Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, human populations have sky-rocked. In 1800, approximately one billion people lived on our planet. At that time, we lived on the energy of the sunlight that came down each year or stored in trees and crops over a few years to decades. Once we learned to exploit fossilized fuels (= the sun energy trapped in coal and oil), our population levels began to soar. They turned upward again as we learned about plant nutrition and how to improve crop yields.
In nature, the rate at which populations grow begins to slow (the inflection point) when they exceed the ability of a habitat to provide enough resources to maintain their growth rate. By the time the numbers stabilize (the stationary phase), by the time that the death rate and the birth rates are equal, this point has passed.
Humans can reduce their population growth through education campaigns and birth control measures.
They can also do it the old-fashioned way by passing the inflection point for growth, and suffering from increased competition for resources has increased and will grow worse. At such a point, societies will do what they need to do to survive. If they lack food, they will take measures to obtain it. If they lack energy, they will do what they need to do to get it. The quest for the energy in fossil fuels has led to wars and discord. It can also radically alter our perception of others, increase xenophobia, and reverse our intolerance for the enslavement of others as units of energy.
Many countries are now suffering from more deaths than births, and few of these have happened through voluntary programs of birth reductions.
Although dystopian novels date at least as far back as the reformation (Thomas Moore’s Utopia),
Although dystopian stories date at least as far back as Thomas Moore’s 1551 book Utopia, the first block-buster modern dystopian book is probably Margaret Atwood’s 1985 book, A Handmaid’s Tale. This book describes a dystopian world where an intolerant sect gains power and reduces women to enslavement.
Silent Consent, by Circa24, envisions a world with dwindled resources, one in which the population has collapsed. It has resorted to a brutal system of enslavement. Although some form of forced labour is the punishment for any violations of the law, the most severe form of debasement, “demotion,” is reserved for the most severe offences, including smutting (violent pornography), nepotism or “energy crimes.” These punishments can extend to relatives, and the practice serves as a weapon of terror that keeps the lower castes in their place while providing a ready energy source for those in power.