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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Empty Space

I just read (in Bauman quoting Forbes) that if the entire population of India and China were to move to the US, the resulting population density still wouldn’t be higher than that of Holland or Belgium. I knew there’s a lot of empty space here but really? 

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9 thoughts on “Empty Space

  1. Dreidel on said:

    Yes, really. The U.S. is HUGE geographically, with widely varying population densities in different states — which is why the electoral college is necessary to enure that all states get a say in our Presidental elections.

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  2. Dreidel on said:

    If U.S. Pesidential elections were decided by the majority of states voting for a candidate, Nixon would have won in 1960 and Ford would have won in 1976 — and the country would have been better off in both cases!

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  3. ” I knew there’s a lot of empty space here but really? ”

    The problem is that there’s a difference between size and carrying capacity (how many people can survive on a piece of land due to suitability for food production).

    Large parts of the US (like the great basin) have very limited food growing potential so you have to bring food in if you overpopulate it. Other large parts are geared to large scale food production which requires low population density (have you seen the miles and miles and miles of wheatfields in Kansas?)

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    • The point that Bauman is making is precisely this: the population density in Europe is very high. The way of life is already completely unsustainable.

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      • matt on said:

        I love to punch europe whenever possible … but they are much more sustainable on a population basis than india or china. As a whole Europe is about 3 times as dense as US (netherlands and belgium are about 10 times as dense, but they are only about 5% of the population of europe). The WHOLE country of india is the density of belgium and netherlands and is about 20x less per capita wealthy already, so I would find it hard to argue that europe is the place we need to worry about density with, especially since without mass immigration (which may or may not happen, but is a policy choice), population in europe may actually be lower in 2100 than it is today.

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      • “The way of life is already completely unsustainable.”

        Yes the idea that every European country must grow their population at all costs is incredibly stupid and motivated (among other things) by the same shaman economists that created the Euro and the housing bubble in the US.

        Making the place a little less crowded would do wonders for the quality of life in Europe. Poland isn’t too bad but Germany is hardly any bigger with over twice the population. That’s insane.

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        • “Yes the idea that every European country must grow their population at all costs is incredibly stupid and motivated (among other things) by the same shaman economists that created the Euro and the housing bubble in the US.”

          • That’s what Bauman says. He says that worries about Europe’s impending depopulation is a myth that is disseminated on purpose with no factual basis.

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