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  12:13:50 PM

Global hunger - gone in our lifetime?


A few weeks ago, we posted an article showing that while the population of the world was increasing, the number of people in absolute poverty was decreasing. In short, the link between overpopulation and hunger is simply not there. This was building on from an earlier piece arguing that scarcity of resources is a political, not a demographic problem

Today, I want to hit this theme again, because I think that the myth of overpopulation is still ingrained in many people’s consciousness.  Why are people hungry today? Not because there are too many of us, but because of politics.  We cannot share what we have adequately. And this is backed up by Jose Graziano da Silva, the head of the UN food and agriculture agency.  According to Graziano, the scourge of hunger in Africa could be eradicated… click here to read whole article and make comments

  12:08:28 PM

Asian fertility video

Hi everyone! Here is a short video from the Economist on the unprecedented fall on fertility rates in Asia.  It's entertaining as its all done via infographics. You can see just how fast the fertility rates in various countries in Asia have fallen. As I've said before, I don't think we know what happens when a country's fertility rate falls so quickly. Or what happens when a country falls below the replacement rate of 2.1 for a sustained period. Can countries raise their fertility rates or does the cultural norm of having fewer than two children become ingrained and incredibly hard to overcome? And what does it say about cultures that stop replacing themselves? Does it suggest a profound unease in the future and a lack of confidence? Does it suggest that some countries don't think their culture… click here to read whole article and make comments

  5:51:45 PM

Skills gap looms for United Kingdom

The British mind-set lags behind statistics, if recent research is to be believed.  Despite a looming skills gap, the majority of British people apparently limit the careers of older workers, are not interested in making it easier for immigrants to come to the United Kingdom and also oppose financial incentives to encourage British woman to have more children. 

The Financial Times reports this week that over-50s are predicted to make up more than a third of the UK workforce by 2020, and employers are already losing skilled workers at such a rapid rate that they are unable to replace them quickly enough with new recruits:

“The reality is that we face a stark skills gap, as the baby boomers approach retirement at a rate faster than they can be replaced,” said Prof Kirkwood, Dean for Ageing at Newcastle University, who… click here to read whole article and make comments

  12:57:13 PM

China’s one-child policy to be relaxed

As you have probably heard by now, there has been some encouraging news from the Chinese Communist Party over the last few days. As Fairfax NZ reports

“China has relaxed its one-child policy and put an end to notorious labour camps in a sweeping reform plan aimed at stabilising the population.

The changes were agreed at the annual meeting of the Communist Party's top 400 leaders held in Beijing, Chinese state media reported.

The reforms include the birth policy, starting with allowing families where just one parent is a single child to have a second child.”

And what has brought about this change in policy? Well it turns out that if you try and command the fertility of the largest nation on Earth, unexpected and unwelcome results can crop up.

“Chen Wei, a demographer at… click here to read whole article and make comments

  1:17:17 PM

5 population stories you don’t usually hear…

One of our main arguments over the last few years on this blog has been that the overpopulation disaster story that is peddled in the media and inhabits the collective societal consciousness is a bit out of date. Instead, we have been highlighting the fact that many countries throughout the world are suffering the opposite problem: a sustained drop in births leading to a contracting, ageing population.  These countries must either prop up by their working age populations through widespread immigration (leading to serious societal issues relating to cultural integration and conflict) or rethink their social security schemes that essentially rely on a continually growing population base (much like Ponzi schemes).  

Aside from this, the other problem we have with the prevailing overpopulation disaster story is that it is often informed by a deeply anti-human outlook. (See Attenborough’s… click here to read whole article and make comments

  1:51:44 PM

Tokyo’s 2020 peak

When Tokyo hosts the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, the city will be the most populous it has ever been. It will also be the most populous it will ever be. The 2020 Olympics will mark the peak of Tokyo’s population before it goes into steep decline.

According to the Tokyo metropolitan government, Tokyo’s population will reach 13.36 million people in 2020, a rise of 200,000 from 2010.  However, over the forty years following 2020, the population will drop by 20 per cent to 10.36 in 2060 (roughly the same population as it was when Tokyo hosted its first Olympics in 1964).

Not only will Tokyo’s population be smaller, it will also be older. The number of people aged 65 or older was 2.65 million in 2010 (making up 20% of Tokyo’s total population). In 2060, those figures will be 4.07 million… click here to read whole article and make comments

  11:19:52 AM

We’re Pregnant! - watch our video.

Apparently "We're Pregnant" videos are the new big thing.  A phone call, dropping it into the conversation, or an email - apparently that's just not enough anymore.

I'm torn between thinking that these are a lovely, albeit quirky, celebration of new life, or a sign that having a baby has become so about creating a new accessory for us that suddenly putting hours of effort into a video announcement is necessary to celebrate the increasingly rare occasion.  Or is this simply a further sign that many of us live our lives vicariously through social media broadcasts.  

Either way, if you get pregnant, you too could have the opportunity to become famous on Youtube amongst friends, family and even strangers should your video go viral.  I will let you make up your own mind on these and the many others uploaded to Youtube:

click here to read whole article and make comments

  6:24:45 AM

Migrants in Russia: a love-hate relationship

Over the last couple of years we have mentioned on this blog the demographic plight of Russia on a number of different occasions.  (See for example, here and here and here. For some of the attempts to increase Russian fertility see here and here and here and here.) Now there are signs over the last couple of years that the Russian demographic malaise is improving, the fertility rate is trending upwards, the mortality rate is trending downwards and the population decline is slowing down.  However, despite these promising signs, Russia has had to rely on large scale immigration to combat the decline in its native workforce, particularly in Moscow.  According to this article from the Christian Science Monitor’s Fred Weir, the social results of this large-scale (and… click here to read whole article and make comments

  7:59:55 AM

South Korean women say no to babies

Despite enticing incentives from the government, South Korean women struggle with the choice to leave their careers to raise children.  The modern South Korean woman is ambitious.  She has worked hard for her career and is hesitant to give it up.  Although it is probably what her mother did as her sole occupation, for some being at home now seems mundane in comparison to the many goals and promises that a career provides.

This poses a problem for the future of the South Korean workforce.  South Korea is ageing faster than any other country in the OECD.  Somewhat alarmingly, the number of South Koreans of working age will peak in just three years’ time, according to OECD predictions.

Current fertility rates mean the problem will not be quickly resolved.  South Korea’s fertility rate remains low and is currently at 1.3 children per woman. … click here to read whole article and make comments

  12:34:00 PM

Hong Kong: not for families

Currently, the Hong Kong fertility rate is one of the lowest in the world at around 1.1 children per woman (remember, the rate at which each generation replaces itself naturally is about 2.1 children per woman).  With this fact in mind, it is understandable that the Hong Kong government is trying to think up ways to encourage people to have more babies.  But, after reading this piece by Alice Wu in the South China Morning Post, I can also see why the issue of low fertility is unlikely to go away anytime soon. Wu thinks that the reasons for  the “ridiculously low birthrate” are as “obvious as they are numerous”.  In large part, they can be put down to housing affordability:

“People here aren't having babies primarily because there simply isn't enough room in a regular home… click here to read whole article and make comments


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