March for Life

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Today I’d like to briefly follow up Katie Hinderer’s Tiger Print blog post on yesterday’s march for life in Washington DC.  It seems as if the march was another success with hundreds of thousands of marchers marking the 39th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision.  To give you some idea of the size of this event, have a look at this time lapse video from last year's march:

For more photos of this year's march, see here.

What amazes me is the absolute lack of coverage about this annual event in the media that most people watch. If it wasn't for my practice of visiting blogs, I would have had no idea about this march from either the TV or print media here in New Zealand.  It seems that similar media myopia is affecting the major overseas UK,… click here to read whole article and make comments



Welcome to the Year of the Dragon!

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Happy Chinese New Year! A couple of days ago millions of people celebrated the start of the spring season and the new year both in Asia and in expat communities throughout the world.  The new year is an auspicious one – the Dragon is considered the luckiest sign in the Chinese zodiac and represents wealth and power.  According to the AFP:

“The dragon is the most favourable and revered sign in the 12-year Chinese zodiac - a symbol of royalty, fortune and power that is also used in other cultures that see in the Lunar New Year, such as in Vietnam.”

It is no surprise therefore that many couples wish to have their babies born this year so that their children may benefit from some of the Dragon’s lucky properties.

“…hospitals across China and in Chinese communities are bracing for a baby boom as couples try to have… click here to read whole article and make comments



Is Japan a glimpse of Europe’s future?

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There is further recognition by major media outlets that perhaps global overpopulation is not the only demographic story in town.  Reuters has just published an article on how Japan’s demographic winter and economic malaise are linked and how that country’s example may provide a roadmap for the future of other Western economies. 

Over the past 20 years, Japan’s economic situation has looked like this:

“An asset price bubble pops, hitting bank balance sheets and tax revenues. As growth weakens and the economy flirts with deflation, the real burden of servicing debt increases.

Companies race to pay off debt, further dragging down growth. Government spending takes up the slack. Monetary policy is akin to pushing on a piece of string, so even zero interest rates have scant impact. Population decline compounds the vicious circle.”

Hardly a rosy picture, and unfortunately one that some economists are predicting to be replayed… click here to read whole article and make comments



Increasing internet usage gives more and more power to the people of India and China

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Due to expense, there was controversy in New Zealand mid last year when an Auckland school required the purchase of some sort of digital tablet such as an iPad by every new student.  However, India may have developed new technology which overcomes the problem of expense and allows hundreds of millions of Indians in remote rural areas to connect to the internet.  It may also soon make Indians the biggest single internet user population in the world. 

The new device is similar in function to the Apple iPad – but the major difference is that it can be made and sold for under £35.  Professor Prem Kalra, who is a team leader at the Rajasthan Indian Institute of Technology, has commented:

"We expect that within five or 10 years everyone will have one – and every year there will be greater capacity. There will be children learning, farmers checking… click here to read whole article and make comments



BRICs Throwing the Economic Bathwater out with the Babies

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Brazil, Russia, India and China. The BRIC countries. The emerging economic powers who have become more influential in the world over the last decade or so as they begin to displace the United States hegemony.  They are countries with large populations, low labour costs and large quantities of natural resources.  In the last ten years, these four nations have contributed almost half of the world’s economic growth.  They are nations on the rise.  However, as reported by the Economic Times, according to Goldman Sachs, demographics are about to strike a telling blow against their (and consequentially, the world’s) expansion. 

It is a very familiar story - the labour pool is ageing and shrinking as people in Brazil, Russia, India and China are having fewer children.  According to UN projections, in eight years the number of people aged 65 years old and over will increase 46% in those countries, and by 2030 there… click here to read whole article and make comments



How to compensate for lost fertility?

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Past Eugenics and sterilisation programs in the United States are coming back to bite them, with North Carolina currently the first State to address compensation for victims.

According to the North Carolina Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation, at one time 31 states in the United States had government-run eugenics programs. In North Carolina alone, close to 8,000 men, women, and children, largely poor, black, disabled or uneducated, were forcibly sterilized from 1929 to 1974.  The programs were aimed at creating a better society by eliminating those considered undesirable. 

Newsday reports:

It's a question that has not been answered before and doesn't have an easy solution: How do you repay people for taking away their ability to have children?...Many states ended their eugenics programs because of associations with Nazi Germany's program aimed at racial purity, but North Carolina in fact ramped up sterilizations after World War II. The state's… click here to read whole article and make comments



Ageing Europe’s future as a “cultural theme park”

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After The Fall

I came across this book review the other day that I thought looked very interesting in the Washington Post. The author, Walter Laqueur, a German-born American historian, has written extensively on modern European history and has now turned his attention to the current European situation in his latest book: After the Fall: The End of the European Dream and the Decline of a Continent. In it, he envisages the imminent decline of Europe into a type of cultural theme park, “a kind of sophisticated Disneyland for well-to-do visitors from China and India.” “The decline of Europe, once the center of the world,” he writes, “can be interpreted above all as a decline of will and dynamism.”

So how has this come about? How did a once world-conquering continent fall from global pre-eminence? After all, as William Drozdi writes in his review:

“Just a few years ago,… click here to read whole article and make comments



The Republican Race, Santorum and demography

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I do not pretend to know the intricate details of the Republican primary presidential race – reading about caucuses and the insane amounts of money spent on advertising leave me yearning for the simplicities of New Zealand’s intimate electoral system where every person gets two votes. (We see the slippery slope in action here – just over one hundred years ago the cry was for “One man, one vote” – would the cry have been answered if those granting it had known that the allotment would have been doubled in the future??)

Anyway, back to the story in hand – the interesting three-way split in the Iowa primary earlier this week.  Rick Santorum, the Catholic candidate known best for his socially conservative views, rocketed from nowhere to almost winning the primary from Mitt Romney.  The National Journal recently ran an click here to read whole article and make comments



When do we get old?

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Happy New Year everyone and welcome to 2012! I hope that you all had a fantastic Christmas/New Year break.  We certainly have here in New Zealand, although the rain has been pretty much constant over the last few days – not great for the thousands of campers throughout the country!!  With the start of another year, it is natural to start thinking of the passage of time, the march of the seasons and the spectre of advancing old age.  So now is a perfect time to reassess what age one considers to be old.  When I was much younger, old age definitely began in mid-20s, something I probably need to reconsider as I near late 20s.  Interestingly, according to Reuters, this process of continually revising upwards the date of old age continues throughout life.  According to a telephone survey commissioned by the Home Instead Senior Care institute in the US: "Everybody has a… click here to read whole article and make comments



Too much Christmas pudding?

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Late December is traditionally the time when one starts to make resolutions to start eating healthily again after the food packed days that have come before.  Or perhaps we can put it off for just a few more days – early January perhaps?  In any case, according to the The Economist it is no longer just the Western world whose waistlines are widening.  Surprisingly, South Africa has become one of the world's fattest countries, despite the poverty of so many of its citizens.  It reports:

Though 40% of its 50m people live off less than $2 a day, South Africa has become one of the world’s fattest countries. Six out of ten South Africans are now clinically overweight or obese, according to a recent survey by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a pharmaceutical company. So, apparently, are a quarter of teenagers and one in six children under nine. Another study, by London’s Imperial… 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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