Overpopulation, the Euthanasia/Suicide option?

Fabrizio J. Bonsignore fbonsignore at beethoven.com
Sun Nov 21 19:32:43 EST 2004

The classical theory of war states that the motives of war are,
invariably, an economic conflict. After negotiation to get control of
scarce resources break down, violent solution follows. One party (wars
always degenerate to two parties plus an [optional] background of
neutrality) tries to get hold of liebensraum, vital space, and secure
the scarce resources, either by appropriation (conquest) or by defense
(protection, or alternatively active defense, ie, attack). Once one
party defeats the other one, resources are distributed according to
the winning party needs (and the Maquiavelian dilemma of neutrality
follows), though the economic relations change not only by the new
political distribution of forces by the new ratios toward population.

As resources can be considered relatively fixed (inelastic supply)
compared to the constant change of population (right displacement of
demand schedules), it is obvious that scarcity ends up showing itself
unless contrarrested by technological advances and productivity. Yet
basic resources are still an issue since they can`t grow accordingly.
It follows then that the economic motive has as an underlying force
population growth. Unless stabilized population pressure will
eventually put stresses on the economic system that will be resolved
catastrophically, ie, by a sudden discontinuous change in the state of
the system after continuous changes in the system. This discret change
is the passage from peace to war, caused by the continuous growth of

Yet this abstract scheme is modified by the irregularity of geography,
more exactly, by the relation between trasportation (mobility) and
geography. In a perfectly homogeneous world population groups (which
can be imagined as a constantly expanding series of increasingly dense
spheres), would lead of a distribution of populatio according to a
voronoi tesselation (like bee cells), where borders would expand and
contract at the same time as the populatio decreases insity due to the
conflict in the borders caused by the constant pressure. This change
would lead to periodical conflicts that would be predicted according
to the relation of the cells centers and the growth rates of the
populatio density. In other words, wars would be a periodic constant
unless populations stabilize so that pressure in the borders remains

But in an irregular world where transportation and geographical
barriers lead to partial isolation, populations can grow beyond the
critical mass that would trigger border wars. Frontiers compound the
problem, as the habitability of zones does two. From a purely
biological point of view, this partial isolation leads also to the
constant mixing of the genetic traits of the population. Plateaus of
variation can be reached by population, particularly if growth rates
are not controlled and stabilized. This generates pressures toward the
interior of the populations borders, which, due to the irregularity of
the geography cannot be `easily` alleviated by conflicting with
neighbors for liebensraum. This inner conflicts have an expression in
the economic performance of that population (which can be equated with
a country), such as unemployment, inflation and low wages if not
contrarrested by increased efficiency due to technology and science
(here Reason reveals both as the saving resource and the trigger of
the conflict). But the pressure can find other ways of expression,
such as social discontent, dictatorships, repression.

It is at this point where the original economic motive can be
superseded by the more biologically oriented one of giving way to the
population density pressure. It is this new motive which can lead to
trigger wars despite the geographical barriers, not with the intent of
acquiring more liebensraum (difficult in an already overpopulated, ie,
more or less densely populated world), but to alleviate the sheer
pressure of a contained population. Here it doesn`t matter to win or
lose, what matters is to reduce population, or in other words, to
comit suicide. And in case of confronting a major power, it is
equivalent to ask for euthanasia, at the level of a popluatio/country.
This motive, besides the gain produced by the decrease in population,
also has the `advantage` of increasing the variation in the population
by a careful selection of the individuals (conscription) who will take
part in the conflict. War can be a population policy, with the
additional benefit of allowing after the conflict a restructuration of
economic relations (and powe relations). A system nearing this
breaking point may experience, as a result, movements oriented to the
maintainance of peace or of an spiritual content or non violent

The conclusion is that an unwanted result of overpopulation and the
lack of success in population control measures can lead to wars even
if the economic and population system of the world as a whole is at
equilibrium or relatioships with immediate (thoughnot adjacent
neighbors) are also in equilibrium. Unfortunately this motives can be
exploited by politicians to generate an escape solution to the
overpopulation population, though on a more basic level this motive
can also be the expression of basic biological needs impinging on the
individual, akin to the lemmings need of population suicide. It is at
this level that this `solution` can force wars even if the individuals
are not really aware of the real motives, or as to say, the collective
pressure exercises pressure on decision makers to adopt a conflict
exit to the overpopulation problem. Overpopulation and dense
populatioby themselves can trigger wars.

The `pacific` or rational solution is to realize the existence of this
underlying forces, eithto prevent them by using them as a driving
force to exerise better populatio growth policies, or, in the extreme,
desperate case, to engage in ritually controlled, carefully planned
`pruning` conflicts in order to stabilize the pressures that might
destabilize the whhle world system. The more technology and science
and the best effort of the best minds is oriented to find solutions to
overpopulation and population growth policies, the more easily will be
to avoid this unnecessary conflicts, even if measures may eventually
lead to conflict with the individual`s right to decide reproduction.
Salvation of lives and possibly the whole species goes through
Science, Technology and their rational appication of it to  the
solution of mankind`s problems, before extreme measures such as
euthanasia wars take place.

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