Downsizing the human race

I never saw the 2017 movie Downsizing, but I understand that it involved the premise of shrinking people so that they would use fewer resources.

Perhaps the speculations of "theoretical biologist" Thomas Easton, published in Omni magazine in January 1983, may have inspired the movie:

The burgeoning birthrate will cease to be a problem once we've bred a race of humans half normal size. That at least is the prediction of Thomas Easton, a theoretical biologist and technical writing teacher at the University of Maine.

"Cut people down to about three feet in height and they won't eat as much food," Easton says. "Cars could then be the size of little red wagons, with all the old gas guzzlers converted to buses. In fact man's appetite for open space and raw materials would decrease to match his stature.

"This new breed of human," Easton says, "would have far more muscle, with the ability to run and jump almost like a cat. Reduced weight would ease the wear in joints, cutting the prevalence of arthritis. Since less blood would be pumped through a small circulatory system, the heart's work load would be diminished and there would be fewer cardiac arrests.

"The technology to shrink humans," Easton says, "will probably be available within a decade. A genetically engineered virus, carrying genes coded to create small people, could be placed in a reservoir or released in the air. Then everyone infected would absorb the genes and produce lilliputian offspring."
     Posted By: Alex - Tue May 04, 2021
     Category: Body Modifications | Futurism | 1980s

Eastern basically postulated everyone having Kenny-Caffey Syndrome. (The woman billed as the world's smallest fully-proportioned stripper/pornstar/influencer is 3'6", 38 pounds.)

The movie's 5" tall people is more in keeping with "The Borrowers" by Mary Norton, published in 1952.
Posted by Phideaux on 05/04/21 at 08:29 AM
This was a plot point in Robert Bloch's This Crowded Earth, published in Amazing Science Fiction Stories in October 1958, when I was ten. Probably my introduction to the population (etc.) crisis. The 3' tall people were contemptuously called "Yardsticks."

And what a typical Omni article. "Podunk scientist proposes spreading a virus to shrink everybody. Neat-o!"
Posted by Dr. Fian on 05/04/21 at 10:24 AM
Just what the planet needs, a population of Verne Troyers.
Posted by KDP on 05/04/21 at 10:26 AM

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