Overpopulation Doesn’t Kill People, War Kills People

A study in the January 7 edition of The Lancet claims that the ongoing civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo is killing as many as 38,000 people each month, largely by magnifying the levels of malnutrition and preventable disease in that country.

Based on surveys conducted in 19,500 homes in the Democratic Republic of Congo conducted from April-July 2004, the researchers concluded there were an excess of 600,000 deaths during that period that would not have occurred in the absence of the civil war.

An estimated 4 million people have died in the DRC since fighting began in 1998.

By the Lancet’s measure, the civil war in DRC is the single deadliest humanitarian crisis in the world at the moment, and yet receives comparatively little coverage or focus. As the study’s lead author Richard Brennan told the BBC,

Congo is the deadliest crisis anywhere in the world over the past 60 years. Ignorance about its scale and impact is almost universal and international engagement remains completely out of proportion to humanitarian need.

The backdrop of DRC’s civil war goes back to the Hutu/Tutsi conflict that led to genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Fearing that Congo leader Mobutu Sese Seko was not doing enough to stop Hutus in the DRC that Rwanda believe were planning attacks against Tutsis, Rwanda and Uganda backed Laurent Kabila’s successful coup against Mobutu. When Kabila turned on his supporters and attempted to expel Rwanda military forces in 1998, a civil war developed that soon involved 9 African nations in what has been called Africa’s world war.

There have been a series of truces and cease-fires, but violence has proceeded largely unabated.

Sources:

The Lancet Publishes IRC Mortality Study from DR Congo; 3.9 Million Have Died: 38,000 Die per Month. Press Release, International Rescue Committee, January 6, 2006.

‘Thousands’ dying in DR Congo war. The BBC, January 6, 2006.

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29 thoughts on “Overpopulation Doesn’t Kill People, War Kills People”

  1. I am assuming that considering your site being called Overpopulation.com; instead of just Population.com; you agree that overpopulation is a problem.

    Now in this article, it appears that one of the means by which you are addressing the issue, in this particular article, is Well since you appear to be favouring a perspective towards symantics, in terms of challening your readers to perhaps explore what so few readers want to, namely their stunted critical thinking capacities.

    In accordance with your focus, — some may accuse you of triviality, but that’s not my focus — may I provide this alternative semantic perspective: Both ‘overpopulation’ and ‘war’ are both descriptive nouns, and could also be considered in certain aspects descriptive verbs, some could argue.

    In that context, an abstract noun is not even an object, except in terms of it’s characters on a page, or piece of paper. As opposed to a physical object, such as for example a GUN, or a PERSON.

    In that context we can also say:

    GUNS DO NOT KILL PEOPLE (which they don’t); PEOPLE USE GUNS TO KILL PEOPLE.

    ‘War’ is only a description of HUMAN BEHAVIOUR.

    Now how is it, and why is that so many of us are afraid to take a look at how and why it is that we got to the point of overpopulation? What do we know about the exponential factors of population factors? What do we as citizens know about Population Policy? What do we know about how and why journalists avoid to connect population factor issues as causal factors to most of their stories they write about the ecology, environment, species extinctions, economic growth, waste disposal, crime, terrorism, resource wars, resource depletion, violence, conformity pressures, etc? But, you may say that has nothing to do with population issues… Really? Well, that may be your opinion, to which you are entitled, but you may be interested that a significant number of the intelligence analysts at the Pentagon and CIA disagree with you; so what may they know that you do not? Perhaps Pin2Gong-Humint.

    Considering the population issue here referred to being the Congo, you may also be interested in the Congo Population Case Study, in terms of how the Demockery Oligarch operates, at Democker PsyOps

  2. Overpopulation is the cause of global warming, famine, poverty, air pollution, the lack of fresh water, many wars,etc. To say it is a myth is to be totally uninformed. A paragraph can’t answer the objections. If anyone is seriously interested in the physical, ethical, and psychological ramifications of the problem read the non-fictional but science fiction free ebooks at http://andgulliverreturns.info
    They are only for people seriously interested in the problem and some solutions. Very interesting.

  3. Bob….

    Actually “overpopulation” does not, and has not caused global warming. Global Warming is because of the number of fossil fuel powered machines we use, not the number of people (and having one does not mean you have many of the other).

    Last I heard there was actually enough food to feed everyone in the world (and this situation has existed for the last several years). If there is enough food to feed everyone and everyone doesn’t end up eating chances are the problem doesn’t relate to “overpopulation”.

    Poverty often relates to wide imbalances in wealth. I haven’t heard of any movement by the wealthy of world to share what they have with everyone (not that I would discourage any who want to help with the world’s problems) and thus don’t expect to see poverty end even if “overpopulation” does.

    Air pollution generally relates to machines and devices used by individuals, industries, and so on. Like I mentioned with global warming, this doesn’t occur because the number of people around-thus changing that will not fix it.

    Lack of water is one of the few places where your argument has some strength as it is one of the few places where there is a direct relationship between the people and water consumed. However, we could try using the water we have better before declaring the problem solvable only by reducing the number of people.

    Wars are created by people making the conscious decision to fight. There have been wars in both times of feast and of famine. Just because there is a shortage or an abundance of something does not mean people must fight. And one of the greatest weaknesses in the argument that wars are created by overpopulation is that there were times when the number and density of people was low in a nation and yet it still decided to go to war.

    Myth…. not a bad social term for it. Another may be “misunderstanding of a situation”. Though the claim saying is exists right now could be called a closely held “belief” rather than the stating of a fact.

  4. 8 million people die of hunger every year. You can argue that if food was distributed perfectly and none wasted there would be sufficient to feed the world – maybe. But the world isn’t likely to be run perfectly and waste and imperfect distribution will always be with us. We need a surplus.

    Looking at supplies it seems that the amount of food is going down everywhere. Large fish in the sea have declined by 90%!! Surplus grain supplies are declining. We’re in the midst of a mass extinction and we’re the cause. And now for the first time for a long time even rich countries (like the UK) are starting to look at issues of food security.

    In addition the finite resources of fossil fuels that modern agriculture depends on are reaching expansion limits and will soon begin to decline pricing out the poor, forcing return to organic, machine free agriculture. Although no bad thing making the transition is not easy and takes time and supplies of organic fertilizer.

    With the global population still growing we’re heading to a food crisis of epic proportions. We need to stabilise and then reduce the earth’s population otherwise famine, disease and resource wars will do it for us.

  5. Hey Nathan, I love your site! Exactly what I have been talking about for years. There is NO such thing as overpopulation! It is just fear-mongering by eco-zealots and other, much more sketchy groups with questionable motives.

    If you have some time, the wikipedia article on overpopulation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpopulation desperately needs the help of someone like you 🙂

    -Bruce

  6. The earth issue is coming from 3 simple things (no order), if I do not forget anything :

    1- Too much wealth (pumping too much ressources) thanks to science and technology development.

    2- Wealth inequal distribution.

    3- Too much people (and keeping one goal : wealth capitalization)

    Now all these 3 points can be sum up in only 1 single issue, the origin of so much human sufferings and deaths on this planet :

    SEXUAL COMPETITION

    I know this is hard to swallow but go and look for it before schrudding.

    Now, look carefully : this is a horrible and paradoxical statement because we owe it our incredible gain of longevity (even in quite poor countries) and comfort but this deeply rooted behaviour of animal origin is leading us to expansion, inequity … and, probably, doom.

    Our so-called “intelligence” is actually quite entirely devoted to this goal (reproduction) and it seems to me quite an illusion to think that we will be able to divert it to save the human race. Too few people still accept this fact in developed countries, so I cannot imagine in undeveloped countries (where Darwin is unknown).

    Besides, this would require a so radical change of behaviour that it would be unbearable for most of us.

    So, humans are too much commited to the short-term view (reproduce genes NOW) and will not admit a long-term plan (save genes of the entire race instead of individuals).

    Of course, some will say that people tend to make less kids when educated and rich. That is why the rate of population growth is going down.

    Yet, this is not especially good news because the fundamental reason of this growth rate going down is that women become more educated and because of the rising of living standards. This means that these families probably also pump more ressources with less kids ! This is what happens in some developing countries.

    Note : why do “rich” families tend to have an optimal of 2 kids ? I guess this is to maximise chances of survival, a kind of trade-off. You can give better education and ressources to 2 kids instead of 10. So the genes are more prone to survival.

    Conclusion : If one has a practical and feasible solution to the sexual competition issue, I would be so grateful to hear it.

  7. If wars kill people, then good! We need to get rid of a few…

    The planet is not only for humanity, but for all lifeforms.

    We are NOT superior to other lifeforms – just different. If we are so ‘intelligent’, why are we killing the animals, birds, insects at such a rate? Look at the bees… Theyre dying at an alarming rate – some hives have a 80% mortality rate. Look at the fish stocks in the sea that we are depleting from over-fishing. And look at the rate we are wiping out the rain forests in Brazil…

    But all the ‘breeders’ can do is pop another one out. They’re permanently pregnant. Humanity is not an intelligent lifeform. We are a parasite destroying it’s host, the earth.

    Stop breeding! Haven’t you read John Brunner’s ‘The Sheep Look Up’ and ‘Stand On Zanzibar’? Oh no, I forgot. You can’t read (except maybe ‘The Sun’) – you’re too busy breeding…

  8. It´s intersting to notice that, when confronted with the possibility of overpopulation people always answer that “we have enough food to all” It´s intersting because it looks like all mankind needs is food in order to survive, and, even worse, no one gives a ratass to the fact our environment is doomed…mankind really deserves the fate it´s creating to itself

  9. But all the ‘breeders’ can do is pop another one out. They’re permanently pregnant. Humanity is not an intelligent lifeform. We are a parasite destroying it’s host, the earth.

  10. hen confronted with the possibility of overpopulation people always answer that “we have enough food to all” It´s intersting because it looks like all mankind needs is food in order to survive

  11. siki, you make me sad. you say that “Humanity is not an intelligent lifeform. We are a parasite destroying it’s host, the earth.” Listen to yourself. You are like the ant who behaves against his own health and wellbeing because of a parasite in his brain. That parasite is fed to you by mainstream media. Humans are wonderful creatures, and the carbon we exhale is like oxygen to a tree.

  12. 1915: 1.8 Billion people,
    2010: 6.8 Billion people,
    95 years: 5 Billion people,
    2310: 22 Billion people,
    Solution to problem: Stop Creating Babies,
    Save your generations from suffering a miserable and horrible disaster by not creating them.

  13. The causes of all the worlds problems today is overpopulation and that is not just my opinion, ask all the TOP scientists and they agree.

  14. All the problems which we associate with the term, overpopulation, can be attributed to mans inability to effectively implement proper long term resource management. In the short time(geologically speaking) that man has occupied the earth, we have quickly infested almost every land mass available, raped and pillaged the environment. Luckily nature has a fail-safe called extinction. It wont be long before Homo sapiens will be added to the endangered species list. At that point maybe we should reconsider the name of our species, as we are far from being the Wise or Knowing Man.

  15. Overpopulation is ALWAYS the problem:

    Think of the human population as one big circle, and think of all the other problems in the world as smaller circles outside of it. Whether those problems are disease, war, energy consumption, the economy, etc. they all have some sort of “control” measure being implemented on them–effective or not. Now, as we humans scramble to address these problems (small circles), our global population continues to increase irrepressibly because there is simply no true “control” measure on our numbers. The big circle (meaning us) is laughing its ass off because it’s literally growing larger than life as we go chasing the problems that ARE ALL CREATED from there being too many of us. When this occurs, several of the small circle problems will become trivial due to us becoming our own worst enemy. If we continue to address things like curing cancer, or stopping war, it won’t matter because those things will continue to happen as long as our population increases. The negative things in life are essentially our “keystone species” that keep us from overrunning ourselves. If we were to rid the world of all maliciousness, we would still suffer the same enormous consequences with our overcrowding than if we were to sit back and do nothing. For another simple example, what if there was a massive power outage in a major city? Nobody goes and fixes various telephone poles or high tension wires and expects it to be resolved, they go to the source; the power plant. Only there can they fix the true problem. Why can’t we see this with overpopulation? There is absolutely NO way that adding, let’s say, 3 billion people to our world in 20 years will solve any of the problems we face today. THINK about it.

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