Poverty and Population

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Nothing much from me today - instead, for all of you who are more visual learners, here's a video! This is on the beneficial effect that population has on poverty and was produced by the Population Research Institute.  (You can also see another one of their videos in this earlier DID post.) Enjoy!

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Overpopulated, Overbreeding and OverTHERE

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As we’ve hit (or are about to, or did so a while ago, or something...) the seven billion person mark, the tone in the media has palpably been one of fear, unease and impending doom.  The underlying (or sometimes not so underlying) thought process seems to be: “seven billion people do make an awfully large crowd, and the world really can’t support such numbers – we need to do something about it.”  We’ve discussed before that doing “something” usually means trying to stop others from having babies, after all, we in the West (and Japan etc) aren’t contributing to population growth – we’re not even replacing ourselves! No, it’s others (particularly Africans) who need to stop breeding, they can’t even feed themselves! If only they were as educated as we were they wouldn’t have so many babies and they’d realise the joys of having 2.1 kids, or even better, they’d realise the unalloyed… click here to read whole article and make comments



More tax will save the environment?

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The view that over-consumption and pollution by the rich is the real problem, not over-population, seems to be beginning to take root.  The Guardian’s Andrew Simms makes some interesting comments on inequality, seemingly arguing that there should be more re-distribution of wealth from the rich to the poor to avoid so much over-consumption.  Simms comments:

Andrew Haldane at the Bank of England estimates that the ratio of CEO pay at the biggest seven banks compared to the national median wage in the US was 100:1 in 1989 and rose to 500:1 in 2007.

I am certainly an advocate for letting the market work and providing appropriate incentives for people to work hard, because it is often these people creating jobs – however, there certainly must be a threshold where a level of pay becomes out of step with the work actually being done and is far more than any person needs. 

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67 - Time to Retire?

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In less than a month, New Zealand will go to the polls in a national election. These happen every three years and the weeks leading up to them are filled with almost daily polls, more politicians at photo shoots and every spare lawn, fence and road side filled with coloured signs telling you to vote for one party or another. (I’ve never understood the benefit of these signs, which undecided voter would ever be swayed by them? “Oh look dear, there’s the five hundredth “Vote National/Labour” sign we’ve passed on this ten kilometre drive, I suppose we should vote for National/Labour then.” I mean, who does it appeal to?) 

Aside from all these doings, we also see lots of policy announcements.  One that has garnered some attention here over the past few days has been the superannuation policy of the Labour Party – the current major opposition party. It has announced that it plans to… click here to read whole article and make comments



Detroit’s Population Problems

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Wow, so I (and the rest of the country) have had a week to recover from the massive scare that we all got on Sunday night.  New Zealand hung onto a one point lead until the end to win the 2011 Rugby World Cup Final against France.  The result was greeted mainly with relief, we have seen the French knock New Zealand out of the 1999 and 2007 World Cups already, so we all knew that they had form when it comes to spoiling an All Blacks party!! So well done France and New Zealand for a fantastically gripping final and well done to the organisers for a brilliantly managed tournament.

So, what do I do with my life now?  I suppose the only thing to keep me occupied now is Detroit. Yes, Detroit. Incredibly, the latest US Census shows that in the last ten years, Detroit has lost 25% of its population. This… click here to read whole article and make comments



The oldest society the world has ever known

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The recent print edition of The Economist included an interesting summary of the world’s demographic issues.  It points out that much of the effect of population growth depends on where that growth occurs and on various other factors such as the number of working age people in a particular country.  On the whole the countries which still have fertility rates above replacement level are the countries that are causing only a tiny fraction of world pollution, and about half of the 2.3 billion increase in the world’s population over the next 40 years will in fact be in Africa: does not automatically follow that the more people there are, the worse the damage. In 2007 Americans and Australians emitted almost 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide each. In contrast, more than 60 countries—including the vast majority of African ones—emitted less than 1 tonne per person...Most of the world’s population… click here to read whole article and make comments



Russia and the Belt of the Mother of God

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Today is the last Friday of the Rugby World Cup down here in New Zealand and the weather has turned it on! It is a beautiful spring day, just perfect for the end of year party going on outside my window here at Law School and for the third place final tonight between Wales and Australia.  Hopefully the great weather will continue until Sunday night and we see a great final between New Zealand and France.  (Interestingly, the semi-final and final match ups are all the same this year as they were the last time NZ hosted the Rugby World Cup in 1987.  Let’s hope that the coincidental nature continues until the final on Sunday…)

In non-rugby news (apparently there is some) St Petersburg and Vladimir Putin have welcomed the Belt of the Mother of God, an Orthodox relic that is believed to be the belt of the Virgin Mary.  The relic… click here to read whole article and make comments



How to Feed 7 (Plus) Billion People

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One of the common concerns that is about our expanding world population : is that our planet will not be able to feed this growing population.  (As an aside, here is an interesting and visually appealing video on the continuing rise in the world’s population despite the slowing growth rate):

This is a reasonable concern – according to the UN, there are 1 billion people who are currently malnourished, a growing global population will surely only add to this problem.  What can we do about this?  Well, technology is one touted solution – it worked before with the massive increase in productivity during the green revolution in the years following the Second World War, will GM crops and other technological and scientific aids help us again as our population grows?  Perhaps, but the authors of a recent report in Nature… click here to read whole article and make comments



Odds and Ends

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Hi everyone, a fantastic result last night in the Rugby World Cup (NZ took out Australia 20-6 in the semi-final) so I’ve decided to serve up a bit of a mishmash of issues to celebrate.  

After Shannon’s interesting post last Friday on Jewish community’s celebration at their surge in birth rates, and the front page piece on the religious unrest in Egypt by Anthony Billingsley, I thought that this fact sheet from the BBC is fitting. It gives an overview of the Christian population in the Middle East, providing some interesting information on Christianity’s size and political status in each country.  Christianity was of course born in the Middle East, but according to the BBC, the proportion of Christians in most of the countries in the area is declining, through dropping birth rates, emigration and persecution. 

Secondly, from The Hindu, we hear that the central Union… click here to read whole article and make comments



Jewish people celebrate positive birth rate

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Interestingly, in a world generally trying to drive down population rates, the Jewish community are still celebrating a surge in their birth rate.  Yoram Ettinger, a member of the American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG), happily records that on the eve of the 5772nd Jewish New Year, September 2011, the Jewish fertility rate is 2.97 births per woman and trending upward.  His article notes that from 80,400 births in 1995, the number of Jewish births surged by 56% to 125,500 in 2010.

It is not difficult to understand that the reason for this happiness is that the Jewish people wish to secure Jewish demography – something that they have been trying to do for a long time:

From a minority of 8% and 33% - west of the Jordan River - in 1900 and 1947 respectively, the six million Jews in Israel have become a solid majority of 66% in 2011, in the combined area of Judea and Samaria… click here to read whole article and make comments


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Welcome to Demography Is Destiny. We launched this to counter two media memes: that humans are a cancer which is destroying our planet and that world population is spiralling to unsustainable levels. The real story is that intelligent and inventive human will rise to the challenge of climate change and that our real problem is the coming demographic winter. The editors of Demography is Destiny are Marcus and Shannon Roberts, who live in Auckland, New Zealand. Send them your comments and suggestions. 

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