From: Dani Eder (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Nov 08 2004 - 10:03:30 MST
> High tech western civilization has not exactly
> escaped this model, but we
> have by lower birth rates and high economic growth
> lengthened the
> cycle. It does not protect us from other parts of
> the world where high
> population growth has run ahead of economic growth.
A significant part of the world now has below
replacement fertility rates (2.1 births/woman - the
extra 0.1 accounts for children who die young).
A successful population model would have to explain
why rich areas like Western Europe (fertility rate
= 1.5), Canada (1.6), and Japan (1.4) have very
low rates; while Eastern Europe (1.4), which is
much poorer, also has a low rate; and the US (2.1)
has a significantly higher rate. The highest rates
in the world (all >6.0) are in Afghanistan, Chad,
Congo, Gaza Strip, Mali, and Uganda. These are all
very poor places.
Wealth correlates with lower fertility rates, but
there are other factors at work. Level of
seems to be another major factor. Children are
more expensive to raise in cities than on farms, where
they can provide free labor. Level of education
also seems to contribute. Former and current
Communist countries that had good education systems
tend to have lower fertility rates.
In any case, the world's population growth rate is
slowing overall, with replacement fertility projected
for 2055 AD, at which time the total population
(9.4 billion) will be less than 50% greater than
at present (6.4 billion). Ignoring for a moment
the possibility of a singularity occurring in the
next 50 years, automation and productivity
are far outpacing population growth. So I would
expect the general living conditions for mankind
as a whole to improve.
The real issue I see is the distribution of wealth.
Right now business is moving to countries with low
labor costs like India and China. If automation
gets good enough, however, cheap labor may not be
as much a factor. Business may then pull out of
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