THE DEMOGRAPHIC BOMB

Clay Shirky clay@shirky.com
Thu, 18 Oct 2001 16:30:40 -0400 (EDT)


> > 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.
> 
> Do you have proof that the causation runs the way you imply? 

I don't think I'm implying simple causation, which is why I said
correlation. I'm sure the causal arrows are all over the map, as with
most virtuous circles. We win by raising the opportunity costs for
women to have children, whatever it takes to do that, but which at the
very least includes education.

> If you take a look at the long-term effects of a falling birthrate, it's
> quite possible that a falling birthrate leads to economic problems. 

This is the same kind of racism as Gallagher subscribes to. Falling
birth rate doesn't lead to economic problems, falling population rate
leads to economic problems, and falling population rate has two
factors -- births and net migration. If the birth rate is falling,
raise immigration.

Only industrialized countries that cling to racially-defined notions
of national identity face problems of falling population. 

> over 2% growth?  (Recall that under that is considered a recession!)

A recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.

-clay