Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Population Collapse or Population Explosion? You Decide!

The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity And What To Do About ItSince the early seventies, it has been fashinably assumed that our great global problem is overpopulation. A rash of books from the early seventies like Silent Spring and The Population Bomb have convinced most citizens of the industrialized west that population explosion is a crucial global issue. 

However, according to demographer, Philip Longman, the exact opposite is unfolding. His book The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity And What To Do About It argues that world population growth is slowing dramatically. If current trends continue, t will soon reverse and begin to go South. Nations such as Japan, Russian, Italy, and many other western countries actually have falling birth rates, and the resulting consequence have been falling popluations. The United States would be in this same predicament but for the many immigrants whose fertility rates are above the norm.

This is a problem. Our social programs assume growing numbers of young workers to pay the taxes to fund our government's promises. In addition, growing populations are necessary to fuel increased demand for goods and services that make our economy tick. In addition, no country has maintained a position of world leadership with a stagnant or falling population.

Longman argues for the changes in assumptions and attitudes needed to fuel population growth. This book is cut-across-the-grain reading. It is not politically correct. Nevertheless, Longman has his facts and he cites them loquaitiously.

I recommend heartily. What do you think? Is our problem overpopulation or underpopulation? If the latter, what attitudes in our culture contribute to falling birthrates?

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