Do you think humans should colonize other planets and exploit their resources, too?

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Do you think humans should colonize other planets?


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Nov 19, 2021
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I am not just suggesting it I am asserting it is true that rising incomes lead to reduced birth rates. See the graph I made in post #98 in support of this claim.
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Would you say that reduced birth rates lead to rising incomes?

Per Capita GDP Definition (investopedia.com)

What Is the Difference Between GDP Per Capita and Per Capita Income?
GDP per capita measures the economic output of a nation per person. It seeks to determine the prosperity of a nation by economic growth per person in that nation. Per capita income measures the amount of money earned per person in a nation. This metric seeks to evaluate the average per-person income for a given region in order to determine the standard of living and quality of life of a population.
Cat :)
 
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Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Do you think humans should colonize other planets and exploit their resources, too?

Not if it is the excuse to extend overpopulation even further. I think we have seen that there may be valid reasons for colonisation on a limited scale, but no excuse whatsoever to pillage world after world to feed our own overpopulation.

Cat :)
 
Nov 19, 2021
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Would you say that reduced birth rates lead to rising incomes?
Per Capita GDP Definition (investopedia.com)
Cat :)
No, in order to increase the per capita income by adjusting the population numbers, the population numbers would have to go lower. Decreasing birth rate (When it is above replacement level) does not reduce population numbers it merely reduces the rate of increase. Whenver birthrate is above 17/1000 the population numbers will continue to increase. That is inconsistent with increased per capita income.

Secondly, not one couple ever said: "Let us not have a baby such that our country's per capita income will then increase"
Lots of couples have said: "Now that we are making more money we don't have to make more babies."
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Lots of couples have said: "Now that we are making more money we don't have to make more babies."
And you were at the time to hear it . . . . . . . . . ? The mind boggles!

Best not reply to that one.

Do you think humans should colonize other planets and exploit their resources, too?

Not if it is the excuse to extend overpopulation even further. I think we have seen that there may be valid reasons for colonisation on a limited scale, but no excuse whatsoever to pillage world after world to feed our own overpopulation.
In the circumstances, I suggest that most will forgive me of being repetitious. Just trying again to get the thread back on topic.

Cat :)
 
Late to the party, but here are some comments on previous posts:

1. Population on Earth is likely to keep increasing until unpleasant things like wars, plagues and famines are killing as many people as can be born and survive to child bearing age. I say this because the current modeling assumption that $5,000 per capita income will decrease birth rates is not really justified by looking at current reality. For instance, the birth rates of subpopulations that are relatively poor in the U.S. are still high, and well above $5,000 per capita income just on the basis of welfare support from the government. So, that is indigenous subpopulation growth, but the total indigenous population growth is still less than replacement in the U.S., because that subpopulation is relatively small fraction of total population. However, the total population of the U.S. is rising rapidly, due to immigration from other poor areas. One of the main things slowing the birth rate of the high-earners in developed countries is the high tax burden and high cost of living needed to support the welfare programs for the poor. That is a stress that convinces most people to limit their family sizes, but it is also helping the poor subpopulations to decide to not bother decreasing their birth rates. Europe has similar issues.

The Chinese tried to tackle this issue with a one-child law, but recently have decided to try to increase indigenous population birth rate with a 3 child policy. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-child_policy .

So, my personal view is that human population density of habitable land will tend to increase to levels similar to what is currently in China and India, which would tend to put total human population on the planet around 20 billion or more, before we reach the level of nasty effects causing an equilibrium of deaths equal to births.

2. Climate change is real. How much of it is due to human activities is perhaps still debateable, but even without human effects on climate, the highest sea level during the previous interglacial period (about 120,000 years ago) was another 25 feet higher than today. So, we need to count on the sea level rising, no matter what we end up doing with the climate initiatives. Sea level has already risen about 325 feet since its minimum in the last ice age, only about 25,000 years ago. Only a few million years ago, we had a sustained period (tens of millions of years) when there were no ice ages, and the sea level was hundreds of feet higher than it is now. Sea level increases will surely increase human population migrations, which will probably increase wars, too.

3. The Earth has previously experienced atmospheric CO2 levels much higher than current levels, without becoming another Venus. However, when the changes in CO2 levels were rapid, geological evidence indicates that there were major effects on species both in the ocean and on land, with lots of extinctions and more rapid evolutionary changes of survivors. So, humans are probably resourceful enough to not go extinct, but our technological societies might very well be destroyed by the political upheavals, putting us back into hunter-gatherer mode just when there is much reduced things available to hunt and gather. So, a population crash is not unlikely, and, in fact, is the normal event following sharp population spikes in other animals that have been studied by population dynamicists.

4. It is not possible to ferry people to another habitable planet fast enough to ameliorate the current level of human population increase.

5, If there is to be another locale for humans to survive as a technological species off this planet, so that it could serve as a "life boat" for human society as we know it today, it would have to be self sufficient and also highly diverse and vibrant. It seems unlikely that such a "New Earth" could be created either on another planet in our solar system or in artificial "reef" habitats in space. Perhaps some small society could survive there for a century or so without Earth support, but it would almost certainly need to reseed human population on Earth at some point to reestablish anything like the societies we have today.

6. So, yes, I support humans going to other planets in our solar system to acquire resources and knowledge, and have no objections to permanent bases off- Earth. I have no ethical objections to disrupting rudimentary life forms on those other places, if they exist, but I do have scientific objections about destroying things we don't yet understand.

7. Making rules for space exploration/exploitation seems like a good idea, but probably futile. As currently being demonstrated in the headlines these days, a lot of individuals, nations and NGOs are not following the rules of good behavior already established in many areas of activities. And it isn't just a matter of survival that pushes some people to act badly with respect to the common good. People don't all think alike, and that was probably an evolutionary plus when we were a struggling species trying to expand across our planet. But, these days, psychopathic and sociopathic individuals seem to be one of our major sources of harm, and, so far as we can tell, they are continuing to be birthed at about the same rate, no matter what society does. So, I do not see conflict levels changing for the better any time soon, and certainly don't see the majority of the human population agreeing to "average" the resources to all, particularly if that is proposed to be done by having one government take and dole out all resources - e.g. totalitarian-enforced communism. The problem with utopian ideals like that are that people who want to get more than others get seek the power of the government and corrupt it to their advantage and to the detriment of the masses. And, that brings us back to conflict over resources. It seems to be in our nature as a species, so we need to recognize the reality of it and not make plans that bet it will go away "when everybody is educated" or when "everybody has an income more than US $5,000".
 
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If this species had half a brain, it would realise that average standard of living = total resources divided by total population, ...
Nice. That's such an obvious approach that it surprised me that I hadn't seen it before. :)

I would add that it's the total resources that have been exploited since the SoL comes only from what has been used and not what is left to be used. We have the population that we have largely due to the scientific gains that allow better exploitation at lower and lower costs. Science, however, has to work harder and harder for those incremental gains since the challenges are much greater for new science gains. Addressing the population issue is more important than before. Imagine what will happen in a world famine, or even no ships out of Ukraine.
 
I don't think that "average standard of living" is a real measure of mass wellbeing. How do you take an "average" today, with some people starving and others building megayachts? The marginal utility of a dollar to a starving person is far more than it is to a megayacht owner. Even using food or shelter still requires some sort of weighting to get a useful measure to compare.

And, given human nature, there is always going to be waste of resources. Some is just unavoidable in trying to get perishable commodities from where they are produced to where they are needed. But, more is probably lost in the interest of "profits" and corruption. For instance, look at this story about Russia burning natural gas into the atmosphere instead of shipping it to Europe. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-62652133
 
Life expectancy has doubled since ~ 1875. That has a lot to do with the SoL, no doubt. But there are better techniques than just a raw average, if they are needed.

But to the OP, will we be able to offer any treksters a reasonable range of a SoL? We have a long way to go to reach that point.
 
Nov 19, 2021
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There is nowhere in the Solar System other than Earth where humans can survive without self contained living quarters. I can't imagine how much mass would be required to sustain human life long term without resupply from Earth.

A very large amount of energy would be needed for propulsion, growing plants and an active shield against cosmic rays.

There will be inevitable air leaks so how will air be resupplied? Oxygen can be had from oxides, which are plentiful but how about the inert component? Perhaps a low pressure oxygen environment would suffice.

Gravity is essential so it is going to need to spin. This will add complexity.
 
If humans really do need some sort of "lifeboat" habitat to survive a disastrous change in the habitability of Earth, the best place, so far as resources are concerned, would be on Earth, itself. Making a self-contained environment underground would be far easier than doing it on the Moon, Mars, or orbiting platforms. The gravity is already right. The temperature underground is probably still going to be close to 55 degrees F. Atmospheric pressure should not be a problem. There would certainly still be a lot of oxygen in the atmosphere that could be extracted, or the air itself filtered as necessary. And, resources could be stock piled ahead of time more easily on Earth than off Earth. Solar or nuclear power could be used for growing food underground, with similar recycling processes used in space, but with much better ability to get raw resources to replace things that go wrong.

In fact, there has already been some thinking about such things as a result of the Cold War, with some sanctuaries for governments in the U.S. and Russia to hole-up for a nuclear winter. Fifty years later, I am sure they could do better with current technology.

The real problem with "designated survivors" staying on Earth in a closed habitat is that the masses that are designated for extinction might force access and imperil the inhabitants simply by stealing everything they could carry and wrecking the rest, even if they did not intentionally harm the inhabitants in their rage of being left to die while the inhabitants were chosen to live.
 
Great points, UNC. Perhaps both strategies could work together. Those who do well underground could go on the exoplanet trip.

When Apple introduced the Apple IIg computer, I asked the Apple store salesman what it’s capabilities were. He said, “It has limitless capabilities!” I bought it immediately! :) [I wanted to play its great new games, as much as use VisiCalc.:)]

The hope for a far greater future will always be in the “final frontier”.
 
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I had Earth civil defense as meaningful 10 years ago. Then I learned of metastasizing risks like robots, micro and synthetic biology risks, all out nuke war, solar dimming, AI, a really big asteroid bullet, basic chemical weapons manufacturing...You can't just run from post WW2 threats. IN 2014 I sketched out a WMD pattern recognition system mostly to look for unauthorized bio R+D. It would work in urban areas. It would work on ice moons with GPR running deep. There is an inflection where we invent a space-worthy structural material, maybe like the Sphere NASA ship, where sensors are included.
Then we can sensor a whole habitat, but not Titan. Here I see Triton as settling 1B, the other ice moons adding 1B (not near Jupiter), and maybe 0.5B for rogue objects not too far away.
Terrorist attacks and murders are likely not wanted to be sensored well. But most of the big stuff can be caught.
Before the sensor manna, WMD attacks are a reason only to let diospore mentally healthy and logically grounded people (Hawking might not be wanted studying applied fields). It isn't clear whether Earth itself is on a timer worse or better than the cold war nukes. Sick people in space will accidentally kill themselves all the time just like the biosphere using clerical futurists for Amish work, was abandoned right away due to injuries. We can multiply tethered rotating ships but eventually one ship will kill the others without a better system. Perhaps the ethane on Triton will enable something bigger. I'd leave Jupiter and AC to NASA or the CSA...a benefit of Bernard's Star is it gives people adventure and dynamism again. Only healthy people will survive space let alone prosper. If one person only cried when they were hungry, and one person cried for french toast because their mother needed part-time work, at not even 2 yrs old there may already be one chain of command entirely powerful in space and farm families hoping Earth isn't on a timer. I'm not sure just when space becomes easier than living in modern Earth, I plan a Halifax hub for tidal ice, tidal slush and tidal rock nano-power. It is technically harder than are RF coils. In general we need to target a 120-145 IQ population with a cadets level of discipline; I expect to fall in love in space on that alone as survival there makes a person useful and women like ice moons.
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Helio,
I would add that it's the total resources that have been exploited since the SoL comes only from what has been used and not what is left to be used.
I stated the "static" and you added the "dynamic". Of course, there is a practical dynamic. It only becomes important when resources begin to run out. When there is just "Adam and Eve", they cannot alone cause world shortages of energy, water and food. Look at the other "time" end of the situation. One crust of bread, one cup of water, and 100 billion population. (Reverse of "Adam and Eve".)

Cat :)
 
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We must have very competent understanding of our resources. The failure in the Texas grid last winter is an example of underestimating the level of sophistication needed to address sophisticated systems. [The frozen wind units, unfortunately, were used to power the natural gas pumping stations, IIRC, which could have been avoided with better planning.]

But you likely recall from the early 70" (?) how we weren't too far away from running out of oil, then fracking came along. Also, deeper oil fields were found. Natural gas utilization took decades, apparently, to develop and use, but those earlier fears were not justified. So, getting a solid grip on the current potential for resources, and nailing all the sophistication requirements to deal with problems, will be very difficult. But we need a way to deal with it and to have guardians that oversee these efforts to give weight where needed, and not to unnecessary bandwagon fearmongering.
 
Bill,

As I posted a lot earlier, it is true that middle class birth rates decline in "Western" cultures. But what is not true is that the populations of those countries decline. Look at the U.S. as a prime example of the population effects of uncontrollable immigration.

Please post a graph for the population changes of countries that have median incomes, or mean incomes or whatever, in that $5K equivalent range. That is a farm more realistic portrayal of the effects of affluence - it attracts immigration. (Japan will be an outlier, because they do control immigration.)

Also, please note that $5K is nothing close to an international standard of living index. There are places where you can live really well on $5K, and places where you can be homeless on $5K. So, these economic models are what economists think, not what anthropologists think. And, they are exploited by politicians who promote socialism (pardon the politics) and ignored by the politicians who promote nationalism/culturalism.

Immigration is driven by too many people in areas compared to what those areas can support. As far as we can tell, humans and humans' evolutionary ancestors have been emigrating from the African continent for several million years. Overpopulating seems to be inbred in our psychological evolution.

Climate change seems highly likely to drastically increase migrations in the coming century. Just Google "Climate Change Migration" for a large number of studies predicting how many from where to where. Basically, people are expected to shift north and inland.

And, those migrations will probably trigger wars - which seems to be one of the major population controls for humans - both by direct damage and by resulting famines and plagues.

So, this does not seem to be something that will automatically correct itself if we could just manage to give everybody on the planet $5K income. Unless we can convince people to have fewer children, we seem doomed to nasty consequences. But politicians do not want to touch that subject. Right now, even China has given up on trying to reduce population, and is promoting 3 children per family because of the economic consequences of the previous 1 child per family law.

And then there is this: https://www.foxnews.com/world/putin-offers-16000-reward-honorary-title-russian-women-have-10-children . That is a symptom of people who want to preserve their own culture, rather than be overrun by other cultures. And, it is exploited by dictators and others who seek power.
 
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This is a moral question, which has been concerning me. I would like to know every ones opinions.
Yes! I cannot wait to book a safari to Kepler 442b, where I'll ply the pink seas in a powerful launch, feel the weight of the semtex-tipped harpoon in my hand, while I scan the waves for a breaching exowhale, a beautiful and sensitive creature that will make an excellent conversation piece when mounted in my driveway back home.
 

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