a problem. How much? I do not know. But certainly, something to think about.

Some of what we know is not always true.

Gary Masters


(19) comments


Depopulation in the news:



The articles you linked to all deal with legitimate concerns.

Most people would agree that there are examples of specific areas that could use more people. In another comment I mentioned Midwestern towns here in the U.S. that are shrinking to the point of disappearing in some cases.

We can't save them all. In fact, historically there have been numerous towns come and go -- typically "one company" towns that depend on extractive industries like mining or logging. That's the way it goes. But we certainly can, and should, try to save some of them.

That's one issue, and really separate from overpopulation.

Just because there are some places that need/want more residents does not mean that the entire planet, or America, or FredCo needs more people.

The Earth's ability to sustain life could be destroyed while there are isolated regions that are underpopulated.

The truth is that most people who are concerned about the possibility of our population decreasing are thinking short-term, and often in their best interest:

* They are economists, bankers, and business people who have been immersed in the "growth is good", "grow or die" mantra their entire lives. Whether they believe it or not is irrelevant -- they insist we need ever more people and consumption, from now until the end of time. That is their model, and it is clearly insane.

* They are people who are concerned about having enough 'worker bees' to support Social Security (SS) and Medicare. That is a legitimate concern. I'll be eligible for SS in a few years and I'd certainly like for it to still be available (after paying into it my entire life from age 13-14) but there are alternatives to blindly increasing our population by continuing to allow excess immigration (legal and illegal). As you and I both mentioned, eliminating the income cap for the SS tax would help tremendously.


I can’t tell if the LTE author would prefer more or fewer people on the earth.



From the following sentence I think he is arguing for more people:

"Now I would say “depopulation and aging populations” are a problem."

That is a legitimate concern, but nothing is worth destroying the Earth, and that is the path we are currently on.

If we were only concerned with ourselves and not future generations, then absolutely we would push for more humans -- more bodies to complete the lower level of the "growth is good" pyramid.

SS requires a certain number of workers for every retiree in order to remain solvent. That's already a problem. There is a solution which has been proposed several times -- remove the income cap for the SS tax. As it is, the SS tax is a grossly regressive flat tax. We all pay 6.2% Social Security tax on the first $132,900 of wages (maximum tax is $8,239.80 [6.2% of $132,900]). People who make over $132,900 don't pay an additional dime on income over that amount.


* Earn $140,000 -- pay $8,239.80

* Earn $3,000,000 -- pay $8,239.80

If the $132,900 income cap were eliminated, SS would be solvent -- no need to encourage further destruction of FredCo and the Earth.

We can slow, stop, and reverse population growth and still collect SS checks when we reach that age.



The fix for Social Security may include a higher limit (if any) on income that is taxed. And I would favor an Value Added Tax on automation and robots to help Social security and worker training for new jobs.



I like the idea of a tax on automation. One way or another we are going to have to support Americans who lose their jobs to self-driving cars and trucks, robotics, etc.

One thing is absolutely certain -- there will be fewer jobs that require humans in the future, with no shortage of people to fill those that remain. Unemployment will be a huge problem, and increasing the population even further will only add to it.


Public is a careful reader. I think we can use a few more, in the right locations and perhaps fewer in other locations. But what I want is an awareness of current events and not what we may have learned in school if it is now dated. I have added a link to Google news. Not perfet, but a place to start.



It sounds as though you are talking about migration rather than (or in addition to) increasing the population of the planet.

There are certainly places that could use more people. For example, towns in the Midwest that are slowly dying. That is sad to see.

For years now I've been promoting the idea of encouraging people to move from 'impacted' areas like ours to more sparsely populated areas that are actively trying to attract people. For example, I've read about towns in the Midwest that are giving away building lots for free to entice people to move there. It would be great if gov't agencies and private employers would move to places like that, rather than adding to the population of already severely overcrowded metro areas like D.C./Baltimore.

Migration would help solve some existing problems. It's worth pursuing. It would not however do anything to prevent the ongoing destruction of the Earth. The number of humans in America and the world as a whole is greater than the planet can sustain indefinitely. We must humanely, voluntarily, reduce the number of people if the human race is to survive.

The above is the consensus of over 10,000 scientists from around the globe.

I'm curious -- what is it that we learned in school that you believe may now be dated/inaccurate?


I said it in my letter and it is worth saying again"Much of what we know is wrong or has changed." I had the same education as others, but new fats are emerging. Just try to pay attention to some unpopular trends. They may be important.



It appears that this is your letter. The subject is a bit daunting. And more often than not we find that we disagree on subjects but kudos for writing openly to the public. Hope to see more of your letters.


JSK - Never give up and keep on learning. [beam]



Would you please list some of the new facts you referred to?

Could you give some examples of our knowledge that is wrong or has changed? There certainly is a lot in that category, but I'm thinking primarily of knowledge related to overpopulation.

Also, what are some of the unpopular tends?


Over 10,000 scientists around the world disagree. These are the same scientists who continue to warn us -- in the same report -- about Global Warming (GW) and Climate Change (CC):

A couple quotes:

""Economic and population growth are among the most important drivers of

increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion (Pachauri et al. 2014, Bongaarts and O‘Neill

2018); thus, we need bold and drastic transformations regarding economic and population policies."

"Population. Still increasing by roughly 80 million people per year or >200,000 per day (Figure

1a-1b), we must stabilize and ideally gradually reduce the world population within a framework

that ensures social integrity. There are proven and effective policies that strengthen human

rights, while lowering fertility rates and lessening the impacts of population growth on GHG

emissions and biodiversity loss. These policies involve making family planning services

available to all people (and removing barriers to their access) and achieving full gender equity,

including primary and secondary education as a global norm for all, especially girls and young

women (Bongaarts and O‘Neill 2018)."

The existential threat we face is from *over*population, not depopulation. Anyone who argues the opposite is likely associated with a religion that recklessly encourages population growth in order to increase the size of its membership, or a member of the "growth is good" Ponzi scheme club.

The Earth has finite resources. Major aquifers here in America (and elsewhere) are literally running dry, In most cases that water took thousands of years to accumulate, now it's (almost) gone. We lose 175 acres of farm and ranch land per HOUR -- over 1,400,000 acres so far this year ( ).

If you are a developer focused on this quarter's profits, perhaps that's not a concern -- but the rest of us, at least anyone who cares about the type of world future generations will inherit, should be very alarmed.

Obadiah Plainsmen

But Gary depopulation is a good thing. Less people means less strain of the planets resources, less strain on the climate , less mouths to feed and with the top 1% of the worlds population owning more than half of the worlds wealth who needs the bottom 99%. As Ebenezer Scrooge eloquently told us “If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population".


...and we can take in more immigrants!


It's what we do


I understood the concern in combination with the reference to the aging population - that the younger population supports.


There are better ways to solve these problems and income is a matter of economic policy, with little correlation to population. Technology can fix many energy and pollution problems if we allow it to do so.



Technology can definitely fix or lessen some problems, but it cannot create more fresh water or more land.

Aquifers that took thousands of years to fill are being sucked dry.

Farm/ranch land is being developed at a rate of 175 acres per hour.

Our resources are limited. More humans = more consumption.

If you don't mind my asking, do you have a personal interest in this subject? For example, the Catholic Church has always encouraged population growth. Another group that favors population growth are corporations and business owners.

In fact, while population growth here in FredCo lowers our quality of life, it does benefit many people. For example, anyone involved in the real estate/development business. The long-term result of continued development is the complete and total destruction of Frederick County as we know it, and an abysmal quality of life for all residents -- but the short-term result is big fat profits for a few people. Ka-ching!

IIRC, you are a retired librarian though, is that correct? Would a continued increase in population benefit you in some way?

I'm just trying to figure out where you're coming from.

Do you dispute anything in the PDF I linked to? The one signed by over 10,000 scientists?

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