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LINK The demographic time bomb that could hit America - The Washington Post

"In 2017, the United States saw the fewest babies born in 30 years, a stat that produced a lot of hand-wringing.

But it turns out things could be worse — a lot worse. We could be Japan, whose unfolding demographic crisis provides some lessons for where America might be headed."

By VictoriaNotes8
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1

This planet has an increasing number of people of at least 7.5 billion and things seem to be getting worse from some perspectives. Such as "Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world’s foremost experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens civilisation." [theguardian.com]. Would more people result in eating each other instead of less intelligent animals, and many that are better than the human animal. How about eating plants instead of flesh, that is quite an idea.

I do not have answers, but could have many opinions. I think that an increase in the planetary populations is not the answer.

MaxCjr Level 3 Jan 13, 2019

The link failed!

"I think that an increase in the planetary populations is not the answer."

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The article I posted is not about that and I think most of us here agree that we are overpopulated. The article is predominately about a shrinking number of younger working people paying into the system to fund public services for retirees.

Eating plants will likely not prevent overpopulation due to our basic human instinct to reproduce and mainstream religion which discourages or prohibits birth control. Btw, plants don't like being eaten, either. They can sense when they are being eaten and send out defense mechanisms to try and stop it from happening. [inhabitat.com]

With that said, I'm not interested in going off topic to discuss vegetarianism or veganism. Perhaps you can start your own post on the subject.

1

I feel the world needs to slow down on the baby making anyways. To many people in the world as it is.

Chimon21 Level 4 Jan 12, 2019

Agreed, but the article was about a swelling number of retirees must depend on a shrinking number of working people to power the economy. The tax base required to fund public services for those retirees — including health care and elder care — also shrinks.

3

And more stupid people are reproducing than smart people. (ALA Idiocrasy)

RiverRick Level 7 Jan 6, 2019

Loved that movie.

Narrator: "As the 21st century began, human evolution was at a turning point. Natural selection, the process by which the strongest, the smartest, the fastest, reproduced in greater numbers than the rest, a process which had once favored the noblest traits of man, now began to favor different traits.

Most science fiction of the day predicted a future that was more civilized and more intelligent. But as time went on, things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. A dumbing down. How did this happen? Evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence. With no natural predators to thin the herd, it began to simply reward those who reproduced the most, and left the intelligent to become an endangered species."

One of my favorite movies. Never thought it’d actually become a documentary 🤦🏾♀️

2

Solution: Immigration.

Bob_60 Level 5 Jan 5, 2019

Yes. That was mentioned in the article.

2

Personally, I think the global population should be much closer 250 million people. So it doesn't sadden me to see a birthrate go down at all.

thexter Level 4 Jan 5, 2019
3

We have enough people.
.

Buddha Level 7 Jan 4, 2019

"And as more people age out of the workforce, a swelling number of retirees must depend on a shrinking number of working people to power the economy. The tax base required to fund public services for those retirees — including health care and elder care — also shrinks."

@VictoriaNotes Wee have to many people!

@Marine No argument there.

@VictoriaNotes But keep in mind Clinton robbed 3 trillion from SS, and the Republicans are going after all they can get their hands on. There is a SURPLUS so we have no reason to fear it running out until McCONnell gets his hands on it. He is one cog towards the ruination of America. On this link you'll find 233 Reps who voted to steal more in 2018.
[truthorfiction.com]

2

Heads up it is where the world is headed

Marine Level 8 Jan 4, 2019

Whether intentional or not.

@VictoriaNotes Yes , Hi there . where have you been . I miss your comments and have not seen them for quite a while.

@Marine Thank you. smile001.gif I take breaks now and then, plus I tend to prefer reading comments more than sharing comments.

@VictoriaNotes Just do not go away for good.

2

Japan has several key differences... it has almost no immigration. It's a largely monocultural society which is extremely different than the US.

PalacinkyPDX Level 8 Jan 4, 2019

They addressed that in the article.

"In fact, this month the Japanese parliament passed controversial legislation allowing more immigration, in part to address precisely this issue."

But that only addresses one aspect of their problem.

@VictoriaNotes Yes, but Japan has extremely little immigration largely do to the social stigmas, (yes, racism) and pressures "outsiders" face in that country. Don't expect to see lots of Chinese, Koreans or Indonesians allowed in the country.

@PalacinkyPDX Likely not anytime soon. Of course, racism is a prominent problem in our country, too, even though this country was built by the hands of slaves and low-wage earners (immigrants).

3

Of course you know how I feel on this one, Victoria. Several years ago we were in Victoria (BC) and I saw an article in one of their papers that talked about the "horrors" of the "Birth Dearth". The usual woe to the economy stuff. Most of Europe is experiencing a negative birth rate (especially Italy) hence the increasing immigration (Parvin's Niece graduated from engineering school in Iran and she was offered a job in Germany, Stuttgart. She was given a job as an Au Pair with a German family for 1 year so she could learn the language and then she would go to a 3 month intensive language course to learn the technical aspects of her job). Despite the fact that human economy is totally dependent on the environment is never mentioned. Nor is it mentioned that a number of economists are pushing a truly sustainable form of economics. Here is one idea: [en.wikipedia.org] The prevailing trend is still run by Cornucopian economists [britannica.com]

Another thing I continue to push is why do we assume that retirees are useless? We can and often contribute a lot by staying active and volunteering. My whole island is what it is through volunteers and I have seen that being true for other groups as the Nature Conservancy (I maintained a volunteer data base for the Seattle branch and we had well over 2,000 volunteers). The Seattle Parks Dept., one of the largest in the country also has a mammoth volunteer force. There is a large group actually dedicated to promoting negative population [npg.org]

Thanks for getting my adrenaline flowing this early in the morning. smile002.gif

JackPedigo Level 8 Jan 4, 2019

You make some great points and I support volunteerism. With that said, volunteers don't pay taxes and I seriously doubt most doctors in the U.S. will spend 10+ years in school and become volunteers.

As I mentioned to another commenter, the issue (concern) regarding a shrinking of public services to retirees (supposedly due to fewer younger people paying into the system) will likely have more to do with job losses due to automation which wasn't addressed in the article.

That is awesome and retirees are not generally helpless but at some point they do become dependant. Those are just the facts of aging. Furthermore those retirees are living off pensions being funded by their younger counterparts still in the work force. If there are more dependants than workers it becomes an issue.

@OpposingOpposum So here's the problem with that scenario; if an increasing number of us need younger workers to support us then, in the future, those younger workers will retire and need even more to support them. In other words a pyramid scheme. More sustainable retirement plans have been worked out but it is hard to change prevailing patterns.

Yes, some do become dependent which is why we need a workable national health care plan like in Europe (and quite voting for continuing tax reductions). Maybe if more retirees got off their butts and gave to society and took better care of themselves this would be less of a problem. And lastly, people should stop focusing so much on consumerism in their retirement years and downsize. For me, it's not so much how much you make but how little one needs to live well. I just read a funny passage in Bill Bryson's "The Road to Little Dibbling", " One of the great pleasures of dotage is the realization that you have pretty much everything you will need. Apart from a few perishable essentials like lightbulbs, batteries and food, I require almost nothing. ...furniture, books, decorative bowls, lap rugs, cushions with messages..." This was his disdain for all the souvenir shops spring up everywhere.
@VictoriaNotes

@JackPedigo your logic is circular. That IS the flaw in the system which is currently coming home to roost. Up until now there have been more workers than retirees. We've reached a tipping point where that is no longer the case. Furthermore unless one dies before reaching a dependant state, one will be dependant at some.point. this is a fact of aging.

@OpposingOpposum When you need to have more and more workers providing benefits for retirees it is a pyramid and shows a major flaw, as you said. The dependency part is true which is why we desperately need some sort of death choices like a euthanasia program. Problem is, is that hospitals often further the suffering because medicare pays for it. With overpopulation the issue is not just the number of new people but the longer life spans of the people already here. That may not be an issue long as the life expectancy in the US is declining.

3

To keep a stable population a birth ratio of 2.1 is required. In the developed world it currently averages 1.6 and in South Korea it is less than 1.0. As countries become wealthier the birth rate drops. AI will help but developed countries need immigrants to fill jobs and look after an aging population. Consumerism constantly needs more people so eventually we will need to find another system. Of course we may destroy the ability of the earth to support a human population by then so it may not matter.

Moravian Level 7 Jan 4, 2019

"Consumerism"

In a nutshell.

3

Having just rewatched Soylent Green, the whole idea is actually not starting to sound so bad these days. And that's coming from a vegan!

smile009.gif

gardenRobot Level 3 Jan 4, 2019

LOL --- Vegan or not, unknowingly eating humans and being euthanized against one's will isn't the way I'd want to go. To each his/her own, I guess.

Edited

@VictoriaNotes The movie made it perfectly clear; everyone went only when they said were ready to go. smile009.gif

Edited

@gardenRobot Haha. Great movie.

5

A decrease in human population might be the best thing for the planet. Why is there hand wringing when there are 7.5 billion of us on the planet? Sure the economy is going to take a hit but so much of the economy is based on growth of demand for goods and services and in turn growth of the population. I suspect that the problems that are more salient to the long term suvivability of the human species are global warming and removing micro plastics from our food supply.

AwarenessNow Level 7 Jan 4, 2019

I agree. Also, the article didn't address job losses due to automation, which will likely be the main reason public services for retirees will shrink.

"Why does this matter? Well, it’s hard for an economy to grow with fewer workers. And as more people age out of the workforce, a swelling number of retirees must depend on a shrinking number of working people to power the economy. The tax base required to fund public services for those retirees — including health care and elder care — also shrinks."

5

With the shallow end of the gene pool reproducing at a faster rate... I'd say we have larger problems! Until we have the next bottleneck!

RiverRick Level 7 Jan 4, 2019

An argument for abortion on demand and fully funded regardless of income.

Edited

@Qualia or age. Keep that as an option even after 15 years.

6

Perhaps we should consider an economic system based on sustainability rather than continued growth.
Now 7 states have legalized assisted dying. This will continue as the nursing home crisis becomes more widespread.

CrazyQuilter Level 7 Jan 4, 2019

I agree -- along with family-friendly policies. Both have been implemented in the Scandinavian countries, successfully.

Time to get rid of the "torture people to keep them alive" moneymaking industry. I'm proud to say Oregon was the first state which legalized right to die laws and it's my hope they can be made even broader to include persons with dementia who signed agreements to terminate life prior to their illness.

4

The fact that fewer babies are being born than replacement rate in Japan and perhaps elsewhere has both good and bad aspects. Humans are causing damage to the environment, including climate change and habitat destruction. Fewer of us would reduce those ill effects. On the other hand, there will be fewer young people to care for the elderly.

Fortunately, technology may help. The Japanese have been developing robots to help people who need it, for example the elderly. Such robots are not yet available, but some are close enough to being useful for that task that I, at 74, will probably be able to have such a robot one day. Currently the biggest disadvantage to such robots is lack of artificial intelligence capable of making robots interact with people with sufficient capability to make them useful. However, AI is improving rapidly, and many scientists believe AI will eclipse human intelligence around 2030.

When human level AI is combined with a robot, then robots will be capable of taking care of the elderly and everyone else too. They will be able do all work required to support the world economy, including growing food and distributing it to everyone wherever they are in the world or off world. They will be able to do the same for clothing, shelter and medical care. Of course, the intelligent robots would also be capable of destroying humanity, living in space or anywhere in the Universe since they only need energy and elements to repair themselves. That is a frightening prospect.

On the other hand, climate change may kill us all, we were incapable of preventing it, and now it seems we will also fail to minimize its effects. Perhaps our only chance is to hope super smart AI will take pity on us, make an army of robots to mediate and eventually reverse climate change, and save our asses.

A case can be made, that one way or another, humanity is domed, and that we will not explore and populate the galaxy. It's called the Fermi Paradox. There are many, perhaps millions, of stars, similar to our Sun that are millions of years older than the Sun. Yet, we can see no evidence of any intelligent civilization. Astronomers are looking, but their instruments are not necessarily good enough. Perhaps such civilizations exist, but we don't have telescopes powerful enough to see them. That argument can be countered.

If an intelligent civilization started to explore space a million years ago, and survived until today, wouldn't they be visible to us, or have come by to visit us? Some people say they have been abducted by aliens, but they cannot show anyone irrefutable proof that they were abducted; they just claim it happened.

The scientific evidence is inconclusive. Enough exoplanets have been discovered to calculate there should be tens of billions of planets similar to Earth in the Milky Way galaxy, and they have existed for billions of years. Unless the spark of life that created Mother Nature is incredibly rare, somewhere in the galaxy at some time in the past, life should have been created on a planet other than Earth. If so, where are the aliens?

Though I am hopeful humanity will survive, thrive and populate the galaxy, the evidence seems to say intelligent life comes and goes before a civilization can escape their planet and populate the galaxy.

Trump is willing to shut down the government to blackmail us into giving him five billion dollars to build the Trump Wall, an unwanted monument to stupidity. It appears he will win that stand-off. Will he threaten nuclear war over some other issue, and pull the trigger on humanity. Will climate change kill us. Will AI kill us. What option do we have except to survive in the face ominous odds, and hope someday we can make a better world, and perhaps, one day, explore and populate others.

The demographic time bomb seems insignificant compared to other issues we face.

EdEarl Level 8 Jan 4, 2019
7

In ancient times elderly people were supported by their children, a compelling reason to have large families. Now, there are too few, and elderly people need supporting for longer!!

Petter Level 8 Jan 4, 2019
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