Does it surprise you that democracy does NOT get better with population growth? In the aftermath of the midterm U.S. election in November, 2018, the World Population Balance team discusses the ways democracy is hamstrung by overpopulation. Each U.S. citizen, for example, is one of over 700,000 constituents represented by a U.S. House Representative. Two hundred twenty years ago, when U.S. population was 5 million (versus over 325 million today), just 34,000 citizens had to share a representative.
Growing population also creates opportunities for disproportionate influence by moneyed interests, and it necessitates more and more regulation. The late physicist Al Bartlett, famous for writing Laws Related to Sustainability, and for his college lecture, Arithmetic, Population and Energy, wrote: “Politicians like to talk to people, but because of overpopulation, they can't talk to everyone. So they talk to a few, a self-selecting small group of wealthy and influential people. Because of this dilution, the old statement, ‘One person, one vote,’ is now being replaced by ‘One dollar, one vote.”
This episode was published December 20, 2018.