OK, can I assume you haven’t been living under a rock? Possible OLD film spoilers ahead ( Please no spoilers for Endgame, and nothing too serious for any other film) (and a Mod could move this to Cafe Society but it’s not really about the film)
You know that Thanos in both Film and comics wanted to wipe out half of all life in order to bring some sort of “Balance”? Some people didnt think that was such a crazy idea- but I do, because of the many horrible unintended consequences and of course- wiping out half the people.
But say we had the power? How could we reduce the Earth’s population simply and easily without too many unintended consequences?
My idea- make the current generation of adult human males sterile. Sure, there’d still be sperm banks and a new generation coming on line, but by and large, we’d have a full generation of no significant childbirth. Would that work? Or is it as crazy as Thanos?
Halving the population would only be a blip anyway. It only takes a few decades for the population to double. He also halved the animal, insect, fish, and presumably plant population too, and as they are our food resources, did he really achieve anything?
First, I don’t know what you mean by “the current generation”. You say there’d be “a new generation coming on line”, so I think you mean something like all post-pubescent males at the time of the snap, but leave the pre-pubescent males alone? However you phrase it, you want to eliminate an entire generation of humans-to-be.
Yes, it’s crazy.
Start with the prosaic. Who pays FICA taxes? In the U.S., Social Security and Medicaid for the elderly are paid for by taxes from current workers. Public pension systems work pretty much the same everywhere. They would all collapse.
You’d also be losing an entire generation of tax payers, wage earners, and workers. You’d have a huge gap where everyone would be either too young or too old to be fully productive workers. No one would be able to retire. Even if they were insanely wealthy, there would just not physically be enough people around to keep the power plants running, harvesting the crops, providing emergency medical care, and on, and on, and on.
You’d also lose an entire generation of innovators. You’d have a long gap where people who should be in the prime of their scientific or engineering or managerial or whatever careers aren’t there.
When the snapped generation hole appears, you would not just have no economic growth, you would have the largest negative economic growth in recorded history. It would be far, far worse than the Great Depression.
In a lot of ways, this sort of snap would be worse than Thanos’.
And that’s not even getting into all of the psychosocial damage and existential horror that this kind of intervention would inflict.
I think wevets has the best possible answer. If you want to control human population growth, ensure people, women in particular, are given adequate education, health care, family planning information and access to contraceptives, economic opportunities, and a robust social safety net.
‘Life’ is not the same thing as ‘people’ (or ‘humans’) in that universe. Did half the trees die on earth? That could be a problem.
Reducing the population by killing them in an instant, and having to keep on doing that same thing every time the problem happens again is the toddler’s solution. Education is the solution in the long term.
There’s no need to reduce the Earth’s (or Universe’s, since we’re talking about Thanos) population in the present - it’s sufficient to reduce the size the population relative to what it would have been in the future without intervention.
The Russo brothers (directors of “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame”) have said that Thanos’s “Snap” wiped out half of all life-forms across the universe – not just people, but animals, plants, etc.
Thanos’ problem wasn’t so much that he wanted to avert what he perceived as a Malthusian Catastrophe, it’s that he had no imagination about how to do that - he had a frakking Infinity Gauntlet and the best he could think of was to kill a bunch of people, plants, and animals? WTH, purple dude?
Of course, the plot of my alternative screenplay: Avengers: the desire for IUDs was unanimously rejected by the studio.
Well, in the comic books, when he did something similar, he had a somewhat different motivation – he was infatuated with Death (who, like a lot of other abstract concepts in the Marvel Universe, had a physical manifestation), and he was trying to impress her by killing as many people as he could.
If you did kill half of the population, I wouldn’t do it randomly. Obviously I wouldn’t do it at all, but I sure as hell wouldn’t do it randomly. Why would you kill an MIT professor but keep Kim Jong Un? Whats the logic in that?
I’d probably select for the best half regarding intelligence, emotional health, pro-social tendencies, physical health, etc. and keep them. Then get rid of the other half (I would be in the bottom half myself).
But anyway, population growth tends to slow once you hit $5000 per capita income, and a woman’s education is negatively correlated with the number of kids she has. So helping people get wealthy and educated is a good way to slow growth.
As was mentioned above, it doesn’t take long to double the population. If each couple in a generation has 4 kids on average, then within 20 years you’re back to the original population.
Just make procreation intentional. Yes, there will still be a few “quiverfull” types who will have too many kids. But if both partners have to be in agreement and intentionally creating a child, folks won’t have more than they can feed and care for.
Altho that is a wonderful solution, it’s hardly a "finger snap’ idea. I dont want to get into the argument about whether or not the power stones could do that, however, this is not so much about Marvel or Thanos.
Of course we’re gonna have some discussion about Thanos, etc, but remember, that’s not what this hypothetical is about. How would you accomplish that goal, without the stupidly forced way thanos did it?