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I think the CSM article oversimplifies and doesn't cover enough ground. It doesn't address the disparity between birth rates in industrialized and 'non-industrialized' regions, for lack of better term.

A question that is rarely asked: what is the cause of high reproductive rates?

[Forgive me if I'm about to repeat the obvious].

Paradoxically, one finds high population growth in economically disadvantaged parts of the world, while in industrialized regions, birth rates have been in steady decline for close to 30 years [to the distress of State retirement systems, which, if benevolent, comply with the definition of 'Ponzi scheme'].

The issue boils down to wealth distribution. Generally speaking, the higher the GDP of a country, the greater the likelihood that it will have implemented some kind of welfare plan for non-productive work force, as in financial support for the aged.

Non-industrialized societies, on the other hand, rely on quantities of able bodies to support successive generations of aged family members, all the more so given the likely accompanied lack of health care and consequent high infant mortality rates.

For those who wail on about high birth rates in non-industrialized parts of the world, consider this: do you not think that women would have better, more productive things to do with their lives than bear, feed and raise 6-8-12 or more children, burden which constitutes, essentially, the equivalent of a rich individual's retirement fund?

If one considers, in addition, that it is in deed the 'non-industrialized' peoples of the world who underwrite the pension plans of wealthy nations, through industrial exploitation of raw materials and labor, if there were a real concern about overpopulation, wouldn't the priority be to ensure livable wages and adequate health care to those whose resources are disproportionately exploited?

With honest redistribution of wealth, population trends would be equalized within a generation or four, and there would no longer be such thing as 'useless eaters' or desperate immigrants.

What's the problem then? Why isn't the obvious solution implemented?

Short-term gains.

Overpopulation is thus a non-issue. The problem lies elsewhere.

by Loefing on Tue Sep 15th, 2009 at 10:43:58 AM EST
While agreeing with you i think the (non)issue the article tackles is population shrinkage. We hear all too often the concerns that we (western countries) have aging populations, incapable of sustaining the Social State.

This in my view stems from an political/economic paradigm that can only function in perpetual growth. In it, perpetual growth is the alibi for not redistributing, ever, because you must first create wealth and only then, in the future, we can all live better lives.

All in all, as you point, is a matter of avoiding redistribution, that starts home and affects distant poor countries.

by Torres on Tue Sep 15th, 2009 at 11:16:25 AM EST
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Also, as long as there is growth the issue of redistribution can be avoided because there is the ability to give more to everyone out of the growing pot without the wealthy needing to share their existing wealth.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 15th, 2009 at 11:38:14 AM EST
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Quite. And what you're describing is called class war, for short.
by Loefing on Tue Sep 15th, 2009 at 03:02:25 PM EST
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