Betty Duffy

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NPR Morning Edition: How Declining Birth Rates Hurt Global Economies

"NEARY: So, what is the solution? Certainly it's not just go back to have large families, is it?

LONGMAN: Right. Well, we find in much of the developing world people who say they wish they could have children but they can't find a way because it's seen as too expensive. So in some ways this is almost a human rights problem. In other places, you know, we still, to be clear, are looking at very rapid population growth that creates pressures of its own. But what's new is that most of the remaining population growth, for the globe as a whole, is coming from people who've already been born. So obviously that's a great challenge. And if you're a developing country that is not yet rich and now you're growing old before you get rich, this is a particular challenge."

So the answer to Neary's question is "yes" then?

Full Transcript of this interview is here.


BettyDuffy said...

Also, I can make no sense of this line:

"But what's new is that most of the remaining population growth, for the globe as a whole, is coming from people who've already been born. So obviously that's a great challenge."

Dorian Speed said...

I believe this is referring to the fact of longer life expectancies, so more of us stick around for a good long while, post-birth. But yeah, not super-clear.

Anne Bazin said...

I think that line is referring to the phenomenon where positive population growth in a country is due in large part to immigration not from its current citizens having children.

BettyDuffy said...

Aha, Anne, that makes sense.

Melanie B said...

"Certainly, it's not..." Gotta love the assumption.

I'm also stumped as to what he means by: "So in some ways this is almost a human rights problem." Is he saying that it's a human rights violation when people who want children cannot afford to have them?

I read the sentence about twenty times and I think I agree with Anne. He means to say that in most countries population growth comes from people who have already been born. Obviously, not for the world as a whole. That's an absurdity. I think the sentence is pretty garbled; but then it was spoken rather than written.

BettyDuffy said...

That "Certainly" stuck in my craw too.

Annalea said...

Oh, for the days when actual *thought* went into the spoken word. (I'm just as guilty as any, but I do try. lol)

As a mother of six (who often feels like an activist when out and about with them), that "certainly" bugs me, too. Heaven forbid there should be a straightforward answer to something as obvious as declining birth rates and how they're hurting the world.

My translation:

"NEARY: So, what is the solution? Heaven forbid we should sound so simplistic and politically incorrect as to say that it's a matter of going back to having large families!"

LONGMAN: Right. So let's talk about how there are still people in the world who can't have children, as if it will contribute to the interview, and about immigration, since that has something to do with population, and throw in a few buzzwords like "challenge" and "human rights". Oh, and don't forget that there are countries whose health care isn't up to par with the First World, so they must be neglecting their elderly, since they're not able to extend their lives with scores of prescriptions and machines and assisted living facilities.

Yeah. That's clearly the answer to declining birth rates. ;o)

ElizabethK said...

Thank you so much for posting this! In the blog-I keep-meaning-to-start-but-haven't I was going to post on this--I actually laughed aloud at that horrified "Certainly the answer isn't have ch-ch-ch-children!!" And the answer to this horrified response was so nonsensical--because, as you point out, the answer is, of course, "yes."

ElizabethK said...

Amendment: thinking about this interview, and NPR in general, got me fired up enough to actually post something, so double thank you (now if I can just figure out how links work!)

Carla Dobs said...

I like to tell people that my children will be paying THEIR Social Security - since it takes 4 workers to support 1 retiree, the current birth rate in the US spells the collapse of SSec withou immigration to make up the "difference"...