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redqueen

(114,878 posts)
Tue Nov 28, 2023, 07:39 AM Nov 28

The Alternative, Optimistic Story of Population Decline [View all]

Just read the doom and gloom article from vox about declining birth rates, which linked to this op ed. Really prefer this perspective.

(snip)

There is no doubt that a shrinking global population — a trend expected to set in by the end of this century — poses unprecedented challenges for humanity. China is only the latest and largest major country to join a club that already includes Japan, South Korea, Russia, Italy and others. Germany would most likely be in decline, too, if not for immigration, and many others could begin shrinking in the years ahead. (The United States is expected to grow moderately in coming decades, largely because of immigration.) Median U.N. projections point to global population peaking in the mid-2080s at more than 10 billion, but if fertility rates continue to drop, the decline could begin decades earlier.

(Snip)

Fewer people on the planet, of course, may reduce humanity’s ecological footprint and competition for finite resources. There could even be greater peace as governments are forced to choose between spending on military equipment or on pensions. And as rich nations come to rely more on immigrants from poorer countries, those migrants gain greater access to the global prosperity currently concentrated in the developed world.

This new demography brings new challenges, including the need to offer quality and affordable child care, make college education more affordable and equitable, provide guaranteed minimum income and make societies more gender equal. Governments should abandon the mindless pursuit of economic growth in favor of well-being for citizens.

There is no reason the world’s population must keep growing or even remain level. And just as earlier panic led to harmful policies in China and elsewhere, efforts to raise fertility — which may prove futile — risk viewing women once again as birth machines.

Global population will inevitably decline. Rather than try to reverse that, we need to embrace it and adapt.


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