Occasionally, even the mainstream media are forced to acknowledge reality.
Toward the end of a story on Japan’s recent election, which may have resulted in the demise of the party that’s dominated the nation’s politics for most of the post-war era, the New York Times noted that the incoming government “has promised to strengthen the social safety net and raise the low birthrate by giving families cash handouts of $270 per-month per-child.” (Emphasis added)
So, the Japanese see a relationship between declining fertility and the nation’s long-term economic malaise? Could this have implications for other nations?
With the world’s second-largest economy, Japan has been stuck in the doldrums for most of this decade. In the 1990s, Japan’s stock market fell 80 percent from an all-time high. Its real estate market lost 60 percent of its value.
A decade of massive stimulus spending hasn’t stopped the slide. Japan’s public debt-to-GDP (180 percent, compared to 98 percent in the U.S.) is the highest of any industrialized nation.
With a birthrate of 1.25 (2.17 is needed just to replace current population), Japan has one of the 10 lowest birthrates in the world.
As a result, it also has the fastest-aging population. Japanese over 60 went from 11.6 percent of the nation in 1989, to 21.2 percent today. It’s estimated that Japan’s workforce will shrink 20 percent by 2030. Throughout history, there has never been an instance of economic growth coupled with declining birthrates.
In the United States – with a birthrate right around replacement – Demographic Winter has still contributed to the current recession. Baby boomers (76.7 million) are the largest demographic group in our history, followed by the much smaller Gen Xers (49.1 million).
The early boomers are approaching retirement. Many are well beyond their peak spending years. With empty nests, they no longer need large houses and are looking to downsize. Our economy is driven by domestic spending. A much smaller number of Gen Xers can’t pick up the boomers’ slack. With or without Obama’s ongoing orgy of stimulus spending, further economic decline seems inevitable.
Despite the contribution of falling birthrates to a failing economy, the international population-control movement is in high gear – which reminds me of a line from the song “Hard-Hearted Hannah.” (“I saw her at the seashore with a great big pan. There was Hannah pouring water on a drowning man.”)
With a dedicated ideologue in the White House and friends with political and financial clout, the neo-Malthusians are back with a vengeance, witness the following:
In January, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to justify a huge subsidy for birth control as part of the stimulus package. It was, Madame Speaker declared, a budget-balancing device.
Pelosi told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: “Well, family planning services reduce costs. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now, and part of what we do for children and part of what we do for children’s health (keeping children from being born?) and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception (sic), will reduce costs to the states and federal government.”
Even though it has no basis in reality, this is a favorite theme of contraceptive/abortion left – more children are a drag on the economy (mouths to feed, instead of hands and brains to carry on society’s work), and anything we can do to prevent their birth is a blessing. Do they ever wonder why some of the most densely populated places on earth (Hong Kong, Singapore) are also among the most prosperous, while some of the most sparsely populated (Russia, Africa) are basket cases?
In a July 7 interview with the New York Times, Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued that population control justified legalized abortion. “Frankly, I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in population that we don’t want to have too many of.” Ginsburg didn’t specify exactly who those “we don’t want to have too many of” were. It’s reasonable to assume they would include the poor (always a favorite target of population controllers, here and abroad). The mother of the contraceptive movement, Margaret Sanger, was a dedicated eugenicist who believed the human race could be improved by limiting the growth of “undesirables,” through sterilization and contraception. Little wonder she was one of Hitler’s favorite community organizers.
John Holdren was confirmed as the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on March 19. In 1977, Holdren co-authored a book with the original population hysterics, Anne and Paul Ehrlich. In the chilling, apocalyptic tract (“Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment”), Holdren and the Ehrlichs mused that a coming “Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining optimum population for the world and for each region and for arbitrating various countries’ shares within their regional limits. … The Regime would have power to enforce the agreed (population) limits.”
They also concluded that “compulsory population-control laws including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.” At his confirmation hearing, Holdren assured senators that he does not believe government should set population goals. Still, in the course of three decades, Obama’s science czar never bothered to disavow these 1984-ish views until he was up for confirmation.
Besides government funding, the population controllers have billionaire backers. As reported in the London Times May 5, some of the wealthiest people in America met in Manhattan earlier that week. Calling themselves the “Good Club,” they include David Rockefeller Jr., George Soros, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Ted Turner and Oprah Winfrey. According to the Times, since 1996, their combined charitable giving has exceeded 45 billion British pounds. Over dinner, they talked about how they could coordinate their donations. The Times noted, “Taking their cue from Gates, they agreed that overpopulation was a priority.” The bulk of their spending to promote contraception and abortion will be aimed at Africa – a continent with high birthrates but one which is being depopulated by AIDS.
The elite uses the term “overpopulation” based on the assumption that whatever the earth’s population is at any particular point in time, there are too many of us.
When Thomas Malthus wrote “An essay on the Principle of Population” in 1798, and fewer than a billion inhabited this planet, there were too many people. Since then, every advance in civilization – from the industrial revolution to the computer age – has been paralleled by population growth.
When Ehrlich wrote “The Population Bomb” in 1968, and humanity numbered 3.56 billion, there were too many of us. (Ehrlich predicted mass worldwide starvation in the early 1970s.) It goes without saying that with a current population of 6.78 billion, overpopulation has reached crisis-proportions.
Still, there’s a stubborn fact: Worldwide, birthrates have plummeted by more than 50 percent in the last 40 years. The West is graying. There are fewer and fewer children and more and more elderly. The U.N. Population Division estimates that by 2050, there will be 248 million fewer children under 5 in the world than there are today.
By around 2030, the world’s population will stop growing and begin declining. At some point, population decline will become population free fall. Just how civilization will be maintained with a shrinking population is anyone’s guess.
Besides Gary Becker (winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics), Columbia historian Matthew Connelly and family scholar Allan Carlson, among others, “Demographic Bomb” includes an interview with Ehrlich. Nothing that’s happened in the past 40 years has caused him to change his mind. Like Karl Marx, Paul Ehrlich is distinguished by the fact that not one of his predictions has come true. In the documentary, he calls those who think falling birthrates are a problem “innumerate” – the mathematical equivalent of illiterates.
Perhaps someday he’ll explain how only an “innumerate” can connect Japan’s long-running recession with its well below-replacement birthrate and the geriatrification of the nation – as “Demographic Bomb” does. So do the “innumerate” Japanese, whose students are noted for their high math scores.