Although the prime minister was undoubtedly twisting our collective arm when he stated that he wants to make Mauritius in Singapore’s image, we do seem to share one characteristic with this hallowed citystate: a very high population density. Indeed, both islands occupy top ten spots in the world hit parade of countries with the most people per square kilometre. Yet, whilst Singapore is proof that it’s not the size but what you do with it that matters, Mauritius would do well to follow a crash course on the work of Robert Malthus. In the meantime, here’s a brutally simplistic synopsis: there’s too many of us and too few resources.
Taken from this perspective, a lot of our current troubles make more sense. Our traffic problems aren’t just the fruit of outdated infrastructure and inept leadership, but of too many road users too. The same goes for our excruciating water problems. The double issue of energy and food security would seem far less impregnable if there were a couple hundred thousand less of us. We’d probably be less stressed too at not having to jostle with our countrymen and women for every little thing. Worryingly, even space and silence are becoming unattainable luxuries. In fact, you could probably take any of the major challenges facing the country and establish some sort of causal link with overpopulation.
And the annals of history are bursting with episodes where, scapegoatism willing, a surplus of people has led to heinous conflicts. Hence, the most patriotic thing to do right now is to simply leave Mauritius and free up some precious resources for our embattled brethren. And if, on top of being a national hero, you’re looking for a remedy to the ceaseless overexposure to other human beings, head to Greenland, Mongolia or Namibia, for they can offer just the sort of soul balm you need. Given that these places actually need more people, a mass exodus could constitute a useful form of population redistribution.
Admittedly, this tack may seem a bit drastic, but it’s a far more viable option than simply waiting for our infrastructure to magically upgrade itself or for our leaders to have life-changing epiphanies. It’d also be hugely beneficial for our ecosystems. Overpopulation and the attendant scramble for resources exert a massive amount of pressure on these natural systems. So rather than simply minimizing your ecological footprint, by flying this crowded coop, you’ll be able to get rid of it altogether. Of course, you’ll only be transferring your impact from this country to another one, but we’ll let the polar bears worry about that particular technicality.
In all seriousness though, we too often sublimate the fact that Mauritius is a very crowded place. It’s not that we’re in denial per se, but rather that we’ve implicitly agreed not to speak openly about an overarching issue that has a huge bearing on our lives. This is strange. Surely, if we at least recognized our predicament, we could start taking steps to minimize the resultant friction. But that presumes a certain degree of vision and discipline. Perhaps Singapore could help us. Oh wait…