Imagine an island with 10 people. The island has the capacity of water, land and resources to support 100 people. This would mean that these 10 people will be able to live well. Now as long as the population stays below the amount the island can provide then the population will be fine. But when the population gets to 80 there would be concern but most likely little would be done. At 85 there might be some small action like spreading the word and advocating a lower birth rate. Now what would happen when the population got to 90 or 95? People would notice the increasing drain on resources and thus the amount they could expect to receive. At this point lets postulate they all get together and present some possible solutions.
A) Birth control of one or two children to halt the population growth before bringing it back under control.
B) Forced suicide of those who are above a certain age, commit crime or show undesirable qualities.
C) Go to war over ethnicity, diversity of religious or political beliefs etc.
Now this situation assumes two things: 1) that the entire group would come together, agree on a policy and enforce it, and 2) that they hadn’t already exceeded the population.
Now project this to the current world situation. The population has been estimated at over 7 billion with declining resources such as water already affecting up to 2.8 billion people. With the expected population figures expecting 10 billion by 2100 we can assume that this situation will only get worse and with the current international situation we can reliably predict that the chances of all the current national governments getting together and agreeing on something like this is about as likely as Belgium announcing that they just made a real lightsaber (no offence Belgium). At the moment the west are facing few over-population based problems but the issue is how long this will last and when it gets to boiling point what are we prepared to do. China’s solution of controlling the birth rates was deemed as cruel by many but the longer things continue to escalate the more this option becomes the least inhumane.
Frankly I can offer no solution, all I can suggest is that someone needs to start talking about this because if not then Soylent Green might not be as dystopian as we would like.