Keeping track of world population is probably one of the five or ten most important things developed societies can do in this age. It is as important as keeping track of nuclear weapons or measuring industrial productivity or measuring and reporting nutritional food and potable water sources. The reason population growth is this important is because it is the equal and opposite weight which keeps humanity in balance, and it will be the multiplier by which shortages will be counted.
World population is growing at an alarming rate. This may someday cause food shortages even in developed countries. Widespead famine would result in desperation, anger, violence and the instability of governments. In addition, crowding is causing the faster spread of communicable diseases.
Leaders would become desperate. First they might call on their police and military forces to distribute scarce food, drugs, and medical supplies. This would escalate into crowd control, and then riot control. Government leaders and institutions could come under attack. The final outcome could be a nuclear attack, and then nuclear war.
This problem is made all the more wicked by the fact that so many countries have already amassed enormous arsenals of nuclear weapons that are ready to launch at any moment. And the accumulated destructive power of these weapons is enough to destroy the earth’s entire biosphere. That means that in a few days or weeks every man, women and child would begin dying, and in a few more weeks or months all of earth’s plant life would wither and die.
Population growth is a key indicator of many types of problems which may lie ahead for future generations. Adjusting and correcting in our multi-ethnic, multi-religious , variously governed and unevenly educated world is becoming much more difficult. We are not compensating for our differences very well today, eventhough they are relatively minor. Widespread starvation in the future could open chasms of fear, jealousy, and anger on a scale we have never before experienced.
To deal with this type of long range issue we need wise, strong, and broadly supported institutions. The United Nations is the first institution that most people of our world would probably expect to play a key role. The difficulty is that the UN may not have broad enough support to manage a problem of this magnitude. The League of Nations might likewise have a base which is too narrow and unsteady to carry the weight of this issue.
In America there is a large number of people who are not willing to support any outside world organization, especially the United Nations. This may be true as well in other countries. No data is available at this time. Are we moving forward deaf, dumb and blind? This is probably a scenario no leader wants to study discuss. The politician who grabs this problem might get a terrible shock. That is why we need to look for, and vote for well educated, experienced, brave, farsighted leaders.