Perspectives in population, global development and the human predicament: Hans Rosling and Population Matters

| January 5, 2019 | Leave a Comment

Hans Rosling giving a lecture

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Media Type: News / Op - Ed

Author(s): Hans Rosling, Robin Maynard

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Hans Rosling has given the world inspiring, creative and important insights into the world’s data and truths. Much of his work focuses on understanding progress humans have made in global development. It also helps put the human predicament in perspective.

You may find many of Dr. Rosling’s videos on his website Gapminder and at this TED website.


Population Matters has also produced its own list of facts, Population Factfulness, that challenges a number of Rosling’s conclusions.

You may find a personal perspective from Population Matters Director, Robin Maynard, here. 

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The views and opinions expressed through the MAHB Website are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the MAHB. The MAHB aims to share a range of perspectives and welcomes the discussions that they prompt.
  • Comment on behalf of Esther Phillips:

    Hans Roesling seems to postulate that there will be an automatic transition to low natality which we are not seeing in some countries whilst in others’ is going up again.

    Moreover whilst it is all good news for Humans Roesling doesn’t seem to mind the ecological overshoot too much, as well as the right to exist of other species, and he is relying entirely on the resilience of these systems whatever we throw at them.

  • Greeley Miklashek

    Thanks for the “inspiring, creative, and important insights into the world’s data and truths”. However, we live in the time of massive overpopulation and the horrendous environmental damage we have wrought. I am not inspired by our current impact on Mother Earth. However, i am inspired by Her long evolved mechanisms to cull the number of any mammal that unsustainably overshoots its environmental niche’ by overpopulating. For instance, population density stress is killing us now at ever faster rates and inspite of our $3.8T heroic healthcare “industry” working overtime to keep us alive at any cost. Were it not for this health support, we would be a tiny fraction of our current numbers. We are at constant risk of worldwide epidemics, like the 1918 “Spanish flu” that killed off two of my grandparents and 600,000 more Americans, as well as millions in Europe. What’s next, now that AIDS is treatable, Ebola, another flu epidemic like the one ginning up right now? One of the best biomarkers of this population reduction mechanism is infertility. The homosexual segment of our population is growing by leaps an bounds. Argue as you wish, but gay sex does not produce new humans. Infertility in the US has increased 100% in the past 34 years, from 1/12 couples to 1/6 and growing annually, which is great news for the IVF factories. Sperm counts in the West have fallen 59% in 38 years and are continuing to fall. As per usual, when I suggested to the Israeli researcher who published this data that this might be a population regulation mechanism, Hagai Levine refused to communicate further. So, Hans Rosling’s wonderful stats and glowing optimism aside, humans now make up 30% of the land-based animal biomass on earth, and our domesticated food animals make up another 67-68 1/2, which leaves 1 1/2 to 3% wild. Hans, buddy, I do not share your optimism. Only a worldwide movement by liberated women with access to a college education (not just 7 years!), as well as open opportunity for meaningful employment, and ready access to inexpensive effective contraception can lead to the one-child families prevalent in China today (even after the government cancelled the mandatory one-child policy!) that can reduce our numbers back down to the 2.5B we were in 1950, but not until 2,100. I am not optimistic about the health effects of any other course. Stress R Us