Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Less of Us


At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements. 😉

Last week I saw a thread on Twitter concerning a report that "...America is no longer making enough babies to keep pace with deaths." ("Millennials say no to kids, population 'replacement level' turns negative", Washington Examiner, November 15, 2017) Which is to say, if things keep going at this rate, the population is going to decline.

I know I've hit this topic before, so I'll keep this simple... 

What if the world's population declines (rather than expands)? What will that mean for us?

31 comments:

  1. That sounds like a good thing to me. We're already taxing our resources.

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  2. We'd have more resources like Alex alluded to. Might be easier to get a job in certain fields too.

    betty

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  3. More for the rest of us?

    Eldercare would suffer.

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    1. More older people, sure, but other fields are losing jobs, so maybe those jobs would still be filled.

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  4. I'm sad that this is true in Russia and Japan, too. But maybe it's time we give everything over to the cockroaches and see if they treat the planet better. I just grossed myself out. ~grin~ Be well!

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    1. I don't know if it's such a bad thing, really.

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  5. Maybe social security would last. LOL - probably not.

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    1. If the government would stop sabotaging it...

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  6. I love how it frames it as "Millennials say no to kids" rather than the the actual truth of "Millennials don't have money, health insurance, or job security and can't afford kids".

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    1. The article I originally saw said exactly what you said. Millennials are broke because of the stupid economic policies of prior generations (among other things), so they can't afford kids.

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  7. It sounds bad at first- but maybe it will be a positive for the environment. Maybe it is just part of a current cycle that will change again in the future. Definitely interesting to think about. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. In all likelihood it will change, and this is just a blip. But who knows...?

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  8. I would like to think it might not be such a bad thing....Maybe with a decline we would not be in the line of producing killers, idiots and trouble makers. I would like to think that those would be the DECLINE we would and could do without. I love your Tuesday what if questions!

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    1. It would be ideal for those to be the ones not being born. Maybe...

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  9. Probably a good thing for the planet besides it'll never happen. On the first hand the planet is overcrowded, however if it did we sure we might as a race begin to appreciate our happy ball of beings more

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    1. That would definitely be a plus.

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  10. I think it would be good. Less people means less resources being used though eventually a large drop in population would present challenges as well, especially in rural areas.

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    1. I wonder if it would be rural areas or cities. We still need farmers to grow food, don't we?

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  11. There was a wonderful science fiction story written on that theme, and I thought it was by Philip Jose Farmer, but I can't seem to find it. I recall it was a mainly positive thing. Maybe I'll come up with it. I think we would have a lot of challenges, but not any more challenges than global warming is causing.

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    1. I hope you do find it. I'm sure it'll be interesting. (I doubt I will ever find a question that hasn't been done somewhere before.)

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  12. A lecturer came through about five years ago and discussed this with us. A negative population growth means less young people to help support an elderly population. He discussed the political balance in world powers and how such a shift will affect the future dynamic of the world. Pretty scary stuff. Basically he was saying, people, have kids! We need them to sustain our nation's future!

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    1. Alas, at the moment the corporate world is not set up in such a way as to promote more child bearing. Perhaps a negative population growth might change corporate culture?

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  13. Replies
    1. Then you get into android rights. But that's another question entirely ;)

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  14. Fewer people to take jobs so the powers of be will promote immigration for cheap labor.

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  15. The answer will depend on which part of the world are we talking about. In areas that are overpopulated, there will be more resources for the people. But in areas that are underpopulated, there might be a shortage of people.

    But I guess, overall, it might be good for the whole world. Nations will be less finicky about their immigration policies. There will be more 'give and take' among nations and communities, fostering pluralism, diversity and interdependence.

    Anyway, in the immediate future, I don't think anything catastrophic is going to happen.

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    1. Not catastrophic. Just a slower birth rate. Over time, that'll decrease the population.

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  16. A number of countries having that right now. If it keeps going in that direction it could cause a lot of issues. Depending on how fast the decline eventually I'd imagine we'd start having trouble filling needed jobs and production of things needed by society would be strained.

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