Human rights are not natural, but negotiated

Here is Prakash Belawadi’s take on world population:

Everyone knows, but still…I wonder: Aren’t there too many of us, already?
The UN reckons there are over 7 billion people in the world now. In 1800, we were less than a billion. Till then, the world population growth rate never exceeded 0.5%.
Between 1900 and 1950, it went from 0.8% to 2.1%, peaking in 1962, and has slowed gradually since then. Experts believe it will fall to below 0.6 percent in a 100 years, with world population at an estimated 11 billion.
Can we afford it?
It seems some countries can.
Populations are stable in western Europe and Japan, and reducing in eastern Europe. And indeed in parts of Africa, due to disease.

In 10 years, India will be the most populous country in the world.

 People everywhere consume more than ever before. If every Indian consumes the same quantity of resources as the average European today, by 2100, India (heading towards 2 billion) could be using up all the resources that the planet could sustainably provide.
 If every Indian were consuming as much as the average American today, we would be consuming all and more than the planet could provide, already.
 It’s unlikely the rest of the world will fold up and die so only we Indians on earth could eat, dwell in pucca houses, drive around and have fun. It is equally unlikely the rich will lose interest in making money, or taking bigger-than-ever slices of the ever-shrinking pie.

So, we should expect some serious struggles over the planet’s resources. The stronger will check the weaker. And in war, crush them. The urge to check consumption will first hurt the poorest.

The prevailing moral is Right should be Might. That seems an unlikely heaven. The meek shall not inherit the earth. All we can do now is offer them stirring speeches. The only possible solution could be a dialogue between the weak and the strong.

 Human rights are not natural, but negotiated. It may be better for us to believe in the human capacity to be good than its tendency to be bad. Better to talk than fight. Otherwise, we will just get high on hunger and moral outrage.

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