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Op-Ed

Overpopulation Will Become Intensely Painful, Urgent Solutions Needed

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It’s very difficult to explain to most people that the world’s population is growing “exponentially.” In a few countries, the population has stopped growing and is shrinking. Most of the times, when politicians frantically try to sell you the idea that population is shrinking, it isn’t – it’s just that the number of people able to pay taxes to the state (and fund politicians’ paychecks) is shrinking.

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As an example – retired people generally cost the state money to keep alive. Sick people, ditto. Politicians with a clear economic agenda are by and large not overjoyed with the aged and otherwise unproductive not working. But even in places such as Russia there’s still 0.2% population growth, and any growth doubles the population over the long term. From the perspective of the Russian state and policy makers, 0.2% is insufficient, since the result of such comparatively low growth means Russia is eventually (and for several decades) left with comparatively too many old people.

The unchecked growth of human population on the planet has been nothing short of absurd in the last century. Even a casual glance at a population graph shows us that human numbers have spiked, and are still going up worldwide. We also know that the UN has been adjusting growth numbers consistently upwards in the last few years and is now projecting an eventual world population well in excess of 13 billions, and “population growth not leveling off beyond 2100.”

Under given energy and resource constraints, and with the current biosphere degradation, that’s just impossible. Some people (mostly conservative people) may think indefinite growth is possible, or that “nature will generate it’s own solutions,” but a moment of honest thinking should show anyone that population growth will eventually become an intensely painful issue.

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Fertility Must Become Subject to Politics

OverpopulationIn other words – before long the unbridled expansion of human numbers will become politically untenable.

Most people worldwide are used to considering the right to have children as a “sacred” natural right.  But you can already see the tide of public opinion turning. When some arguably irresponsible guy fathers 30 children with various unwed mothers, taxpayers take notice and object. Taxpayers realize that the mothers will need some form of child support, and if the guy in question is not able or willing to provide child support, taxpayers are left holding the bag.

Right now procreative freedom comes with no consequences to “irresponsible” fathers or mothers as shown by the cases of Desmond Hatchett or the Duggar family. But those are two examples of people who make lifestyle choices that eventually will contribute to “intense pain.” It won’t be many decades before voters realize that ever increasing population numbers will cause ever worse living conditions for everyone. We are not there yet. Voters still weigh the right to procreate as sacrosanct. But someday in this century the unrelenting tide of doubling population rates will clash with the natural urges of entitled individuals. There will come a point where intense debates over population growth will start.

Right now in most countries the idea that we as a society might seek to impose constraints on individual rights to procreate is considered as unthinkable and too radical. I can easily show everyone reading this article applicable studies of overpopulation and resulting resource scarcity, and with the unrelenting doubling population rates “every several decades” we are pretty much almost there. Before 2050 individual countries will yield to the concerns of the voters and limit population growth.

In his famous “Known Space” series of novels, Larry Niven explored those conclusions. In his stories Niven described an Earth with 18 billion human beings. On such a world, the population pressure implies actual “intense pain” for the majority of human beings. Larry Niven’s conclusion was fairly simple and self-intuitive – at some point fertility must become subject to politics. Politicians will ration procreation rates, and once politicians are voted into office to limit birth rates, they will immediately try to impose radical policies. That means that the distinction between desirable births and not so desirable births will be made.

There will be a relatively brief flurry of protest over a few decades, but population reduction policies will be enacted, which will be supported by first local and then global consensus. Eventually, all the world will agree that a common authority must be put in place to use state force to limit human births. The criteria for selection of desirable births and elimination of non desirable ones may hinge on the ability of prospective parents to generate income or certain hereditary ailments (vis-a-vis measurable health). Other contributing factors to being granted a license to breed may be certain artistic, scientific or athletic accomplishments.

Solutions Must Be Democratic, Consensual, and Nonviolent

These choices should be inspired by sound science and democratic consensus. The voters will demand an end to overpopulation, and they’ll get their demand met. Politicians will then nestle in the demand niche and seek to come up with what they perceive as constructive policies for the future.

I am well aware that this conclusion may be offensive to many people. The idea that in one or two generations we’ll first see local US and EU laws constraining population growth, and then we’ll see those laws expanded to include the whole world, is still unthinkable and offensive. But public opinion is a very malleable thing, and exponential population growth can’t be allowed to continue for much longer on a planet with limited resources.

The most important question is – given the gravity of this conclusion, how can we as discerning and educated citizens of the most powerful world’s economies start a rational, just and sensible discourse about this problem. How can we guide our political system toward the best possible outcome? There is a lot that we can do at this very moment to start debating the issue democratically, and by doing so to steer policy away from unmitigated tyranny, disaster and the worst fascism the world has ever known.

The goal is to avoid killing people, which has been the default policy of states with regards to overpopulation for several thousand years. Large scale industrial wars are no longer a rational option – even a minor nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan would be globally catastrophic.  We should, therefore, conclude that all solutions to the overpopulation challenge must be democratic, must be consensual, and must be nonviolent.

Images from Perati Komson and Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Khannea Suntzu describes herself as cosmist, cosmicist, upwinger, socialist-libertarian, hedonist and abolitionist. Khannea is transgendered, and currently lives in the Netherlands.




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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Hank Pellissier

    December 19, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Great article – can I post it and promote it on my site Brighterbrains.org? thanks I 100% agree – except I think the last sentence might be wishful thinking

    • CryptoCoinsNews

      December 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      Great that you enjoyed the article. You are always allowed to post up to 1/3 of the original article on your site linking back to the original content.

  2. MyGuess

    January 2, 2015 at 10:07 am

    I’m interested in the topic because I agree population growth is a problem. I have a question though, how do limit human births? I would be against abortion to answer that question. Expecting people to follow it voluntarily with birth control would not be 100% effective. I’m not a fan of mucking with women’s hormones as birth control. There is no way to enforce this in a way that is not deleterious to health.

    At least in the United States one alternative we can deal with immediately is to lower the legal immigration rate to at or below replacement levels. Birthrates have dropped to below replacement levels naturally. Politicians should respect the choice of the people. It’s only the overly large immigration rates that cause projected growth and along with it all the projected hardship of finding room for all the additional people in the next 30 or 40 years. Politicians should not try to override the choice of the people by engineering population growth through immigration. We would probably need to cut immigration from over 1 million per year to under 100K per year, to about 10% of current legal levels. There would still be immigration, and the qualification requirements for who to let in should be set high and be strict. It’s just not everyone’s right to come here. This would avert a lot of the population pain in the future, at least here.

    The rest of the world will have to get their own act together.

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Op-Ed

Is Manipulation Behind Bitcoin Cash’s Absurd Rally?

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Although you wouldn’t know it by today’s prices, bitcoin cash (BCH) has topped the crypto market leader board this month. The digital currency more than doubled over the span of 18 days, and in doing so far outpaced the broader market. But a closer examination of the value drivers suggest manipulation could be partly responsible for the rally.

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As a reminder, the author has no vested interest in smearing BCH as I believe it to be one of the more advantageous coins on the market today. That said, the circumstances surrounding the most recent rally are peculiar to say the least.

What’s Up with Bitcoin.com?

A Hacked user informed me earlier this week that Bitcoin.com has been using the “BCH” ticker next to the word “bitcoin”. Normally, the ticker “BTC” is reserved for bitcoin, which is the original blockchain we all know about. Instead, the website quotes “BTC” next to the term “bitcoin core”.

In other words, BCH is quoted next to bitcoin and BTC is referred to as bitcoin core. See here for yourself:

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For most readers of Hacked, the distinction is easily discernible, but for new traders the difference isn’t easily gauged.

The first question I have is, how many people bought bitcoin (BCH) thinking they were receiving actual bitcoin (BTC)?

Bitcoin.com describes itself as the “premier source for everything bitcoin.” Although the website doesn’t appear to offer a full-fledged trading platform, users can purchase bitcoin and bitcoin cash using the following link.

It is unclear how long the website has been referring to BCH as bitcoin. For those of us who’ve been following the market for some time, the way BTC and BCH are quoted is certainly strange.

Antpool

A large cryptocurrency mining group by the name of Antpool has also been accused of pumping BCH in recent weeks. The pool announced about six days ago that it is responsible for confirming more than 8% of all bitcoin cash transactions. In addition to confirming those, Antpool is also said to be burning BCH on a daily basis in order to reduce supply and boost prices.

Of course, crypto pumps do not require such elaborate setups to achieve their goals. Pump-and-dumps can be orchestrated rather easily through a chat group on social media. But Antpool does have a large and privileged position in the BCH ecosystem, which has raised suspicion over its recent actions.

Bitcoin Cash is Overbought, According to Tom Lee

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee recently weighed in on the bitcoin cash phenomenon, concluding that the cryptocurrency was overbought. In his view, investors should stick with bitcoin if they had a choice between Core and Cash.

In a segment on CNBC’s Fast Money, Lee said:

“I prefer not to pick winners and losers when we’re looking at cryptocurrencies like bitcoin/bitcoin Cash… Both have merits but if I was putting new money to work today… I would be a lot more interested in buying a lagger that could attract inflows rather than something that’s potentially overbought.”

Bitcoin cash added around $1,000 to its value between Apr. 6 and 23, with prices peaking near $1,600. The cryptocurrency corrected sharply lower on Wednesday and was still declining as of Thursday’s early-morning session. At the time of writing, BCH/USD was down 4.6% at $1,268.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 410 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Decentralization

JP Morgan’s Surprise Cryptocurrency Fees are a Reminder of Why Decentralization Is Sorely Needed

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JP Morgan Chase & Co has been hit with a class-action lawsuit by cryptocurrency traders over allegations of unannounced fees and higher interest rates on purchases of digital currencies. Though the allegations have not been proven, extra fees are a tactic routinely employed by traditional banking institutions. In the case of JP Morgan, this has karma written all over it given the way its chief executive has ridiculed digital assets by associating them with fraud.

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Class Action Lawsuit

Traders from across the United States are seeking statutory damages of $1 million for unannounced interest charges and fees on cryptocurrency transactions between January and February of this year. The named plaintiff in the lawsuit is Brady Tucker, an Idaho resident who paid a total of $163.91 in fees and surprise interest charges over a six-day stretch.

According to information obtained by Reuters, the lawsuit accuses the bank of violating the U.S. Truth in Lending Act, a piece of legislation that requires credit card issuers to inform customers in writing of any notable change in fees.

The lawsuit asserts that Tucker tried to resolve the dispute by calling Chase’s customer support service directly. His request was turned down, prompting him to seek legal help. According to Bloomberg, the case in question is Tucker v. Chase Bank USA NA, 18-cv-3155, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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The Growing Case for Decentralization

Depending on who you ask, the allegations against JP Morgan are akin to cryptocurrency fraud not unlike the kind Jamie Dimon talked about while ridiculing bitcoin. But the irony in Dimon’s comments extend far beyond Chase’s latest dealings.

As the actions of Chase bank and other financial institutions have clearly demonstrated over the years, those who control the size and growth rate of fiat money cannot be trusted to do the right thing. As Nassim Taleb argues in The Black Swan, banks have a tendency of losing as much money as they make in the long run due to shady business practices and high-risk ventures. Decisions like these are easy when you are Too Big to Fail.

Decentralization, like the kind advocated by blockchain startups and cryptocurrencies, allows users to trade directly with each other without having to go through a (predatory) middleman. Decentralized systems not only help participants avoid unnecessary fees, red tape and other forms of unwanted intervention, they are virtually impossible to shut down. In this vein, decentralized currencies give people a fighting chance in their battle against never-ending inflation. As we’ve argued before, this is not only a prudent fight, but a noble one as well.

Cryptocurrencies that rely on decentralization offer society a unique value proposition unlike anything we’ve seen in recent history. What’s more, their adoption is not contingent upon us leaving the realm of traditional finance – at least, not yet. That’s because cryptocurrency started off as an obscure and esoteric asset class but has since become a value store for investors. Tomorrow, it will become a viable medium of exchange accepted worldwide.

That said, we are still in the very early days of the crypto revolution and it may be a while still before we can conclusively prove people like Dimon wrong. But crypto backers and investors should take comfort in knowing that big banks rarely lead in disruption these days. They have the resources to play catch-up, which they are clearly doing with blockchain.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 410 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Altcoins

Will Dash Be the Bitcoin Killer?

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Well, it has finally happened.  We’ve gone a full week with crypto prices showing positive returns.  OMG, what a big surprise; ether is leading the pack, advancing nearly 15% at the time of this writing.  This is encouraging because it shows that perhaps finally value investors are stepping in and helping set a pricing bottom.  

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It hasn’t hurt a bit that stock and bond market investors have become seasick from all the volatility.  Suddenly, a tiny little weekly Litecoin move of +0.46% or even a 2.47% bitcoin cash gain, looks like pure serenity.  

 

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For a while now our focus has been on relative value and there is very little argument that, after the first quarter price collapse, a whole lot of risk has been taken out of bitcoin, ether, Ripple and thousands of others.

The question is where to go and what to go with from here.  The big crypto names are the safe way to go in the short run, but each has become mired in network limitations on scaling and the concomitant cost issues.  

Yes, transaction fees have dropped like a stone from their prohibitively high levels of December but then transaction volumes have fallen by half and more.  That is not the stuff an investor wants to see.

Both bitcoin and Ethereum hope to solve scaling issues with the Lightning Network and Raiden. But for now, if transaction volume were to suddenly rise, the same network limitations would be there.  So even though the big crypto names offer the safest short term options, does that mean we shouldn’t look further out to find value?

Will Dash Solve Bitcoin’s Problem?

Dash emerged last year as one of the most popular and most valuable altcoins. At the time it was considered a real competitor to bitcoin and the leading cryptocurrency of the future. The price of Dash increased from $11 to over $1,430. Dash had a capitalization of over $11 billion at its December peak. Since then it has tumbled more than 80%.  Is now the time to move into Dash? The timing could be very good but before making that decision, we should consider a few things.

Judgement Time

If a jury of its peers were to grade Dash on its performance in 2017, the majority would say it lived up to its billing.  Using Dash, users could send money instantly using the InstaSend feature that allowed for complete anonymity. At the peak, transaction costs were around $0.60, which were dwarfed by bitcoin’s high of $30. 

Since then, Dash fees have fallen to about $0.20, making them attractive for small sized transactions. All alone this represents a compelling feature of Dash.  Add to that the immediacy of InstaSend and you have the makings of a genuine challenge to Bitcoin.

Caveat Emptor

In appraising Dash’s performance it is useful to look at Metcalfe’s Law, which values social media assets based on a formula of network size.  For Dash, it’s network is processing a tiny fraction of bitcoin’s. The limitations of its network have very likely not yet been tested, so proclaiming Dash the speed king is a bit early. There is still a larger issue to consider.

In the case of Metcalfe’s Law we need to include merchants and other service providers that accept Dash as payment.  That is the big hump for them to overcome before overturning bitcoin. So far, after all, bitcoin is accepted by only about 10,000 or so merchants.  

Further progress by bitcoin is stymied by transaction costs that remain far too high.  Even so look at how many years it has taken bitcoin to attract merchants. Dash faces the same hurdles.

In other words, the trick for Dash is the find a way to gain mass acceptance quickly. That is when the huge $11 billion valuation of last December will begin to be justified. Look over your shoulder bitcoin – faster, lower cost competition is looking to eat your lunch. Dash could be one of those.

 Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 75 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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