The 99th Hour: The Population Crisis in the United States

The 99th Hour: The Population Crisis in the United States

The 99th Hour: The Population Crisis in the United States

The 99th Hour: The Population Crisis in the United States

Excerpt

How many Americans can live in the United States? If people are willing to live in dormitory fashion and to get food from algae and other "artificial" sources, then the population of the United States can continue to increase for many years; but if people wish to live in single family houses, to eat steak, fresh vegetables, and apple pie, to go fishing and camping on vacations, to drive their own cars rather than use commercial transportation, and to have parks and open spaces, then the upper limit of population is approaching rapidly. We must face and accept the fact that the population of the United States cannot continue to grow indefinitely. It must be limited at some fixed number, the limit depending upon many factors, including the nature of the economic system and the level and quality of living which people desire or are willing to tolerate. Before rational steps will be taken to limit the total population, people must recognize an upper limit exists which determines the quality and style of living.

Some people argue that we have ample room for many more people and that our agricultural system can adequately feed them without strain. Let us look at an analogy. Assume there are two germs in the bottom of a bucket, and they double in number every hour. (If the reader does not wish to assume that it takes two germs to reproduce, he may start with one germ, one hour earlier.) If it takes one-hundred hours for the bucket to be full of germs, at what point is the bucket one-half full of germs? A moment's thought will show that after ninety-nine hours the bucket is only half full. The title of this volume is not intended to imply that the United States is half full of people but to emphasize that it is possible to have "plenty of space left" and still be precariously near the upper limit.

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