Mass immigration eases the transition to a climate-friendly future with low beginning charges – happy with that?

Guest contribution by Eric Worrall

The Guardian believes that immigrants from poor countries will happily take care of the old people in rich countries who have chosen not to have children. Or maybe robots will fix everything.

Why falling birth rates are good news for life on earth

Laura Spinney
Thursday July 8th, 2021 7:00 p.m.

In the midst of a climate crisis affecting 8 billion people on earth, it is absurd to say that there is a shortage of babies

Fertility rates are falling worldwide – even in countries like sub-Saharan Africa, where they are still high. This is good for women, families, societies and the environment. So why do we keep hearing that the world needs babies with media fears about maternity ward closings in Italy and ghost towns in China?

The short-term answer is that while this slowdown has been predicted as part of the now 250-year-old demographic shift – whose signature is the decline in both birth and death rates – occasional events like the release of US census data or China’s decision, its To loosen up two-child politics, to force them back into consciousness and thus to arouse fears Family lines were erased and dwindling superpowers were not invited from the top table.

In the 19th century, a country needed the youth to run its factories, consume what they produced, and form a military force in wartime. That became less true in the 20th century and has little relation to reality in the 21st century. More and more jobs that require perseverance and strength – also in combat – are done by machines while the products of a nation are consumed worldwide.

Gross domestic product (GDP) could affect a country’s geopolitical position, and high GDP fills the state coffers, but there is no evidence that young workers are more productive than older workers today. Twenty and 50 have different intelligences, says Oxford University gerontologist Sarah Harper, but both play a role in entrepreneurship. And if you care about human well-being, you should pay more attention to GDP per person than per country.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have to adapt to the new reality. We do that too because the way many countries distribute resources is also rooted in the 19th century and unsustainable. For example, more people have to work longer. Although creativity doesn’t wane with age, skills change and we need to replenish those that have been lost by the workforce. And when older people finally stop being productive, we need to find new ways and new employees to take care of them.

Immigration – which tends to attract young adults – is a critical component of this adjustment, smoothing the demographic transition for richer countries while redistributing capital to poorer countries where birth rates remain relatively high. There is overwhelming evidence that immigration is generally good for societies – economically, but also socially. Closing the doors is self-destructive in this sense.

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I think the idea that we no longer need young workers is a bit premature. Machines have become very popular, but we are still at least a few decades away from the end of manual labor.

I also think that it is a big assumption that the current trend of low birth rates will continue. In the future, the gene pool will increasingly be dominated by the descendants of people who, contrary to the demographic trend, have large families. Sooner or later, people who want large families will dominate and population growth will pick up again.


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