The World Population Clock says we are above 7 billion people now, and on Reddit, someone asked what criteria you would use to reduce that number to 3 billion. I love these kind of writing prompts, so I’m going to take you through what I would do in this situation.
Right or wrong, it is just my thoughts, and I can easily say that I’m not qualified to make such a decision and like everyone, I have certain bias that will be reflected in my response.
The sad truth though is that we need to reduce the population of the planet. We never should have let it get so out of control, and we need to turn things around before it gets much worse. As a species, we won’t be able to stay on Earth much longer if we keep increasing our population at current rates.
So now for the ultimate culling. I have to remove 5 billion people in the world to get to the target amount. No small feat, that’s for sure.
There are approximately 10 million people in prisons according to the International Centre for Prison Studies and they would all be eraticated first. Another 10 million or so are under correctional supervision or on probation. Anyone that had committed a crime that hurt another person physically would be removed as well. I don’t think non-violent criminals that have served their sentence as of the culling should be eradicated, nor do I think anyone that committed a crime in self-defence should be immediately dismissed either. Assuming half of the people that are under supervision or parole are violent offenders, that’s really then only 5 million more culled.
Now, I only need to get rid of another 4.985 billion people.
Next, I would get rid of anyone over the age of 80. People that have lived that long have had a long life and need to make room for the young. Currently, according to the UN, slightly over 1% of the population are over 80 years old, or around 70 million.
Tally: 4.915 billion to go.
Next, I would remove those with currently incurable infectious diseases. HIV/AIDS sufferers would have to go, and according to Global Issues, there are 40 million people currently living with HIV/AIDS.
Then of course there are incurable diseases that effect the ability for people to be a productive member of society. Add in those with Polio, Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, Leprosy, Leukemia, Parkinson’s, and anyone with paralysis of all four limbs. Only guessing here, but that should be around 10 million people world wide.
Throw in those with Hepatitis B, Genital Herpes, and HPV, and in total I should have close to 100 million people removed in this section. The WHO posted numbers on this for the USA in 2000 (source) and so I am extrapolating for the rest of the world.
Tally: 4.765 billion to go.
Now comes one of the hardest part. I don’t really know how to calculate the number of people that will be effected by this, but it is time to remove all of the children that parents can’t afford to properly raise. People on extended welfare benefits with children, people being investigated by child protected services, people living in parts of the world where they are the poorest of the poor and unable to provide a stable, safe, fed and hydrated life for their child. Those children shouldn’t have to suffer thanks to a bad decision parents made in which they couldn’t set themselves up in life before having children.
I am going to make an assumption that this is only 400 million children world wide, but it is likely much more as according to Global Issues which lists numbers like: 1 billion children live in poverty and over 400 million have no access to safe water.
When people talk about thinking about the children, I don’t think that they realize how many are living in pretty dire situations that will never change thanks to horrible government regulation and whatnot. Better to magically remove them from the equation.
Tally: 4.365 billion to go.
The world’s richest twenty percent consume over seventy-five percent of the resources in the world. Consumption of resources is a large part of why I am doing this. Unfortunately, some of them have skills and abilities as well as companies that benefit society, so I can’t remove them all. I would have a random lottery with half of the world’s richest twenty percent losing and being culled.
This would remove 700 million men and women from the world, and while the remainders would still consume heavily, because there is less of them, the resources we have should last longer than they did previously.
Tally: 3.665 billion to go.
Drug addicts, alcoholics, and mentally ill people all get one little section here. They need to go because they create issues and a drain on the world. Determining the level of addiction, alcoholism, and mental issues to be culled would be hard, but the goal is to remove people that have long suffered these types of issues. I believe there is a genetic predisposition to these issues, and removing a great deal of them from the gene pool will also help future generations. I personally suffer from depression, and would probably be removed in this culling, but I still think it is a wise idea.
It is said that there are approximately 12 million confirmed alcoholics in the USA or around five percent of the total population. Assuming this holds true for the rest of the world (which I am sure it doesn’t), then we can assume there are around 350 million alcoholics in the world.
I wasn’t able to fund drug reports that didn’t include cannabis in its numbers, and as such, I can only make a silly guess that there are probably around half as many drug addicts as alcholics. So I’ll cull another 175 million from the population.
Lastly, adding in mental disorders which an article in the Wall Street Journal says could be as high as twenty five percent of the population, and we can remove another 1.75 billion people.
So in total, just from those three things we can remove 2.275 billion people from the world.
Tally: 1.39 billion to go.
Next, I want to get rid of some of those that have an IQ under 80. With approximately 100 being an average IQ, anything under 70 isn’t an ideal member of society. Some people on Reddit discussed the need to have people with lower intelligence to do the jobs that most people don’t want to do, but I believe that a smart population will find ways to compensate or automate the things they don’t want to do, as we’ve already increasingly done in the past.
Also, I want it to be known that I don’t believe that people with lower IQ’s are by definition dumb. I don’t even know if there is any way to actually measure IQ without social predjudices. Is someone in Africa with no knowledge of math intrinsically dumb because he/she can’t answer a math question in a North American IQ test? Heck, no!
But assuming we can find a fair way to test, just like with removing the older population and the children that would lead difficult lives, this is just a measure to get down to the arbitrary population goal that the Reddit post set.
As many as 10% of the population falls below this line, and would be a further 700 million removed from society.
Tally: 610 million to go.
Because I can’t think of any other undesirable quality to filter by, the last group of people, which would be larger than the 610 million we’ve come to calculate because of many people potentially being in more than one category of this culling, would be selected by random lottery much like how we filtered the uber-consumers. But instead of just a direct cut in half, it would be based on the new total population of each country as a percentage of the whole. They would receive a number of ballets equal to their percentage. Thus this system would distribute more ballots to countries that still retain a high population and less to lower populated countries. Once this last group, of approximately one billion people have been selected through random draws, we would be down to our 3 billion people mark.
From here on out, the goal would be to keep populations within an acceptable one percent of this number through controlling laws, harsh sentencing (death penalty) for violent offenders, limits on family sizes based on the ability to provide for children and decisive actions towards substance abusers (death penalty).
While all of this might seem cold, and harsh, the truth of the matter is that I can see the world straining to keep up with how we use it, and things are getting worse, not better, despite all the advances in technology and attempts to repair things through societal change.
At the end of all of my culling, we would have a world in complete disarray. There would still be horrible things happening out of sight, people attempting to hide their horrible issues or their illegal children, but overall, the Earth would breath a sigh of relief as it relaxed from the pressure it currently carries. I have a hard time imagining a world where four out of every seven people I know would be gone.