Thursday, April 8, 2010

Overpopulation? Nope. Underpopulation.

As I have said before, overpopulation is not the problem a lot of people have been told it is. Rather, underpopulation is the real issue for our culture. Once again this is proven by the facts.
The U.S. birthrate fell from 2007 to 2008 and is now below replacement rate. One population expert, noting that children are the “only future a country has,” warns that a scarcity of children condemns a country to stagnation, bankruptcy and eventually death.

The U.S. National Vital Statistics Report for April 2010 shows that the U.S. birthrate fell two percent from 2007 to 2008. It is a drop below the replacement fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman. Continue reading.
For more on this roots of this issue click here, here, and here. Also, see the videos below we have posted previously, from the Population Research Institute.

Overpopulation: The Making of a Myth:

2.1 Kids: Stable Population


rt said...

Uh, yeah.

Neo-Malthusian models generally involve a lack of resources in general (other than just food), increasing consumption, and environmental impacts. The latter is an increasingly large factor. I think these models are still wrong, but that doesn't mean overpopulation doesn't exist. At least as a regional problem.

However, I'm wondering what he's basing the assumption that the world's population will stabilize in 2040 on. The only way I see that happening is some kind of revolution in women's rights. Given the choice, and access to birth control, most women want fewer children. 2 or 3 instead of 5 or 6. Also, the spread of social welfare systems can help because many women in developing countries see children as "retirement", they need lots of kids so someone can take care of them in their old age. I don't realistically see this happening on that timeframe.

The second video is just odd. Developed nations like the U.S. do not have shrinking populations (except Japan) due to outside immigration (Japan tightly restricts immigration). In the US, many of these immigrants are coming from Mexico, a nation with a far younger population. The same is true of many other developed nations.

Of course, it's certainly conceivable that with a massive boost in women's rights and sharp reduction in religious and cultural values promoting having more than a few children we might see the population begin to decrease. Whether that's a good or bad thing is highly subject to debate. The "bad" argument generally involves a brain matter to invention/discovery ratio.

But just like Malthusian models are a little hysterical, so is the notion that this would lead to human extinction. An advertising campaign combined with financial incentives seems like it would address this problem. It's far more trivial than developing new "super crops" or efficient solar cells. But I think those things are likely to happen.

Gert said...

Call me confused. My posts (from a few months ago) were not allowed when I dared to question positions on torture, but RT advocates the use of birth control and a reduction of religious values and he gets posted? Call me disappointed as well. Did any priests at St. Mary's see this weird post?

Marcel said...

rt - the modeling of overpopulation is wrong from the start. It assumes that a particular land-mass cannot support a people. But, if you look at every single area that is considered overpopulated, we find that the issue if more political (i.e. war, dictatorship, etc.).

It isn't an issue of how many people, but rather how the governments are run and how food is distributed.

Throwing governmental access to condoms at people has never solved any problem, but just added to societal ills.

Societies have fallen before, so I don't think warning that we are headed down a dangerous path is all too "hysterical" either.

Marcel said...

Here are the comment rules -

Gert said...

I read the rules:

6 - Please do not challenge our pastoral application of Church Teaching via the comments.

The way JT talks indifferently about birth control ought to be considered to be a challenge to any pastoral application of Church Teaching.

However, I am truly glad that you know that people are not the problem.