Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Over Six Billion Served

Is the world in danger of a population explosion?

To watch TV documentaries of crowded New York City sidewalks shot with telephoto lenses, you would think the planet was about to fall off its axis. But lately that line of reasoning is losing in the public square, not only because the trend is reversing in some parts of the world, but because it was never true to begin with.

A couple needs to produce two or more children to replace themselves. Statisticians tend to put the number at 2.1. (Watch the video clips to find out why.) When the number falls below that for at least one generation, the battle is pretty much lost for the society in question. When the number falls below that for TWO generations, you can stick a fork in that society, because it's done. Europe is likely to lose its native population as a majority by 2050. Despite tax incentives in Italy and other countries for couples to have children, they'd rather buy a second car.

Proponents of small families will cite environmental concerns (which are inconclusive and melodramatic at best), not to mention the cost. But consider the cost of children caring for their parents in their own home (which is still the norm in the Philippines, for example), as opposed to putting them in an institution. Of course, if our health care reform legislation isn't tanked pretty soon, there will be experts commissioned by the government to evaluate the cost-versus-benefit of taking care of your aging parents. If they decide it's too expensive, it's time to dip into Junior's college fund. Or the savings for your own golden years.

Or, well ... That's why they call them “death panels”, you big dummy!


Gail F said...

I think I read somewhere that it would take each couple who has a family to have more than 4.something children for Europe to reach replacement level now, because so many people don't marry or have childless marriages. It was over at Mercator.net, I believe, on their population blog. Right now, many European children have no aunts or uncles, and of course no cousins either. Talk about a poor family life!

But that's nothing compared to what China is about to face, as such a high proportion of its population ages without any younger relatives at all. What do you think is likely to happen to them, given what happens to extra babies?

the Egyptian said...

There is much more than just family life at stake. When there are no aunt or uncles, brothers or sisters, cousins or other relation except parents and grand parents, there is no "clan" or "family". The child will be doted on continually, the whole society turns inward, becoming narcissistic and entitled. Spoiled rotten and lazy, and having no use for the elderly and infirm, becoming their own little gods so to speak. In China now so much of a families future rests on the princeling as it were, they are all educated and tutored for the top jobs, usually their mother attends school with them to help push. they are all the parents have. When the government decides who advances and the majority realize that they will be laborers or farmers, plus the birth rate of boys to girls means many will never find a wife, they freak, the suicide rate is enormous, some figures say 3 to 5 percent. too much pressure on one child. Its not nice to fool mother nature, she bites.

PS watched some of the video of your participation in the pontifical mass, congratulations you lucky dog