Burma’s new population control measures

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Although we have often talked about China's approach to state-enforced population control via its infamous “one-child policy”, it is important to remember that China is not the only country to try and fix its demographic future. For example, last year we reported on Vietnam and its recently retired “two child policy”. And now Burma (or Myanmar) has recently passed a law that seeks to control the country's population. According to this report from Deutsche Welle:

“The president of Myanmar has signed a controversial population control bill into law, state media reported on Saturday. The law requires mothers to have their children three years apart. It was passed over the objections of rights activists, who say that it not only represses women, but also religious and ethnic minorities.”

Now, currently Burma's population is about 60 million, but its current total fertility rate is at only 2.23 children per woman, not… click here to read whole article and make comments


MONDAY, 25 MAY 2015

The rise of ‘aquatecture’

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Most of the Earth’s surface is covered in water - 71 percent of it to be exact.  Currently we use very little of that to live on, but floating cities might be the next big thing.  Human ingenuity and adaptability mean that new technology is constantly providing solutions to real or perceived challenges. Floating cities pay no rent to landlords and, situated on the water as they are, can desalinate and recirculate water in many useful and non-polluting ways.

Architect, Koen Olthuis, calls himself an 'aquatect', an architect who uses water to help improve the design of a city.  He has created over 100 floating houses in the Netherlands in the past 12 years, ranging from apartments to luxury villas.  However, his real passion lies in making a difference for people living in poorer countries.  He believes that anything you can build on land, you can build on the water.  His floating… click here to read whole article and make comments


FRIDAY, 22 MAY 2015

Great news!

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Only a couple of days ago I blogged about Qin Yi, the teacher who was told to abort her unborn child or lose her job. Today I am happy to report happier news!

According to Lifesite News, international and domestic interest in the story (it even made the NZ Herald!!) has forced the Chinese authorities to overturn their earlier decision:

"News of this situation was reported widely in China and spread internationally, causing outrage. The Family Planning Commission on the Guizhou provincial level overturned the local authorities and will allow Qin Yi to have her baby."

This is fantastic news (assuming it is true and the authorities aren't lying) and we must be thankful for small mercies. But we should still remember that this is the Chinese Government "allowing" a couple to not have to kill their unborn child: it is hardly a breakthrough in human rights… click here to read whole article and make comments



China continues to devour its own children

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We've often talked about China's one child policy before on this blog. We have been interested in its unintended effects, its economic impact and whether liberalisation of parts of the policy will come too late to change decades of cultural preference for small families ingrained by propaganda. The interest comes from the fact that this policy is humanity's largest attempt to consciously change the demographic future through coercion. It is a lesson in where other countries may end up if the focus on overpopulation becomes too fixed and blinkered (and we've mentioned before that China has no qualms about lecturing others about the “success” of its policy). However, it is only when you get details of a particular human story that you can appreciate the true barbarity of this evil regime's evil policy. We've mentioned such stories before.

And a couple of days ago in our local rag, there was another… click here to read whole article and make comments


SUNDAY, 17 MAY 2015

Is workplace flexibility the answer for the family and ageing alike?

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With Germany about to tip over the edge into population decline, and many countries already facing steep decline, there is little doubt that we need to support and encourage families with young children.  Is encouraging more flexible work options for parents one way to do this?  Even people who have more than enough money tend to work long hours, often also “catching up” on the weekend.  It’s pretty clear that long outside work hours and children don’t go well together - the work of the home is important.  Are people choosing long hours; or are the part-time and flexible options simply not there?

According to a recent article in The Australian Business Review, it might be more than families that would benefit from a flexible work culture.  As many Western countries’ populations age and governments prepare to lift the retirement age, there is a growing need for employers to… click here to read whole article and make comments


FRIDAY, 15 MAY 2015

Demographic outlook will push French unemployment rate down

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France is, like many other European nations, facing relatively high unemployment.  According to the Financial Times, over 10 per cent of the French labour force is unemployed, and that proportion jumps to nearly a quarter if we look solely at those under the age of 25. In all, there are a record 3.5 million people out of work in the Eurozone’s second-largest economy. This is bad for those unemployed and looking for work and it is bad for French President Francois Hollande, who is hoping not to join those looking for work in 2017 when the French presidential elections are held. The trouble is, M. Hollande has vowed not to run for president a second time if unemployment does not decrease by the end of his five-year term. 

Luckily for the President, France Stratégie, a government-affiliated think-tank, has recently published a… click here to read whole article and make comments


TUESDAY, 12 MAY 2015

Introducing Britain’s youngest MP for 350 years

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The dust has settled on what was an interesting and (if you put any weight on political polls) surprising result in the UK General Election last week. There are a couple of points that made it interesting from this blog’s point of view that I would like to bring to your attention.

The first is the variation between the nationwide votes that a party’s candidates received and the number of seats it received in the House of Commons. For example, Conservative candidates received just shy of 37% of the vote but ended up with 331 seats (51% of the total of 650 seats). Conversely, the UK Independence Party’s candidates received 12.6% of votes cast and managed to win one seat (0.15% of the total seats available). The Green Party and the Liberal Democrats also received more votes than their proportional share of seats in the House.

This is explicable, of course,… click here to read whole article and make comments


SUNDAY, 10 MAY 2015

Capturing the wonder of motherhood

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While yes this is an ad for Huggies, it is also a joyful true story which captures at least a part of the absolute wonder every woman feels for her baby.

30 year old Tatiana can't see the scan of her baby or recognise any of his facial features.  She started losing her sight when she was 17.  Watch this kind-hearted radiologist surprise her by helping her to meet him for the very first time.

I also couldn't resist including this gorgeous tribute from a New Zealand radio DJ to his wife and four children.  He manages to capture all the sacrifice, joy and laughter of having children, and has the courage to go out of his radio comedy 'comfort zone' to do so. As far from a commercial as you'll get, and oh so heartwarmingly genuine from an average Kiwi guy.  Watch it here.

Happy Mother's Day to… click here to read whole article and make comments


FRIDAY, 8 MAY 2015

Germany about to tip over the edge…

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After seeing how the Japanese population is subsiding in our last blog post, I thought I'd keep with the same theme today and look at another economic powerhouse at the other side of the world: Germany. And demographically, the situation is similar in Germany to that in Japan: too few babies; an ageing population and the only alternative to a falling population being large numbers of immigrants. The latest outlook from the German statistics office (Destatis) is grim. As Deutsche Welle reports:

“ 2013, there were 80.8 million people in Germany, [Destatis] expects the number to drop to between 67.6 and 73.1 people in 2060.”

While the German population will continue to grow for the next few years, it is inevitable that it will then decline: the statisticians say that there are just far too few new Germans being born to change… click here to read whole article and make comments



Japanese population: welcome back to the year 2000!

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Do you remember what you were doing in the year 2000? I was in the middle of high school, probably dealing with periodic acne outbreaks. Also I moved school that year (not due to the acne...) and that's all I remember – it was a long time ago! Of more global significance, in the year 2000 the first female president of Finland was elected, the Tate Modern Gallery opened in London and the summer Olympic Games were held in Sydney, 'Straya.

It was also the year in which the Japanese population was last at its current level. Yes, according to the Guardian, there are as many people living in Japan as there were in the year 2000. For the fourth straight year the population has fallen and more than a quarter of that shrunken population is aged 65 years old or older. The Guardian notes that:

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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