Paul Ehrlich - he’s still got it!

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What do you know about Paul Ehrlich? If you're anything like me, probably not a lot more than the following: in 1968 he published a book called the Population Bomb.  It was kind of big deal. A big, alarmist, deal. Now, he's back in the media (read Guardian) and has obviously re-invented himself as a stand-up comedian.  Some of his funniest jokes were leaked to the Guardian:

“The world's most renowned population analyst has called for a massive reduction in the number of humans and for natural resources to be redistributed from the rich to the poor.”

Hmmm, of course the easiest way to cut this Gordian knot is to eliminate the poor – thus you kill two birds with one stone.  Further on in the article:

“The optimum population of Earth – enough to guarantee the minimal physical ingredients of a decent life to everyone – was 1.5 to 2 billion people rather than… click here to read whole article and make comments



China set to fall behind in the economic race

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Many are predicting that China’s economy is set to take over the world.  According to the IMF China will overtake America as the world’s largest economy in 2017.  However, before we start looking to China as the next world superpower, the country’s dire demographic outlook needs to be taken account of.  It will almost certainly hold the country back.  Yet, despite this, unnatural government restrictions on childbirth persist.

This month The Economist published on its website a very interesting discussion between its China and Globalisation editors, who warn that “China will get old before it gets rich”.  The interview highlights the problem of the rapidly falling fertility rates in many countries around the world, and gives a good explanation of why demography really is destiny.  It is worth a look and you can view the clip here.

In China the demographic problem is particularly serious with new graduates entering the workforce expected… click here to read whole article and make comments



Doom predicted for Nigeria: Uzbekistan’s policy a way out?

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In the NY Times recently, there was a story about Nigeria’s ongoing population explosion and the terrible consequences that are flowing from it.  According to the headlines, Nigeria is being “tested” by its rapid population growth and it is seen as a “preview of an overcrowded planet”.   This population explosion will see Nigeria grow to 300 million people in the next quarter-century and this is, according to the NY Times, a bad thing.  It will further depress living standards, put pressure on infrastructure, hospitals, schools, housing, increase unemployment and drive these unemployed youths into the arms of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram.  That’s not all though – a rising Nigerian population won’t just affect some country over there that most of us can’t place on a map – it will also affect us all:

click here to read whole article and make comments



Recognition of the real population problem

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Another mainstream newspaper from the UK, this time the Telegraph, has put the problem of an ageing, declining population into the spotlight.  A couple of weeks ago the NYTimes and the Guardian did the same thing, so hopefully we will see more and more of this type of story in the MSM.  This is good as it will help to balance the zeitgeist that the only population story out there is one of overpopulation doom and gloom. 

Daniel Knowles’ article very clearly does not fit in with this story. His headline gives you a clear indication that he is going to beat a drum that is very familiar to readers of this blog: “If the birthrate falls again, we’re in serious trouble”. 

click here to read whole article and make comments



More French, Fewer Germans

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During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, France and Germany were Great Power rivals.  Their rivalry often led to conflict.  In the early nineteenth century, Napoleon led French armies through Germany repeatedly, dismantled the Holy Roman Empire, defeated the Austrians and Prussians, and was finally defeated by them in turn (most famously at the Battle of the Nations and (in part) by Blücher at the Battle of Waterloo).  Sixty years later France was defeated by Prussia in the click here to read whole article and make comments



God not dead among young people

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The Press reported recently that perhaps God is not so dead in New Zealand after all.  Victoria University's religious studies professor Paul Morris considers there to be evidence of a growing religious revival among young people in the country.  This comes after a United States study listed New Zealand as one of the nine countries in the world where religion will all but die last year. 

It is true that latest New Zealand census figures (2006) show that the number of people ticking the “no religion” box is increasing: 1.3 million people, or 34.7 per cent, had no religious affiliation in 2006, up from 1 million, or 29.6 per cent, in 2001.

However, there are apparently growing numbers of young people who are very committed to their faith, despite smaller numbers than in the past.  Dr Morris of Victoria University comments after his recent… click here to read whole article and make comments



Dementia to triple worldwide by 2050

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It makes sense that with an aging baby boomer population the effects of aging will also increase over the coming decades.  So it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise that the World Health Organisation (“WHO”) expects cases of people living with dementia to triple worldwide by 2050. 

Worldwide, nearly 35.6 million people live with dementia currently.  In its first substantial report on the issue: Dementia: a public health priority, WHO predicts that number will double by 2030 to 65.7 million and more than triple by 2050 to 115.4 million. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, but the term covers a a number of progressive disorders that affect memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities.

With only eight countries worldwide with national programmes in place to address dementia, the report highlights that action… click here to read whole article and make comments



Why not just say: have more babies?

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Today I thought I’d give you something to think about over the Easter break while you’re travelling to be with family, waiting for the Easter Bunny or creeping to the Cross. (Here in New Zealand we get Good Friday and Easter Monday off work – it’s the last public holiday for ages…well, actually two weeks ...anyway… )

More and more we are seeing in the news a recognition that the world is not going to continue in the same manner as it has for the last 50 years or so. We can no longer rely on an increasing young population to support the smaller previous generation in old age and continue to grow the economy.  The latest example of policy makers trying to come to terms with this changing demographic landscape is from Canada.  According to the Bank of Canada Deputy Governor, Jean Boivin, in the future the world’s aging population will lead to… click here to read whole article and make comments



Luck of the (growing) Irish

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After being hit hard by the GFC and the bursting of a massive property bubble, you would think that the Irish would be pessimistic about the future.  But if population trends are anything to go by, the latest census figures for the Irish republic show that the Irish are still extremely confident about the future – so confident that they are prepared to bring more and more Irish babies into the world and into that future.

According to the Irish times, the Irish population is now greater than at any time since the immediate aftermath of the devastating famine of the 1850s which saw hundreds of thousands starve and hundreds of thousands more leave for other countries (to England, Scotland, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).  As of 2011, there are now 4.6 million people living in the 26 southern counties – up from 3.6 million in 1996.  This reflects a… click here to read whole article and make comments



Abortion and Over-Population (NZ Tour)

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In a couple of weeks Pro-Life New Zealand (which is, unless you somehow guessed already, a pro-life group in New Zealand) is bringing Steven Mosher out to speak at three different university campuses throughout the country – Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.  Mosher is, according to the Pro-Life NZ website, a “best-selling author and internationally-acclaimed authority on Chinese reproductive policies”.  If you watch the movie they’ve made to advertise his visit (see above), you can see that he is a man who is passionate about the one-child policy in China its effects – especially the Chinese government forces women to undergo abortions.  As we have seen before on this blog, this is not an historical issue, last year the Guardian reported that a Chinese woman had died on the operating table in China after a forced abortion.

Mosher is coming to speak about… 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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