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Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:09 PM

 

America's Baby Bust. The nation's falling fertility rate is the root cause

If the world fertility rate is truly dropping at the rate they discuss, it'll be pretty ugly for the elderly middle class in about 50 years, but after that (100 years) when the economy's finally collapse and those referred to as the useless eaters (children of the poor and middle class) are dead, those wealthy (who can afford children) left living will live a lot more comfortable lifestyle than most of us know today. The world will be more sustainable, cleaner, greener, and that, no matter how we get there is the goal for most of us.

It sounds bad when you lay it on the line like that but in all reality population control is what's best for the world as whole in the long run. The dropping fertility rates are voluntary population control. I know I participated, choosing to adopt children and only having one of my own and discouraging my children from having children for financial reasons.

Forget the debt ceiling. Forget the fiscal cliff, the sequestration cliff and the entitlement cliff. Those are all just symptoms. What America really faces is a demographic cliff: The root cause of most of our problems is our declining fertility rate.

The fertility rate is the number of children an average woman bears over the course of her life. The replacement rate is 2.1. If the average woman has more children than that, population grows. Fewer, and it contracts. Today, America's total fertility rate is 1.93, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; it hasn't been above the replacement rate in a sustained way since the early 1970s.

The nation's falling fertility rate underlies many of our most difficult problems. Once a country's fertility rate falls consistently below replacement, its age profile begins to shift. You get more old people than young people. And eventually, as the bloated cohort of old people dies off, population begins to contract. This dual problem—a population that is disproportionately old and shrinking overall—has enormous economic, political and cultural consequences.

For two generations we've been lectured about the dangers of overpopulation. But the conventional wisdom on this issue is wrong, twice. First, global population growth is slowing to a halt and will begin to shrink within 60 years. Second, as the work of economists Esther Boserups and Julian Simon demonstrated, growing populations lead to increased innovation and conservation. Think about it: Since 1970, commodity prices have continued to fall and America's environment has become much cleaner and more sustainable—even though our population has increased by more than 50%. Human ingenuity, it turns out, is the most precious resource.

Low-fertility societies don't innovate because their incentives for consumption tilt overwhelmingly toward health care. They don't invest aggressively because, with the average age skewing higher, capital shifts to preserving and extending life and then begins drawing down. They cannot sustain social-security programs because they don't have enough workers to pay for the retirees. They cannot project power because they lack the money to pay for defense and the military-age manpower to serve in their armed forces.


The rest of the article is very good, worth the read
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323375204578270053387770718.html

47 replies, 2781 views

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Reply America's Baby Bust. The nation's falling fertility rate is the root cause (Original post)
DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav Feb 2013 OP
Lydia Leftcoast Feb 2013 #1
DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav Feb 2013 #3
Cleita Feb 2013 #12
kelliekat44 Feb 2013 #24
Hekate Feb 2013 #25
Victor_c3 Feb 2013 #47
bluestate10 Feb 2013 #29
DURHAM D Feb 2013 #2
DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav Feb 2013 #5
DURHAM D Feb 2013 #7
DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav Feb 2013 #11
DURHAM D Feb 2013 #13
DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav Feb 2013 #14
DURHAM D Feb 2013 #22
OldEurope Feb 2013 #18
DURHAM D Feb 2013 #23
Cleita Feb 2013 #34
DURHAM D Feb 2013 #38
Cleita Feb 2013 #40
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #4
lumberjack_jeff Feb 2013 #6
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #8
Kber Feb 2013 #37
Travis_0004 Feb 2013 #9
bluestate10 Feb 2013 #33
Travis_0004 Feb 2013 #35
arcane1 Feb 2013 #10
PasadenaTrudy Feb 2013 #27
PADemD Feb 2013 #15
ecstatic Feb 2013 #16
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #17
SoCalDem Feb 2013 #19
MadHound Feb 2013 #20
annabanana Feb 2013 #21
LineReply .
BootinUp Feb 2013 #26
Tierra_y_Libertad Feb 2013 #28
LeftyMom Feb 2013 #30
randome Feb 2013 #31
Freddie Feb 2013 #32
madinmaryland Feb 2013 #36
DURHAM D Feb 2013 #39
FarCenter Feb 2013 #41
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #42
muriel_volestrangler Feb 2013 #43
DonCoquixote Feb 2013 #44
bossy22 Feb 2013 #45
Warren DeMontague Feb 2013 #46

Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:16 PM

1. "First, global population growth is slowing to a halt and will begin to shrink within 60 years. "

That's BECAUSE the fertility rate is falling. Duh.

Typical right-wing Wall Street Journal logic.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:19 PM

3. If you read the article you'll see many like myself are choosing to participate in voluntary populat

 

population control.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:30 PM

12. Population control happens when women are in charge of their own

fertility, that means access to birth control and abortion without interference from men and churches especially in societies and countries that try to dictate to women what choices they should have. Nothing else does it as efficiently, not even plague and war, which are not appealing solutions. If you choose to adopt and not procreate your own, kudos to you. You made a choice and I hope you are reasonable enough to allow others to make their choices that may not be the same as yours.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:58 PM

24. Thank God for that!!! Maybe people wilkl lear to enjou what they have and leave others' stuff alon

There will be plenty for all.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 03:09 PM

25. Absolutely, Cleita. Keeping women illiterate and enslaved ensures the baby machinery

Yeah, that's crude. Cruel. Horrible.

But years ago studies were done that showed that in countries where the average woman had 8 babies in her lifetime, women in those same cultures who had as much as a 4th grade education had only 4 babies.

Free women to make their own choices. Educate girls. The entire family -- the entire country -- the entire world -- benefits. It's not a mystery.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #25)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:24 AM

47. I've done a tremendous amount of reading on this over the last 1-2 years

You are absolutely right. There is a direct correlation between increasing female literacy rates and decreasing fertility rates.

I've seen it suggested by some that we stop sending money and resources to feed the starving in Africa and other places. The logic is that, if you just feed poor people, they'll breed more. That is only partially correct. That first generation might have more children, but subsequent generations won't. Once a person has a secure source of food, they have time and energy to devote to other areas, mainly education. Then, with education and literacy, birth rates of women drop.

Look at nearly every country in South America for examples of this. Birth rate in late 1960s and early 1970s were around the 6-7 children per women mark. Now, the average birthrate it somewhere around 2.1-2.3 children (if I recall correctly off the top of my head) and some countries like Brazil have a birth rate that is actually lower than that of the US.

Bangladesh is another perfect example. The country has stressed education and literacy for their girls and women and the fertility rate went from 6-7 kids to 2.3-2.6 kids per woman.

Feed 'em and educate 'em. That is the solution to population control.

Actually, this is kind of funny to me, but I read an article a few months back in Der Spiegel where some sociologist was crediting the decreasing fertility rate of women in South America on those cheesy Spanish soap operas that they love. However, after reading the article, I could see the person's point. Many of these Spanish soaps feature a strong female lead who is an educated woman working as a CEO or a lawyer or something high-powered like that. Girls grow up watching these shows an realize that they can do more than make babies and dinner for the husbands they belong to.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 03:20 PM

29. That is true. Better educated people have fewer children.

The issue for advanced societies caused by falling birthrates is that people from high birthrate, poorer areas of the world will have to be imported to provide care for the aging populations of advanced countries. The importations will raise cultural and citizenship problems that will require solutions.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:18 PM

2. WTF - "useless eaters"

That is disgusting.

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Response to DURHAM D (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:20 PM

5. It's absolutely disgusting. That's what many conservatives refer to them as.

 

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:24 PM

7. I have never heard it before.

Your use of it makes me curious about your interests, including posting articles from the WSJ on DU.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Reply #11)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:34 PM

13. It is only popular among certain types.

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Response to DURHAM D (Reply #13)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:03 PM

14. What ever. I'd rather know what's really going on out there. Living in a bubble pretending it's

 

not there doesn't make it go away.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Reply #14)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:53 PM

22. You don't belong here.

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Response to DURHAM D (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:23 PM

18. That is what the Nazi propaganda called

the disabled and mentally ill persons: useless eaters.
The children of a nation are NOT useless, they are the one to provide the welfare of the society. Because they are working and paying taxes.

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Response to OldEurope (Reply #18)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:55 PM

23. OP casts a wider net than even the final solution.

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Response to DURHAM D (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 03:47 PM

34. This has been alluded to in the recent past with code words

about aging populations creating burdens on society. Social programs like Social Security will break the bank with the aging populations or more specifically baby boomers. This is the first time I have seen those words used so blatantly and openly since the Nazis used the same words over seventy years ago.

It seems like those think tanks that those words are coming out of are harboring some really reich wing ideologists.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #34)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:53 PM

38. Forget about the think tanks or the article.

Is is the poster's words and that is my issue. Why has DU become a home for right wing drivel and propagandists?

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Response to DURHAM D (Reply #38)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:19 PM

40. The poster got those words from some RW blog who found it in any number of RW

organizations with a website. You can usually trace them back. I recently heard the same phrase from some right wing pundit on one of the talk shows.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:20 PM

4. I never listen to anything WSJ puts out

I was doing a google search on special education students and state standardized tests and there was a WSJ article talking about how we don't do special education students any favors by allowing them graduate when they can't pass the same standardized tests that general education students take. My dad would love this article though. He claims that God will punish women for using birth control by reducing their fertility rates so that when they do want to get pregnant they won't be able to.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:21 PM

6. Birthrates fall *because of* improving standard of living.

That fact must cause nontrivial cognitive dissonance in some circles.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:26 PM

8. good point. I'll have to bring that up to my dad.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:10 PM

37. Yes. And is either mitigated by or caused by increasing live expectancy

as well as gains in efficiency, productivity, and healthier (as opposed to just longer) lives.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:26 PM

9. The problem is easy enough to solve with increased immigration.

If we have too many old people and not enough younger people, then allow more immigration, and the problem fixes itself.

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Response to Travis_0004 (Reply #9)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 03:26 PM

33. The problem is that birthrates of the USA's nearest neighbors are dropping below the

replacement rate for their countries.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #33)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 03:51 PM

35. Thats not really a problem for us.

If their birthrate is dropping, then they will have to do something, but I don't see how that is a problem for the US.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:27 PM

10. "If we want to continue leading the world, we simply must figure out a way to have more babies"

Solution: stop giving a damn about "leading the world"

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Response to arcane1 (Reply #10)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 03:13 PM

27. Exactly.....n/t

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:04 PM

15. America's environment has become much cleaner and more sustainable?

Fracking in Pennsylvania and other states!

Oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico!

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:18 PM

16. children are way too expensive

if you fall into that gray area where you make too much to get help with food or even the EIC, but yet make to little to afford to give your kids a certain quality of life. I really don't understand how families making less than 60k annually can afford to have more than one child.

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Response to ecstatic (Reply #16)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:23 PM

17. you got that right

I adore my children but when I look at my health insurance premium bill each month I simply cannot imagine trying to afford to put one more single person on my insurance. I cannot afford it as it is.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:26 PM

19. The Renaissance owed a LOT to The Black Plague

Between modern medicine extending lives (especially for the very old and infirm)..and the economy dictating that many women choose between motherhood and frivolous things such as housing, and food, many families are stressed ans deliberately smaller..

Once the Boomer generation (my generation) is gone, and the minorities are the majority, I think this country will start to address the real issues:

Genuine Euro-style health care will be the norm
Fat-cats light finally get their comeuppance

A leaner/meaner populace that is no longer tethered to corporate health care, and who finally has an edge when it comes to the deliverance of their labor, might just solve some problems..
Hopefully it will not be too late for the planet..

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:29 PM

20. Sorry, but America's environment hasn't gotten much cleaner, at least in regards to fertility,

 

This is the country that has bathed its population in radioactive fallout and waste, which continues to take a toll on our fertility rates. Add in all the chemicals and pollutants that we ingest, inhale, bathe in, live in, and it is no wonder our fertility rate is going down.

The quantity and quality of mens' sperm counts have been dropping for decades, likewise, the quality of womens' eggs have decreased as well. The rise of birth defects is a global phenomenon, as pollution increases globally.

Yes, developed countries are practicing family planning, resulting in dropping birth rates. But the pollution factor cannot, and should not, be underestimated.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:48 PM

21. ok.. Who will FEED those "those wealthy (who can afford children)"

Who will clean up after them?


They cannot sustain themselves, they will chew each other to bits for scraps.

go galt somewhere else

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 03:15 PM

28. "The comfort of the rich depend on an unlimited supply of the poor." Voltaire

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 03:22 PM

30. The RW's obsession with the right people reproducing is racist bullshit and it doesn't belong here.

Populations move, and the overall population is still growing. Good jobs won't go unfilled because somebody will always be willing to move to where the work is.

The only reason the right cares is because *gasp* white people aren't breeding fast enough to maintain their dominance.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 03:23 PM

31. "...growing populations lead to increased innovation and conservation..."

Up to a certain point, perhaps. But I doubt you get more increased innovation from 17 billion people than you do from twelve. There is a point where this becomes nonsense.

And putting that into purely economic terms disregards other factors. The reason we have such strong corporate control over our lives is precisely BECAUSE we have too many people. The more people we have, the more people strive to rise to the top. The more people strive to rise to the top, the more shortcuts and actual cheating they do to justify their actions.

We do NOT need more people on this planet.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 03:25 PM

32. Jonathan Last (writer) is a major asswipe

Our local paper carries his column. He seems reasonable until he goes on about how there needs to be a "Constitutional amendment banning abortion" which is probably the true meaning of this article.
News to Mr. Last--until you have a uterus of your own you have no business whatsoever telling me what I can do with mine.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:09 PM

36. This tripe is from the Wall Street Journal (aka the Murdoch Street Journal).

I think the assumptions this opinion piece makes are without much factual basis.

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Response to madinmaryland (Reply #36)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:55 PM

39. As is the poster's hate speech.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:27 PM

41. Children cost on the order of $300,000 each to raise and educate -- and they are a bad investment.

The returns on your investment are non-economic.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:40 PM

42. Ridiculous drivel from the corporate right wing. First they scream that there are shortages, high

 

prices, ecological crisis & poverty because of over-population, then they say that the poverty, shortages, prices & ecological crisis will be caused by under-population.

They're just full of shit & out to confuse people.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:35 PM

43. You realise the article you call "very good" is blaming you for the American decline, don't you?

The claim of the article is that a country is prosperous when its population is growing. The author is saying that couples that do not have at least 3 children, to increase the population, are being 'selfish':

But then, parenting has probably never been a barrel of laughs. There have been lots of changes in American life over the last 40 years that have nudged our fertility rate downward. High on the list is the idea that "happiness" is the lodestar of a life well-lived. If we're going to reverse this decline, we'll need to reintroduce into American culture the notion that human flourishing ranges wider and deeper than calculations of mere happiness.


The author is saying that a growing American GDP is more important than the happiness of the inhabitants. Of course, there are many other reasons why this is an appalling piece of crap: he ignores the environment completely, or even tries to make it sound as if the ideal for the environment is to inhabit every piece of land possible (hence his concern than over half of Japan is "depopulated marginal land" - known as mountains, to you and me. As far as he's concerned, Mount Fuji is a waste of space. Of course, Japan has always had mountains, and the regions of the country that aren't mountainous are very densely populated. In the long run, a decreasing population is vital for the country).

He also says he wants to cut payroll taxes for parents bringing up children; but, being a write for the Weekly Standard and WSJ, you can bet he'll want to cut the Social Security and Medicare benefits to pay for that, rather than putting up the payroll taxes on the rich.

The article is also shot through with the implicit valuing of the white population over the Hispanic or black, by his concentration on the white fertility rate.

All in all, it's an excellent example of what is wrong with the right wing in the USA. I cannot understand anyone calling it 'very good'. Either your comprehension or your values are useless.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:52 AM

44. Your quote

" The world will be more sustainable, cleaner, greener, and that, no matter how we get there is the goal for most of us. "

Sounds like you think the death of the Middle class is worth it for gaia.

"those who would sacrifice an entire generation to realize an ideal are the enemies of mankind." Eric Hoffer.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:59 AM

45. how about another explanation

The recession


Recessions historically lead to a decrease in birth rate. IIRC the great depression halved the us birthrate in less than 5 years. I garuntee when our economy improves that rate will go up

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:11 AM

46. I BLAME BEYONCE!

And, leather underwear!

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