October 19th 2019


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Greta Thunberg: she's not doing it all on her own

EDITORIAL Time for Australia to rethink the neo-liberal experiment

RURAL AFFAIRS Queensland Labor punishes farmers to placate UNESCO

CANBERRA OBSERVED Morrison's 'positive' globalism has resonance

NSW ABORTION ACT Amendments annul some of the Act's worst excesses

GENDER POLITICS Doctors call for inquiry into childhood gender dysphoria

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Hong Kong's 'software' may be key to its survival

GENDER POLITICS Pornography and the transgender agenda

RIGHTS & FREEDOMS Transgenderism poses biggest threat to religious freedom

OPINION When Maggie (Sanger) met Mickie (Mann)

PHILOSOPHY The element of justice in economic practice, Part 2 of two parts

POPULATION Lifestyles and policies ensure population peril ahead

HUMOUR If atheism is the answer, what was the question?

MUSIC Good, better, Bach: The composer who consistently outdid himself

CINEMA Joker: From a heart in darkness

BOOK REVIEW Hope, more than economics, drives Trump voters

BOOK REVIEW A pushback against visceral unreason

LETTERS

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POPULATION
Lifestyles and policies ensure population peril ahead


by Jeffry Babb

News Weekly, October 19, 2019

For as long as most of us can remember, we have been told that the world is overpopulated. But, within our children’s lifetime, the world population will peak, and then begin to fall.

What happens to each of us as we age
is now imminent at the global level.

Estimates vary but, according to the United Nations, by the year 2100, the world’s population will be in the region of 11 billion. Others estimate it will be around 9.5 billion; we are dealing with human beings, so we can’t be sure.

One thing is certain: the world’s population, which has grown continuously since 10,000 BC (barring disasters like the Black Death), will begin to fall for the first time in history. It won’t fall because of natural disasters; it will fall because people have stopped having children.

I have seen the future and it is scary. Japan is leading the way, if that is the correct term. Forty years ago, when I first visited Japan, it was the kingdom of youth. Taiwan, if anything, is worse.

In both Japan and Taiwan, the birthrate is less than one child per family. To a large extent, women will not marry men who cannot support a family. Due to the casualisation of the workforce, about a quarter of the male population in these countries is not in regular employment. In Taiwan, child rearing is all about “face”. Parents will put their children into English-language day care. Parents will say that educating more than one child is beyond their means.

The collapse in the birthrate puts stress on the family and society. One cannot simply turn the birth tap on and off.

Singapore was one of the first countries to discourage large families. Then, when it wanted to expand its population, Singapore’s women wouldn’t cooperate. Similarly, China’s disastrous one-child policy means that, even though families can now have two children, the birthrate remains at around 1.5 babies per woman.

It is said that China is the first country in the world where the population will shrink before it grows rich. A plummeting birthrate, as in China, means that families must rely on an ever-shrinking number of people. It also means that tax revenues will fall as fewer people are employed productively and more of society’s resources are devoted to caring for the elderly.

The alternative is that people will work longer. In Japan, elderly people who 40 years ago would have been enjoying their retirement are still working. Mature women who previously would have been engaged in domestic duties are now working.

Population growth will shift between regions. Africa, by 2100, is likely to have the world’s largest population. In Africa, it is common for families to have eight to 10 children. These children are living longer and having healthier lives. As in Europe and America, and later Asia, improved nutrition and public health mean that these children will be healthy and more productive. Africa is already the world’s fastest-growing region.

Many people think that Africa’s economy is dominated by famine and wars. However, although growth is uneven, countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria are showing consistent growth. South Africa, despite the rule till 2018 of kleptocrat Jacob Zuma, has done better economically than the pessimists predicted since the end of the apartheid regime. Botswana is now an upper-middle income country, with a GDP per capita of around $20,000 a year.

Some experts predict that the world’s dominant religion will be Islam, even though Christianity is growing in leaps and bounds in Asia and Africa. Christian house churches are expanding rapidly in China, although the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officially discourages them. The Holy See has been attempting to normalise relations with China, but some issues seem to be intractable, such as who will have the authority to appoint bishops. The CCP tolerates the “official” Catholic Church as long as it accepts the “guidance” of the CCP.

Much is heard of the expansion of Islam in Africa and Asia, but the truth is that Christianity is now the dominant religion in countries like South Korea. From the point of view of the Holy See, China is a missionary opportunity on the level of the opening of South America.

Migration may be one way for prosperous countries to overcome labour shortages. For countries such as Australia and the United States, with a tradition of welcoming immigrants, this would not be a problem. And Taiwan, though it is a relatively insular society, has many migrant workers, mainly from Southeast Asia.

Now Taiwan is offering citizenship of the ROC (Republic of China, Taiwan’s official name) to long-term residents. This is a welcome move for many “old China hands” who regard Taiwan as their home. Some even have pensions from their workplaces.

Japan now has a large number of migrant workers, mainly from Southeast Asia, who work in low-grade manual occupations; although skilled workers are starting to be recruited. Many are female care givers: that is, they look after the aged Japanese population.

Japan is different. Japan has been called “a tribe”. It does not welcome outsiders; even attempts to have people of Japanese origin “return” from countries with Japanese immigrants, such as Brazil and Peru, have failed.

In other words, immigration is a not a universal solution. Europe may not welcome immigrants, either. Australia, with a relatively healthy birthrate and a tradition of welcoming and accommodating immigrants, may indeed be “the lucky country”.




























All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99


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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm