A few economists say that the human population is too high and if it continues to grow, may become too large for our planet to sustain it. While others can debate whether this is true or not, let's assume that they're right for this question only.

If the human population is too large, wouldn't HIV or cancer be considered an economic positive since they control the human population from expanding too much (ie: they limit the supply of humans, thus reducing overall human demand)?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The malthusians were wrong. Again. $\endgroup$
    – 410 gone
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 19:49
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ I vote to close this question as off-topic. Stripped-down, it barely asks "If we have too many people, is it good to kill people?", which belongs rather on philosophy.SE than here. $\endgroup$
    – FooBar
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 8:31
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Usage of pseudo-economic terms such as "supply of humans", "human demand" doesn't help with that. $\endgroup$
    – FooBar
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ Don't forget about the economic cost of treating those with HIV (or the cost of avoidance). Or the potential social cost of embracing the deaths of victims (suggesting a very low value to human life, which could negatively affect both the economy and society as a whole). I'd answer with facts and examples but it looks like this is on hold... $\endgroup$
    – JSideris
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 23:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Bizorke excellent point - HIV doesn't kill immediately and is slow, meaning that it carries costs. This, rt.com/usa/324792-phantom-menace-superbug-rise, is fast and on the rise, so it might be more economically efficient in its outcome than something like HIV. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 23:46

1 Answer 1


This is something Alwyn Young of LSE said may be good for development. However, the question he asked is different from that of yours. Find out what he said reading The Gift of the Dying: The Tragedy of AIDS and the Welfare of Future African Generations.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 120 (May 2005): 423-466.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.