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Should have qualified, crisis in low birth countries results in lower birth rates during the crisis and often a bump afterwards. In all likelihood this is postponing births within a generation. This pattern can as far as I know not be seen in high birth countries. I tested Gapminder for known disasters in high birth countries and could not find a pattern there, though of course disasters can also affect the record keeping.

To check the theory of continous economic crisis in low birth countries decreasing population, I checked Japan. (Other good candidates for the hypothesis is welcomed.) Birth rates were declining through the 70s and 80s reaching 1.6 before the 90s crisis hit. They then decline even steeper to 1.3 but are now increasing.

I also checked where Italy is going with its famous low birth rates (around 1.2 at the turn of the millenium). Since crisis struck and GDP/capita started going down, birth rates has gone up and are now at 1.5.

Crisis also postpones the generational shift in high birth countries if it increases child mortatlity, as the shift depends heavily on the decrease of child mortality, in particular first child survival.

So as a conspiracy theory, global economic crisis to decrease global population seems rather hamfisted. In particular since the curves were pointing in the right direction before the crisis and there is a significant risk that birth rates in high birth countries will go down slower as a result, giving a higher world population then if there had been no crisis.

Also a real conspiracy has better tools with a proven track record to decrease world population: in high birth countries, decrease child mortality through affordable and good medicine and promote economic opportunities outside the home. In low birth countries give women a lot of economic opportunities if they don't have kids and stick them with most (or all) of the responsibility if they do have kids. This way leads to slower growth in hgih birth countries and decreasing population in low birth countries. And it actually works.

So if there is a conspiracy at work, it is incompetent.

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by A swedish kind of death on Sun Nov 9th, 2014 at 09:16:25 AM EST
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