Kevin McCracken says in the article excerpted below that population growth in Africa is a bad thing and that population shrinking in the West can be managed. The first part seems rather racist and I certainly make no judgement on the matter. Africa's problems are for Africa only, as far as I can see. McCracken certainly makes no effort to show otherwise.
McCracken justifies his second assertion with the extraordinarily unscholarly comment that "There is research around that suggests" it to be so. One would certainly hope for some clearer indication of where the research concerned is to be found.
Nonetheless, I don't doubt that population shrinkage in the developed countries can be managed. Japan is already doing a good job with a large elderly population and trivial levels of immigration.
What McCracken simply does not answer is that the developed countries produce most of the innovations that improve people's lives and that it is only a tiny minority of even those populations that do the innovating. And shrinking such populations must surely shrink the numbers of those precious innovators. In some inscrutible way, McCracken seems to think that population growth in Africa answers that argument.
But the point and purpose of McCracken's very unscholarly and illogical article becomes clear if one realises that he is just another Greenie people-hater. He is in fact a former dean of Environmental and Life Sciences at Australia's Macquarie University.
While it is good to see the important issue of global population trends getting attention in the mainstream national press, one would wish for a more accurate and balanced discussion of the topic....
With the global population growth rate now down from the alarming levels of the 1960s and '70s and the apocalyptic demographic prognostications from those days not having come to pass, the "population bomb" is widely seen as having been defused. However, additional billions will still be added to the world's population in coming decades. Next year global population numbers will reach 7 billion, with another 2 billion likely being added by mid-century.
Being concerned about this expansion is not necessarily the "pervasive misanthropism" or the seeing of children as a "nuisance" that Devine alleges, but simply regard for the wellbeing and quality of life of current and future generations.
The reported claim from Feder that the population explosion of the past 200 years has fuelled "every human advance from the Industrial Revolution to the computer age" grandly simplifies the complex causal webs of the developments to which he alludes. Population has certainly been a factor, but far from the whole story.
Almost all of the projected 2 billion or so population increase between now and mid-century will be in less developed countries. For many of these countries Feder's reported "people are the ultimate resource" line is drawing a very long bow. The more than 60 million extra people Pakistan is projected to have by 2025 are certainly not going to make that country's future development any easier; likewise the projected gain of 52 million in Nigeria over the same period, 35 million in Ethiopia, 31 million in Bangladesh, and so on. Less developed countries that have succeeded in reducing their fertility rates are generally in a far better position to realise the potential and wellbeing of their citizens than those still experiencing high population growth rates.
Most developed nations face significant demographic ageing and, in cases, population decline over coming decades, but stronger evidence than that is needed of the article's claimed looming "demographic winter".
For interest groups and individuals wedded to economic expansion driven by population growth the threat is perhaps "self-evident". But not necessarily to others. There is research around that suggests that population ageing need not be a "crisis". More sympathetic attitudes of employers towards older workers, for example, would see workforce participation rates go up. Productivity gains in turn hold scope for covering expanding "grey population" health and welfare needs.
Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here