Escher's Demon

Natalist Antinatalism

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Disclaimer: I am a philosophy noob, economics noob, environmental science noob and I’d be glad to be corrected wherever I’m wrong.

Is there a point beyond which we should consider collectively slowing down population growth or even decrease the population despite the ‘inherent’ value in creating life? A reasonable tipping point seems to be when the marginal value of creating one more life is exactly canceled out by the inconveniences caused to the rest of the world. One could envisage a starving planet, where every new birth engenders more starvation and suffering – an unlikely scenario where (classical ?) utilitarianism would advise against creating more lives.

If you complete a high-impact technology project which other technologists would have tackled in a year, the counterfactual doesn’t just involve that project finishing a year sooner—it also involves those technologists going off to do whatever else they would have done.

I argue the net benefit should also include the effects of cascading subsequent discoveries by -1 years. If the discovery improves the quality of everyone’s life by a factor of 1.000001, it doesn’t just ‘save’ 0.000001 * 7 billion QALYs, the counterfactual must also involve the preponement and acceleration of subsequent discoveries that might slightly improve the quality for an extremely large number of generations (In other words, it should have a high multiplier).

Any analysis of the benefit of an outcome must also take into account the impact it has on the (hopefully countless) future generations. The marginal value of giving birth to one more child must also include the impact on all future generations.

The marginal benefit of producing one more child must at least offset the cost of depriving future generations of the resources it consumes. Let it sink in, (if) we are consuming more than we can replenish, (then) with the birth of every new child Earth Overshoot Day is getting closer to January 1. Pause and ponder over the possibility of starving (or maybe just depriving) countless future generations, and the expected impact of averting it. The world needn’t be starving already for the expected value of creating human life to be negative, increasing the likelihood of starving future generations counts as well.

If Earth Overshoot Day is for real, natalism calls for antinatalism.

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