Population Decline

Population Decline


Population decline is a big issue in many Western nations, including Japan, Germany, Italy, and others. Without immigration, many western nations would collapse.

Talk to many people and they will tell you: The government needs to act! We must have universal childcare or longer maternity leave or more benefits. Interestingly, none of these are solutions. How can you get better benefits than in Europe? All of the Scandinavian countries have social benefits/childcare/women's rights that are worth salivating over, and yet… their fertility rate remains below replacement levels.

Yet, if we look at North America, where is the fertility the most stable? Not in quebec which provides the best benefits, or in Ontario which is also very left leaning…no Alberta is the province with a reasonably adequate fertility rate. Of all the industrialized nations, only the United States has a reasonably adequate fertility rate.

This is another case of a central planning body taking actions; probably with the best intentions; but ultimately causing problems long term. It has been government policy to encourage certain kinds of families and discourage others. Government have not just granted people rights, but have actively promoted a certain lifestyle.

For example, I'd hate to return to world where women could not get an education or work. Women have every right to work and get educated. The problem has been the government forcing a policy to encourage a certain lifestyle and discourage others. Special programs to encourage women into the workforce, get them into special fields, quota systems…discourage single income households.

They leaped onto this policy without being able to predict the future. As if anyone can :) If they simply gave women their rights and then let it be, we could be more responsive as individuals. Naturally, the solution they propose is more government!

Just like the economy. They go from one government solution, which leads to a greater problem, which requires another great government solution, which leads to another greater problem. Sometimes it requires a bit of humility to understand you don't really know everything. That you don't know what's best for everyone, and its best to let people be. People themselves will take advantage of different options and provide the diversity of choice and policies.

The obvious flaw in government is thinking of people as machines. Of course, they only measure success on GDP growth, infant mortality rate… No where in there do you see 'happiness' or 'personal success.' It is no surprise then government doesn't understand why people have children.

People will have children when they want to. They they feel they can spend time with them and love them… Sorry government… me popping out a kid to hand over to be raised by the state in government run daycare and then the education system…and then the child can grow up and toss me in a home at old age… is not really appealing.
Humans are social creatures. We love to help each other and form emotional bonds. Socialists have always missed this point…believing success can be based on satisfying material need.

What to do about Population Decline now?

The best solution would be to deal with it. Government programs to encourage births have not worked to any great degree. We should rather learn to deal with a falling population. Reducing state benefits. Reducing pensions. Learning to become more efficient in industry to take care of the labor shortage… Sweden of all places are begun this process. Their pension system? Completely private account…with a minimum government benefit.

We should also remember there are benefits to population decline. Consider pensions. It is easy to become alarmists and wonder where the money for pensions will come from. We need more younger workers to support the old. Yet ponder the effects of population decline for a minute.

Fewer people, means less demand for housing, which means house prices will plummet. This REDUCES the cost of living. This is a wonderful thing especially considering how much of your income goes to rent/mortgage. Let's face it, if you life in almost any western nation (canada/Europe/US), the bulk of your living costs are on housing. Food is relatively cheap. With a declining population, you won't need as big of a pension to live a comfortable life.

Not to mention, there would be a decline in the need for services. Education costs would plummet as there would be less children. Traffic problems would be reduced. Fewer young people might also mean less crime, so less law enforcement issues.

Population decline is really only a problem for the elite. The big money makers. They depend on constant population growth to increase their profits growth. For the rest of us, population decline is just what it is. It will mean cheaper housing, maybe less healthcare… but in the end we'll still be here.

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