Thanks for the replies, all! Whew, I had no idea this'd end up flagged and starred as much as it was, but apparently I'm not the only one concerned
about causes for WWIII.
I Think these 3 causes for WWIII are the direct result of the biggest root problem of all:
There are too many people in the world, creating too many more people in the world. Whereas nature used to keep population in check with disease and
starvation, medical and agricultural advancement, along with humanitarian aid, has allowed us to artificially raise the population cap far beyond its
naturally sustainable limit in too many parts of the world. And while there is only a finite amount of resources, there is an ever-increasing
population putting a strain on those resources. The projected critical resource to human shortage is now within 20-40 years, tops.
It is only through literally Earth-changing technological innovations that we have managed to remain at above human-capacity on this planet. As a
result, population rises to meet that new capacity. However, that capacity is, in turn, based off of finite resources (such as oil, arable land, and
water) that are rapidly thinning out. As the number of these resources decreases, and the number of humanity rises, we are setting the stage for such
a large number of deaths that it could technically register as an extinction-level event.
I don't think most people realize what it means when suddenly we only have enough food and water (the two most basic survival needs) to meet the
absolute minimal needs
for 1/3 to 2/3 the population. That is what we are looking at in the next 15-45 years.
We currently live in a beautiful illusion of abundance, where food is simply a quick stop by any local store (money notwithstanding), and water is
always a few feet away, accessable with the turn of a handle. For the vast, vast majority of us, (even me, and I was homeless for 6 months), this has
been the case for our entire life. We have never had any reason to believe otherwise. Even if there is no money to be had, there was a local soup
kitchen or church or other charity, more than willing to provide a hot meal, or at least a loaf of bread. This beautiful illusion obscures the fact we
are staring down the barrel of a near-future scenario where there is not only no food to be given away, but not even food to buy. Each person who will
get the minimum of food and water to survive will do so only through the violent or starvation death of another one or two humans in their place.
This is not a "likely" or "probable" scenario. It is currently the default.
The math does not lie. At our current rate of growth, we are looking at a population of about 520 million by 2050. We are, at the same time, paving
over arable land, and rapidly thinning out our water supply. All food that we currently eat is so heavily dependant on oil for fertilizer, production,
and transportaiton, that fully 10 calories of oil are consumed for every 1 calorie we eat.
Now, assuming that the oil holds out, and we can keep using just as much oil to produce food in 2050 that we can now, here's the
Clearly, the scenario of a maximum population of 350 or 315 million based on an agriculture using the current level of technological subsidies,
implies that no food or feed crops will be exported and that the cultivation of non-food crops, such as cotton and tobacco, will be replaced by food
and feed crops. Indeed, a significant increase in domestic food needs due to population growth will absorb the food surplus currently exported.
However, we cannot assume the oil will hold out. Demand for oil has already exceeded supply. According to Peak Oil theory, between now and 2020, the
gap between demand and supply will be so great as to be unsustainable. Even without Peak Oil theory, production of oil is not presently filling the
demand, and this gap is still only widening as to have nearly the same effect. If one is to assume we must by neccessity significantly reduce our
consumption of oil in the fertilization, production, and transportation of food, this will, likewise, create an additional shortage of food. Here is
the projected math
According to this scenario, the maximum size of U.S. population that could be fed by such an ecocompatible agriculture would be only about 210
million. This number could be increased to reach 240 million if cultivation of export crops and other non-food crops were to be eliminated. Note,
fossil energy inputs are still a required input in this system.
For America, one of the most prosperous, abundant, and well-fed nation on Earth, that means that 32-60% of the projected 520 million people will have
to die, through one means or another, just in order to feed ourselves. I cannot even begin to imagine the horror of living in a place that today is
already experiencing regular starvation. 60-95% perhaps? The sheer numbers are too staggering and sickening to even consider. But if humanity is to
survive the remainder of this century, this reality must not only be considered, but prepared for.