Lots of hot air

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RobinBHM

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My understanding is that higher birth rates in poorer countries is driven by:
  • the expectation that the elderly will be supported by their offspring in the absence of state pensions and benefits
  • high levels of child mortality due to famine, poverty, lack of health care etc which meant that many did not survive to adulthood
Only in recent decades where improved healthcare has benefitted even the very poor have very large families become the norm - children mostly grow and become reproductive adults.

In the now developed world (UK etc) population growth was very low for centuries until the industrial revolution. Improvements to food supplies, housing, heathcare, sewage systems etc etc made child mortality a relative rarity. Birth control became acceptable and affordable.

It clearly takes a few generations for behavioural changes to reflect a new reality - hence much larger Victorian and Edwardian family sizes.

I would put it down to a lack of contraception.
 

John Brown

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At the end of the day, it's largely irrelevant.
Firstly, the countries with the highest birth rates are not necessarily the ones having the greatest per capita effect on the climate.
Secondly, and to my mind more crucially, it would not be possible to reduce the earth's population in the necessary time scale.
 

Jacob

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My understanding is that higher birth rates in poorer countries is driven by:
  • the expectation that the elderly will be supported by their offspring in the absence of state pensions and benefits
  • high levels of child mortality due to famine, poverty, lack of health care etc which meant that many did not survive to adulthood
Only in recent decades where improved healthcare has benefitted even the very poor have very large families become the norm - children mostly grow and become reproductive adults.

In the now developed world (UK etc) population growth was very low for centuries until the industrial revolution. Improvements to food supplies, housing, heathcare, sewage systems etc etc made child mortality a relative rarity. Birth control became acceptable and affordable.

It clearly takes a few generations for behavioural changes to reflect a new reality - hence much larger Victorian and Edwardian family sizes.
There are lots of reasons but a basic survival mechanism when life is difficult or disrupted is increased birth rate, e.g. post war baby booms and very high rates in very poor countries:
"Niger is a developing country, which consistently ranks near the bottom in the United Nations' Human Development Index and has the highest birthrate in the world"
"...In a 1974 United Nations population conference in Bucharest, Karan Singh, a former minister of population in India, illustrated this trend by stating "Development is the best contraceptive."
There's a huge question mark about how many births are the result of deliberate choice. It seems that the choice to not have them is more likely in the developed world and stability of life styles is a big component - fewer partners, more control and planning etc.
Loads of interesting comments, stats and graphs on line - Fertility Rate
"Since the burden of child-birth and mostly also of the upbringing of children is borne by women, it is not surprising that fertility rates tend to be high where women have a lower social status and few opportunities outside the household. It is only when greater importance is given to the interests of women that this changes."
 
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Blackswanwood

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The virus had zero effect on carbon emissions.
I don’t follow your logic there Rorschach

It doesn’t really matter but I would have thought the virus was the proximate cause of emissions being reduced significantly last year. In other words if there had been no virus there would have been no lockdown which curtailed the burning of fossil fuels for a period last year? I guess you are saying it was the decisions taken by governments to lockdown that caused it (and let’s not rerun the pros and cons of that 😉) but they wouldn’t have had a decision to make if there had been no virus.

Cheers
 

Rorschach

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I guess you are saying it was the decisions taken by governments to lockdown that caused it (and let’s not rerun the pros and cons of that 😉) but they wouldn’t have had a decision to make if there had been no virus.

Cheers

Correct, it was a decision to close borders etc, we didn't have to do that, no one forced us to and indeed not all countries did the same thing as lockdowns were something only rich countries could "afford" to do.
 

Jacob

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Correct, it was a decision to close borders etc, we didn't have to do that, no one forced us to and indeed not all countries did the same thing as lockdowns were something only rich countries could "afford" to do.
The virus forced us to do it.
 

Stevekane

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Overpopulation,,,Im no economist but is the problem with a negative birthrate that it would only work if we all worked and provided for ourselves untill we died, if you want retirement, care etc you have to have more people working to provide it,,,,or put another way, someone has to go out and hunt for food and as well as feeding themselves and their children, be happy to give some to you as well?,,
I personally think the big problem (threat!) is China, our reliance on them and our willingness to invest in their economy rather than our own to the detriment of jobs, skills training and whole communities,,and ultimately
I fear, perhaps our security. Trump was a buffoon but I did like his attitude to china and I wish Europe was a bit more like him.
 

Droogs

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At the end of the day, it's largely irrelevant.
Firstly, the countries with the highest birth rates are not necessarily the ones having the greatest per capita effect on the climate.
Secondly, and to my mind more crucially, it would not be possible to reduce the earth's population in the necessary time scale.
Oh it is entirely possible just not morally digestable
 

Droogs

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Overpopulation,,,Im no economist but is the problem with a negative birthrate that it would only work if we all worked and provided for ourselves untill we died, if you want retirement, care etc you have to have more people working to provide it,,,,or put another way, someone has to go out and hunt for food and as well as feeding themselves and their children, be happy to give some to you as well?,,
I personally think the big problem (threat!) is China, our reliance on them and our willingness to invest in their economy rather than our own to the detriment of jobs, skills training and whole communities,,and ultimately
I fear, perhaps our security. Trump was a buffoon but I did like his attitude to china and I wish Europe was a bit more like him.
China has a massive problem based around this, they are heading to an economically and socially massive period of under-population. Just as the West is; ours caused in the main by better living conditions and better levels of education amongst the "proles". Comfortable and educated people on the whole tend to have far less children, preferring to concentrate on a direct replacement for each parent and providing that replacement with a much improved standard of living than the parents had. The Chinese are heading this way now and have been for the last decade but it is exacerbated by the 1 child policy that was in place until recently. The current working age population of China is far larger than it progeny and is headed for the same problems the West is starting to experience now in regard to workforce size and monetary provision (tax levels) for the provision of social welfare causes. The biggest headache for the Chinese is the fact that they are not yet a post industrial society or economy and therefore will have a much harder time coping with the resulting massive OAP population visa vie the much reduced taxable working population over the next 30 years.

Regarding security, China does not need to invade or attack anyone. They already own the USA financially. The hold over half of it's debt and are also the largest non domestic landowner in the US. Apart from the Federal government the only bigger landowner is Bill Gates. Like him most of what China owns is farmland. China has the US by the dogs danglies the yanks just haven't realised this yet. They have no need for military take overs this fact and the Belt and Road policy is ensuring that in the background China is the only real global superpower. The bang bang side will swing their way as US economic viability continues to shrink and fall by the wayside over the next 30 years. The important areas (power generation and supply along with logistics transportation) are already saturated by Chinese companies such as BYD who are becoming the biggest bus maker in the US and globally. Their blade batteries show the old adage the oriental can only copy and not innovate to be what it has always been - a lie.
 

Stevekane

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China has a massive problem based around this, they are heading to an economically and socially massive period of under-population. Just as the West is; ours caused in the main by better living conditions and better levels of education amongst the "proles". Comfortable and educated people on the whole tend to have far less children, preferring to concentrate on a direct replacement for each parent and providing that replacement with a much improved standard of living than the parents had. The Chinese are heading this way now and have been for the last decade but it is exacerbated by the 1 child policy that was in place until recently. The current working age population of China is far larger than it progeny and is headed for the same problems the West is starting to experience now in regard to workforce size and monetary provision (tax levels) for the provision of social welfare causes. The biggest headache for the Chinese is the fact that they are not yet a post industrial society or economy and therefore will have a much harder time coping with the resulting massive OAP population visa vie the much reduced taxable working population over the next 30 years.

Regarding security, China does not need to invade or attack anyone. They already own the USA financially. The hold over half of it's debt and are also the largest non domestic landowner in the US. Apart from the Federal government the only bigger landowner is Bill Gates. Like him most of what China owns is farmland. China has the US by the dogs danglies the yanks just haven't realised this yet. They have no need for military take overs this fact and the Belt and Road policy is ensuring that in the background China is the only real global superpower. The bang bang side will swing their way as US economic viability continues to shrink and fall by the wayside over the next 30 years. The important areas (power generation and supply along with logistics transportation) are already saturated by Chinese companies such as BYD who are becoming the biggest bus maker in the US and globally. Their blade batteries show the old adage the oriental can only copy and not innovate to be what it has always been - a lie.
My worry is that when faced with a restless population when things are not going so well for them, the chinese will create an enemy to bring the country back together,,,but perhaps Im just being paranoid,,,I hope so anyway!
 

Rorschach

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China has a massive problem based around this, they are heading to an economically and socially massive period of under-population. Just as the West is; ours caused in the main by better living conditions and better levels of education amongst the "proles". Comfortable and educated people on the whole tend to have far less children, preferring to concentrate on a direct replacement for each parent and providing that replacement with a much improved standard of living than the parents had. The Chinese are heading this way now and have been for the last decade but it is exacerbated by the 1 child policy that was in place until recently. The current working age population of China is far larger than it progeny and is headed for the same problems the West is starting to experience now in regard to workforce size and monetary provision (tax levels) for the provision of social welfare causes. The biggest headache for the Chinese is the fact that they are not yet a post industrial society or economy and therefore will have a much harder time coping with the resulting massive OAP population visa vie the much reduced taxable working population over the next 30 years.

Regarding security, China does not need to invade or attack anyone. They already own the USA financially. The hold over half of it's debt and are also the largest non domestic landowner in the US. Apart from the Federal government the only bigger landowner is Bill Gates. Like him most of what China owns is farmland. China has the US by the dogs danglies the yanks just haven't realised this yet. They have no need for military take overs this fact and the Belt and Road policy is ensuring that in the background China is the only real global superpower. The bang bang side will swing their way as US economic viability continues to shrink and fall by the wayside over the next 30 years. The important areas (power generation and supply along with logistics transportation) are already saturated by Chinese companies such as BYD who are becoming the biggest bus maker in the US and globally. Their blade batteries show the old adage the oriental can only copy and not innovate to be what it has always been - a lie.

The thing with owning land and debt etc is that is really only a gentlemans agreement, we all agree to abide by the laws. If the USA decided that China no longer owned it's debt or it's parcels of land, only invasion can change that. There is only one thing that is important to own in this world, it's not land, it's not money, it's not property, it's weapons, or rather the means to impose your will on your fellow man.
 

RobinBHM

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Overpopulation,,,Im no economist but is the problem with a negative birthrate that it would only work if we all worked and provided for ourselves untill we died, if you want retirement, care etc you have to have more people working to provide

and there’s pensions….which are a bit of a pyramid scheme.

young working age people are needed to fund retired people…..and as life expectancy has generally gone up over many decades….it needs more workers to fund it.

Thats one benefit of net migration.
 

J-G

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The Chinese are heading this way now and have been for the last decade but it is exacerbated by the 1 child policy that was in place until recently.
Hardly 'recently' -- the one child policy ended in 2013 - 8 years ago - being replaced with a 2 child policy 'if one parent was an only child' but in May this year they went to an 'up to 3 child' policy with no caveat.
 

Terry - Somerset

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Maintaining the proportion of younger people in a society to provide the energy to deliver that which the retired and elderly require is completely unsustainable without population growth.

The reason - increasing number of elderly people arising from improvements in life expectancy due to healthcare, diet, etc. To some extent the additional demands have been offset by increasing the retirement age - but by no means sufficiently.

The modern UK state pension was started by the Old-Age Pensions Act 1908, which provided 5 shillings (£0.25) a week for those over 70.

In 1908, if you reached 65 (most didn't) after 50 years of work you may expect to live another 12 years. Life expectancy (average) was ~50 due to child mortality and other incurable illnesses.

In 2020 you can expect to live ~20 years at 65, average life expectancy at birth is ~80 years.

If overpopulation is seen as a problem (I think it is) - both environmentally and socially - there are only a few options:
  • make people work longer whilst remaining in adequate health
  • reduce care for the elderly
  • reduce pensions for the retired
  • reduce living standards for the young, apply resources to economically inactive elderly
  • services increasingly provided by automation and robots (??)
As explicit policies many/all seem fairly unattractive - for some morally repugnant.

This may be why governments worldwide are reluctant to implement birth control policies as they will be aware that it would accelerate the need to make these difficult choices.

But the reality is that even without explicit policies this is what is actually happening!
 

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