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Can Spain defuse its depopulation bomb?

Popular Party leader Alberto Nuñez Feijoo meets a swing voter. Credit: Getty

July 21, 2023 - 11:40am

Over the past 40 years, no party has dominated the Spanish political landscape like the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, or PSOE, now headed by Pedro Sánchez. Yet frustration over its handling of key issues — from the economy to immigration to regional separatist movements — has provided an opening for the centre-right People’s Party (PP) to win a plurality in national elections this Sunday. Were this to happen, it would likely enter into a governing coalition with the hard-Right Vox party. 

If the conservatives take the reins this autumn, however, the biggest long-term issue facing them and the nation as a whole will not be immigration or separatism: it will be the collapse of the Spanish family. Fertility rates have been steadily declining for decades, with the marriage rate falling more than 50% in the same period. When data from last year showed that the Spanish birth rate had plummeted to an all-time low, Vox took to Twitter to describe the situation as a “demographic emergency”. 

In 1980, the Spanish total fertility rate (TFR) was 2.2 births per woman. Today it has fallen to a historic low of 1.2 births, one of the lowest fertility rates among European Union countries, and far below the 2.1 rate required for a population to replace itself. As a result, for the first time over 20% of Spain’s population is above the age of 65, and this proportion is rising fast. 

Former director of the UN population division Joseph Chamie said: “In 2050, Spain will be the country with the highest percentage of old people in the world.” This demographic shift will put severe strains on the Spanish economy as its labour force shrinks and the government struggles to support so many old people. These trends also portend surging loneliness and economic vulnerability for ageing citizens without immediate kin in the country.

There are several reasons why the Spanish fertility rate is falling, one of which is changing gender roles and an increase in women’s participation in the workforce. In 1990, the women’s labour force participation rate was 34.5%. Fast forward to 2022 and that figure has increased to 47.1%. Consequently, many women are choosing to delay childbirth until later in life to pursue careers. In 2020, the average age of childbearing in Spain was 32 years, one of the highest in the world. 

What’s more, since the financial crisis in 2008 Spain’s unemployment rate has been unusually high, standing today at around 13%. The financial uncertainty associated with inflation, slow job creation and high rates of unemployment for young adults have all contributed to many deciding to postpone having children, or to have fewer children than desired.

Also noteworthy is a cultural shift in Spain, pushed in part by PSOE, by which many Spaniards are abandoning older family-orientated values and norms. In the past, larger families were seen as desirable and a source of pride, but this has changed in recent years, with fewer than 30% of women having at least two children, and instead favouring smaller units.

Spain has not been as aggressive as countries such as France and Hungary in advancing tax and other pronatalist policies that prioritise families with children. The country did temporarily enact a generous child allowance that led to a 3% increase in birth rates between 2000 and 2017, but this was discontinued in 2017, contributing to a 6% decline in birth rates afterwards.  

To address the formidable family challenges facing Spain, PP — should it win the election — will need to reform a labour market which is currently inhospitable to young adults searching for work. More, it should push through new tax and spending measures that prioritise families with children, and begin experimenting with new cultural measures — from school curricula to public campaigns — that revive the value of family in 21st-century Spain.

Without measures like these, the country could saunter off a demographic cliff, losing an estimated 11% of its population by 2050. This implosion, and the rise of a large dependent elderly class without enough workers and taxpayers to support it, will make the other issues now occupying Spanish leaders pale by comparison.

 

Brad Wilcox is a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia.
Tim Sprunt is a research associate at the American Enterprise Institute.


Brad Wilcox is a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. Tim Sprunt is a research associate at the American Enterprise Institute.

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Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
10 months ago

I recall some years ago being advised by an Italian girl friend that Italian women had abandoned the ideal of marriage and children and it seems to be the same in Spain. What reproduction does take place seems to be concentrated in incoming communities where religion is still taken seriously.

Those societies that concentrate on narcissistic self fulfilment are doomed to be replaced by those who still wish to perpetuate their genes and expand their tribe.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Nothing wrong with a bit of self fulfilment, narcissistic or otherwise. The biggest correlation to declining birth rates is education in women – turns out there’s more to life than being a baby machine.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

If there was no “baby machine” sweetie, I wonder who inflicted you upon us.

Last edited 10 months ago by polidori redux
Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Oh dear, who’s a big ol’ grumpapotamus then?

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It’s a serious question.
If your mother had not consented to being a baby machine, how would you have come into this world?

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It’s a serious question.
If your mother had not consented to being a baby machine, how would you have come into this world?

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

One could say the same about you and your ugly comment. Hilarious!

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

What was ugly about it?

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

What was ugly about it?

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Oh dear, who’s a big ol’ grumpapotamus then?

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

One could say the same about you and your ugly comment. Hilarious!

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Give an argument, not just a hyperbolic false dichotomy. Having a child or two does not make someone a “baby machine”, it makes her a mother, a very lovely and fulfilling thing, in case you hadn’t noticed. Your strident feminism is showing, dear.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
10 months ago
Reply to  Gerald Arcuri

I think Robbie was referring to the days when women were more or less constantly pregnant; 2 kids isn’t even replacement level, at least according to the article

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

I was thinking of that, and also present day in countries such as India and China where women are far more educated than they were previously.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Replacement level is generally calculated to be 2.1. That doesn’t require continuous pregnancy. I wonder what Robbie’s point really was.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

I was thinking of that, and also present day in countries such as India and China where women are far more educated than they were previously.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Replacement level is generally calculated to be 2.1. That doesn’t require continuous pregnancy. I wonder what Robbie’s point really was.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
10 months ago
Reply to  Gerald Arcuri

I think Robbie was referring to the days when women were more or less constantly pregnant; 2 kids isn’t even replacement level, at least according to the article

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Correlation is not causation. However, what I was pointing out is that if the “educated” women don’t procreate with sufficient fecundity they will be replaced by cultures that do in due course. Whether that is a good thing or not is entirely up to you to decide.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

But will they?
“Correlation is not causation”. Indeed. There’s not much historical evidence that population size leads to cultural dominance.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

But will they?
“Correlation is not causation”. Indeed. There’s not much historical evidence that population size leads to cultural dominance.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

If there was no “baby machine” sweetie, I wonder who inflicted you upon us.

Last edited 10 months ago by polidori redux
Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Give an argument, not just a hyperbolic false dichotomy. Having a child or two does not make someone a “baby machine”, it makes her a mother, a very lovely and fulfilling thing, in case you hadn’t noticed. Your strident feminism is showing, dear.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Correlation is not causation. However, what I was pointing out is that if the “educated” women don’t procreate with sufficient fecundity they will be replaced by cultures that do in due course. Whether that is a good thing or not is entirely up to you to decide.

Lewis Eliot
Lewis Eliot
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Kenneth Clark (“Civilisation” – strongly recommended) distinguished between cultures and civilisations as ‘a sense of permanence’. Vikings, he believed, had a culture but not a civilisation; civilisation was in the C5th and C6th was represented by tiny communities on the rocky far north and west of Europe, scratching out illuminated manuscript copies of the Bible. They had a strong sense of permanence; a sense of tomorrow, if you like.
Maybe that’s what’s disappeared in the last thirty years? If you tell an unremitting tale of violent racist colonialism, rapacious environmental destruction, an accelerating and unstoppable climate emergency, an unbreakable patriarchal oppression, to a population systematically stripped of an ability to think or reason, perhaps it’s not a surprise that ‘a sense of permanence’ has disappeared stage left; perhaps it’s a surprise it lasted as long as it did.
Modernism – just another form of Romanticism, after all – at least promised a silver anti-gravity disc and a ‘three pill’ meal – prawn marie rose, roast beef, and black forest gateaux. I’m still waiting for mine.
Let’s finish with a couple of direct quotes from Clarke: “however complex and solid it seems, civilisation is actually quite fragile. It can be destroyed.”
And here’s your point about narcissistic self fulfilment; “… Good people have convictions – rather too many of them. The trouble is that there is still no centre. The moral and intellectual failure of Marxism has left us with no alternative to heroic materialism, and that isn’t enough. One may be optimistic, but one can’t exactly be joyful at the prospect before us.”
Marvellous!

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Nothing wrong with a bit of self fulfilment, narcissistic or otherwise. The biggest correlation to declining birth rates is education in women – turns out there’s more to life than being a baby machine.

Lewis Eliot
Lewis Eliot
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Kenneth Clark (“Civilisation” – strongly recommended) distinguished between cultures and civilisations as ‘a sense of permanence’. Vikings, he believed, had a culture but not a civilisation; civilisation was in the C5th and C6th was represented by tiny communities on the rocky far north and west of Europe, scratching out illuminated manuscript copies of the Bible. They had a strong sense of permanence; a sense of tomorrow, if you like.
Maybe that’s what’s disappeared in the last thirty years? If you tell an unremitting tale of violent racist colonialism, rapacious environmental destruction, an accelerating and unstoppable climate emergency, an unbreakable patriarchal oppression, to a population systematically stripped of an ability to think or reason, perhaps it’s not a surprise that ‘a sense of permanence’ has disappeared stage left; perhaps it’s a surprise it lasted as long as it did.
Modernism – just another form of Romanticism, after all – at least promised a silver anti-gravity disc and a ‘three pill’ meal – prawn marie rose, roast beef, and black forest gateaux. I’m still waiting for mine.
Let’s finish with a couple of direct quotes from Clarke: “however complex and solid it seems, civilisation is actually quite fragile. It can be destroyed.”
And here’s your point about narcissistic self fulfilment; “… Good people have convictions – rather too many of them. The trouble is that there is still no centre. The moral and intellectual failure of Marxism has left us with no alternative to heroic materialism, and that isn’t enough. One may be optimistic, but one can’t exactly be joyful at the prospect before us.”
Marvellous!

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
10 months ago

I recall some years ago being advised by an Italian girl friend that Italian women had abandoned the ideal of marriage and children and it seems to be the same in Spain. What reproduction does take place seems to be concentrated in incoming communities where religion is still taken seriously.

Those societies that concentrate on narcissistic self fulfilment are doomed to be replaced by those who still wish to perpetuate their genes and expand their tribe.

Daniel P
Daniel P
10 months ago

Well….property should start to get cheap if you want a second home.

I find the following amazing..

-That people have concluded that fulfillment comes from a career. Told both my kids: “You are building a LIFE. A career is just part of that. If you are living for your career, you are doing it wrong.”

-That whole societies, whole cultures, are engaging in suicide. For people such as the Spanish and the Italians, people with proud cultures, I find it amazing that they are killing themselves, and their cultures with them, off one generation at a time.

-The cultures that are thriving in terms of growth are the most socially regressive. In other words, the progressive cultures are committing suicide and leaving the world to the regressive ones.

It is just sad. Somehow we allowed culture warriors and corporations to convince people and governments that the way forward to happiness was to forgo family and community, spend more hours in the office and buy stuff they do not need or have the time to enjoy. It sure as heck has not made people happier, cultures healthier or countries more stable.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

This is a long-term trend that predates the culture wars, maybe by decades. It likely does relate to shifting values as people become wealthier and consumer driven. Almost every wealthy country in the world has declining birth rates. What’s interesting is that ultra Orthodox Jews in Israel have very high birth rates, and self-isolated religious groups in North America, like the Amish and Hutterites, have high birth rates.

Emre S
Emre S
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You can go older than that. Having a quick look at the Old Testament, the societies it describes and its judgements on them sound strikingly familiar to today’s culture wars.

Emre S
Emre S
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You can go older than that. Having a quick look at the Old Testament, the societies it describes and its judgements on them sound strikingly familiar to today’s culture wars.

Emre S
Emre S
10 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I’m fairly certain there’s a evolutionary aspect to this. Societies and belief systems that favour hedonism and don’t value sacrifice are duly eradicated from history leaving behind ones aren’t like them.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

This is a long-term trend that predates the culture wars, maybe by decades. It likely does relate to shifting values as people become wealthier and consumer driven. Almost every wealthy country in the world has declining birth rates. What’s interesting is that ultra Orthodox Jews in Israel have very high birth rates, and self-isolated religious groups in North America, like the Amish and Hutterites, have high birth rates.

Emre S
Emre S
10 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I’m fairly certain there’s a evolutionary aspect to this. Societies and belief systems that favour hedonism and don’t value sacrifice are duly eradicated from history leaving behind ones aren’t like them.

Daniel P
Daniel P
10 months ago

Well….property should start to get cheap if you want a second home.

I find the following amazing..

-That people have concluded that fulfillment comes from a career. Told both my kids: “You are building a LIFE. A career is just part of that. If you are living for your career, you are doing it wrong.”

-That whole societies, whole cultures, are engaging in suicide. For people such as the Spanish and the Italians, people with proud cultures, I find it amazing that they are killing themselves, and their cultures with them, off one generation at a time.

-The cultures that are thriving in terms of growth are the most socially regressive. In other words, the progressive cultures are committing suicide and leaving the world to the regressive ones.

It is just sad. Somehow we allowed culture warriors and corporations to convince people and governments that the way forward to happiness was to forgo family and community, spend more hours in the office and buy stuff they do not need or have the time to enjoy. It sure as heck has not made people happier, cultures healthier or countries more stable.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
10 months ago

Natalism is not really compatible with materialist hedonism, which is the prevailing ideology of the West these days. Having kids or having fun: pick one.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago

That’s an easy one.

Daniel P
Daniel P
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

That sounds great, but it is not the reality. Thinking you can live like a well off 20 something forever and that is going to be a path to happiness is a fools game.

We have been having these new values and social structures shoved down our throats and marketed to us by corporations who benefit from larger workforces and lower wages and more consumers and by activist groups selling some new vision of ideal happiness.

What has it gotten us but far more mental health issues, people living in isolated lives, elders without family support, destruction of communities, and unstable politics? Nothing.

Human beings are not meant to live this way.

Daniel P
Daniel P
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

That sounds great, but it is not the reality. Thinking you can live like a well off 20 something forever and that is going to be a path to happiness is a fools game.

We have been having these new values and social structures shoved down our throats and marketed to us by corporations who benefit from larger workforces and lower wages and more consumers and by activist groups selling some new vision of ideal happiness.

What has it gotten us but far more mental health issues, people living in isolated lives, elders without family support, destruction of communities, and unstable politics? Nothing.

Human beings are not meant to live this way.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago

That’s an easy one.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
10 months ago

Natalism is not really compatible with materialist hedonism, which is the prevailing ideology of the West these days. Having kids or having fun: pick one.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago

My mother, a saintly lady who passed 20 years ago, has eight grandchildren ranging in age from 24-38. She has 0 great grandchildren. I would say only two of her grandchildren would even contemplate having kids.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago

My mother, a saintly lady who passed 20 years ago, has eight grandchildren ranging in age from 24-38. She has 0 great grandchildren. I would say only two of her grandchildren would even contemplate having kids.

James Kirk
James Kirk
10 months ago

There’s me thinking they didn’t just sleep during siesta.

James Kirk
James Kirk
10 months ago

There’s me thinking they didn’t just sleep during siesta.

William Shaw
William Shaw
10 months ago

Another article suggesting this trend can be reversed.
It can’t. We should start working right now to devise solutions.
Advanced robotics / humanoid androids can take over many tasks, including care of the elderly.
All we need is to wake up to reality and invest in the solution.

Last edited 10 months ago by William Shaw
William Shaw
William Shaw
10 months ago

Another article suggesting this trend can be reversed.
It can’t. We should start working right now to devise solutions.
Advanced robotics / humanoid androids can take over many tasks, including care of the elderly.
All we need is to wake up to reality and invest in the solution.

Last edited 10 months ago by William Shaw
Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
10 months ago

So that’s why they want to assimilate all those Gibraltarians.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
10 months ago

So that’s why they want to assimilate all those Gibraltarians.

Rob Cameron
Rob Cameron
10 months ago

There seems to be an idea and a justification for the seemingly inexorable rise in the number of human beings that society needs the young to pay for and look after the old. Meanwhile every one of the 8 billion humans currently on the planet wants the trappings of a citizen of the USA. It’s just not possible. It’s plain to see that a reducing population, facilitated by technology including AI, would facilitate a rising standard of living for all. No need for more doctors, houses, schools etc. More space and a better standard of living. Embrace a reducing population, plan for an alternative future which will be better for us all.

Rob Cameron
Rob Cameron
10 months ago

There seems to be an idea and a justification for the seemingly inexorable rise in the number of human beings that society needs the young to pay for and look after the old. Meanwhile every one of the 8 billion humans currently on the planet wants the trappings of a citizen of the USA. It’s just not possible. It’s plain to see that a reducing population, facilitated by technology including AI, would facilitate a rising standard of living for all. No need for more doctors, houses, schools etc. More space and a better standard of living. Embrace a reducing population, plan for an alternative future which will be better for us all.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
9 months ago

Spain needs more kiddies! I know – call up Morocco and have them send some over. THEY seem to have no trouble reproducing!

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
9 months ago

Spain needs more kiddies! I know – call up Morocco and have them send some over. THEY seem to have no trouble reproducing!

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago

I’m uncertain why this is considered a problem.
There are clearly too many people consuming too many things. Rather than labelling this an emergency it should be welcomed as a blessing with society adapting accordingly.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

You need young people to pay for old people. Without a strong, productive workforce, it may not be possible to pay for social programs to support seniors.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Hence why society(ies) must adapt. It’s clear this is going to continue into the future and the solution certainly isn’t never ending population growth.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The article isn’t about “never-ending population growth”. It is about the opposite. Comprehension can be so hard can’t it?

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

So it seems – maybe you should read everything again.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Maybe you should read the piece for the first time.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Maybe you should read the piece for the first time.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

So it seems – maybe you should read everything again.

Daniel P
Daniel P
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Robbie, the answer is not ever shrinking and aging population either. That just leads to self extinction and whole lot of misery on the way.

The earth can easily sustain the populations we have now and even a few billion more. At least it can if we are smart about it.

Ideally, we would be looking at something like sustainment levels of births at least.

Nuala Rosher
Nuala Rosher
10 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Europe can’t take in the populations of Africs and the Middle East. That is the problem posed by climate change and economic migration

Nuala Rosher
Nuala Rosher
10 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Europe can’t take in the populations of Africs and the Middle East. That is the problem posed by climate change and economic migration

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Adaption will almost certainly be necessary, but this should be part of a larger effort to encourage people to have children. If we follow low birth rates to their logical conclusion, this is not good for humanity.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

If the solution is a decline in population for the skilled knowledge cultures we will be even worse off. At the moment the world population is not an issue to fret about. Malthus has always been wrong.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The article isn’t about “never-ending population growth”. It is about the opposite. Comprehension can be so hard can’t it?

Daniel P
Daniel P
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Robbie, the answer is not ever shrinking and aging population either. That just leads to self extinction and whole lot of misery on the way.

The earth can easily sustain the populations we have now and even a few billion more. At least it can if we are smart about it.

Ideally, we would be looking at something like sustainment levels of births at least.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Adaption will almost certainly be necessary, but this should be part of a larger effort to encourage people to have children. If we follow low birth rates to their logical conclusion, this is not good for humanity.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

If the solution is a decline in population for the skilled knowledge cultures we will be even worse off. At the moment the world population is not an issue to fret about. Malthus has always been wrong.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Hence why society(ies) must adapt. It’s clear this is going to continue into the future and the solution certainly isn’t never ending population growth.

Luke Piggott
Luke Piggott
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It can only be a blessing if the measures are in place to make it advantageous. As it stands, the old will cripple the young due to no fault of their own. They will work hard all their life, pay for those before them only to burden the dwindling populations that come after. Where’s the blessing old chap?

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  Luke Piggott

It’s a good point. The blessing is that global population is not sustainable despite what Daniel P suggested above, because of over consumption and distribution of wealth. I guess future generations of old people are not going to get such an easy ride as they do now.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

“I guess future generations of old people are not going to get such an easy ride as they do now.”
Bad luck for you, good luck for me.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Ugh. The old Malthusian theory that has been debunked time and time again. Paul Ehrlich has made a comfortable living with this stuff despite repeatedly getting it wrong.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Daniel P wasn’t describing Malthusian theory, his suggestion was the world could comfortably cater for a few more billion people – that would be a disaster on many levels, and would leave many populations on the fringe of existence.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

How do? There’s plenty of room for 2 billion more people. Food won’t be a problem.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

How do? There’s plenty of room for 2 billion more people. Food won’t be a problem.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Daniel P wasn’t describing Malthusian theory, his suggestion was the world could comfortably cater for a few more billion people – that would be a disaster on many levels, and would leave many populations on the fringe of existence.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

“I guess future generations of old people are not going to get such an easy ride as they do now.”
Bad luck for you, good luck for me.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Ugh. The old Malthusian theory that has been debunked time and time again. Paul Ehrlich has made a comfortable living with this stuff despite repeatedly getting it wrong.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  Luke Piggott

It’s a good point. The blessing is that global population is not sustainable despite what Daniel P suggested above, because of over consumption and distribution of wealth. I guess future generations of old people are not going to get such an easy ride as they do now.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Imagine a world where nobody knows how to fix things. A world where Indo-European innovations cease. We are headed there.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

You need young people to pay for old people. Without a strong, productive workforce, it may not be possible to pay for social programs to support seniors.

Luke Piggott
Luke Piggott
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It can only be a blessing if the measures are in place to make it advantageous. As it stands, the old will cripple the young due to no fault of their own. They will work hard all their life, pay for those before them only to burden the dwindling populations that come after. Where’s the blessing old chap?

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
10 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Imagine a world where nobody knows how to fix things. A world where Indo-European innovations cease. We are headed there.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago

I’m uncertain why this is considered a problem.
There are clearly too many people consuming too many things. Rather than labelling this an emergency it should be welcomed as a blessing with society adapting accordingly.