I think we should reconsider the social and economical model we opted for over the last century in the Western World, and drastically reform it, or maybe discard it entirely. Thinking that we can enjoy unlimited growth on a finite world is just absurd and ludicrous. Planned obsolescence may be good for the economy at the moment, but it can't last. Same with credit: how long can we spend more than we own? Think about it: Ponzi schemes would not be deemed immoral, or criminal, is they could last forever - and how is the consumerist model different? Both ultimately fail for exactly the same reason: they require unlimited growth, which is impossible when resources are finite.
Meanwhile, we're creating vast islands of unrecycled trash in the oceans, and turn impoverished countries like Ghana into huge toxic dumps. And I could go on for a while on ecological concerns, like global climatic change. Do we want our children to inherit a dilapidated, toxic planet? This, to me, is the main collective moral test we have to face today, and it won't be solved with expedients like making stuff from recyclable materials, which rarely get actually recycled anyway. The change needs to be more radical than that.
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed” - Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi.
I'd go even further and say that Earth can provide enough to satisfy the needs of all, but not the greed of a few. ;-)
That should be printed on some sort of currency..
Capitalist economies need growth, a diminishing of human resources would be a catastrophe for capitalism. In the foreseeable future, poorer countries will simply be providing the extra bodies needed to feed the production machine. Our governments/corporations are already hedging their bets against depopulation by creating new cheap labour programs to import third world labour without any rights into our economies. Workers have become but peons for the race to riches and unless a MAJOR change happens in the power structure, a growth of human population will be enforced by international policies. Predicting future populations is as reliable as predicting the stock market. What counts is understanding the needs of the powerful, and they need MORE cheap labour, the more the better, because the more more under employed citizens there are, the more power the corporate leadership holds over the populace.
The other hedging of their bets comes in the form of baby subsidising through family tax deductions, baby credits, free childcare, etc. Anytime our modern nations feel a crunch of lowered populations, governments/corporations act to correct it.
That's what is needed. I would add that a comfortable population level for humans should be well less than 1 billion worldwide at any given time. The question is, how do we get back down to a reasonable population in a humane way?
Another way to think of this might be "what is the ideal human population size to maximize comfort and joy on earth?"