The Depopulation Implosion

I recently came across a talk (mp3) given for the Long Now foundation by Philip Longman. The thesis can be described as a summation of his book which is described in his bio as follows:

His other books include The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity And What to Do About It, published by Basic Books in 2004 and reissued in paperback in 2006. It examines how the rapid yet uneven fall in birth rates around the globe is affecting the balance of power between nations and influencing the global economy and culture.

He points out that large portions of the world suffer from a non-replacement rate population growth, with the United States being one of the few countries that are reproducing at a 2.1 child per couple rate (replacement being 2.1, the .1 being the extra 1/10 needed to make up for early death). He says that even in Muslim Iran, the reproduction rate is less than replacement As the population ages, there will be fewer workers, and a larger older non-producing population. In short, a disaster for the whole human race, maybe a fatal one. He does an excellent job laying out the problem and there’s an interesting question and answer period with one questioner asking the obvious that doesn’t this inevitably lead to euthanasia as a solution? He decries the fact that the “fundamentalists” are the only ones bucking the trend (by which he means Mormons – he apparently (and rightly so given the widespread disregard for the teaching on contraception) doesn’t consider Catholics a group that poses a threat to the trend)

I’ve heard this argument before but this guy is no conservative – he’s a liberal who’s not afraid of saying the emporer has no clothes. Once again the truth and wisdom of Humanae Vitae is shown. Give Mr. Longman a listen.