The Barrenness of SuccessSTEVE W. MOSHER
The muffled explosions you hear are the sounds of European populations crashing.
The muffled explosions you hear are the sounds of European populations crashing. Europe and Japan will undergo dramatic declines in population over the next 50 years. Europe’s population will fall by 122 million to 600 million, while Japan’s will shrink by 22 million to 105 million. Thirty-three countries in all, says the UN, will see their populations decline.
The accompanying aging of these populations will shrink the workforce, threaten to bankrupt pension programs and undermine health care for the elderly. Economies may be hobbled and national security compromised as the pool of young people dries up. Generational warfare may ensue as different age groups scramble for scarce government resources. (Should nations, for example, increase funding for student loan programs or for medical care for the elderly?)
How would the UN rejuvenate declining populations in the developed world? It proposes to bring in massive numbers of young people from the developing world, in wave after wave of “replacement migration,” to maintain the workforce at its current level. According to scenarios offered in the report, Japan would accept 32 million immigrants over the next 50 years, Europe a whopping 161 million.
There is a great irony in this. After all, it is the UN’s zealous promotion of population control, radical feminism, and the like which helped create the depopulation problem in the first place. But we at PRI have two additional concerns.
Birth rates are falling everywhere, not just in developed countries. As more and more countries fall below replacement, there will be fewer sources of new migrants to make up the developed world’s birth dearth in the years to come. “Replacement migration,” in other words, is not a permanent solution to population decline in the developed world, but just a temporary fix.
Moreover, how can we justify extracting from the developing world so many of its brightest young minds? Robbing Peter to pay Paul has never been a very good idea, especially in this case where the Peters of the world-the developing countries-are so very poor; and the Pauls-the wealthy countries-are so very rich (see PRI’s Weekly Briefing, “Robbing from the Poor...” 3 March 2000, http://www.pop.org/briefings/robpoor.htm).
And what of the social problems that will accompany this massive influx of new immigrants? “In many countries,” the UN report warns with bureaucratic blandness, “additional large volumes of immigrants are likely to face serious social and political objections, even as a means of slowing population decline and population aging.” Yes, like race riots in Berlin and Tokyo.
For these and other reasons, it seems preferable that countries experiencing a birth dearth enact pro-family, pro-natal policies to increase their birth rates.
The overall pattern seems too evident to ignore. Once countries join the developed world, their birth rates plummet. Once people reach a certain level of wealth, they can be easily convinced not to replace themselves. Then when Planned Parenthood says that “Babies are not sweet little things. They wet and dirty themselves, they get sick, they’re very expensive to take care of,” the message hits home (Planned Parenthood, “The Perils of Puberty,” Denver 1974, 15).
Mosher, Steve. “The Barrenness of Success.” Population Research Institute. (March 24, 2000).
Reprinted with permission of the Population Research Institute.
Steven W. Mosher, President of the non-profit Population Research Institute, is widely recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on the population question. Steven Mosher, a convert to Catholicism, is the author of the best-selling A Mother's Ordeal: One Woman's Fight Against China's One-Child Policy. Other books authored by Steve include Hegemon: China's Plan to Dominate Asia and the World, China Attacks, China Misperceived: American Illusions and Chinese Reality, Journey to the Forbidden China, and Broken Earth: The Rural Chinese. Articles by Steven Mosher have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, TheNew Republic, National Review, Reason, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Freedom Review, and numerous other publications. Steve Mosher and his wife, Vera, have nine children. They reside in Virginia.
Copyright © 2000 PRI
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