There Are Way Too Many People — We Need More Birth Control Now

Crowded Indian Train

What if there were a solution to many of the global problems that confront us, from climate change to poverty to civil wars? There is, but it is starved of resources. It’s called family planning, and it has been a victim of America’s religious wars.

Partly for that reason, the world’s population just raced past the seven billion mark this week, at least according to the fuzzy calculations of United Nations demographers. It took humans hundreds of thousands of years, until the year 1804, to reach the first billion. It took another 123 years to reach two billion, in 1927. Since then, we’ve been passing these milestones like billboards along a highway. The latest billion took just a dozen years…

Keep reading at the New York Times >

Please follow Business Insider on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

See Also:

Read more from source:“Business Insider”

There Are Now 7 Billion People In The World And We’re Running Out Of Stuff

World population

Earlier this week, the (estimated) total number of people in the world blew past 7 billion (the chart above is out of date).

To put that number in context, for the first 70,000-odd years of human history, the total human population was around 1 million. Then, over the course of the next ~10,000 years through 1800, the population gradually grew to 1 billion. And now the population has increased 7X in the past 200 years.

Many of the resources used to sustain this population, meanwhile, have not grown.

On the contrary, they’ve shrunk. Because we’ve used them up.

Oil, for example. And metals. And potassium, which is used to make fertilizer, which is used to grow the food we eat.

Optimists laugh at the idea that we should be concerned about this–ever-growing population and ever-shrinking resources. Science and innovation will save us, they argue. They always have.

(“Always,” in this context, of course, means the past few hundred years, which is less than 1% of human history).

And hopefully the optimists will be right.

If you were a stock-market investor and you saw the population chart above, though, you’d probably think to yourself, “WHOA–talk about a bubble! Can’t wait to short that thing!”

And some smart investors would agree with you.

jeremy granthamEarlier this year, Jeremy Grantham of GMO published a treatise on the root cause of the exploding commodity prices of the past few years. He also offered a startlingly depressing outlook for the future of humanity.

Grantham concludes that the world has undergone a permanent “paradigm shift” in which the number of people on planet Earth has finally and permanently outstripped the planet’s ability to support us.

Specifically, Grantham says, the phenomenon of ever-more humans using a finite supply of natural resources cannot continue forever–and the prices of metals, hydrocarbons (oil), and food are now beginning to reflect that.

In other words, Grantham says, it is different this time.

Grantham believes that the trend of the last 100 years, in which the prices of almost all major commodities have steadily declined, is permanently over. And from here on in, he says, humans will be competing more–and paying more–for ever-scarcer resources.

From an investment standpoint, this paradigm shift need not mean disaster: Grantham says the obvious play is to own “the stuff in the ground” (and the ground itself, as the huge boom in farmland prices illustrates). The less obvious but equally compelling play is to own companies and technologies that facilitate resource conservation.

From a societal standpoint, the news is far worse. Grantham believes that the planet can only sustainably support about 1.5 billion humans, versus the 7 billion on Earth right now (heading to 10-12 billion). For all of history except the last 200 years, the human population has been controlled via the limits of the food supply. Grantham thinks that, eventually, the same force will come into play again.

This question, whether we’re headed for a resource and environmental crisis, is obviously a critical question, not just for investors, but for humanity at large. We’ll be looking into the question in detail here over the next few months.

In the meantime, here’s a snapshot of Grantham’s argument, along with his key points at the end.

In the past 200 years, the world population has exploded–just as Malthus predicted. What Malthus did not foresee was the discovery of oil and other natural resources, which have (temporarily) supported this population explosion. Those resources are now getting used up…

For the past 100 years, the prices of commodities have trended downward, as technology has made them cheaper to extract and produce. Grantham thinks that trend has now permanently ended.

Looking at oil, for example… Oil traded at about $16 a barrel for 100 years. Then, as demand outstripped supply, the paradigm shifted–to ~$35 a barrel. Now, Grantham thinks, the paradigm has shifted again, to a central value of about ~$75 a barrel

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Please follow Business Insider on Twitter and Facebook.

See Also:

Read more from source:“Business Insider”

Here’s The Chart That Shows How Workers Got Totally Screwed In This Recovery

Charts don’t get much more self-explanatory than this one from economics professor Mark J. Perry:

workers GDP

With the latest GDP data that’s come out, the US has now resurpassed its all-time record for GDP, and yet that’s been accomplished with 6.6 million fewer jobs.

Of course, people are going to try to draw all kinds of different lessons from this chart. For example, some will see it as a sign that we’re in a golden-age of technological productivity, that’s allowed the overall economy to prosper, while a cohort of unemployable, skill-less workers suffer.

There’s also a political angle, namely that the needs of workers are obviously not in alignment with the interests of corporate America: Remember, the corollary to that record GDP is record corporate profits, as seen here.


Regardless of the root cause of the disconnect, this is a real and growing problem, as the lack of jobs translates into political strife, and perhaps even unrest.

Please follow Business Insider on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

See Also:

Read more from source:“Business Insider”

Where Was Eastman Kodak’s Board Of Directors?

Eastman Kodak’s (NYSE: EK) board of directors has been invisible as the company first intimated it would not need new funds, and then a short time later said it had potential cash problems. The board’s inactivity probably has cost Kodak shareholders dearly, and likely will continue to do so.

At the end of last month, Kodak said rumors of a Chapter 11 filing were untrue. The company had drawn $160 million from one of its lines of credit. A spokesman for Kodak said, “The purpose of the revolving credit facility is to bridge timing differences between cash outflows and inflows, which is a common practice at many corporations.” A timing difference is generally not considered an emergency.

Kodak’s position changed suddenly on November 3. The company said it probably would need money soon as it reported earnings.

Click here to read the rest of the story on 24/7 Wall St.  >

Please follow Business Insider on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

See Also:

Read more from source:“Business Insider”

JOB OPENING: Business Insider Is Hiring An Editor Obsessed With Entertainment News

Lindsay LohanBusiness Insider is hiring an Entertainment Editor. We’re looking for someone who is obsessed with all things movies, TV, and music – from the latest gossip headlines to the biggest industry developments. The ideal candidate reads both the gossip rags and the trade sites.

Among other things, this person would:

  • Assign, edit and write content, plan and manage coverage for the section
  • Manage a small team of writers
  • Keep the page lively and up to date
  • Have an area of specialty, preferably television and movies
  • Have an eye for video clips, either on the Internet or pulled from live TV, that will have viral appeal
  • Curate a weekly slide show on the industry’s winners and losers
  • Desire to be the most famous and widely-respected reporter on the beat in the entire world.

A year or two of experience writing about entertainment for the web is preferred, as is proficiency in Photoshop. Also important: you read Business Insider and understand what we’re all about. If this position interests you, please send a resume and clips to Please explain in your email why you’re the one for the job. Thanks in advance. (Please note: This position is full-time in our Manhattan headquarters.)

Please follow Business Insider on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

See Also:

Read more from source:“Business Insider”

Business Insider Is Hiring An Intern To Produce Charts And Infographics

Groupon Gross ProfitBusiness Insider is looking for a [paid] multimedia intern to create awesome charts and infographics for our site.

In addition to dreaming in charts, the ideal candidate should be fluent in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Excel and InDesign. Familiarity with online visualization tools such as Tableau and Google Data ( is also a plus.

A general business understanding is crucial, since this intern will be producing charts on everything from IPOs to earnings, and will have to dig through filings to find data.

The ideal candidate should have a vision for spicing up boring charts by adding various text and image elements.

Example 1: Unemployment Claims Back To Pre-Crisis Levels

Example 2: Apple’s iPhone Platform Still Light Years Ahead

If you’re interested in the internship, please send your resume to Be sure to explain why you’re multimedia-obsessed, and show some samples of your work. Please note that the position is full-time out of our Manhattan headquarters.

Please follow Business Insider on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

See Also:

Presented By:

Read more from source:“Business Insider”