Global Baby Bust Notes - GLOBAL BABY BUST ARTICLE*many...

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GLOBAL BABY BUST ARTICLE *many Americans think overpopulation is one of the world’s most pressing problems --the typical Westerner enjoys an unprecedented amount of private space (larger homes with less kids) *idea that quality of life in US and Europe under threat by population growth; however, population growth has fallen by more than 40% since the late 60s; peak population expected in 2070, followed by shrinking of nations while average age spikes *root cause of these trends is falling birthrates --no industrialized country still produces enough children to sustain its population over time, or to prevent rapid population aging *the changing economics of family life is the prime factor discouraging childbearing --children offer little or no economic reward to their parents, and women are acquiring economic opportunities and reproductive control *now the developing world is experiencing the same demographic transition (especially as it becomes more urban and industrialized) --e.g., Mexico fertility rates dropped and country is aging five times faster than US --fertility rates in Middle East are falling faster than anywhere else on earth, so region’s population is aging at an unprecedented rate *today, most developing countries are growing old before they get rich --China’s low fertility means that its labor force will start shrinking by 2020; social security system already has extreme debts --higher abortion rates in China because sex of fetuses can be determined before birth *impact of these trends on global economy and balance of power -- positive possibilities —1) falling birthrates made great economic boom in Japan and many other Asian nations possible in the 60s (decline in number of children meant decline in burden of their dependency, freeing up more resources for investment and adult consumption); 2) appeal of radicalism in Middle Eastern societies could diminish as young adults make up less of the population, so societies could be less prone to political violence -- negative outcomes —if fertility falls beneath replacement levels, the number of
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