Mar 2, 2008

Doco heads-up "Demographic Winter"

This movie trailer looks intriguing.

Having been indoctrinated my whole life into thinking that the world is groaning under the burden of over-population, I am curious to see that there are some dissenting voices - and that those voices seem to belong to reputable sociologists and demographers.

Granted, the doco seems to be highly promoted by the Conservative Right in the States, but that does not in itself invalidate the argument - merely points out that the Conservatives will promote anything that argues for 'traditional family values'. And boy, does this do that.

The indicators are that the wealthier the population, the more highly educated the women, the more liberal the sexual morality, then the lower the birth rate. (i.e. people would rather have a bigger house and a trip to Hawaii than a third child). Europe, Russia, South Africa (amongst others) are currently all sitting at less than replacement rates - and even those that still have birth rates of over 2.1 (replacement rate), have declining rates - for example countries that 20 years ago had a birth rate of 5, now have one of 3. Go here for data on birth rates etc. The theory is that these will continue to fall.

On the other hand, who are the people who are having all the babies?

As this article at Dallas News says, on the same topic

...that means traditionalist Catholics, "full-quiver" Protestants, ultra-Orthodox Jews, pious Muslims and other believers who reject modernity's premises.

Like it or not, the future belongs to the fecund faithful.

Does that scare you? It does Philip Longman. In his 2004 book, The Empty Cradle, he warns fellow secular liberals that demography is destiny and that those who want to preserve modernity must start having more children than "fundamentalists."

Good luck with that.

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