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Unnecessary population pressures

I am unhappy with the recent forecasts of population doubling for Australia by 2100. Not with the forecasts themselves but with the fact that the forecasters have “sniffed the wind” correctly and sense that the Australian mania for continued population expansion will keep running until, presumably, we experience the diseconomies that such growth makes inevitable.  I am uninterested in being the richest nation on earth if that means I have to live in an overcrowded, congested rubbish dump.

Under the forecasts Sydney and Melbourne will both becoming mega-cities with more than 8 million and water-poor Perth will have more than 5 million. Beautiful Sydney and most-livable city Melbourne will have double their current populations.

I’d prefer to allow our population to taper-off as the world’s population does so and then have ZPG. We live in a largely uncrowded environment with reasonably good environmental circumstances. Why not use the massive volume of resources we pour into new housing (a major part of private investment) into improving the current stock of housing, into education and intelligent leisure. In short to create better lives for a stable population.

Taking in another 25 million will have no impact on world population pressures in a world with 8 billion people.  Indeed the response to small immigrations to countries like Australia will be increased population in immigrant source countries.

Even if you don’t agree with my ZPG attitudes why is population forecast to grow so intensively in currently large water-stressed cities. How about some new smaller cities?

I think that in terms of  environmental thinking Australia has lost the plot with its unimaginative view of where we are going.


4 comments to Unnecessary population pressures

  • Jim Rose

    on ZPG. I though fertility was already below the replacement rate. on the population crisis, the ecological economists go the sign of the crisis wrong.

    Ecological economists were so concerned about the population bomb and pending food riots in the 1980s that they proposed birth credits.

    A “choice-based, marketable, birth license plan” or “birth credits” has been promoted by urban designer and environmental activist Michael E. Arth since the 1990s.

    Previous iterations of similar transferable birth licensing schemes can also be traced to economist Kenneth Boulding (1964) and ecological economist Herman Daly (1991).

    Birth credits would allow any woman to have as many children as she wants, as long as she buys a license for any children beyond an average allotment that would result in zero population growth (ZPG).

    Birth credits are similar to individual tradable quotes for fishing.
    • If the allotment was determined to be one child, then the first child would be free, and the market would determine the cost of the license or birth credit for each additional child.
    • The units could be sold in units of 1/10th of a credit with each of us getting 1.1 credits each for free, under some proposals.
    • Extra, unused credits would expire after a certain time, so these credits could not be hoarded by speculators.

    As with traffic laws, the enforcement of birth credits could be through fines, taxes or community service orders.
    These nice members of the family unfriendly educated middle class ZPG types do not seem to appreciate the seas and oceans that some with cross to have a child.

    As for 200 hours of community service as the penalty for a child in excess of your birth credits, most parents would welcome a break, the time out-doors and the free child care.

    Ecologists are terrible oracles.

  • hc

    There is no need to restrict fertility since it is below replacement. Just restrict the immigration intake so you get replacement overall.

  • Michael

    You’ve got the wrong end of the stick. In a globalised world you can’t shut the door to migration. The population pressures will still be inflicted on the world elsewhere. The problem is that the infantile fetish for growth is driving unnecessary consumption borne out in increasing obesity, cars so big people back over their own children and big houses bursting at the seams with throwaway rubbish. Overconsumption to the point where people pay for storage for things they don’t have time to use. Economists have taken an approach that if a little of something is good (development) then a lot of it must be better and this value free approach to production is driving runaway growth that is consuming it’s host.

  • Chris Lloyd

    “In a globalised world you can’t shut the door to migration.” Er…yes you can. China does. So does Japan. And Harry is not wanting to shut the door – just reduce migration to the kind of levels we had in the 90s.

    Another idea I like is selling PR on the open market (subject to security check). In fact, we could sell the migration points by auction. The money involved is truly staggering. There have to be thousands of Chinese and Indians that don’t qualify but would pay a million bucks for some fresh air and a bit of public space. But we give visas away for nothing. Just like the colonies gave land away to the squatters.

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