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The De-Population Bomb

Recorded on June 14 at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC.

In 1970, Stanford professor Paul Ehrlich published a famous book, The Population Bomb, in which he described a disasterous future for humanity: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” That prediction turned out to be very wrong, and in this interview American Enterprise Institute scholar Nicholas Eberstadt tells how we are in fact heading toward the opposite problem: not enough people. For decades now, many countries have been unable to sustain a #population replacement birth rate, including in Western Europe, South Korea, Japan, and, most ominously, China. The societal and social impacts of this phenomenon are vast. We discuss those with Eberstadt as well as some strategies to avoid them.

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  1. The West fell, yes, but the Roman Empire continued to exist in the East for another millennium. St. Augustine's misery was misplaced in hindsight. I say freedom-loving people should consider looking in the East for hope. Anyway, thanks for this brilliant and thought-provoking discussion. Splendid!

  2. Nicholas Eberstadt, thanks for your contribution! So much about what you are saying is happening exactly the same way here in New Zealand. We have the same problem with our Maori population, they have to a large part disengaged, or that is how it seems to me to be! I'll possibly get caned for saying what I have. Once again thank you!

  3. Thank you for sharing those insight . I think most people are aware of the population and birthrate declines. The reasons why are interesting and maybe obvious. The 40years of bad government and the society build on fears are interesting points.

    They are both connected and the zero risk and 100% safe (unachievable) narratives and policies are chased so hard in all aspects of life (in the work-flour, business to private life and entertainment) It only breeds more insecurity and is a negative feedback loop for society. Witch influences the other topics talked about like mental health and starting up a company / business idea or taking the risk off having children.

    Theirs also the economic and socially ‘accepted’ aspect that people in the west take into account that play a role. Coming from a moral point, before having children. For example the need for decent family housing, funds,(for) education, etc. to give your children a competing chance in life.

    While you can have 2+ children in a small 1 bedroom apartment and rely on public and social services or insentives to take care of things. This is not what most people,parents choose and they want as much control over it ass possible themselves. Wether this is just a luxury, first world living standard requirement problem, or not I don’t know. But, it is something that is in rapid decline and a harder 'required standard' to achieve for newer generations. While some can rely on previous generations wealth if they are lucky, most can not .

  4. This was a good discussion until the end. Appeals to tradition, patriotism and implied spiritualism are fallacious and do not hold the solution to our present problem which is structural, political and unprecedented in our history.

  5. Women no longer have a choice, we have to work now because families can’t afford to live on a single income, not even for the basic necessities of life. This means that families are making the choice to have fewer children as the stress involved with 2 working parents bringing up a family is really hard both for the children and for the parents.

  6. Last 40 years is oddly the same time period that the middle class began to shrivel even in the midsts of economic boom and technological revolution that however killed more well paid jobs than it created. Neo liberalism has had its severe downsides. Liberal education in universities less so imo because simply put far more people go to university to get a technical education than an arts one. Easily 9 sciences for every 1 arts who does from what Ive seen. This demographic collapse is probably easier to understand than we think. Comparing us to Israel that faces more pressing existential questions than we do might not be a good way to go at it. Still a good debate to at least show we have a major problem. Far left ecologists who have no consideration for demographic collapse that has already hewn disaster in other countries like Russia and China is the flip coin of the ideological divide on this. They too readily blame people for what few choices or financial means they have to consume 'cleanly'. Its why we see ecology only mostly top of mind among 2 groups, the rich and the ideological.

  7. 29 year old childless woman here, I am married to a man with two of his own sons. I have thought about having a child with him of my own, but the thought is absolutely crippling. We can not afford housing or anything due to child support already, how on earth do I afford to have a child of my own?
    Everything is so expensive, we can't even begin to think about being able to survive with another mouth to feed..and I'm running out of time.

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