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Author: Subject: how would it change if world population went to 500m?
Antiswat
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[*] posted on 16-5-2021 at 01:27
how would it change if world population went to 500m?


lets just say- overnight, the whole worlds populations would be turned from 7 billion-something to 500 million
would people just move to larger cities to fill it all up?
what would happen to the economy
what would happen to the price of gold
what could we possibly use almost 7 billion dead bodies for
how many jobs are based off population numbers? for the sake of the argument lets say that all of the elderly and disabled were just gone
would there be more or less laws?

im sure automation would totally blow up, recycling would probably be one of the more significant industries

im really just looking for guesses to how deeply society would be affected by such reduction, im quite sure im not seeing all the possibilities myself.




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[*] posted on 16-5-2021 at 02:07


World pop was ~500 million around 1600AD. So theres some clues there. Of course we have a lot more knowledge now.



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[*] posted on 16-5-2021 at 07:44


Almost all nuclear reactors would fail, many devastatingly.
Otherwise, think Mad Max etc.




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Fyndium
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[*] posted on 17-5-2021 at 01:22


Considering people wouldn't just disappear, but the society would be structured fast, but gradually enough to prevent outright catastrophy, it is likely the world would remain somewhat the same with all the economical inequalities, etc.

Of course, if the property of the rest were left behind, the 500M would possess about $720k per person. Most of the property remains is just multipliers, so the actual worth of those 8 cars instead of 1 would not be the same.

In reality, power gaps would be filled and soon the 1% would again own over 99%, unless there were some pre-emptive measures, but this would seem somewhat utopistic.

I don't believe in Mad Max scenarios, and never liked the world ending stuff. Society doesn't just crumble, it would splinter into fractions, and some of those fractions would grow to overpower the rest, hence ending in authoritarian regimes that will likely war each other.

And for those who say that there would be no one to take the power, I have always responded that at least I would. People tend to secure their beings, especially in harsh environments, and most likely most of us would take the crown of a dictator, if a chance ever came. The outcome would be dictated by how you would rule, of course, but many dictators fear coups to the extent they will end up being dictators in the classical meaning. Being diplomatic is same as weak to some parties.

[Edited on 17-5-2021 by Fyndium]
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Antiswat
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[*] posted on 17-5-2021 at 10:52


would power centralization be worse with a smaller population? i think you can take a look at smaller businesses vs larger businesses, such as macdonalds where they basically abuse their workers just to get them to work 1% more efficiently, or steal SECONDS of their time when they clock in too late or whatever, rounding it up to the benifit for macdonalds

my workplace has been bought by a larger corporation, and we had many oldtimers quit because theyre trashing all the values and generally respect to the workers has dropped - tyranny like rules that make no sense, exaggerated counterproductive safety measures- because it looks great on paper.

it might be possible that if world population dropped like that, some countries would join up, or get taken over
the modern worlds military situation is a lot of revolver diplomacy, but having so much less people at hand, wouldnt it make wars and conflicts less likely? im sure the first amount of years would be just purely based on reproduction, coming to think of it i believe theres a chance measures will be taken to ensure the number is to be kept.




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Praxichys
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[*] posted on 17-5-2021 at 11:26


This is an interesting thought experiment. 500M out of 7B is 1/14, which would be disastrous. Imagine trying to keep your workplace open with 1/14 the staff.

The heaviest industries and infrastructure would be hit hard. Initially there would be a huge struggle to decide what to shut down and where to find personnel to keep infrastructure working. You can't just run a nuclear power plant (for example) on 1/14 the staff, let alone the supply chain for refueling, grid maintenance, etc.

So you'd have to orchestrate a migration where trained workers would mothball their own regions and move to support an elected region at minimum staff, and the population who wanted utilities would have to follow.

This would also apply to the heaviest industries like petroleum, petrochemical, automotive, shipbuilding, and logistics, where current oligarchies disallow the existence of bespoke "mom-and-pop" type operations for the same goods and thus require hundreds or even thousands of personnel to maintain a single plant. Monopolies would spring up all over the place, soaking up all available talent just to try to keep a minimum of industry running.

Globalization and logistics would collapse. Imagine a shipping company forced to operate with 1/14 staff, to customers who are on average now 14 times farther apart, using an internet that can no longer be adequately maintained since it is now 14 times bigger than needed, using a proportionate amount of energy, etc.

Farming tends to have a low person-to-production ratio and could likely continue at a pace adequate to feed people, however its time would be limited until builders of large agricultural equipment could consolidate as described above. Many hybrid seed varieties are sterile and therefore cannot propagate, resulting in low-yield heirloom cultivars being planted instead. Roundup-ready crops would be unavailable and yields would plummet; much of the mechanized processes we have today would devolve into manual labor.

Grocery stores would suffer from the collapse of logistics and would likely switch to selling locally grown goods only, occasionally getting luxury goods from far away by traveling salespeople. While a great deal of variety would be gone (especially most processed foods from large companies) we could still have an adequate stock. The resurgence of wildlife in now-abandoned areas could be a prime source of food, and although free land would be plentiful, it would be unusable until the buildings decayed or are torn down.

Distributed business and services would continue. Public education is a highly distributed service and could pretty easily be maintained, even if by volunteers. Big-name healthcare would collapse in favor of local town doctors, dentists, opticians, etc., however, medical supply would be hit very hard and all but the simplest of medications would rapidly run out. Many of the outsourced supplies like frames and lenses for glasses, contact lenses, and hearing aids would be difficult to get, and someone locally would have to figure out how to grind lenses again.

Higher education would need to consolidate talent to the the most populous regions in order to maintain a good ratio of educated population.

Cities would quickly become dangerous as there would be inadequate personnel to maintain buildings. NYC would be reduced to the population of a suburban township, for example, and the place would seem empty. Nature would start to run its course and many buildings would deteriorate and eventually collapse. Imagine only 1 out of every 14 homes being maintained in every suburb. Fires would rage out of control with nobody to fight them, structures would become overgrown, collapse, and return to nature. Public transport (buses, subways) including public air transportation would halt without the systems to support them or people to maintain them.

Worse yet, vast stores of petroleum, chemicals, industrial and nuclear waste would cease to be maintained, resulting in regional environmental disasters as their containment rots away, spilling their contents into waterways, seeping into aquifers, and evaporating into the atmosphere. Landfill leachate pumps would stop and PCBs, soluble heavy metals, and other contaminants would end up in groundwater. The abandonment of medical and nuclear facilities without the logistical means of proper decommissioning or even security means that scrapping will likely cause radiological disasters on a regular basis.

Anyway, those are the things I can think of. I imagine it would be a disaster of colossal proportions and set us back as a species by quite a lot.

[Edited on 18-5-2021 by Praxichys]
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