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I'm currently watching episode 5 of Torchwood: Miracle Day and it looks like they are making a large problem out of the fact that no one dies. However while I can imagine why it may be problem in the long term it is hard for me to imagine the short term problems affecting a wide population.

I checked the data and according to Wikipedia the current world-wide yearly CDR is about 10/1000. i.e. each year there would be 1% more people. While in the long term it would affect, say, property prices, and hospitals would be overcrowded (although probably not to the extent shown), my guess is that there would not be widespread panic or a "dead is dead" campaign. My guess is that, at least in short term, the overpopulation camps would meet with high resistance from the population. How long since Miracle Day does this actually happen?

(PS. I know MST3K Mantra)

  • Are you looking for an answer that just deals with the population increase issue, or a more general answer that deals with the entire problem of no one able to die? – Monty129 Jan 9 '13 at 12:42
  • @Monty129: My problem is that it would be some time before it would have larger impact. I don't think people would accept idea of overpopulation camps so soon (possibly not within first 5 years). – Maciej Piechotka Jan 9 '13 at 14:53
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The current death rate is not the important factor if people stop dying. The important number is the CBR (crude birth rate = births per 1000 people). Currently, this is estimated at 19.4 world-wide and the current world population is right around 7 billion people. Assuming that rate remains constant after people stop dying and using a formula of:

new population = last year's population + (last year's population * 19.4 / 1000)

the world population would skyrocket to 8 billion people in 7 years, 9 billion people in 13 years, 10 billion people in 19 years, 11 billion in 24 years and so on.

It's been a while since I've seen Miracle Day, but without a death rate to offset births, the world would see that the population would double in around 30 years. That's an "immediate" crisis in world government terms and it's easy to see how the world governments would move quickly to take measures to address that situation, such as prohibiting or controlling births and dealing with the "dead".

  • 1
    1. My main problems is with population. Yes, sure people would be worried but we would not be happy with taking our grandparents to "xxx camp" 2. CDR as oppose to CBR is what differs our world from "Miracle Day" world. While the change is large in long term the UK/US (i.e. countries presented) is smaller and the impact would be (in short term) lower. – Maciej Piechotka Jan 8 '13 at 21:24
  • Also - older people are more likely to die hence your calculation is not correct. It would be true if all population would reproduce but people 60+ are very unlikely to have children (oldest mother is 66 IIRC). – Maciej Piechotka Jan 8 '13 at 21:38
  • CBR already takes into account that older people (and children) do not have children. It's the average births per 1000 people of general population. The fact that some are too old and some are too young is irrelevant to CBR. It's already considered. And I agree that the general population would eventually do something about people being taken away. But not immediately. There will be a few who resist all along, but the general population is always willing to turn a blind eye to evil until they are forced to confront it. Otherwise, a great many of the world's evils would never occur. – BBlake Jan 9 '13 at 12:00
  • 1. CBR does take it into account. However I oppose to directly apply it into exponential formula as you did - as there is highier proportion of older people the CBR would go down (there would be still similar number of births even when population is highier). 2. My problem is not that the people turn a blind eye but that there was a) sudden exclusion of b) members (or potential members) of their famillies. It's much easier for people to turn blind eye on people from other group that to hear that his best friend mother have been taken. – Maciej Piechotka Jan 9 '13 at 12:11
  • It happened all the time in WWII Germany. It happened all the time in Soviet Russia. That's just two examples from history. Where were the people rising up and putting a stop to it there? And I did specifically state that "Assuming that rate remains constant after people stop dying". – BBlake Jan 9 '13 at 13:45
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There are several issues, in addition to the ones laid out by BBlake (which as he pointed out would be pretty high on the list the governments would be concerned with)

  1. Religious Impact: Death is a major part of all religons. Whether dealing with an anfterlife as in a large number of religons, or with the concept of reincarnation, life beginning and ending are fundamental building blocks of most faiths. The implication then that it could not end would shake peoples faith and cause mass histeria.
  2. Medical Implication: Death can be, and is, the end to suffering for many people. With that release from pain never coming the medical community would find itself in chaos to alleviate that for people who had been diagnosed with terminal illnesses, and fatal injuries.
  3. Philisophical Implication: Death gives Life meaning. If it never ends, than what really is the point to making the most of it? How can people expect to leave a legacy for those that come next if they aren't ever going to leave?

Not to mention the more gruesom impliciations (Social Darwinism, Suicide cults, no possibility of a Death Penalty, Murder as a crime would be non-existant...etc.)

  • With "etc." would be military and police action. Lethal force would no longer be an option (firearms become non-lethal weapons). – Paul A. Clayton Oct 5 '13 at 16:22

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