Exploding? The Sensitive Issue of Overpopulation

By Daniel Isler

In his mesmerizing book “Freedom”, Jonathan Franzen delicately handles a sensitive but critical issue. He takes his protagonist to a journey into a large sustainability activists group, calling mainly for immediate actions to decrease the world’s population. Although being recognized as a genuine issue by sustainability scientists and social scientists – the subject of decreasing population is still a taboo in most parts of the world. Just think for a second about China’s one-child policy, forbidding more than one biological child for each couple of parents – and feel the repulse and intimidation we experience in light of such intervention to our personal decisions.

But this is by no means a new issue: warning signs were raised already over 200 years ago, namely by British scholar, Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus. In a nutshell, he showed and argued that while population growth is exponential by nature (2-4-8-16…), food and other resources grow arithmetically (1-2-3-4…). This observation means that if untouched, the population will outgrow its own fuel needed to live, and will unavoidably extinct. Although debated intensively over the last 200 years and often dismissed by other scholars – Malthusianism remains a central notion in the debate about global over population.


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Oh society, what are you reading?

By Sonja Nikcevic

“The masses are stupid.” Unfortunately, this is a sentence I have heard too many times in the world of media and news production. I have even been guilty of thinking it myself, when I moderated comments or published photos of footballers’ naked girlfriends instead of stories about how said footballer played the previous weekend. I grumbled and cursed the masses, but conceded that clicks make money and money makes the world go round. I never really believed in it though. It’s just something you say at work; the whole of humanity can’t REALLY be stupid, can it? Or at least that’s what I liked to believe.

Then, a couple of days ago, I came across a truly tragic infographic, about a slightly different type of written word. You can see it below, possibly the saddest Top 10 ever – the top 10 most read books in the world in the past 50 years. And so I redirect you, and myself, back to the opening sentence – there is obviously something innately and frighteningly wrong with a species that has Shakespeare, the great Russian authors, and libraries full of literary genius, but that picks up Twilight instead.


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I will be your President!

By Camy Roch

During all my school years, I’ve never been the kind of kid up for the class delegate’s run. Call it carelessness or lack of competitive spirit, I’ve always considered the whole process to be a bit lame as well as a trouble-making responsibility – once again, that’s just my opinion, dude.

I guess that’s partly why I was so surprised when I was showed a documentary, where Chinese pupils compete for the class monitoring.


Please vote for me, a documentary realized by Weijun Chen in 2007, is part of the Why Democracy? Series

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