THE DEMOGRAPHIC BOMB

R. A. Hettinga rah@shipwright.com
Thu, 18 Oct 2001 09:13:32 -0400


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At 8:15 PM -0400 on 10/17/01, Clay Shirky wrote:


> Nope. The opposite. Its falling birthrates that correlate with
> rising per capita income. We win by lowering the birthrate
> elsewhere, which means raising the opportunity cost for having
> babies, which means
> educating women everywhere.

Amen.

Progress (more stuff cheaper) begets progress...

BTW, some good books on progress, and repression, but not necessarily
the demographic transition (which is what we're talking about here),
are Joel Mokyr's "The Lever of Riches", about, well, progress (and
free lunch), Mancur Olson's "Power and Prosperity", a political
economics book about economic repression, the economics of
command-economy totalitarianism, and how Stalin used book-entry
settlement and income taxation to do his thing, and, last, but not
least, Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel", about exactly how
the west ended up with all the green stuff, and how the Afghans ended
up with, well, rocks.

Actually, now that I think about it, the latter book has quite a bit
to say about how population growth equals progress. For instance,
agriculturalists simply out-bred hunter-gatherers because they could
make more food, and that the reason that North America was
substantially depopulated by the time Europeans got around to seeing
all of it was because of all the germs that Eurasians had developed,
over the millennia, in the large cities they built...

Cheers,
RAH

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-- 
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R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah@ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'