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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 443)...

    With regard to population, when the 6 billionth person was born, one of the writers for National Review tried to put this into perspective and reveled that if all 6 billion people lived in the state of Texas, each of them would have an eighth of an acre to him/herself. This doesn't seem like too many people to me. Any comments?

    ...and the response:

    An area the size of Texas can't produce even a thousandth of the food needed to feed 6 billion people. So if you moved 6 billion people into the state of Texas, they would not be "living" there, they would be starving there. In order to feed them, all the rest of North America (and much more) would have to be put under cultivation. But who would do this if all 6 billion were living in Texas? Who would plant and grow the food, process and distribute the food? And who would manufacture the tools and equipment needed to do these things? Who would extract the raw materials for the tools and equipment? Who would find, extract, and refine the fuel needed to do all this? The statement that there is room enough in Texas for 6 billion to live is simply untrue. There is room enough in Texas for 6 billion people to have an eight of an acre on which to live until the food in their pantries runs out. (I leave outside these calculations the equally relevant fact that an area the size of Texas doesn't provide enough water for 6 billion people.) For any publication to reduce all the resource needs of 6 billion people to a single one (and not even the most critical one--surface area), is an act of intellectual dishonesty and of contempt for the intelligence of its readers.


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