Alok Sheel is a rare bureaucrat who keeps writing excellent and well researched articles on diverse subjects in ET. He argues that the long-term threat to the human species may well be from de-population rather than overpopulation. Read the full article here if you have patience. The impatient can have a look at a couple of excerpts from it below.
He says that the population scare in developing countries was actually generated by the Club of Rome (a global think tank that deals with a variety of international political issues) and scholars like Paul Ehrlich. It was preceded centuries ago by something similar in
The second stage of demographic transition is marked by a sharp decline in poverty, rising living standards and female literacy. It is likely that most developing countries would gray at a far lower per capita incomes compared to the OECD countries. This would constrain the former’s capacity to transfer incomes to cope with ageing related crises in welfare.
Food supply continues to outstrip population growth. Unsustainable growth has less to do with population growth than with the consumption benchmarks set by the rich countries. As the ageing and welfare crises in the developed world unravel, migration can be expected to increase sharply, equalizing the global demographic structure over the long-term.
In the end, ageing and depopulation can have two possible consequences:
- On account of the strong correlation between affluence and ageing, poorer countries will age later, and could become nodes of growth as more affluent societies slow down.
- As globalization has increased inequalities by increasing the rewards to capital relative to labour, ageing could reverse this equation. With asset prices falling, a growing number of retirees will sell assets to a shrinking base of workers.