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No, Really. What Is the Answer?

The Beeb ran this story this morning about declining birth rates in developing countries.

It has long been the case that birth rates in developed countries have been below "replacement" levels. The decrease was attributed to higher levels of education for women, better and more accessible birth control, more women going back to work.

But the way this story was presented, it sounds as though an alarm is being sounded. As though it is important that we keep the earth's population at nearly 7 billion.

In 1965, the population was about five billion and President Johnson declared that he would "seek new ways to use our knowledge to help deal with the explosion in world population and the growing scarcity of world resources."

Now, I understand that the problem of a birth rate below the replacement rate means that resources are strained by an aging population who don't work but consume more resources than a similar population of children.

But the number of people we have now isn't really sustainable.

So, what's the answer? Really?


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 26th, 2005 06:48 pm (UTC)
Relaxing immigration laws.
Jan. 26th, 2005 07:50 pm (UTC)
The argument against this is that you end up with a situation where the people who migrate from one place to another are not the people who would add to a country's resource base. They often bring no skills and end up consuming governmental resources (and I'm not talking about welfare - I'm talking about driver licenses and federal home loans and all the other government beaurocracy that we interact with every day without thinking about it) in greater relation to the amount of taxes they pay than higher-skilled workers would.

And in the meantime, they contribute less to the economy of the region in which they reside because these people are more likely both to save the money they earn and to send it back overseas to their families. While this is great for the world economy, it's a drain on the local economy.

It would be a little better to rework export/import laws and tariffs, because this would allow more people to make a good living in their own country of origin, while allowing the products of their labor to be sold anywhere without restriction.

And, while we're restructing world finance, telling the World Bank to take a flying leap would be good, too.
Jan. 27th, 2005 06:24 am (UTC)
My main irritation, at least as far as this country is concerned, is that the stupider people are, the more children they seem to have, while those of us who can figure out the basics of birth control are choosing to have fewer or no children at all. It feels like an overall dumbing down of the gene pool.

So by the way, thanks for helping my contributing some smart kids to the world.
Jan. 28th, 2005 04:17 am (UTC)
The downside to children who think for themselves is that they start doing it almost immediately.
Jan. 27th, 2005 06:38 am (UTC)
I am sure by the time people in their 30s are 72, they will not be at the retirement age yet.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )