FRIDAY, 29 NOVEMBER 2013

Typhoon destruction due to too many Filipinos

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Population Matters is a “campaigning organisation” that is dedicated to curbing population growth. One of its high-profile members is David Attenborough – he of the “humanity is a plague” quotation.  The organisation has a vision of “a global population size enabling decent living standards and environmental sustainability” – I’m not sure what that size is, and I don’t think that Population Matters has put a number on it either. How many people must cease to exist (ie die) for the remaining, lucky ones to have “decent living standards”? David Attenborough should surely be able to tell us…

Anyway, it is probably of little surprise that Population Matters has used the death of thousands of Filipinos in Typhoon Haiyan as a chance to climb back onto the anti-population soapbox.  The severity of the effect of the typhoon was apparently worsened by the fact that there are so many… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 28 NOVEMBER 2013

Roma migrants increase fear of immigration in the UK

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Fear and contempt is increasingly the way the ever more marginalised Roma are viewed in Europe.  Some argue that the two trends are worrying and mutually reinforcing: marginalisation breeds contempt, and vice versa, and that the only escape from this trap is to invest in the education of the Roma people.

Citizens of the United Kingdom are getting anxious that they will be overrun with migrants from Romania and Bulgaria when border controls lapse in the New Year.  From then on migrants from within the European Union will begin to have the same working rights as Britons.   As a result of pressure from within the UK, David Cameron has now promised to introduce tighter controls around the receipt of benefits and social welfare by immigrants; although he will have to be careful such rules don’t contravene EU law which are based on the principle of the free movement of workers. 

Within the United… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2013

Can China and Japan reverse their birth decline?

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In the Asian fertility video posted a few days ago on MercatorNet, the dramatic decline in birth rates in Asian countries was dramatically demonstrated through some very smart graphics. But leaving aside the fancy artwork the fundamental question remains about what these declines in birth rate presage and what if anything could be done to increase them.

The fact that the world has never before experienced such low fertility rates is not in itself a cause for worry. The world had never previously known all sorts of developments, from industrialisation to the iPhone, and seems to have survived, for better or worse.

Are low birth rates just another such development that we will take in our stride or is it different? Does it mean, in itself or as a symptom of some more fundamental change, that the world is entering a new era that will challenge… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2013

Global hunger - gone in our lifetime?

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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 by 2025 (12 years away!) “if Africa’s leaders champion it… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

THURSDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2013

Asian fertility video

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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 is wirth preserving and handing over to a new generation?… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 19 NOVEMBER 2013

Skills gap looms for United Kingdom

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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 warned that neither government nor business were taking the imminent… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 18 NOVEMBER 2013

China’s one-child policy to be relaxed

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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 Beijing's Renmin University, told the Guardian said the policy was being relaxed… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

SATURDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2013

5 population stories you don’t usually hear…

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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 “humanity is a plague” rhetoric.) To those who agree with… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

TUESDAY, 12 NOVEMBER 2013

Tokyo’s 2020 peak

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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 (39%).  Those in the “production age population” of 15-64 year… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

SUNDAY, 10 NOVEMBER 2013

We’re Pregnant! - watch our video.

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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


 

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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 editor of Demography is Destiny is Marcus Roberts, a New Zealand lawyer. Send him your comments and suggestions. 


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