Green Capitalism - Waves of the Future

Climate Change, Non-Renewable Resources, Energy, Contaminants, Carbon Pricing...

Economics of Poverty: Resource Depletion, Population Growth & Impoverishment

Does a larger world population result in higher incomes or increased poverty? Population growth does not have the impact on market size or increased economic activity that popular beliefs suggest.

This book provides evidence that population growth strategies like those of Canada, the US, and other countries do not make us richer but poorer and will only make things worse if implemented as a means to address the aging baby boomer generation problem.

See also Book I of the Waves of the Future Series

Non-Renewable Resources:
Mineral Supplies & Reserve Statistics

Resource Depletion Model Simulations:
Mineral Shortages & Prospect of Economic Crisis

Economics of Poverty
The Aging Baby Boomer Generation Problem

Economics of Poverty: Resource Depletion, Population Growth & Impoverishment
(Book Excerpts)

One of today's most mind-boggling economic misconceptions is that increasing a country's population results in a larger market which, in turn, promotes economic growth. The assumption is that more people means more consumption...

The problem is, people do not buy goods, money does. The total amount of consumption in a country does not depend on its population but on its wealth or how much is spent. In economic terms, people are only as good as the size of their wallets.

One person spending a million dollars a day is exactly the same 'market size' as a million people spending a dollar each. In both cases, the total consumption or purchase of goods is exactly the same. The difference between the two markets would be that spending would occur mostly on luxury goods in the first and only on food and basic necessities in the second one....

The ultimate proof that population growth impoverishes us can easily be found in historical gross domestic product (GDP) figures. These give an approximation of total wealth at any one point in time, and estimates are available for individual countries...

From 1970 to 2010, the world's GDP grew from $15,622 billion to $50,159 billion (in inflation adjusted 2005 dollars) or by 221% (United States Department of Agriculture, GDP, 2010). However, personal income or GDP per capita grew during the same period from $4,218 to $7,350 or by only 74% (United States Department of Agriculture, GDP Per Capita, 2010) instead of 221%.

There lies the problem with population growth. While the total wealth around the world more than tripled, individual income did not even double over the same period of time primarily because wealth had to be shared among almost twice as many people as before.

Waves of the Future ©2012

More information: USGS Conservation International Sierra Club UN Population Division