An interesting article in the SMH by Kevin Rudd (our ex-PM) lists what he considers to be the ten great global shifts and challenges facing Australia. Aside from being a bit too self-congratulatory about what a 'you beaut' job the Australian Labor party is doing at running the country, I think the big problem with this article is that is totally ignores the underlying problem that has created most of these issues - global overpopulation.
There was a brief flurry of attention in the 1960s when the 'club of rome' came out with the "Limits to Growth", but the ZPG movement didn't really go anywhere, except in the case of China's draconian one-child policy. In the 80s and 90s constantly dropping commodity prices seemed to contradict the view that there were any limits to growth, but this century it appears that rising commodity prices, peak oil, water shortages, rising food prices and the increasing impacts of natural disasters (due to more people living in affected areas) have confirmed that there are limits to sustainable growth, and we are rapidly reaching them (or have passed them in some aspects eg. rate of carbon dioxide production). Yet there is little attention paid to reducing rates of population growth (eg. India, South American, Africa) in regions that would benefit from having less people to support - instead more attention is being directed to perceived problems of aging populations in the parts of the developed world that have achieved ZPG (or NPG). There was a brief public discussion of what population limits Australia should aim for over the coming decades (stimulated by recent upward adjustment in population projections out to 2050), but that too has gone very quiet recently - with politicians realising that it would be much more challenging to maintain economic growth without the automatic stimulus of a constantly growing population.
Surely restricting population growth by taking active measures to encourage a maximum of two children per couple globally is the most cost-effective, painless means to solve many of the challenges facing the world?
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