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  1. #1

    The REAL BIG problem

    As many people worry about political uncertainties such as the frivolous Brexit, which in reality is much ado about nothing, when will politicians decide to tackle the biggest threat to humanity which is of course the number of humans themselves. When I was born in the late 50's there were less than 3 billion people which has more than doubled in my lifetime. Just think about that for a bit. More than doubled.
    Conservative estimates say that by the year 2050 there will be more than 10 billion. We live in a planet of finite resources and yet seem hell bent on using them up in the shortest time scale available without any rational thought to the future. Simply put, it can't be allowed to go on and something has to be done. One human being needs about an acre of land to survive, be it for growing crops or raising animals. In Britain we have around 60 million of these acres, but now have about 70 million people and continue to build on more farmland each year because we need more houses.
    By the year 2050 I'll be dead and buried so no great cause of alarm on a personal side unless of course we decide to cull the over 60's. I genuinely worry for my daughter and granddaughter as to what their future will be, as I fear, it will be drastically different to life now as we know it. Immigration will rise exponentially in this time as Africa's population will have doubled by 2050. The poor will become poorer and many millions if not billions will starve to death. I apologise for this somewhat dreary subject matter but the simple task of looking up a few facts and figures has set alarm bells ringing for me. Obviously no politician is putting culling half the worlds population in their manifesto as it might seem a bit on the Nazi side and therefore somewhat harmful to staying on the gravy train. But clearly, something has to be done, and in the not too distant future.

    What?


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  3. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by HappyAsHellas View Post
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    What?
    Break up the EU, encourage nationalist warmongery, resulting in mass slaughter? Tried and tested in the 20th century.

  4. #3
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    Don't worry about it too much. Facts and figures can appear stark but the reality is that we always cope.

    When the population was approaching five billion there was doom and gloom but fewer and fewer people live in absolute poverty, world wide.

    Medicine has improved, crop improvements are vastly better than they used to be, desalination plants are super efficient for water.

    The world is subject to human behaviour but does not rely on it so cheer up!

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    Coaching Staff One Day Soon's Avatar
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    Try reading Matt Ridley's 'The Rational Optimist' for a general argument in support of the proposition that things generally get better and better for people over time in spite of what news and perception may suggest.

    Of course that doesn't fix things for the individual, there will be casualties. So, human race in the long run probably just fine but some - perhaps many of us - not so much...

    Not sure that helps really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pollution View Post
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    Don't worry about it too much. Facts and figures can appear stark but the reality is that we always cope.

    When the population was approaching five billion there was doom and gloom but fewer and fewer people live in absolute poverty, world wide.

    Medicine has improved, crop improvements are vastly better than they used to be, desalination plants are super efficient for water.

    The world is subject to human behaviour but does not rely on it so cheer up!
    Given your username, I think that's just what you want us to believe.

  7. #6
    Coaching Staff Smartie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Day Soon View Post
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    Try reading Matt Ridley's 'The Rational Optimist' for a general argument in support of the proposition that things generally get better and better for people over time in spite of what news and perception may suggest.

    Of course that doesn't fix things for the individual, there will be casualties. So, human race in the long run probably just fine but some - perhaps many of us - not so much...

    Not sure that helps really.
    There is a book called "Factfullness" that does the same thing.

    You make your own perception of the world. If you want it to appear bleak, it can appear bleak. If you want it to appear positive, it can appear positive. Yes, there are many negatives, problems and warning signs present right now but for many living standards are increasing.

    Most of the world's problems arise from poverty. We actually have ample resources on this planet and most of them are NOT finite. Poverty drives stuff such as having loads of kids in order to ensure that enough survive. So, without poverty we could affect some sort of Chinese style "1 in 1 out" policy whereby a couple is only allowed to have 2 kids. People in the West have less kids as there is a greater chance of them surviving.

    Vertical farms? Why does everybody's acre have to be side by side? There has been talk of stacking agriculture in the future.

    At least we now have a reasonable idea of the damage we've been doing to the planet and can take steps to arrest this, unlike the past 200 years when we've been full speed ahead ruining it.

    I think solutions will present themselves in time but we need to all be thinking a bit greener. My partner's parents are just back from Houston, and they were appalled by how much waste of resource goes on in the US. When the kids were being picked up from school (all kids are picked up from schools) all individual cars are sitting with their engines running, AC pumping, and that's in an area where you'd probably not want to be doing to much polluting - outside a school. There are parts of the world that need to get a grip, big time.

    In no particular order, for the future of the planet I'd like to see Brexit canned and good future political co-operation between European nations. I'd like to see the whole world act together to eradicate poverty - there's enough to go round. I'd like to see the wastefulness of the Americans, the pollution from the Chinese, curbed.

    My most controversial opinion is that I think in the World we have a very dangerous older generation right now, and what the world needs most is for them to shuffle off without causing too much damage. They haven't known the atrocities of world war, they've had their free education, they'll get the healthcare they need until age 80-100, all off a 30 year working career. They're making the political decisions that will prevent future generations from enjoying what they've enjoyed. They enjoy a bit of the uglier side of nationalism (see England, America, Russia) without having to live long with the consequences they may bring. We need to wrestle the power from this cohort of people, because whilst they hold the power, it is too easy for the Farages, Trumps and Putins of this world to prosper with their nonsense.

    The Nazis, the climate-change deniers and the imperialists are as dangerous as ever, only some are more obvious that that is what they are than others.
    Last edited by Smartie; 11-04-2019 at 04:34 PM.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by lapsedhibee View Post
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    Break up the EU, encourage nationalist warmongery, resulting in mass slaughter? Tried and tested in the 20th century.
    Another plan is to create a new military super power on Russia's door step through the EU army then manufacture tensions as per the Ukraine situation then watch the two super powers collide and wipe out millions of people throughout Europe.

    Either way if the central bankers and elite families of the world want millions dead they will do it one way or another, they own everything and control right wing and left wing politics.
    Last edited by Slavers; 11-04-2019 at 06:49 PM.

  9. #8
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    Don't worry, mother nature will come to the rescue. I'm always fascinated by the fact that no matter what the global population the percentage of males to females always remains roughly constant at around 50 / 50

    I cant help thinking that if the earths pips begin to squeak due to unmanageable overpopulation nature will come up with a nice wee virus or plague we cant handle to thin out the heard Ö. she's probably already had a few goes which science has managed to overcome, but eventually I cant help thinking she will find a way

    So cheer up folks, its not all doom & gloom

  10. #9
    Really about the responses I sort of expected - we're really clever and generally nice people so it'll be fine. Eh, sorry, it wont. I'm generally optimistic about things but continual growth in anything is in the main, a really bad thing. Especially the most destructive beings on the planet. Maybe burying your head in the sand is the way forward, who knows?

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by HappyAsHellas View Post
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    Really about the responses I sort of expected - we're really clever and generally nice people so it'll be fine. Eh, sorry, it wont. I'm generally optimistic about things but continual growth in anything is in the main, a really bad thing. Especially the most destructive beings on the planet. Maybe burying your head in the sand is the way forward, who knows?
    Open the borders and allow the overflow into the west?

  12. #11
    Coaching Staff Smartie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyAsHellas View Post
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    Really about the responses I sort of expected - we're really clever and generally nice people so it'll be fine. Eh, sorry, it wont. I'm generally optimistic about things but continual growth in anything is in the main, a really bad thing. Especially the most destructive beings on the planet. Maybe burying your head in the sand is the way forward, who knows?
    Did you see the pictures of the black hole yesterday?

    Different groups of people from all ends of the Earth coming together to use technology to capture an image of something very far away/ a long time ago?

    Do you really think it is beyond the wit of man to first acknowledge the problem, to then come up with explanations and possible solutions and then carry out some sort of plan?

    At least we have time. When the need isn't desperately urgent, we can consider a response that we're not forced into.

  13. #12
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    Our views on such a vast and interesting subject define us as half empty or half full.

    As much as a reflection on how happy we are personally.

  14. #13
    Testimonial Due hibbytam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyAsHellas View Post
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    Really about the responses I sort of expected - we're really clever and generally nice people so it'll be fine. Eh, sorry, it wont. I'm generally optimistic about things but continual growth in anything is in the main, a really bad thing. Especially the most destructive beings on the planet. Maybe burying your head in the sand is the way forward, who knows?
    I suppose because it's an argument that has been made for literally hundreds of years. My suspicion is that the global population will plateau at some point. As individuals condition improve they tend to have fewer children, and that's something that we're going to see in the next few decades.


    And of course this isn't the real big problem, though it contributes to it.
    The real REAL big problem is how quickly we can adapt to a changing climate, and change our systems and behavior to limit carbon & other greenhouse gas emissions. If we don't do that, the population size will reduce dramatically of it's own accord.

  15. #14
    As you say the climate is already beginning to wreak havoc and we'll have to adopt pretty quickly. On the subject of the plateau, when it comes to Africa time has essentially run out - the population will double in 25 years and without the necessary means to support this amount of people they will emigrate en mass, there is no other option at present. Asia will also likely double in this time frame which will push us past the "maximum" number of 10 billion. Vertical farming would be great if we had the soil to fill them but we don't. We are a very intelligent species with some fantastic discoveries happening all the time but I feel we are sleepwalking into this one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyAsHellas View Post
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    As many people worry about political uncertainties such as the frivolous Brexit, which in reality is much ado about nothing, when will politicians decide to tackle the biggest threat to humanity which is of course the number of humans themselves. When I was born in the late 50's there were less than 3 billion people which has more than doubled in my lifetime. Just think about that for a bit. More than doubled.
    Conservative estimates say that by the year 2050 there will be more than 10 billion. We live in a planet of finite resources and yet seem hell bent on using them up in the shortest time scale available without any rational thought to the future. Simply put, it can't be allowed to go on and something has to be done. One human being needs about an acre of land to survive, be it for growing crops or raising animals. In Britain we have around 60 million of these acres, but now have about 70 million people and continue to build on more farmland each year because we need more houses.
    By the year 2050 I'll be dead and buried so no great cause of alarm on a personal side unless of course we decide to cull the over 60's. I genuinely worry for my daughter and granddaughter as to what their future will be, as I fear, it will be drastically different to life now as we know it. Immigration will rise exponentially in this time as Africa's population will have doubled by 2050. The poor will become poorer and many millions if not billions will starve to death. I apologise for this somewhat dreary subject matter but the simple task of looking up a few facts and figures has set alarm bells ringing for me. Obviously no politician is putting culling half the worlds population in their manifesto as it might seem a bit on the Nazi side and therefore somewhat harmful to staying on the gravy train. But clearly, something has to be done, and in the not too distant future.

    What?
    The types of question that keep me in a job!

    There are grand challenges ahead, sure. None moreso than the challenges around water security, and the interlinked consequences this has for food and energy security. Science and policy will help us tackle some of these issues, but I'm somewhere between your nihilism and other posters' positivity.

    Climate change is already (and this will be accelerated unless we take pretty drastic action) having profound impacts on the natural systems we rely on. Water is becoming less readily available in some places (forcing migration, unrest etc) and unless we implement better management of these systems, the next wars will be over freshwater resources. We can't sustainably or efficiently create 'new' water (desalination creates a concentrated saline biproduct that's often dumped right back into the source of the water, thus slowing down the efficacy of the process over time), and we do a ****ty job at maintaining the integrity of our existing freshwater resources by polluting them beyond useability.

    Some of the precision/micro agriculture solutions being developed just now give me hope, but these will only succeed with a behavioural change around our consumption patterns. There's already sufficient food to feed the entire global population and then some - we need to become much better at reducing the vast quantities of waste. Shifting away from a meat-based diet will reduce the water demand, carbon emissions and restore ecological diversity, but too many folks enjoy a steak or burger every other day. So what's the solution? Education, policy and science can only go part of the way to addressing some of these challenges. Behaviour change needs to be front and centre to sustain the future of Planet Earth - self-serving, selfish ideologists (such as Trump and many of the other populist despots around the world right now) really don't help.

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Sylar View Post
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    The types of question that keep me in a job!

    There are grand challenges ahead, sure. None moreso than the challenges around water security, and the interlinked consequences this has for food and energy security. Science and policy will help us tackle some of these issues, but I'm somewhere between your nihilism and other posters' positivity.

    Climate change is already (and this will be accelerated unless we take pretty drastic action) having profound impacts on the natural systems we rely on. Water is becoming less readily available in some places (forcing migration, unrest etc) and unless we implement better management of these systems, the next wars will be over freshwater resources. We can't sustainably or efficiently create 'new' water (desalination creates a concentrated saline biproduct that's often dumped right back into the source of the water, thus slowing down the efficacy of the process over time), and we do a ****ty job at maintaining the integrity of our existing freshwater resources by polluting them beyond useability.

    Some of the precision/micro agriculture solutions being developed just now give me hope, but these will only succeed with a behavioural change around our consumption patterns. There's already sufficient food to feed the entire global population and then some - we need to become much better at reducing the vast quantities of waste. Shifting away from a meat-based diet will reduce the water demand, carbon emissions and restore ecological diversity, but too many folks enjoy a steak or burger every other day. So what's the solution? Education, policy and science can only go part of the way to addressing some of these challenges. Behaviour change needs to be front and centre to sustain the future of Planet Earth - self-serving, selfish ideologists (such as Trump and many of the other populist despots around the world right now) really don't help.
    Interesting perspective.

    My one sentence summary would be "the rich will be fine, the poor are likely ****ed". As someone from the rich part of the world with enough conscience to suffer guilt pangs but not enough to stop travelling to try and see the world before I die, it puts me in a somewhat ambivalent position.

    On the meat based diet thing - I'd say at home we've moved markedly in the veggie/fish direction as opposed to meat for health rather than climate reasons but I'd find it hard to move much further. Is even eating locally sourced meat bad? Or a bit bad but less bad?

  18. #17
    Humans will be fine but as we multiply other animals will be well and truly ****ed as we continue hack away at the jungles and forests at an ever increasing rate to make way for more land to feed us .

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeMeSouviens View Post
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    Interesting perspective.

    My one sentence summary would be "the rich will be fine, the poor are likely ****ed". As someone from the rich part of the world with enough conscience to suffer guilt pangs but not enough to stop travelling to try and see the world before I die, it puts me in a somewhat ambivalent position.

    On the meat based diet thing - I'd say at home we've moved markedly in the veggie/fish direction as opposed to meat for health rather than climate reasons but I'd find it hard to move much further. Is even eating locally sourced meat bad? Or a bit bad but less bad?
    Your one sentence summary is fine apart from the fact that global poverty levels have moved markedly in one direction...down. And continue to do so.

    On the meat thing itís pretty clear to me that the technology to produce meat without the need for animals already exists and is in the process of being commercialised. Sure it will take time to become mainstream but the days of having to kill an Aberdeen Angus for a burger are already numbered.

  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyAsHellas View Post
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    As you say the climate is already beginning to wreak havoc and we'll have to adopt pretty quickly. On the subject of the plateau, when it comes to Africa time has essentially run out - the population will double in 25 years and without the necessary means to support this amount of people they will emigrate en mass, there is no other option at present. Asia will also likely double in this time frame which will push us past the "maximum" number of 10 billion. Vertical farming would be great if we had the soil to fill them but we don't. We are a very intelligent species with some fantastic discoveries happening all the time but I feel we are sleepwalking into this one.
    Your comment about needing soil for vertical farms maybe suggests that you may benefit from doing a touch more research into this issue.

    The scale of R&D going into the very things that scare you so much is vast. Itís clearly not without its challenges as others have eloquently pointed out but itís no where near as bleak as your position suggests.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeMeSouviens View Post
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    Interesting perspective.

    My one sentence summary would be "the rich will be fine, the poor are likely ****ed". As someone from the rich part of the world with enough conscience to suffer guilt pangs but not enough to stop travelling to try and see the world before I die, it puts me in a somewhat ambivalent position.

    On the meat based diet thing - I'd say at home we've moved markedly in the veggie/fish direction as opposed to meat for health rather than climate reasons but I'd find it hard to move much further. Is even eating locally sourced meat bad? Or a bit bad but less bad?
    All fine and well but there are levels of rich. You and I don't stand a chance against the Rees-Mogg level of richness. 🤔
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  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by RyeSloan View Post
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    Your one sentence summary is fine apart from the fact that global poverty levels have moved markedly in one direction...down. And continue to do so.

    On the meat thing itís pretty clear to me that the technology to produce meat without the need for animals already exists and is in the process of being commercialised. Sure it will take time to become mainstream but the days of having to kill an Aberdeen Angus for a burger are already numbered.
    Not disputing that. What I meant was if there is catastrophic damage due to climate change, the poor will be hit hardest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeMeSouviens View Post
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    Not disputing that. What I meant was if there is catastrophic damage due to climate change, the poor will be hit hardest.
    Not sure about that...some of the most valuable real estate in the world is the most vulnerable!

    But clearly in general the less wealth or resources you have to protect yourself against any negative change the more you will be impacted. Not exactly a new phenomenon that I suppose, nor one that is likely to change, ever.

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by RyeSloan View Post
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    Not sure about that...some of the most valuable real estate in the world is the most vulnerable!

    But clearly in general the less wealth or resources you have to protect yourself against any negative change the more you will be impacted. Not exactly a new phenomenon that I suppose, nor one that is likely to change, ever.
    Exactly. The Haiti earthquake of 2010 killed hundreds of thousands. The similar magnitude San Francisco earthquake in 1989 killed 63.

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by RyeSloan View Post
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    Your comment about needing soil for vertical farms maybe suggests that you may benefit from doing a touch more research into this issue.

    The scale of R&D going into the very things that scare you so much is vast. Itís clearly not without its challenges as others have eloquently pointed out but itís no where near as bleak as your position suggests.
    I admit I'd never researched anything about them, but a quick look seems like it may well be viable for certain crops with the downside of herbs and edible flowers being the most successful to date and a loaf of bread costing $11. Early days though, but I still can't see how things will be successful with population of 10 billion and above. These are after all the numbers the scientists have argued is when things become untenable.

  26. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyAsHellas View Post
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    I admit I'd never researched anything about them, but a quick look seems like it may well be viable for certain crops with the downside of herbs and edible flowers being the most successful to date and a loaf of bread costing $11. Early days though, but I still can't see how things will be successful with population of 10 billion and above. These are after all the numbers the scientists have argued is when things become untenable.
    I'm sure Donald, Vladimir, Kim and a few others will manufacture a population decimating solution before the tipping point is reached. Only problem will be the huge areas of the planet left uninhabitable by it.

    Sometimes, I'm glad I'm old

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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyAsHellas View Post
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    I admit I'd never researched anything about them, but a quick look seems like it may well be viable for certain crops with the downside of herbs and edible flowers being the most successful to date and a loaf of bread costing $11. Early days though, but I still can't see how things will be successful with population of 10 billion and above. These are after all the numbers the scientists have argued is when things become untenable.
    There is also some doubt on the numbers that will count as peak population.

    Iím aware that the UN figure is something like 11bn but that is rather hotly disputed by many.

    History suggests that the wealthier a country gets its population numbers go into decline...that trend is continuing with more and more countries seeing its birth rate drop below replacement rate. Itís therefore far from certain that your 10bn figure will ever come to pass.

    Thatís not to say it wonít nor that it would be sensible to consider what would happen if it does but none the less itís far from assured that population numbers will doom the world yet!

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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyAsHellas View Post
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    Really about the responses I sort of expected - we're really clever and generally nice people so it'll be fine. Eh, sorry, it wont. I'm generally optimistic about things but continual growth in anything is in the main, a really bad thing. Especially the most destructive beings on the planet. Maybe burying your head in the sand is the way forward, who knows?
    It's not the numbers that are the problem. It's the agenda to dumb these numbers down so they turn against each other, rather than working together to make the world a better place.

    This isn't some crazy conspiracy. There's a very real plan to cut the population numbers down and it all starts with dumbing people down through the use of propaganda. We're all turning against each other, while the elite who have pushed this agenda safe guard themselves for a new world order.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fife-Hibee View Post
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    It's not the numbers that are the problem. It's the agenda to dumb these numbers down so they turn against each other, rather than working together to make the world a better place.

    This isn't some crazy conspiracy. There's a very real plan to cut the population numbers down and it all starts with dumbing people down through the use of propaganda. We're all turning against each other, while the elite who have pushed this agenda safe guard themselves for a new world order.
    A cunning plan thatís not a crazy conspiracy and going so well...not.

    https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/l...kMode=relative


    https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/p...ends-1970-2050

    So the plan is clearly to make most of the world literate so they can then be dumbed back down thus facilitating a Ďnew world orderí. Very cunning indeed from the mysterious elite!

  30. #29
    Coaching Staff Smartie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyeSloan View Post
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    A cunning plan that’s not a crazy conspiracy and going so well...not.

    https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/l...kMode=relative


    https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/p...ends-1970-2050

    So the plan is clearly to make most of the world literate so they can then be dumbed back down thus facilitating a ‘new world order’. Very cunning indeed from the mysterious elite!
    I'm not buying the great conspiracy theories that are going on here, but "the elite" know that there is an awful lot of money to be made out of peddling hate and fear, and turning people against each other.

    By "the elite" I am referring to influential media moguls, politicians and owners of certain big businesses.

    If that energy could be channelled into something more constructive, such as ending poverty or securing the future of the human race, that would be nice.

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