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Zero population? Worse than the day after tomorrow? - Printable Version

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Zero population? Worse than the day after tomorrow? - Baldar - 05-28-2004

There is a saying that goes, “if you remember Woodstock, you weren’t there”. I am sure many of the radical leftists of the 1960’s wish the truism were more accurate regarding many of their theories, one of these was “overpopulation”. Of course the idea of controlling overpopulation is not new to the 1960’s, Malthus had his own ideas from the early 1800’s. So, as I get in my car and fight the rush hour jam to work I look around me and see all those people in California who make the investment of my home rise as demand for housing increases. I have to wonder, is overpopulation really overtaking us? Sadly, no. “Sadly?” you ask. Yes, the baby boom of earlier generations is quickly turning into a baby bust. If you look at the demographic trends you can see that the world population growth has dropped by 40% since the late 1960’s. Even without wars, pestilence or other pandemics, we will see a start in the decline of population within our lifetime. Demographers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis believe human population will peak at 9,000,000 in 2070 and then begin contracting. Long before we hit that peak, most nations will already be shrinking in population. The average age of the worlds people will shoot up and rest homes will become the main housing issue.

The key cause? Falling birthrates. The average woman worldwide today bears half the children of the average woman in 1972. No industrial country, including the US produces enough children to sustain their population. Germany will lose the equivalent of the current population of East Germany in the next 50 years. Russia is contracting by 750,000 per year. Japan’s population will peak in 2005 then fall by 1/3 over the next 50 years. The decline is the equivalent of that experienced by medieval Europe during the plague years (according to demographer Hideo Ibe).

So what’s causing all this? Economics for the most part. As more of the population moves towards urban areas there is less reward for parents to reproduce. As women acquire economic opportunities and reproductive control increases and the cost of child bearing keeps going up, populations drop. In the US, raising a child born this year up until the age of 18 costs roughly 200,000 dollars (no college) and foregone wages will exceed one million dollars. Meanwhile social security and pensions offer more money if you do not raise children at home but work. Kids start becoming a secondary opportunity.

The developing world is not in much better shape. The developing world is becoming urbanized and many of the same things are happening to their populations. But for them its happening at a faster pace. Mexico, with the images we know of regarding illegal aliens crossing the border, poor asking for handouts and all the other stereotypical images has a fertility rate that is dropping so fast (five times faster than the US), that by 2050 their median age will be 42, the US median age will be 30 to 35. They are getting older faster than we are. The Middle East with its populations is in a similar boat. Algeria will see its average age increase from 21.7 today to 40, according the UN projections. Irans fertility has dropped by 2/3 ‘s and will have more seniors than children by 2030.

Countries like the US, France and Germany at least got to grow rich before they grew old, helping mitigate somewhat the age crisis in the future. Poorer countries will have no such cushion. China’s low fertility rate (thanks to forced abortions and tight population laws) will start to shrink by 2020 and 30% of the population will be over 60 by 2050. China’s social security system is already placing debts exceeding GDP by 145%. The spreading use of ultrasounds in China and India is also decreasing population growth. The machines are used to verify the sex and then allowing the decision to perform abortions (if the child is female). Male to female ratios in China are now 117/100, this implies one out of six males will not reproduce in the future.

Taken from a report by Phillip Longman and his new book “The Empty Cradle”.

Given the situation how do we see the strategic, economic and military effects upon first and third world populations.

As a side view, anyone see “A day without Mexican?”

- Ron Lambert - 05-30-2004

You will find a few places that are very crowded. However, the vast majority of the earth's habitable areas are still sparsely populated. The last time I took an airliner from coast to coast in the U.S., looking down I could see the vast majority of the land beneath me was undeveloped wilderness, and sparsely populated farmland. I would dare say that most of the U.S. is still wilderness. If people would spread out more, and not all congregate in the cities, there would be much less inclination for anyone to think the earth is overpopulated.

- JM0397 - 05-31-2004

IIRC, 5% of the US landmass is urbanized. Not sure what the measure for "urbanization" is, and if that's all landmass or just land that could even be urbanized - i.e. not including swamps and cliffs... Although, you can drain swamps Wink1

Heard about that movie - would like to see it, however I will pat myself on the back for actually paying attention and thinking things though. I already know how the country and economy would go TU without the influx of immigration - both legal and illegal.

The US is currently the only 1st world country with positive population growth, and it's almost entirely due to immigration.