DailyDirt: Dealing With Zero (Or Negative) Population Growth

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Pessimistic economists have predicted overpopulation problems based on exponential growth trends, but statistics point to lower birth rates as countries become more industrialized. So now, there’s a different kind of problem — aging populations and minimal population growth in certain countries. How will we deal with people living longer and having fewer and fewer kids?

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Dealing With Zero (Or Negative) Population Growth”

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38 Comments
Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

What’s Our Most Valuable Resource?

Our most valuable resource is people. So long as we don’t run out of that, our future remains hopeful. So declining birth rates are not a good thing. If it becomes economically unattractive to have children, we need to fix that. Because children are not an expense, they are an investment.

So maybe in the smart, forward-looking countries, the Government will start to offer subsidies and other assistance to those willing to have children.

“Nanny state”, did you say? Yes, it will have to come to that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What’s Our Most Valuable Resource?

So maybe in the smart, forward-looking countries, the Government will start to offer subsidies and other assistance to those willing to have children.

Isn’t that what family assistance programs do? Incentivize single women to have children? Granted, they’re mostly low-income, minority women.

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: Granted, they're mostly low-income, minority women.

These sorts of benefits are seen by some as an encouragement to such women to have even more children. Nothing wrong with that, in itself, as long as you realize that children are the future, not a useless burden on the state.

And why can’t all women enjoy such benefits?

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: What’s Our Most Valuable Resource?

I will disagree with your last sentence (“Nanny state”, did you say? Yes, it will have to come to that.). We don’t need the Government meddling where it doesn’t belong.

As for the rest, it’s pretty clear today in most places that having a kid is a burdensome task with no support whatsoever. We will see many countries struggle with diving birth rates exactly because it isn’t worth having kids. See the major cities around the world for evidence that the environment we as a society are giving wannabe moms is simply terrible. Want a kid? Throw your career through the window and be screwed by the system in various manners! Awesome incentive.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: What’s Our Most Valuable Resource?

The Government meddling in population demographics is exactly what they should be doing. It is vital for the health, safety and future of any nation to have a bunch of kids (preferably with education, healthcare, and no crime).

Then you go on about how children are a burden. This is the point though, collectively society benefits by sharing the costs to reduce that burden. Even if you don’t believe that the government should make changes on the scale of population demographics, making things harder for parents is just not helpful to anyone.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: What’s Our Most Valuable Resource?

You got me wrong, for me “Nanny State” refers to the Govt intruding in how the parents choose to rise their kids. In that sense I totally disagree.

However we agree in all the rest. In most develpoed places having kids has become a heavy burden which is why birth rates declined. Governments are now trying to revert the trend. Which is a good thing. Parents should get more support from the Government.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 What’s Our Most Valuable Resource?

You can’t have both though, if the government supports parents, then they will be accused of being a nanny and forcing parents to raise their children one way. (Think vaccinations in schools, its probably best for a vast majority of children, but yet many parents disagree that the government should tell them how to treat their kids)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 What’s Our Most Valuable Resource?

if the government supports parents, then they will be accused of being a nanny and forcing parents to raise their children one way.

Like all power, it will be abused and this is exactly what will happen and is happening. No, I am not referring to vaccinations but common core and other things. When you hand over power to another entity, that entity will abuse it every single time.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 What’s Our Most Valuable Resource?

Indeed, there are such conspiracy nuts that will accuse the Government of intrusion at the slightest hint of help. However as with any benefit one can opt out of it. Take unemployment insurance (the salary the Government pays for a while when you lose your job). You have to apply for it. Same should happen if the Government decides to give new parents a helping hand. If they don’t want they can go without it. What I see as interference is the Government intruding inside the relations between parents and children. A blunt example would be the Govt mandating me to raise my kids in the Catholic religion if I want them to go Islam or even less religiously by adopting Buddhism or atheism. But offering help seems to be ok. The vaccinations are a mixed bag because if you deprive the kid from getting them you’ll put him/her at risk and children have no way to express their acceptance or not of said vaccines. Being mandatory is not the best path I recognize that much but how do you protect thye kids from parental stupidity?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 What’s Our Most Valuable Resource?

…Parents should get more support from the Government…

Parents do need more support, but not necessarily from the government. Employers also need to support the parents by having wages and benefits that are adequate to live on and by allowing paid leave for both parents for child related issues. It’s rare nowadays to find a household where one parent works and the other stays home and takes care of the household unless the one working parent has a high salary. Raising the minimum wage isn’t enough; there has to be something said about the cost of living.

When a household becomes a single parent household by incapacitation or death I have no problem with the government helping out, though I wish employers would help out as well. Those households that are single parent by willful choice however…

Anonymous Coward says:

mmm... i dunno

A zero or negative population growth sounds like a good thing to me!

I suspect the real problem is, it generates less taxes for governments – and less people propping up the economy…

What I see, however, is that it’s a giant ponzi scheme. We really should consider global population attrition as a real thing. The problem is, the stupid people are going to produce kids regardless of what is good for society, and we’re likely to end up with a situation straight out of Idiocracy.

Anonymous Coward says:

That’s fine. People with your attitude should not breed.

Matter of fact, the necessity of your own continued existence is questionable. I mean, you’re only going deeper and deeper into that unbearable future, propping up “the system” (or “society” as people used to say. “civilization” even, once or twice upon a time.).

Koby says:

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, in far away land called the USA, it was possible to raise a family on one income (I suspect it also happened in other countries as well). A guy could work and afford a middle-class home, a car, tv, his wife wouldn’t need to work, and could still put 3+ kids through school. This guy didn’t need a college education. By my estimation, it would be equivalent to the median income per-person being $100,000. This is a far cry from the current amount of $25k.

Unfortunately, our standard of living has been robbed. We can argue about who has done the robbing, but I want to assure you that it HAS happened. Until that trend changes, the birth rate is going to decrease.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Once Upon a Time

I dunno. Job prospects aren’t exactly rosy in Africa or the Middle East, yet people still continue breeding — exponentially at that.

Africa is projected to balloon to 3 billion people by the end of the century. The Islamic Middle East, with their 12 kids for 12 wives covered in bin bags and who knows how many illegitimates from the 72 harem girls, is projected to grow about as much. This barbarity is now overflowing into the E.U. and U.S. with help from idiotic, self-serving politicians who salivate at the notion of cheap labor and provisions from taxpayers under the guise of “humanitarianism.”

So no, the birth rate is only going to decrease among Westerners who are saddled with the cancer of third-world immigrants who refuse to assimilate and adopt the responsible and sustainable practices that we’ve cultivated and they see as decadent and sinful (yet can’t wait to partake of the generous benefits that we hand out like Halloween candy because we’re not overrun with a billion people like China is). Those Westerners aren’t going to be stupid enough to let their grandkids experience Rotherham on steroids and will eventually die out. The global standard of living is slowly but surely going to revert to medieval levels as the medieval world encroaches on its modern “oppressors.”

They will have won the “war on terror” without firing a single shot. Well, except sperm bullets, but you get my point.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

More people?

Let’s put it this way-with 7 billion people on this planet, there is not one good reason for more people to have babies.

We’re on a course for self-extinction the way we are. Putting more people in it for sake of having future workers is pretty short sighted and ignorant.

Don’t worry, we won’t have to live here forever, will we? We’ll colonize Mars any day now, won’t we?

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: More people?

It’s not about increasing population but rather maintaining it. If memory serves you need around 2.1 children per women to reach equilibrium. The actual increase with that optimal number is zero and the population would more or less maintain its age structure. Sure if people live longer it would change over time but with better health people would be able to work longer. That’s the idea for these countries.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I have been led to believe traditional family size was influenced by the low survival rate. With so many people failing to continue the family line, replacement rates were well above 2.1. Modern medicine has made huge strides in the past several generations, strides that are neither equally distributed, or minor enough for societal changes to keep pace.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Not obviously at all. “Obviously” you have a reading comprehension problem. The Anonymous Coward in question neither specified a country being invaded, nor countries doing the invading. This same “invasion” occurs all over the world as “immigrants” from poorer countries “invade” wealthier countries. The demographics of the UK & France clearly show this trend, and the USA (as you indicate) also show this trend. But it quite “obviously” isn’t necessarily related to Mexico at all, regardless of your particular bias.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

He could have been referring to the Muslim invaders colonizing Eurabia right now.

A dozen kids to a dozen wives, all covered in bin bags and forced to contribute future terrorists for Allah from the first moment of menarche. That’s not counting however many illegitimate offspring popping out of the harem girls.

Does the word Rotherham mean anything to you?

FM Hilton (profile) says:

Sustainability

At the rate the global population is going, we won’t have to worry about sustaining anything, because we’re destroying the very place we’re living on.

You can’t sustain destruction and survive.

Entire continents will dramatically shrink due to loss of land due to sea level rise.

Then you want to increase the population on the remaining land area mass-which is what will happen with shifting populations away from coastal areas which have become flooded due to sea level rise.

Economics aside, the human race is definitely over the limit and sustaining what we have right now is a loss leader.

Perhaps we ought to look into that thing called global climate change because, heck, what’s a few million acres of arable land worth to us, anyway?

Problem is that we’re destroying the very means by which we sustain life, and that’s the real problem.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Sustainability

The way we are living is the real problem, not really the amount of people. And the birth rates tend to go down if you give proper education to the people. Notice that higher birth rates tend to be where less education is, even if you consider zones within the same city.

I’m very awry of talking about climate change because people seem to become blind by carbon dioxide and atmospheric pollutants and in my view they are hardly the worst problem once you consider Earth has been much hotter in the past and there are indications of another ice age coming anytime in the next few thousand years. We should be focusing in less consumption, more means for people to use sustainable transportation and energy sources. This includes stopping being dumbasses about nuclear power and giving it more resources to be developed and the radiation/nuclear waste issue be dealt with or eliminated altogether.

The day we start using our heads instead of our anuses to think and agree with some measures based in pure logic and not in “what I’ll gain from it” then we’ll see improvements. Otherwise we’ll see extinction. I’m betting on the second option now, honestly.

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