And the good news keeps rolling in! Yesterday I discussed a recent study showing a decrease in carbon emissions during recessions and reminded everyone of how the U.S. emissions are the lowest in 20 years! The tone of the study was pessimistic, preaching to everyone that we are still screwed (wrong for multiple reasons) even if the recession continues, which – by TRADITIONAL metrics - is quite likely….because…. the birth rate in most of the world continues to decline, including in the U.S. In fact, the birth rate in the U.S. in 2011 hit an ALL TIME LOW of 1.9 per woman!
The article I linked to paints this in a negative light. Don’t fall for it. This is great news in most regards – especially for the environment and for future generations. Hear me out here.
The negative spin on the low birthrate is that social/government programs (in developed nations) such as Social Security/retirement, Healthcare, various forms of government “insurance” will suffer. Why is this? Because in a very ponzi-like manner, these systems and government programs were designed upon the idea that the economy will grow forever because the population will grow forever. We tried that. We filled the world with people and pollution (worse pollution in some areas, getting better in others). In the U.S. we built huge sprawling environmental disasters we call cities with pavement, freeways, McMansions, power lines, gas stations, and strip malls as far as the eye can see. It is most likely that we over-built. Now 10 of millions of houses, office spaces, and retail spaces sit empty and rotting. We can barely pay for our infrastructure anymore. Some people say we are losing that battle.
So for a nation OVER $16 trillion in debt, with way too much far-flung expensive infrastructure, with basic commodities (even water) becoming more scarce and expensive, why would we want a population explosion? Just to build, buy, and consume more crap in order to fulfill some archaic economic models and support too-big-to-fail banks?
As I have mentioned many times before, if we start defining “growth” more along the lines of health, happiness, and efficiency, we will be much better off. We can still take care of the people who need support and were trapped into dependency. Focusing on the community and a future NOT defined by consumption, is a better way forward, in my opinion.
Population growth is slowing. Many people will try to tell you this is a bad thing. They have an agenda. Building more stuff and having more children just for the sake of economic “growth” is a 20th century idea. The world is crowded enough. It is the 21st century. Time to start thinking differently.
Have a pleasant Tuesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
This post was written by jloew on October 9, 2012