That's right, you heard me; I used the “C” word in conjunction with environmentalism. But before you dismiss the idea as elitist, corporate propaganda, hear me out and try to keep an open mind.
It seems to me we have two choices for creating an indefinite state of abundance: we can continually reduce our rate of consumption and have faith that technology will save us as the human population increases, or we can voluntarily reduce our global reproduction rate in order to increase the ratio of resources to consumers (notice I said “voluntarily”; no genocide required).
The modern environmental movement seems to almost exclusively focus on the former, while avoiding the unpopular, and no doubt emotional, issue of human population. Since I'm not seeking to increase my donor base or run for political office, I'm going to tackle the unpopular population issue head-on and propose that, in a world of 800 million people instead of 8 billion, we could all drive Hummers and live in McMansions, if we so chose, without any long-term repercussions to the environment. And that's an easy sell to folks on all sides of the political spectrum. For those of you who would prefer to live in your 300-square-foot box on .03 acres, knock yourselves out.
Here's the punch line: as nations increase their standard of living, they also reduce their reproductive rates. This is not theory; this is fact. Wealthy people, by and large, do not have 10 children.
Relatively free markets (there is no such thing as a purely free market), when managed intelligently and fairly by governments not bought and paid for by their corporate masters, actually do result in greater wealth for most people. Greater wealth undeniably leads to reduced populations, and reduced populations will lead to greater environmental sustainability (not to mention a whole host of other beneficial side effects, which are too numerous to list here). And a free market system need not result in the kind of corruption and inequity that has manifested itself in modern day American “capitalism.”
— Tom Adams