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A distinguished British scientist has claimed that a declining population is good for the world, the economy, and the environment.
Sarah Harper tells The Guardian we should embrace falling birthrates. Moreover, a declining population is good for the environment and the economy, Harper asserts.
“This idea that you need lots and lots of people to defend your country and to grow your country economically, that is really old thinking,” Harper says. Notably, Harper is the former director of Britain’s most prestigious science organization, the Royal Institution.
Scientist Alleges That A Declining Population Is Good For The Environment
A declining population is good because it reduces economic activity and consumption, Harper states.
For example, having one fewer child reduces a family’s “carbon footprint” by 58 tons of carbon dioxide a year, The Guardian claims. To elaborate further, many scientists believe that carbon dioxide causes global warming and climate change.
So, The Guardian and Harper are undoubtedly blaming children for climate change. In Harper’s mind, a logical way to prevent climate change is to reduce the number of people on the planet.
Scientist States That A Declining Population Is Good For The Economy
Amazingly, Harper believes a declining population is good for the economy. Harper also thinks that we need fewer children because of modern technology.
“A smaller number of highly educated people in the knowledge economy of Europe will vastly outweigh increasing our population because automation is going to take over many of the tasks,” Harper asserts. Significantly, Harper believes replacing people with machines will lead to prosperity.
“All the evidence is, that if families, households, societies, countries have to deal with large numbers of dependents, it takes away resources that could be put into driving society, the economy, etc.,” Harper says.
Scientist Claims That A Declining Population Is Good And Children Are Bad
In essence, Harper is saying that children are a burden on society. After all, children require education, healthcare, childcare, and other expensive services. Consequently, Harper believes that having fewer children makes countries richer.
Astonishingly, Harper thinks leaving older people in the labor force is better than having more children. Furthermore, Harper wants people to work until they are 80 or 90.
“It is much easier to enable older adults to stay up-skilled and healthy and in the labor market than it is to say to women ‘oh you have got to have children’,” Harper maintains.
Economist Declares That A Declining Population Is Not Good
On the other hand, economist Lyman Stone of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) believes a declining population is bad for the economy. Stone thinks the economy will shrink if the population falls.
“If the size of the economic pie is not growing as quickly, it will be harder for new companies to enter the market,” Stone writes. In fact, Stone thinks that falling birthrates will make problems like income inequality worse.
Stone predicts America’s economy will stagnate because of falling birthrates in Declining Fertility in America. In detail, Declining Fertility is a report from the AEI that refutes the notion that a declining population is somehow good.
Declining Is Population Is Supposedly Good But It Will Destroy Social Security
In contrast to Harper, Stone predicts a declining population will trap senior citizens in poverty. In particular, Stone believes that a declining population will destroy Social Security, the stock market, and retirement savings.
“Without as many young workers to pay into Social Security and Medicare or buy the hot dogs and iPhone apps that make corporate shares worth holding, the retirement prospects for American workers will dim,” Stone writes.
Social Security is an intergenerational wealth transfer program that Uncle Sam finances with taxes on workers. If there are fewer workers, then there will be less money for Social Security under those circumstances.
“In other words, in a low-fertility world, Americans may have to work longer and harder before retiring,” Stone asserts. In addition, lower economic activity will decrease the value of stocks and retirement accounts.
“Their 401(k)s will not be worth as much, they will have long lines at the hospital, and their Social Security checks will perhaps be smaller than they expected,” Stone notes concerning retirees in an America with a declining population.
If A Declining Population Is Good, America Is Already There
America will soon put the theory of a declining population being good to the test. Presently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the birthrate is falling in every state. Particularly, birthrates have fallen by over 20% in 44 of the 50 U.S. states since the 1950s.
The birthrate in West Virginia has declined by 60% to 69% since the 1950s. Additionally, birthrates in Indiana and Maine have fallen by 50% to 59% since the 1950s.
Birthrates in nine other states have fallen by 40% to 49% since the 1950s. Specifically, those states are Mississippi, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and North Dakota.
Moreover, birthrates in 13 states fell by 30% to 39% between the 1950s and 2017. Those states are Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana, Alabama, New York, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.
Finally, birthrates in eight states fell by 20% to 29% between the 1950s and 2017. Notably, those states consist of California, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska, Minnesota, Arkansas, and New Jersey.
I took these figures from Declining Fertility in America, which was published by the AEI in December of 2018. Lyman Stone is the author of this report.
America will soon find out if a declining population is good for the country. Notwithstanding, Americans have already been taking Sarah Harper’s advice for decades.
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What are your thoughts on the possibility of population decline across the world? Let us know in the comments below.