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(115,096 posts)
Tue Nov 28, 2023, 08:39 AM Nov 2023

The Alternative, Optimistic Story of Population Decline

Just read the doom and gloom article from vox about declining birth rates, which linked to this op ed. Really prefer this perspective.


There is no doubt that a shrinking global population — a trend expected to set in by the end of this century — poses unprecedented challenges for humanity. China is only the latest and largest major country to join a club that already includes Japan, South Korea, Russia, Italy and others. Germany would most likely be in decline, too, if not for immigration, and many others could begin shrinking in the years ahead. (The United States is expected to grow moderately in coming decades, largely because of immigration.) Median U.N. projections point to global population peaking in the mid-2080s at more than 10 billion, but if fertility rates continue to drop, the decline could begin decades earlier.


Fewer people on the planet, of course, may reduce humanity’s ecological footprint and competition for finite resources. There could even be greater peace as governments are forced to choose between spending on military equipment or on pensions. And as rich nations come to rely more on immigrants from poorer countries, those migrants gain greater access to the global prosperity currently concentrated in the developed world.

This new demography brings new challenges, including the need to offer quality and affordable child care, make college education more affordable and equitable, provide guaranteed minimum income and make societies more gender equal. Governments should abandon the mindless pursuit of economic growth in favor of well-being for citizens.

There is no reason the world’s population must keep growing or even remain level. And just as earlier panic led to harmful policies in China and elsewhere, efforts to raise fertility — which may prove futile — risk viewing women once again as birth machines.

Global population will inevitably decline. Rather than try to reverse that, we need to embrace it and adapt.

Read more

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The Alternative, Optimistic Story of Population Decline (Original Post) redqueen Nov 2023 OP
I'm glad people are... 2naSalit Nov 2023 #1
Too bad True Dough Nov 2023 #2
Totally with you there! 2naSalit Nov 2023 #3
Ever increasing population, like GDP, is destructive to Lifeboat Earth Martin Eden Nov 2023 #4
This is a great read. Thanks for posting. Native Nov 2023 #5
The current economic system is based on growth. Old Crank Nov 2023 #6
This is an excellent, and correct perspective. PatrickforB Nov 2023 #7
Weren't people freaking out about overpopulation not that long ago? eggplant Nov 2023 #8


(86,269 posts)
1. I'm glad people are...
Tue Nov 28, 2023, 09:10 AM
Nov 2023

Slowing their reproduction. The carrying capacity of the biosphere is maxing out fast.

I did my part by not reproducing and encouraged a few others to avoid going that route.

Martin Eden

(12,838 posts)
4. Ever increasing population, like GDP, is destructive to Lifeboat Earth
Tue Nov 28, 2023, 09:26 AM
Nov 2023

The goal should be sustainability and quality of life. Always expanding the human footprint is like a cancer on the planet we depend on for life itself.

Old Crank

(3,498 posts)
6. The current economic system is based on growth.
Tue Nov 28, 2023, 10:23 AM
Nov 2023

This isn't sustainable. We are in a finite system so infinite growth is a dream.

Businesses have to realize that you can make a profit without having to grow every quarter. There will be fewer people to sell to so the numbers sold will have to be reduced. This is the downside of the companies have only a duty to give as much money to stock holders as possible.


(14,551 posts)
7. This is an excellent, and correct perspective.
Tue Nov 28, 2023, 10:47 AM
Nov 2023

Many people are working toward planning forward as a species. Organizing around self-control and ensuring people have enough. Organizing around turning the tables on the mass extinction that we are presiding over.

Funny how the fundies, Magats and other crazy-right people are fighting this tooth and nail, and how Wall Street is being dragged along like the Skeksies in the movie Dark Crystal.

Earth abides, and I have always believed that all creation has a consciousness - we are only part of it. It is a great web of life, and that consciousness is being elevated as we speak.

The gloom and doom people are senselessly worrying about what this will do to 'economic growth' because the unspoken assumption we in the west have is that our economy will experience unlimited growth.

The thing is, unlimited growth is also the philosophy of cancer cells, which grow so much they kill their host. The new key word is sustainable, as in sustainable growth. At least this is what I'm preaching. But if we think about the truly big picture, the earth consciousness is moving us toward this concept of sustainability and self-control.

I'm not even sure this makes sense to anyome, but this may be due to my difficulty in writing it out succinctly. Essentially, our planetary consciousness is changing.


(3,906 posts)
8. Weren't people freaking out about overpopulation not that long ago?
Tue Nov 28, 2023, 11:46 AM
Nov 2023

Now we're freaking out about population decline?

This reminds me of a George Carlin quote: Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

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