It’s Raining Babies

As the world population passes 7 billion, there's no need to worry about water, fuel or food. Capitalism, or aliens, will take care of all that

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Illustration by Peter Sherrard / Getty Images

“She looks so lovely,” said the mom of Baby Danica, born in Manila just after midnight yesterday.  “I can’t believe she is the world’s 7th billion.”

“I’m so happy,” said the dad of Baby Oishee, born in Bangladesh and also declared the 7 billionth living human. “I’ve become the father of a baby girl at a historic moment.”

Additionally crowned were 7 Billionth Baby Yusif from Turkey, and a premium assortment of neonates from Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Zambia, Russia, the Ivory Coast, Papua New Guinea and the Maldives.

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Now I like babies as much as the next guy — meaning I like the ones I made — but I wonder whether we should be exalting these randomly significant newborns so much as shaming them, perhaps marking them in some way as a warning to anybody who might be thinking of trying that again.

Bear with me.

The right thinking, as outlined recently in the Wall Street Journal, is that 7 billion people is not that big of a deal, despite the famine, disease, pestilence, etc., because American-style capitalism will figure everything out, and that we won’t get much past 10 billion anyway because rich people have fewer children and as the rich get richer the poor will also get rich and stop having so many goddamn kids, a theory that makes perfect sense if you haven’t been paying attention.

I have an alternative plan, with which I have enlivened many a dinner party. What we need, I suggest after a cocktail or several, is a Good Plague, a disease that would quickly and indiscriminately (and thus fairly) kill about 4 billion people with a minimum of mess and expense. This would return us to the population we had in 1960, which was sustainable and much better dressed. I then, if sufficiently lubricated, make the case with increasing volume that virtually every problem we have on this planet is caused by having too many people in it, throwing out statistics loosely based on an article I read in the New York Times or someplace.

However, nobody wants to hear the astute rantings of a weepy drunk, I’ve found. And so rather than persuade you I will scare you, after the current fashion.

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Here’s my concern: Seven billion people adds up to roughly 1 trillion lbs. of human flesh, an amount that would prove irresistible to some passing race of man-eating aliens. And consider further that Americans, soft and well-marbled, would be the most delicious.

Think about that the next time you want to procreate, preferably right before.

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