Tue Sep 15th, 2009 at 07:38:35 AM EST
The 'Rebuilding the Economy' series at the Christian Science Monitor has an article that asks Is population growth a Ponzi scheme?
Notions that population growth is a boon for prosperity - or that national political success depends on it - are "Ponzi demography," says Joseph Chamie, former director of the population division of the United Nations.
The profits of growth go to the few, and everyone else picks up the tab.
Diary Rescue by Migeru
The United Nations is predicting the world's population will stabilize by 2050. Growing populations in poor nations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East are expected to be offset by declining populations in much of the developed world.
Why do some like growth?
Growth, whether through immigration or natural increase, is a plus for some groups. For business, it means a boost in the demand for products. It also means a surge in low- and high-skilled workers, which can keep a lid on wage pressures. Religious and ethnic groups want more immigrants of their own faith and ethnicity to raise their political and social clout. The military regards young immigrants as potential recruits.
But the public pays a cost for a bigger population.
According to Chamie, those 'growth' costs are more congestion, more spawl, more farmland destroyed, more environmental destruction, and more greenhouse gas pollution.
While aging and stabilizing populations also have costs, those costs are less than those associated with a growing population. "The goal should be gradual population stabilization, Chamie says. The costs of an aging but stable population would be more manageable than those of a population boom."
He asks: Does America really need more than its current 309 million people? With immigration at present levels, it will have 439 million by 2050.
A stable or falling population, he says, "is not a disaster. It is a success."