Human Sterilization Virus

Context:

The world population is increasing dramatically, with the poor areas having the most growth, and even some rich areas having a decrease in population.

Problem:

The overpopulation causes poverty, and, poverty causes corruption, and cheap labor. Cheap labor means jobs in other countries are destroyed, thus creating more poverty. Resources are scarce, and made scarcer by the overpopulation.

Forces:

Proposed Solution:

Create a virus or bacteria that provokes infertility, or some other way to sterilize large population groups. Chances are, that some group will be immune (hey, there are people inmune to AIDS...). Once the population has decreased to acceptable levels, release a cure.

Pros:

Cons:


Actually, there are a lot of ProKaryotes? that will sterilize humans without killing many of us. The trouble is these little buggers aren't virulent enough. We need to cross 'em with the common cold, malaria, jock itch, E-coli, and a few other successful little beasts if we expect to have something that will help TheBottleneck.

Oh, yeah? So who gets sterilized? Who does the sterilizing? And by what right? -- MikeSmith

Everyone, of course. Viruses aren't choosy.

"Everyone" meaning whom? I hardly think it means 100% of humanity! I also doubt it refers to FirstWorld? countries with a negative population growth''.

100%, yes. It'll take humans maybe 10 years to engineer a cure. Another 10 to distribute it. 20 years of natural death rate with zero birthrate would cure a lot of ills worldwide. Of course, it'll be a little lonely without kids running around, but we can redirect the energies deriving from our loneliness to improving the world for when they return.

Ahh, yes, I understand now. And when we find the cure, we'll conveniently forget to distribute it to the ThirdWorld?, wink wink, perhaps by patenting it and charging 1000$ per person.

For more about this topic, watch the movie ChildrenOfMen?.


We might be doing this chemically. Male infertility is at record levels and many claim that this is due to high levels of estrogen-like chemicals in chemical products.

I'm told (or at least recall from some assembling of places) that in North America, the average age of onset of female puberty has steadily declined since about the end of WWII, coincidentally when modern plastics began to be used commonly. Or not-so-coincidentally, I believe. -- KarlKnechtel There is also the effect of better nutrition - as America moved from an agricultural economy to an industrial one, the average number of calories available to children increased

Creation of a HumanSterilizationVirus is a dumb idea. We should encourage 'survival of the fittest' based on something other than resistance to jock itch. Meanwhile, what's to prevent the virus from mutating and sterilizing everyone. The common cold mutates all the time, that's why it's so successful.

Um, the intent *is* to sterilize everyone, hence the multiple vectors. The idea may seem dumb to you, but if the alternative is ThirdWorldDieback? ... well, that's worse. Maybe there's another alternative - can you think of one?

The intent is to sterilize everyone, eh? Well, then, which is worse... ThirdWorldDieback?, or the death of the entire human species (which is, after all, what would happen if everyone were sterilized)? -- MikeSmith

Sterilization isn't death. Medicine would either cure the virus, or extend lifespans. Imagine a world of, say, 2 billion centenarians, all with the health of 25 year olds, all with the education and wealth of university graduates. If such a world had any good reason for reproduction, it'd swiftly engineer the means. Not bloody likely, of course ...

"Imagine a world of, say, 2 billion centenarians, all with the health of 25 year olds, all with the education and wealth of university graduates." How do you propose we get from 6 billion to 2 billion? Wait for the 2/3rds of the population to die off from old age? Then we expect the bottom third to 'reinvent' human reproduction? Also, we expect that unanticipated advances in science will occur with an aging populace (which will be composed of a random subset of skills). If it's a choice between ThirdWorldDieback? and expecting a 60-year old JustinTimberlake? to become an expert in reproductive endocrinology, then I'll start laying in the cans of beans right now...


Oh, and just for the record, prokaryote is not a synonym for infectious agent. E. coli is a prokaryote, but the organisms that cause malaria are eukaryotes like ourselves, and viruses are something else entirely. Good luck crossing them.

Didn't say it was going to be easy. Heck, it's very unlikely anyone would be so kind as to make such a creature as described here. Which is why ThirdWorldDieback? seems plausible.

Well, we're pretty successful crossing plants and bacteria. Why can't we cross viruses and bacteria?

We don't have to; they cross themselves all the time. Viruses that infect bacteria are called "bacteriophages" rather than viruses. Some of them, like the lambda phage, can integrate their genomes into the genome of bacteria and stay that way for arbitrarily long times. Several of these organisms have been studied in extraordinary depth and detail. -- AndyPierce

Education.

That is only a short-term solution. In the longer run, physiology will evolve such that people will reproduce as much as they can. However, by then there will be all kinds of new solutions such as genetic engineering (and new problems).


The virus could be made in many ways - to be quite specific and nonmutating, in the case of genocide, general and mutating, in the case of no-more-naturally-born-babies-ever, or general and nonmutating, in the case of sterilizing some people but leaving enough immune to keep the population stable. There are variations on each of these, and in each case, those currently living in wealth are the ones who can buy the technology to make new children. I imagine that the release of such a virus will result in war and starvation of similar size to the ThirdWorldDieback?.
What's wrong with only allowing the rich to breed? If you can afford the necessary technology, you can afford the cost of raising your kids at a reasonable standard of living and paying for their education.

''What's wrong with it are these little things called EthicsAndMorals. I realize that not everyone concerns themselves with these things but you should appreciate that most do.''

And even if you don't care about EthicsAndMorals, think about economics... rich people are rich people because they have poor people working for them, if you eliminate poor people, then rich people will have to do the work that poor people do... and they will want to earn a lot of money for doing it... that would lead to a world economics disaster... either because of incredible price increases in everything (creating new poor people) or wars between rich people to make some of them slaves... of course after a while we would have more slaves than rich people... and then those slaves would start a revolution... that would eventually lead freedom for slaves... and those slaves would become poor people... and then, one of the rich guy would think "the way to end all human problems is to create a HumanSterilizationVirus"... can you see the InfiniteLoop here? (and if you think that Robots are the way to reach utopia... then go see TheMatrix again)

Those of you who love your fellow humans enough to want to exterminate them all really ought to read Oryx and Crake.


CategoryGosp

CategoryWikiSavesTheWorld (perhaps it should be CategoryWikiEndsTheWorld)

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