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It seems to me that the overall goal of medical research is two-fold:

* To improve life quality
* To delay death for as long as possible

If that is the case, and assuming medical science continues to work towards these goals, won't we eventually encounter huge over-crowding problems worldwide, with huge strain on already dwindling food and energy sources?

I assume this is a conundrum widely considered. Anybody here have any thoughts on the issue?

Back in the long-long ago, Thomas Malthus had thought of the problem of over-population:

From what I recall and what the Wikipedia page is describing, Malthus had envisioned that populations would naturally self-control based upon available resources.  When the needs of the population exceeded available resources, the population would reduce (due to famine, disease, etc.) to a point of balance.  Population, in his mind, was viewed as a control loop with 'general resources for sustaining life' as the process control and population as the process variable.  I would argue that one facet of 'general resources for sustaining life' is medical advancement.

The problem is that this is an overly simplistic model of populations in regards to human society, and asking what the ramifications of medical advancement are with respect to over-population is an interesting question though is incomplete without referent to other 'population-affecting pressures'.  We can all envision a Logan's Run-esque future where control of the population is done by the population itself (counter to your second point); we can all envision a Borg-like society where individuality, and therefore (arguably) quality of life is deemed unimportant (counter to your first point); we can all envision apocalyptic events (human induced or otherwise) that simply annihilate the population to the point where we can no longer self sustain at all and extinction occurs.

Point being - has this question been thought about?  Yes, insofar as the general question of overpopulation has been thought of.  Do people today recognize this potential problem?  Some people, yes.  There are those who feel we are experiencing a Malthusian catastrophe right now.  Has anyone devised any kind of actionable solution that is morally satisfactory?  Nope.

More from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_overpopulation
Changed Change Reason Date
magicmiles Thanks for the contribution November 14, 2013, 04:12:34 PM