Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Demographic Winter

The 2008 movie Demographic Winter is available on YouTube, in Part I and Part II. The 2013 video with a similar message.

One review says:
Doomsayers from Thomas Malthus to Paul Ehrlich have warned of “overpopulation” leading to depleted resources and mass starvation. In reality, more people have generated to more prosperity and higher standards of living.

What the world faces in the 21st century is another type of demographic crisis, but one that is painfully real: falling fertility rates and aging populations which could ultimately endanger civilization.

The average woman has to have 2.1 children during her lifetime – just to replace current population.

In less than 40 years, fertility rates have fallen by over 50% worldwide. In 1970, the average woman had 6 children during her lifetime. Today, the global average is 2.9. The United Nations Population Division predicts a further decline to 2.05 by 2050.
In much of the industrialized world, the crisis can be discerned even now:

• Europe might as well hang a “Going Out of Business” sign on its door. The average birth rate for the European Union is 1.5, well below replacement (2.1). In Italy, it’s 1.2.
Another review complains about the supposed subtext:
The argument put forth in Demographic Winter is a familiar one to those who have been watching conservative strategy develop over the past several years: that with birthrates falling globally over the last half-century, and in most developed nations falling below the “replacement rate” of 2.1 children per woman, the ratio of young to old will shift dramatically and wreak havoc upon existing social security and healthcare systems. The economy at large may also suffer, as the elderly cease spending and a smaller generation of workers is crippled by the taxes needed to support their parents. And the reasons why it’s occurring is a litany of culture-war complaints: women working, the “divorce revolution,” the sexual revolution (including cohabitation and the pill), worries, or what the filmmakers call “inaccurate presumptions,” about overpopulation and limited resources, and an affluence that leads to fewer children. It’s a massive failure to be fruitful and multiply, writ large, but again, such religious cues are kept off-screen. ...

But there’s a more insidious undercurrent to the “demographic winter” argument as well, one its proponents fiercely deny, but which nonetheless permeates nearly all of the current debate on demographic worries: that the concern is not a general lack of babies, but the cultural shifts that come when some populations, particularly immigrant communities, are feared to be out-procreating others. This has become a standard right-wing argument in Europe and the U.S., launching a series of books since 2001 that predict a coming Muslim onslaught that will displace traditional Western populations, ... Demographic Winter is an entry in the growing canon of profamily scholarship that seeks to make an “air-tight case” for the theological ideas of the “natural family” based on social science alone, de-sublimating Biblical claims into research-driven theories.
I am not sure that is the subtext, as the movie clearly says that United Nations projections show the entire world population peaking, and starting to decline in about the year 2050.

However, those UN projections are out of date. The Dec. 2014 UN projections show the world population increasing for the foreseeable future, and still increasing in 2100. The biggest gains will be in Africa, India, and China.

Nearly all the examples of birth rate decline were from Europe and Japan. Japan's has been decline for two generations. Other Western developed countries countries have been declining since about 1960, altho some of them have replaced the loss with immigrants.

The news media reminds us daily about how global warming might have an effect over the next century. But the demographics changes may be far more significant. There are technological fixes for the climate, but not for demographics.

These movies do not say what to do about these trends. One shows a couple of white lesbians adopting a couple of black babies. (Last one, at 1:09:30.) I am not sure the point of that. Is that the logical consequence of an excess of older infertile white women and an excess of poor African kids?

One conclusion might be that some populations are overbreeding, while others are underbreeding. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has argued (in 2009) that a major purpose of legalizing abortion was to reduce the population growth in the people we don't want:
Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.
She later clarified that she was quoted accurately and concerned about overpopulation in the welfare class.

Abortion is just one of many government and social policies with long-term effects on demographics. The movies mention various anti-family policies in Western countries, and these lead to low fertility in wealthy communities.

The net effect of all these policies is to de-populate the societies who created the modern world, and replace them with runaway overbreeding and migration in Third World countries.

Demographic changes seems to be a lot more important than climate change over the next century. Global warming is only expected to raise sea level a couple of feet, and most of the CO2 emission growth is coming from those high-population Third World countries. Most of the other environmental threats of the future are also attributable to Third World population growth, and to immigration to America and Europe. I don't have any answers, but it is very strange for this issue to be ignored by anyone claiming to be concerned about global warming or pollution.

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