Response to "human rights vs. societies rights"

Lief M. Hendrickson (hendrick@NOSC.MIL)
Thu, 8 Dec 1994 09:27:44 PST

The response of Luis Medina (Dec 7) to the post by Bonnie
Bracewell (Dec 6) indicates he may have missed an important
point. He takes exception to Ms. Bracewell's reference to
exponential population growth. The intent of population
extrapolations are not necessarily that they be taken literally.
There is generally an underlying assumption of "all things being
equal". In other words, given current trends, the population
will increase to xx billion in yy period of time. The point is
that the enormity of the numbers should make us realize that all
things can't remain equal, because the numbers would eventually
become impossible.

It's understood that nothing can increase forever, and that's the
problem. What will be the consequence of the forces that will
alter the trend? Ms. Bracewell alludes to this insight by her
comment, "By insisting on the individual's right to procreate, we
doom the next generation or the one after to a world where no one
would really like to live". Attention to use and distribution of
resources, as advocated by Mr. Medina, is important, but it can
only go so far until per-capita scarcity catches up. Time to
reconsider Malthus?