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December 2, 2004

population and happiness

Why is life getting harder when the population of the world is increasing?

The increase in population is making people work harder since the competition is increasing a lot...Like in India, because of population, there is a fight for resources, and people in general have to do a lot more just to survive in the society.

Here in the US, life is easy. People dont have to trouble themselves a lot in order to live a happy, fulfilling life. At least personal fulfillment is easier, although family happines is a little more problematic. It is always kind of a balance, when personal fulfillment becomes easier, people tend to move away from familial bliss. This is debatable as to what exact balance should be more desirable for a society.

Anyway, the point is that personal fulfillment is also a big thing in these non-spiritual times, and it is more difficult to get when there is bigger fight for resources because of higher population. And hence, in those places, life becomes harder because of increased competition.

Now the population of India and China will start having adverse effects on ease of life OUTSIDE India and China as exchange of services and resources becomes easier on a global scale. Life in the US and other developed countries will become more difficult, and Americans will have to work harder in order to remain competitive with the Indian and Chinese juggernaut. (after all population is power for a country)

However, the thing that pops up into the mind is that why is the effect of higher population not positive. In other words, why is the increase in population not increasing quality of life, as it should have done, if we think from the perspective that the extra population will be able to provide more services and resources at a higher rate than their increase in raw number because of the developed economics in effect today.

When there are extra people, why cant they be used to get more work done and thus make the world better and easier to live in?

Well, actually yes, I think we are gaining in quality of life from extra people. Lives are becoming better.

Only the problem is that we measure our success as relative to the other people. So your success is counted not as an absolute value, but a relative factor among the population. In other words, you dont actually want to be successful, but you want to become better than, say, 2/3rd of the remaining population, which will always be more difficult with a higher population. (since a bigger population will be able to put up a better fight for resources).

So our expectations have increased, in order to maintain relative success.

As I think --- "Whether you have what you expect to have, determines (single-handedly?) whether you are happy."

So maybe, however much the human race develops, people will always need to struggle to feel successful in life, since their relative definitions of happiness will also climb up.


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