Discussion:
[tor dot com] Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
Add Reply
James Nicoll
2018-06-11 13:21:35 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?

https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Quadibloc
2018-06-11 13:35:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
My first reaction, even before reading the article on your page, was that the
answer was obvious.

The population explosion has obvious dramatic consequences: people starving to
death. And people are already starving in India and China.

Usually, when I hear about the very low birthrate in Greece, for example, it's
in the context of someone raising fear and alarm... not about poor people in
Third World countries going hungry, but about people from Third World countries
being let into our countries, and thus diluting their whiteness. (This doesn't
mean that the mentions are always done by racists, but that at least a
perception as racist is easy to come by.)

Generally speaking, not long after the Second World War, *that* sort of attitude
rightly became unfashionable, and so the obvious hook to hang such a story on is
missing.

So the demographic transition isn't seen as causing a problem - even if, say, in
Japan some problems due to temporary adjustments are seen - but as solving a
problem. If the world's population shrank enough, everyone, even the people in
China, India, and Africa, could sustainably live at U.S. standards of material
consumption. Something to cheer about.

John Savard
Kevrob
2018-06-11 15:11:17 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Quadibloc
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
My first reaction, even before reading the article on your page, was that the
answer was obvious.
The population explosion has obvious dramatic consequences: people starving to
death. And people are already starving in India and China.
Usually, when I hear about the very low birthrate in Greece, for example, it's
in the context of someone raising fear and alarm... not about poor people in
Third World countries going hungry, but about people from Third World countries
being let into our countries, and thus diluting their whiteness. (This doesn't
mean that the mentions are always done by racists, but that at least a
perception as racist is easy to come by.)
Generally speaking, not long after the Second World War, *that* sort of attitude
rightly became unfashionable, and so the obvious hook to hang such a story on is
missing.
So the demographic transition isn't seen as causing a problem - even if, say, in
Japan some problems due to temporary adjustments are seen - but as solving a
problem. If the world's population shrank enough, everyone, even the people in
China, India, and Africa, could sustainably live at U.S. standards of material
consumption. Something to cheer about.
So, should I write "Lay Fully Stretched Out On Zanzibar?"

Kevin R
Peter Trei
2018-06-11 15:15:32 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kevrob
Post by Quadibloc
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
My first reaction, even before reading the article on your page, was that the
answer was obvious.
The population explosion has obvious dramatic consequences: people starving to
death. And people are already starving in India and China.
Usually, when I hear about the very low birthrate in Greece, for example, it's
in the context of someone raising fear and alarm... not about poor people in
Third World countries going hungry, but about people from Third World countries
being let into our countries, and thus diluting their whiteness. (This doesn't
mean that the mentions are always done by racists, but that at least a
perception as racist is easy to come by.)
Generally speaking, not long after the Second World War, *that* sort of attitude
rightly became unfashionable, and so the obvious hook to hang such a story on is
missing.
So the demographic transition isn't seen as causing a problem - even if, say, in
Japan some problems due to temporary adjustments are seen - but as solving a
problem. If the world's population shrank enough, everyone, even the people in
China, India, and Africa, could sustainably live at U.S. standards of material
consumption. Something to cheer about.
So, should I write "Lay Fully Stretched Out On Zanzibar?"
Kevin R
Or "We made room! We made room!"

pt
Kevrob
2018-06-11 15:19:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Peter Trei
Post by Kevrob
Post by Quadibloc
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
My first reaction, even before reading the article on your page, was that the
answer was obvious.
The population explosion has obvious dramatic consequences: people starving to
death. And people are already starving in India and China.
Usually, when I hear about the very low birthrate in Greece, for example, it's
in the context of someone raising fear and alarm... not about poor people in
Third World countries going hungry, but about people from Third World countries
being let into our countries, and thus diluting their whiteness. (This doesn't
mean that the mentions are always done by racists, but that at least a
perception as racist is easy to come by.)
Generally speaking, not long after the Second World War, *that* sort of attitude
rightly became unfashionable, and so the obvious hook to hang such a story on is
missing.
So the demographic transition isn't seen as causing a problem - even if, say, in
Japan some problems due to temporary adjustments are seen - but as solving a
problem. If the world's population shrank enough, everyone, even the people in
China, India, and Africa, could sustainably live at U.S. standards of material
consumption. Something to cheer about.
So, should I write "Lay Fully Stretched Out On Zanzibar?"
Kevin R
Or "We made room! We made room!"
aka "Soylent? No, thanks."*

Kevin R

* Note the real-life product of that name isn't a huge success, yet.
Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
2018-06-11 16:02:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
people starving to death. And people are already starving in
India and China.
Perhaps, but not because there aer too many people. India is a net
food exporter, and China is very, very close to it. All mass
starvation in the last several decades has been caused not by
shortages of food or too many people, but as a too of (deliberate)
political oppression.
Usually, when I hear about the very low birthrate in Greece, for
example, it's in the context of someone raising fear and
alarm... not about poor people in Third World countries going
hungry, but about people from Third World countries being let
into our countries, and thus diluting their whiteness. (This
doesn't mean that the mentions are always done by racists, but
that at least a perception as racist is easy to come by.)
The legitimate (if overly hysterical) concern is as a population
ages, and more people hit retirement age, with fewer younger people
contirbuting to the economy, there are serious economic consequences.
Japan has been dealing with this for some time now.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
Panthera Tigris Altaica
2018-06-11 17:11:51 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Quadibloc
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
My first reaction, even before reading the article on your page, was that the
answer was obvious.
The population explosion has obvious dramatic consequences: people starving to
death. And people are already starving in India and China.
Usually, when I hear about the very low birthrate in Greece, for example, it's
in the context of someone raising fear and alarm... not about poor people in
Third World countries going hungry, but about people from Third World countries
being let into our countries, and thus diluting their whiteness. (This doesn't
mean that the mentions are always done by racists, but that at least a
perception as racist is easy to come by.)
Generally speaking, not long after the Second World War, *that* sort of attitude
rightly became unfashionable, and so the obvious hook to hang such a story on is
missing.
So the demographic transition isn't seen as causing a problem - even if, say, in
Japan some problems due to temporary adjustments are seen - but as solving a
problem. If the world's population shrank enough, everyone, even the people in
China, India, and Africa, could sustainably live at U.S. standards of material
consumption. Something to cheer about.
John Savard
There is, I understand, a minimum population level required to sustain a technological civilization. Technological civilizations require enough people to:

1 Mine and process the assorted ores and minerals to make tools to make tools to make whatever else is necessary. That would be things such as oil or coal or other organic feedstock for plastics. That would be light metals such as aluminum and magnesium and titanium. That would be heavy metals such as iron and gold and lead and uranium. That would be silicates and carbides and assorted nitrogen and phosphorus compounds. And a whole lot more.

2 Build machine tools and other tools to make things. These tools would range from big metal cutters and grinders and such to lasers for etching integrated circuits to electrical and electronic devices used in manufacturing processes to ball bearings.

3 Feed, clothe, transport, and otherwise support the workers doing the above. This would include farmers, construction workers, bus drivers, truck drivers, sailors on ships large and small, aircrew, waitstaff in eateries large and small, public works people, public utility people, and many more.

4 Office staff. Administration, project management, programming, research and development, more.

How many people does the world need in the electronics industry to sustain modern electronics, including computers and consumer goods? How many people does the world need to provide the materials just for that industry? How many to deliver those materials and to take away scrap or waste? Recall that the electronics industry uses chemicals such as chlorine-fluorine compounds during the manufacturing process. Those chemicals require proper handling or there will be serious consequences. You can't just dump them. You can't just dump the arsenic and lead and mercury used in assorted electronics systems manufacturing, either. Newspaper and magazine and book printers use plates on their presses, and those plates require silver nitrate and nitric acid and assorted assorted other lethal chemicals. Explosive manufactures use sulfuric acid and nitric acid and more. There's a _lot_ of support staff required for virtually all modern industries, and most industries depend on other industries. The electronics industry depends on the iron and steel industry or they wouldn't have buildings in which to work or vehicles in which to transport their product. Ball bearings, by definition, require the iron and steel industry. Motor vehicles require ball bearings. Virtually all industries require motor vehicles.

If you drop the population by too much there won't be enough hands to do the work, even if some of it can be automated. The world could get along with a lower population than it has now. The question is... how much lower? Another question would be... at what cost, economically and socially, can this reduction be made?
J. Clarke
2018-06-12 04:12:49 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
On Mon, 11 Jun 2018 10:11:51 -0700 (PDT), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Quadibloc
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
My first reaction, even before reading the article on your page, was that the
answer was obvious.
The population explosion has obvious dramatic consequences: people starving to
death. And people are already starving in India and China.
Usually, when I hear about the very low birthrate in Greece, for example, it's
in the context of someone raising fear and alarm... not about poor people in
Third World countries going hungry, but about people from Third World countries
being let into our countries, and thus diluting their whiteness. (This doesn't
mean that the mentions are always done by racists, but that at least a
perception as racist is easy to come by.)
Generally speaking, not long after the Second World War, *that* sort of attitude
rightly became unfashionable, and so the obvious hook to hang such a story on is
missing.
So the demographic transition isn't seen as causing a problem - even if, say, in
Japan some problems due to temporary adjustments are seen - but as solving a
problem. If the world's population shrank enough, everyone, even the people in
China, India, and Africa, could sustainably live at U.S. standards of material
consumption. Something to cheer about.
John Savard
1 Mine and process the assorted ores and minerals to make tools to make tools to make whatever else is necessary. That would be things such as oil or coal or other organic feedstock for plastics. That would be light metals such as aluminum and magnesium and titanium. That would be heavy metals such as iron and gold and lead and uranium. That would be silicates and carbides and assorted nitrogen and phosphorus compounds. And a whole lot more.
People are only needed to do this if robotic technology is not up to
the task. Right now it isn't. At some point in the future it
probably will be.
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
2 Build machine tools and other tools to make things. These tools would range from big metal cutters and grinders and such to lasers for etching integrated circuits to electrical and electronic devices used in manufacturing processes to ball bearings.
More robots.
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
3 Feed, clothe, transport, and otherwise support the workers doing the above. This would include farmers, construction workers, bus drivers, truck drivers, sailors on ships large and small, aircrew, waitstaff in eateries large and small, public works people, public utility people, and many more.
More robots.
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
4 Office staff. Administration, project management, programming, research and development, more.
Believe it or not, more robots. My employer is laying people off and
replacing them with robot paper-pushers.
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
How many people does the world need in the electronics industry to sustain modern electronics, including computers and consumer goods?
How good are the robots? With good enough robots the answer is
"none".
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
How many people does the world need to provide the materials just for that industry?
Again, how good are the robots? With good enough robots, the answer
is "none".
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
How many to deliver those materials and to take away scrap or waste?
Again, at some point in the future, the answer is "none".
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Recall that the electronics industry uses chemicals such as chlorine-fluorine compounds during the manufacturing process.
And no human in his right mind wants to be anywhere near such
compound. More work for robots.
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Those chemicals require proper handling or there will be serious consequences.
People are more likely to screw up the handling that are well designed
robots.
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
You can't just dump them.
So?
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
You can't just dump the arsenic and lead and mercury used in assorted electronics systems manufacturing, either.
So? How you dispose of something is a different issue from how many
warm bodies are needed to do the disposing.
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Newspaper and magazine and book printers use plates on their presses, and those plates require silver nitrate and nitric acid and assorted assorted other lethal chemicals.
A dying industry.
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
Explosive manufactures use sulfuric acid and nitric acid and more.
Better handled by robots. If a robot gets blown up its family isn't
going to file a lawsuit.
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
There's a _lot_ of support staff required for virtually all modern industries, and most industries depend on other industries.
But how much of it actually requires human decision-making?
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
The
electronics industry depends on the iron and steel industry or they wouldn't have buildings in which to work or vehicles in which to transport their product.
Ball bearings, by definition, require the iron and steel industry. Motor vehicles require ball bearings. Virtually all industries require motor vehicles.
You think ball bearings are machined one at a time by a human running
a lathe?
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
If you drop the population by too much there won't be enough hands to do the work, even if some of it can be automated.
How about if all of it can be automated?
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
The world could get along with a lower population than it has now. The question is... how much lower? Another question would be... at what cost, economically and socially, can this reduction be made?
The issue is the cost. What happens if there is no work for anybody
but everything one needs is being made by robots?
Quadibloc
2018-06-12 05:24:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by J. Clarke
The issue is the cost. What happens if there is no work for anybody
but everything one needs is being made by robots?
That depends on who owns the robots.

If the poltical system works as it should - so that the politicians are
controlled firmly by the popular vote, and campaign contributions have little or
no influence - I should think that even if ownership of the robots were
concentrated, taxation would solve the obvious problem.

Some of the taxes would be used to buy robots for the government to take care of
disincentive issues.

John Savard
J. Clarke
2018-06-12 23:54:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
On Mon, 11 Jun 2018 22:24:20 -0700 (PDT), Quadibloc
Post by Quadibloc
Post by J. Clarke
The issue is the cost. What happens if there is no work for anybody
but everything one needs is being made by robots?
That depends on who owns the robots.
If the poltical system works as it should - so that the politicians are
controlled firmly by the popular vote, and campaign contributions have little or
no influence - I should think that even if ownership of the robots were
concentrated, taxation would solve the obvious problem.
Some of the taxes would be used to buy robots for the government to take care of
disincentive issues.
Taxation of what?

Robots don't need to be paid, if everything is made by robots which
also repair themselves then what gets taxed?
David Johnston
2018-06-13 00:32:38 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by J. Clarke
On Mon, 11 Jun 2018 22:24:20 -0700 (PDT), Quadibloc
Post by Quadibloc
Post by J. Clarke
The issue is the cost. What happens if there is no work for anybody
but everything one needs is being made by robots?
That depends on who owns the robots.
If the poltical system works as it should - so that the politicians are
controlled firmly by the popular vote, and campaign contributions have little or
no influence - I should think that even if ownership of the robots were
concentrated, taxation would solve the obvious problem.
Some of the taxes would be used to buy robots for the government to take care of
disincentive issues.
Taxation of what?
Robots don't need to be paid, if everything is made by robots which
also repair themselves then what gets taxed?
The corporate entities of course.
Quadibloc
2018-06-13 04:15:17 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by J. Clarke
Taxation of what?
Robots don't need to be paid, if everything is made by robots which
also repair themselves then what gets taxed?
Tax the corporations that own the robots, so that the ordinary people have money
to buy the things the robots make.

If a few super-rich people own all the robots, and everyone else is economically
useless, then of course the only way they will be able to even obtain food to
eat is to instead use their other power, their votes, to get it.

Presumably, though, it may be possible to prevent things from coming to that.
Thus I remember reading a science-fiction story in which robot ownership was
rationed so that those who couldn't afford a robot could rent their ration
position to people who owned businesses needing more than one robot.

This being a more disguised form of theft than taxation, it was presented as a
wise compromise.

John Savard
Lynn McGuire
2018-06-13 17:38:44 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Quadibloc
Post by J. Clarke
Taxation of what?
Robots don't need to be paid, if everything is made by robots which
also repair themselves then what gets taxed?
Tax the corporations that own the robots, so that the ordinary people have money
to buy the things the robots make.
If a few super-rich people own all the robots, and everyone else is economically
useless, then of course the only way they will be able to even obtain food to
eat is to instead use their other power, their votes, to get it.
Presumably, though, it may be possible to prevent things from coming to that.
Thus I remember reading a science-fiction story in which robot ownership was
rationed so that those who couldn't afford a robot could rent their ration
position to people who owned businesses needing more than one robot.
This being a more disguised form of theft than taxation, it was presented as a
wise compromise.
John Savard
Let me guess, you are an advocate for robot rights ?

I can hardly wait for the first robot to call in too sick to go to work.

Lynn
Ahasuerus
2018-06-13 22:11:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
On Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 1:38:49 PM UTC-4, Lynn McGuire wrote:
[snip-snip]
Post by Lynn McGuire
Let me guess, you are an advocate for robot rights ?
I can hardly wait for the first robot to call in too sick to go to work.
The one that the ISFDB uses does it whenever a third party API changes
unexpectedly.
J. Clarke
2018-06-13 23:49:16 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
On Wed, 13 Jun 2018 12:38:44 -0500, Lynn McGuire
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Quadibloc
Post by J. Clarke
Taxation of what?
Robots don't need to be paid, if everything is made by robots which
also repair themselves then what gets taxed?
Tax the corporations that own the robots, so that the ordinary people have money
to buy the things the robots make.
If a few super-rich people own all the robots, and everyone else is economically
useless, then of course the only way they will be able to even obtain food to
eat is to instead use their other power, their votes, to get it.
Presumably, though, it may be possible to prevent things from coming to that.
Thus I remember reading a science-fiction story in which robot ownership was
rationed so that those who couldn't afford a robot could rent their ration
position to people who owned businesses needing more than one robot.
This being a more disguised form of theft than taxation, it was presented as a
wise compromise.
John Savard
Let me guess, you are an advocate for robot rights ?
I can hardly wait for the first robot to call in too sick to go to work.
I fired one the other day. I'm only partially joking.
J. Clarke
2018-06-13 23:47:26 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
On Tue, 12 Jun 2018 21:15:17 -0700 (PDT), Quadibloc
Post by Quadibloc
Post by J. Clarke
Taxation of what?
Robots don't need to be paid, if everything is made by robots which
also repair themselves then what gets taxed?
Tax the corporations that own the robots, so that the ordinary people have money
to buy the things the robots make.
You can tax all you want to, if they don't have any income you'll just
bankrupt them and the robots will continue to work for free.
Post by Quadibloc
If a few super-rich people own all the robots, and everyone else is economically
useless, then of course the only way they will be able to even obtain food to
eat is to instead use their other power, their votes, to get it.
How about if nobody owns the robots?
Post by Quadibloc
Presumably, though, it may be possible to prevent things from coming to that.
Thus I remember reading a science-fiction story in which robot ownership was
rationed so that those who couldn't afford a robot could rent their ration
position to people who owned businesses needing more than one robot.
That works if a robot is an imitation human. But how does it work
when it's a dedicated car-making machine, for example?
Post by Quadibloc
This being a more disguised form of theft than taxation, it was presented as a
wise compromise.
John Savard
Robert Carnegie
2018-06-13 21:51:41 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by J. Clarke
On Mon, 11 Jun 2018 22:24:20 -0700 (PDT), Quadibloc
Post by Quadibloc
Post by J. Clarke
The issue is the cost. What happens if there is no work for anybody
but everything one needs is being made by robots?
That depends on who owns the robots.
If the poltical system works as it should - so that the politicians are
controlled firmly by the popular vote, and campaign contributions have little or
no influence - I should think that even if ownership of the robots were
concentrated, taxation would solve the obvious problem.
Some of the taxes would be used to buy robots for the government to take care of
disincentive issues.
Taxation of what?
Robots don't need to be paid, if everything is made by robots which
also repair themselves then what gets taxed?
Electricity? Tricky if the robots run on wind power,
but do-able.

I forget, is the robot in the sequels to "Wizard of Oz"
eventually made self-winding?
J. Clarke
2018-06-13 23:50:05 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
On Wed, 13 Jun 2018 14:51:41 -0700 (PDT), Robert Carnegie
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by J. Clarke
On Mon, 11 Jun 2018 22:24:20 -0700 (PDT), Quadibloc
Post by Quadibloc
Post by J. Clarke
The issue is the cost. What happens if there is no work for anybody
but everything one needs is being made by robots?
That depends on who owns the robots.
If the poltical system works as it should - so that the politicians are
controlled firmly by the popular vote, and campaign contributions have little or
no influence - I should think that even if ownership of the robots were
concentrated, taxation would solve the obvious problem.
Some of the taxes would be used to buy robots for the government to take care of
disincentive issues.
Taxation of what?
Robots don't need to be paid, if everything is made by robots which
also repair themselves then what gets taxed?
Electricity? Tricky if the robots run on wind power,
but do-able.
The robots run and maintain the power grid too.
Post by Robert Carnegie
I forget, is the robot in the sequels to "Wizard of Oz"
eventually made self-winding?
Not that I recall.
Juho Julkunen
2018-06-12 11:56:51 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
In article <***@4ax.com>, jclarke.873638
@gmail.com says...
Post by J. Clarke
On Mon, 11 Jun 2018 10:11:51 -0700 (PDT), Panthera Tigris Altaica
Post by Panthera Tigris Altaica
1 Mine and process the assorted ores and minerals to make tools to make tools to make whatever else is necessary. That would be things such as oil or coal or other organic feedstock for plastics. That would be light metals such as aluminum and magnesium and titanium. That would be heavy metals such as iron and gold and lead and uranium. That would be silicates and carbides and assorted nitrogen and phosphorus compounds. And a whole lot more.
People are only needed to do this if robotic technology is not up to
the task. Right now it isn't. At some point in the future it
probably will be.
Probably, but robots aren't automatically going to solve the problem of
preserving know-how. That's "The Machine Stops" territory right there.

General AI could, of course, but it's not obvious it would be for our
benefit. That's also a common scenario.
--
Juho Julkunen
Ahasuerus
2018-06-11 15:14:56 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of
Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
I am hard pressed to think of any Western SF that explores the
implications of the demographic transition
Mack Reynolds touched upon this issue in "How We Banned the Bombs"
exactly 50 years ago -- http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?52314 .
However, his "demographic transition" is markedly less gradual that
what we are currently projecting. Basically, an attempt to combat
"population explosion" is entirely too successful.

Granted, Reynolds wasn't a very good writer and it wasn't a very good
story, but in this case it's the thought that counts.
David Johnston
2018-06-11 16:02:44 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ahasuerus
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of
Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
I am hard pressed to think of any Western SF that explores the
implications of the demographic transition
Mack Reynolds touched upon this issue in "How We Banned the Bombs"
exactly 50 years ago -- http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?52314 .
However, his "demographic transition" is markedly less gradual that
what we are currently projecting. Basically, an attempt to combat
"population explosion" is entirely too successful.
Granted, Reynolds wasn't a very good writer and it wasn't a very good
story, but in this case it's the thought that counts.
Clifford Simak had humans just gradually die out and let Earth go to the dogs. Saturn's Children by Stross takes place after humanity has died out through a lack of interest in reproduction.
Jerry Brown
2018-06-11 18:17:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
On Mon, 11 Jun 2018 09:02:44 -0700 (PDT), David Johnston
Post by David Johnston
Post by Ahasuerus
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of
Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
I am hard pressed to think of any Western SF that explores the
implications of the demographic transition
Mack Reynolds touched upon this issue in "How We Banned the Bombs"
exactly 50 years ago -- http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?52314 .
However, his "demographic transition" is markedly less gradual that
what we are currently projecting. Basically, an attempt to combat
"population explosion" is entirely too successful.
Granted, Reynolds wasn't a very good writer and it wasn't a very good
story, but in this case it's the thought that counts.
Clifford Simak had humans just gradually die out and let Earth go to the dogs.
William Tenn also did this in only a few pages in "Null-P". In this
case mankind devolved by trying to be as average as possible, leaving
the top spot to the canines.
Post by David Johnston
Saturn's Children by Stross takes place after humanity has died out through a lack of interest in reproduction.
--
Jerry Brown

A cat may look at a king
(but probably won't bother)
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-06-11 19:24:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Maybe the problem with this thread is that everyone's looking at
*contemporary* or near-contemporary SF, when overpopulation is
one of our outstanding problems and so we keep looking at it?

Back in the 1950s, there was a lot of SF about underpopulation,
mostly as a result of nuclear war and radiation poisoning. But
that was a couple of generations ago. I remember reading lots of
SF about the human race dying out because of radiation, plague,
alien invasion, and other horsemen. I was about ten at the time.
Now my grandson is ten.

This switch in perceived danger has sometimes resulted in rather
silly mistakes. You may recall that Dick's _Do Androids Dream of
Electric Sheep?_ had a situation where both animal and human
fertility had dropped to the point that there had be androids to
bolster the workforce, and living animals were so scarce that
they couldn't be wasted on being pets.

Came _Blade Runner_, by which time overpopulation was the fear of
the era, and the world is full of faceless Asian mobs huddled
together in the underworld ... and yet the protagonist is *still*
living in the entire top floor of a nearly-empty apartment
building.

(N.B. I haven't seen the _Blade Runner_ remake, so I don't know
if they fixed these contradictions.)
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
Dimensional Traveler
2018-06-11 21:36:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Maybe the problem with this thread is that everyone's looking at
*contemporary* or near-contemporary SF, when overpopulation is
one of our outstanding problems and so we keep looking at it?
Back in the 1950s, there was a lot of SF about underpopulation,
mostly as a result of nuclear war and radiation poisoning. But
that was a couple of generations ago. I remember reading lots of
SF about the human race dying out because of radiation, plague,
alien invasion, and other horsemen. I was about ten at the time.
Now my grandson is ten.
This switch in perceived danger has sometimes resulted in rather
silly mistakes. You may recall that Dick's _Do Androids Dream of
Electric Sheep?_ had a situation where both animal and human
fertility had dropped to the point that there had be androids to
bolster the workforce, and living animals were so scarce that
they couldn't be wasted on being pets.
Came _Blade Runner_, by which time overpopulation was the fear of
the era, and the world is full of faceless Asian mobs huddled
together in the underworld ... and yet the protagonist is *still*
living in the entire top floor of a nearly-empty apartment
building.
(N.B. I haven't seen the _Blade Runner_ remake, so I don't know
if they fixed these contradictions.)
'Blade Runner: 2049' is a sequel to the original 'Blade Runner', not a
remake. So it continues with the same over-populated, over-polluted
world. I would say if you liked the original, see the sequel, if not,
then don't.
--
Inquiring minds want to know while minds with a self-preservation
instinct are running screaming.
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-06-11 22:59:15 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Maybe the problem with this thread is that everyone's looking at
*contemporary* or near-contemporary SF, when overpopulation is
one of our outstanding problems and so we keep looking at it?
Back in the 1950s, there was a lot of SF about underpopulation,
mostly as a result of nuclear war and radiation poisoning. But
that was a couple of generations ago. I remember reading lots of
SF about the human race dying out because of radiation, plague,
alien invasion, and other horsemen. I was about ten at the time.
Now my grandson is ten.
This switch in perceived danger has sometimes resulted in rather
silly mistakes. You may recall that Dick's _Do Androids Dream of
Electric Sheep?_ had a situation where both animal and human
fertility had dropped to the point that there had be androids to
bolster the workforce, and living animals were so scarce that
they couldn't be wasted on being pets.
Came _Blade Runner_, by which time overpopulation was the fear of
the era, and the world is full of faceless Asian mobs huddled
together in the underworld ... and yet the protagonist is *still*
living in the entire top floor of a nearly-empty apartment
building.
(N.B. I haven't seen the _Blade Runner_ remake, so I don't know
if they fixed these contradictions.)
'Blade Runner: 2049' is a sequel to the original 'Blade Runner', not a
remake. So it continues with the same over-populated, over-polluted
world. I would say if you liked the original, see the sequel, if not,
then don't.
We are of one mind. I didn't like the original and I have no
intention of seeing the sequel.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
Juho Julkunen
2018-06-12 00:54:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dimensional Traveler
'Blade Runner: 2049' is a sequel to the original 'Blade Runner', not a
remake. So it continues with the same over-populated, over-polluted
world. I would say if you liked the original, see the sequel, if not,
then don't.
It is a very pretty movie, so in that sense it is worth seeing. It's
not very good, though, which counts against it, as does the excessive
length.
--
Juho Julkunen
David Johnston
2018-06-12 01:04:54 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Juho Julkunen
Post by Dimensional Traveler
'Blade Runner: 2049' is a sequel to the original 'Blade Runner', not a
remake. So it continues with the same over-populated, over-polluted
world. I would say if you liked the original, see the sequel, if not,
then don't.
It is a very pretty movie, so in that sense it is worth seeing. It's
not very good, though, which counts against it, as does the excessive
length.
--
Juho Julkunen
Yeah considering how much story they had the runtime was excessive.
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-06-12 03:30:54 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by David Johnston
Post by Juho Julkunen
Post by Dimensional Traveler
'Blade Runner: 2049' is a sequel to the original 'Blade Runner', not a
remake. So it continues with the same over-populated, over-polluted
world. I would say if you liked the original, see the sequel, if not,
then don't.
It is a very pretty movie, so in that sense it is worth seeing. It's
not very good, though, which counts against it, as does the excessive
length.
--
Juho Julkunen
Yeah considering how much story they had the runtime was excessive.
But it did have a, fair, twist.
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
h***@gmail.com
2018-06-12 01:26:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Juho Julkunen
Post by Dimensional Traveler
'Blade Runner: 2049' is a sequel to the original 'Blade Runner', not a
remake. So it continues with the same over-populated, over-polluted
world. I would say if you liked the original, see the sequel, if not,
then don't.
It is a very pretty movie, so in that sense it is worth seeing. It's
not very good, though, which counts against it, as does the excessive
length.
The big thing I found was that the pacing was unusual.
Once I adjusted to that I thought it was pretty reasonable.
Dimensional Traveler
2018-06-12 01:56:14 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by h***@gmail.com
Post by Juho Julkunen
Post by Dimensional Traveler
'Blade Runner: 2049' is a sequel to the original 'Blade Runner', not a
remake. So it continues with the same over-populated, over-polluted
world. I would say if you liked the original, see the sequel, if not,
then don't.
It is a very pretty movie, so in that sense it is worth seeing. It's
not very good, though, which counts against it, as does the excessive
length.
The big thing I found was that the pacing was unusual.
Once I adjusted to that I thought it was pretty reasonable.
I got the impression that a fair amount of effort was expended trying to
instill a SensaWonda!
--
Inquiring minds want to know while minds with a self-preservation
instinct are running screaming.
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-06-11 16:35:48 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of
Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
Post by James Nicoll
I am hard pressed to think of any Western SF that explores the
implications of the demographic transition
Mack Reynolds touched upon this issue in "How We Banned the Bombs"
exactly 50 years ago -- http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?52314 .
However, his "demographic transition" is markedly less gradual that
what we are currently projecting. Basically, an attempt to combat
"population explosion" is entirely too successful.
Granted, Reynolds wasn't a very good writer and it wasn't a very good
story, but in this case it's the thought that counts.
There was Farmer's "Seventy Years of Decpop", which pitched it as rather
utopian (after some hard adjustments). Of course I think that got to
a steady-state, as the current situation is not doing.
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-06-11 16:36:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of
Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
Post by James Nicoll
I am hard pressed to think of any Western SF that explores the
implications of the demographic transition
Mack Reynolds touched upon this issue in "How We Banned the Bombs"
exactly 50 years ago -- http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?52314 .
However, his "demographic transition" is markedly less gradual that
what we are currently projecting. Basically, an attempt to combat
"population explosion" is entirely too successful.
Granted, Reynolds wasn't a very good writer and it wasn't a very good
story, but in this case it's the thought that counts.
There was Farmer's "Seventy Years of Decpop", which pitched it as rather
utopian (after some hard adjustments). Of course I think that got to
a steady-state, as the current situation is not doing.
--
Oh, and there was "The world's shortest SF story".
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
m***@sky.com
2018-06-11 17:33:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
"In The Wet" by Nevil Shute is a very interesting example of comprehensively failed prediction. Since it is by Nevil Shute, it is still readable and entertaining.

In 1953 he predicts a UK in 1983 which is a pessimistic extrapolation of post-war rationing. Anybody with any get up and go has got up and gone to the colonies, to the extent that deserted houses are not uncommon. Those that remain are enervated by nutritional mistakes made in the ration system. He also fails to predict the use of jet engines in commercial aviation (Nevil Shute was an aeronautical engineer!) while predicting a voting system that gives extra votes to more highly qualified people (Long after reading this I found out that this might not have been original - it has been suggested since classical times). A quick look at Wikipedia suggests that it attributes Shute's pessimism about the UK to his views on socialism, which is probably correct, but he also thought that England was irretrievably hidebound by the class system, which was probably true until the 1960s or so. E.g. in Landfall a class-mismatched pair of sweethearts are last seen heading happily for the USA.

I think underpopulation would encourage people to have more children by making it cheaper to house them in decent conditions. More contentiously, I suspect that the conditions in which people are prepared to bring up children depend on their own backgrounds, so increased fertility would probably be seen in some groups earlier than others.
Lynn McGuire
2018-06-11 19:42:19 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
The Bobiverse series talks about the eventual depopulation of the Earth
due to radiation and nuclear winter after a massive nuclear exchange.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B06X15BL54/

Lynn
Lynn McGuire
2018-06-11 19:45:37 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
Varley's Eight Worlds series talks about almost total depopulation of
the Earth due to aliens scouring the planet:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B06X15BL54/

Lynn
James Nicoll
2018-06-12 03:09:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population
Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
Varley's Eight Worlds series talks about almost total depopulation of
https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B06X15BL54/
Did you read the article? I am very specifically talking about decline
due to TFRs too low to replace population.
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Lynn McGuire
2018-06-12 03:21:35 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population
Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
Varley's Eight Worlds series talks about almost total depopulation of
https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B06X15BL54/
Did you read the article? I am very specifically talking about decline
due to TFRs too low to replace population.
I generalized.

Lynn
Lynn McGuire
2018-06-13 17:42:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population
Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
Varley's Eight Worlds series talks about almost total depopulation of
https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B06X15BL54/
Did you read the article? I am very specifically talking about decline
due to TFRs too low to replace population.
BTW, what is a TFR ?

Lynn is walking down the path, muttering about people using specialized
acronyms in polite society.

Lynn
Carl Fink
2018-06-13 17:54:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population
Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
Varley's Eight Worlds series talks about almost total depopulation of
https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B06X15BL54/
Did you read the article? I am very specifically talking about decline
due to TFRs too low to replace population.
BTW, what is a TFR ?
Lynn is walking down the path, muttering about people using specialized
acronyms in polite society.
I speculate it's "Total Fertility Rate".
--
Carl Fink ***@nitpicking.com

Read John Grant's book, Corrupted Science: http://a.co/9UsUoGu
Dedicated to ... Carl Fink!
James Nicoll
2018-06-13 19:10:46 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population
Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Varley's Eight Worlds series talks about almost total depopulation of
https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B06X15BL54/
Did you read the article? I am very specifically talking about decline
due to TFRs too low to replace population.
BTW, what is a TFR ?
Total Fertility Rate. Above a certain level and population increases
(Stand on Zanzibar). Below, and it declines (Stories of Ibis). Exactly
at it and you get steady state (Known Space).
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Lawrence Watt-Evans
2018-06-13 20:38:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population
Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Varley's Eight Worlds series talks about almost total depopulation of
https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B06X15BL54/
Did you read the article? I am very specifically talking about decline
due to TFRs too low to replace population.
BTW, what is a TFR ?
Total Fertility Rate. Above a certain level and population increases
(Stand on Zanzibar). Below, and it declines (Stories of Ibis). Exactly
at it and you get steady state (Known Space).
Break-even is a TFR of 2.1, more or less. TFR is the average total
number of live births per woman over her lifetime.

Last I checked, the U.S. had a TFR between 1.8 and 1.9, but made up
the difference with immigration. Italy's is something like 1.3, but
they don't WANT enough immigrants to make up for it. Japan's is just
below 1.2, and they're xenophobic and isolated enough to not have
significant immigration. That's why they're spending so much
developing robots.
--
My webpage is at http://www.watt-evans.com
My latest novel is Stone Unturned: A Legend of Ethshar.
See http://www.ethshar.com/StoneUnturned.shtml
Ahasuerus
2018-06-13 21:15:10 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
On Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 4:38:24 PM UTC-4, Lawrence Watt-Evans wrote:
[snip]
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Break-even is a TFR of 2.1, more or less. TFR is the average total
number of live births per woman over her lifetime.
Last I checked, the U.S. had a TFR between 1.8 and 1.9, but made up
the difference with immigration. Italy's is something like 1.3, but
they don't WANT enough immigrants to make up for it. Japan's is just
below 1.2, and they're xenophobic and isolated enough to not have
significant immigration. That's why they're spending so much
developing robots.
According to the World Bank
(https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN?end=2030&locations=JP&start=2030&view=bar)
Japan's TFR has changed as follows:

1960: 2.001
1965: 2.129
1970: 2.135
1975: 1.909
1980: 1.75
1985: 1.76
1990: 1.54
1995: 1.422
2000: 1.359
2005: 1.26 (lowest on record)
2006: 1.32
2007: 1.34
2008: 1.37
2009: 1.37
2010: 1.39
2011: 1.39
2012: 1.41
2013: 1.43
2014: 1.42
2015: 1.45
2016: 1.44
Lawrence Watt-Evans
2018-06-14 14:05:03 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
On Wed, 13 Jun 2018 14:15:10 -0700 (PDT), Ahasuerus
Post by Ahasuerus
[snip]
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Break-even is a TFR of 2.1, more or less. TFR is the average total
number of live births per woman over her lifetime.
Last I checked, the U.S. had a TFR between 1.8 and 1.9, but made up
the difference with immigration. Italy's is something like 1.3, but
they don't WANT enough immigrants to make up for it. Japan's is just
below 1.2, and they're xenophobic and isolated enough to not have
significant immigration. That's why they're spending so much
developing robots.
According to the World Bank
(https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN?end=2030&locations=JP&start=2030&view=bar)
1960: 2.001
1965: 2.129
1970: 2.135
1975: 1.909
1980: 1.75
1985: 1.76
1990: 1.54
1995: 1.422
2000: 1.359
2005: 1.26 (lowest on record)
2006: 1.32
2007: 1.34
2008: 1.37
2009: 1.37
2010: 1.39
2011: 1.39
2012: 1.41
2013: 1.43
2014: 1.42
2015: 1.45
2016: 1.44
Ah. It would seem I misremembered, and it's risen somewhat.
--
My webpage is at http://www.watt-evans.com
My latest novel is Stone Unturned: A Legend of Ethshar.
See http://www.ethshar.com/StoneUnturned.shtml
Ahasuerus
2018-06-14 14:53:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
On Wed, 13 Jun 2018 14:15:10 -0700 (PDT), Ahasuerus
Post by Ahasuerus
[snip]
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Break-even is a TFR of 2.1, more or less. TFR is the average total
number of live births per woman over her lifetime.
Last I checked, the U.S. had a TFR between 1.8 and 1.9, but made up
the difference with immigration. Italy's is something like 1.3, but
they don't WANT enough immigrants to make up for it. Japan's is just
below 1.2, and they're xenophobic and isolated enough to not have
significant immigration. That's why they're spending so much
developing robots.
According to the World Bank
(https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN?end=2030&locations=JP&start=2030&view=bar)
1960: 2.001
1965: 2.129
1970: 2.135
1975: 1.909
1980: 1.75
1985: 1.76
1990: 1.54
1995: 1.422
2000: 1.359
2005: 1.26 (lowest on record)
2006: 1.32
2007: 1.34
2008: 1.37
2009: 1.37
2010: 1.39
2011: 1.39
2012: 1.41
2013: 1.43
2014: 1.42
2015: 1.45
2016: 1.44
Ah. It would seem I misremembered, and it's risen somewhat.
There has been a certain amount of speculation that the Japanese rebound
is reflective of more general trends, i.e. the TFR plummets as
modernity settles in, but then recovers to some extent. At one point
I looked into it, but there didn't appear to be enough evidence one
way or the other. There were so many variations -- population density,
government policies, indirect effects of immigration, changes in the
standard of living, etc -- that the data that was being used in support
of this hypothesis was getting lost in the noise.
Greg Goss
2018-06-14 04:22:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
Varley's Eight Worlds series talks about almost total depopulation of
https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B06X15BL54/
Almost?
--
We are geeks. Resistance is voltage over current.
Dan Tilque
2018-06-14 07:47:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Greg Goss
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
Varley's Eight Worlds series talks about almost total depopulation of
https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B06X15BL54/
Almost?
Yes, there are still people living on Earth in that universe. The
protagonist, or rather one of the protagonists, visits some of them in
_The Ophiuchi Hotline_. They're living in a non-technological society.
--
Dan Tilque
Robert Woodward
2018-06-14 16:50:03 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dan Tilque
Post by Greg Goss
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-ve
ry-real-issue-of-population-decline/
Varley's Eight Worlds series talks about almost total depopulation of
https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B06X15BL54/
Almost?
Yes, there are still people living on Earth in that universe. The
protagonist, or rather one of the protagonists, visits some of them in
_The Ophiuchi Hotline_. They're living in a non-technological society.
There is no such thing as a human non-technological society. IIRC, they
were Neolithic (assuming that their flint chipping skills were advanced
enough).
--
"We have advanced to new and surprising levels of bafflement."
Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan describes progress in _Komarr_.
‹-----------------------------------------------------
Robert Woodward ***@drizzle.com
Quadibloc
2018-06-14 18:40:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Robert Woodward
Post by Dan Tilque
Yes, there are still people living on Earth in that universe. The
protagonist, or rather one of the protagonists, visits some of them in
_The Ophiuchi Hotline_. They're living in a non-technological society.
There is no such thing as a human non-technological society. IIRC, they
were Neolithic (assuming that their flint chipping skills were advanced
enough).
Well, then, there is such a thing as a human society without "high" technology.
Usually, anything before the Industrial Revolution is called "non-technological"
in ordinary parlance.

John Savard
Robert Carnegie
2018-06-14 20:27:46 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Robert Woodward
Post by Dan Tilque
Post by Greg Goss
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-ve
ry-real-issue-of-population-decline/
Varley's Eight Worlds series talks about almost total depopulation of
https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B06X15BL54/
Almost?
Yes, there are still people living on Earth in that universe. The
protagonist, or rather one of the protagonists, visits some of them in
_The Ophiuchi Hotline_. They're living in a non-technological society.
There is no such thing as a human non-technological society. IIRC, they
were Neolithic (assuming that their flint chipping skills were advanced
enough).
Then neo-neolithic perhaps?

l***@yahoo.com
2018-06-11 23:34:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
I just wanted to say that whenever I hear otherwise intelligent people - such as libertarian journalist Cathy Young - say, in effect: "Being childfree isn't anything to brag about; what would happen if everyone decided they didn't want children?" I want to laugh. It's a moot point. It's like asking "what would happen to humanity if all the women who WANT children decided that they wanted to skip the discomforts of pregnancy and childbirth and, from now on, adopt orphans, unwanted children, and abused foster children?" Ain't gonna happen, so stop asking. In the meantime, pollution isn't going to go away, so we need to do everything we can to reduce it, including having fewer kids. Who wants to live with cancer around every corner, as they have to in West Virginia?

And contrary to what the U.N. says, *I* think we'll be at 10 billion BEFORE 2050. Ever since the early 1970s, we've been increasing by 1 billion every 12 years, and no one seems to want to explain in simple terms why this would slow down significantly. So any child can figure out that we would be at 14 billion by the end of the century, not 11 billion - another U.N. claim!

Obviously, there will be serious problems whenever there are more old people than young people - but given that economies were run according to the principles of frugality until the 20th century, who's to say we couldn't do that again?


Lenona.
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-06-12 00:48:00 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by l***@yahoo.com
I just wanted to say that whenever I hear otherwise intelligent people -
such as libertarian journalist Cathy Young - say, in effect: "Being
childfree isn't anything to brag about; what would happen if everyone
decided they didn't want children?" I want to laugh.
Oh, gosh, reminds me of the girls in the locker room when I was
in high school. "You're not going to get MARried? Why, if
EVERYbody was like YOU, there wouldn't be any PEOple!"
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
J. Clarke
2018-06-12 04:20:14 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by l***@yahoo.com
I just wanted to say that whenever I hear otherwise intelligent people - such as libertarian journalist Cathy Young - say, in effect: "Being childfree isn't anything to brag about; what would happen if everyone decided they didn't want children?" I want to laugh. It's a moot point. It's like asking "what would happen to humanity if all the women who WANT children decided that they wanted to skip the discomforts of pregnancy and childbirth and, from now on, adopt orphans, unwanted children, and abused foster children?" Ain't gonna happen, so stop asking. In the meantime, pollution isn't going to go away, so we need to do everything we can to reduce it, including having fewer kids. Who wants to live with cancer around every corner, as they have to in West Virginia?
And contrary to what the U.N. says, *I* think we'll be at 10 billion BEFORE 2050. Ever since the early 1970s, we've been increasing by 1 billion every 12 years, and no one seems to want to explain in simple terms why this would slow down significantly.
In simple terms, once people reach a certain standard of living they
stop wanting kids. I have no idea why, but observationally it is
true. In the US the population increase is due to immigration. With
no immigration the population would be declining. Japan's population
is already declining, You will find that the same is true of a number
of other countries with high standards of living.
Post by l***@yahoo.com
So any child can figure out that we would be at 14 billion by the end of the century, not 11 billion - another U.N. claim!
Obviously, there will be serious problems whenever there are more old people than young people - but given that economies were run according to the principles of frugality until the 20th century, who's to say we couldn't do that again?
Lenona.
Dimensional Traveler
2018-06-12 05:37:45 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by J. Clarke
Post by l***@yahoo.com
I just wanted to say that whenever I hear otherwise intelligent people - such as libertarian journalist Cathy Young - say, in effect: "Being childfree isn't anything to brag about; what would happen if everyone decided they didn't want children?" I want to laugh. It's a moot point. It's like asking "what would happen to humanity if all the women who WANT children decided that they wanted to skip the discomforts of pregnancy and childbirth and, from now on, adopt orphans, unwanted children, and abused foster children?" Ain't gonna happen, so stop asking. In the meantime, pollution isn't going to go away, so we need to do everything we can to reduce it, including having fewer kids. Who wants to live with cancer around every corner, as they have to in West Virginia?
And contrary to what the U.N. says, *I* think we'll be at 10 billion BEFORE 2050. Ever since the early 1970s, we've been increasing by 1 billion every 12 years, and no one seems to want to explain in simple terms why this would slow down significantly.
In simple terms, once people reach a certain standard of living they
stop wanting kids. I have no idea why, but observationally it is
true. In the US the population increase is due to immigration. With
no immigration the population would be declining. Japan's population
is already declining, You will find that the same is true of a number
of other countries with high standards of living.
"Until recently baby production was largely dependent on slave labour;
as soon as women are allowed to answer the question "Would you like to
squeeze as many objects the size of a watermelon out of your body as it
takes to kill you?" they generally answer "No, thank you." This leads to
falling birthrates everywhere women are not kept enslaved and ignorant
of the alternatives." - James Nicoll, 2005
--
Inquiring minds want to know while minds with a self-preservation
instinct are running screaming.
Juho Julkunen
2018-06-12 12:29:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by J. Clarke
Post by l***@yahoo.com
I just wanted to say that whenever I hear otherwise intelligent people - such as libertarian journalist Cathy Young - say, in effect: "Being childfree isn't anything to brag about; what would happen if everyone decided they didn't want children?" I want to laugh. It's a moot point. It's like asking "what would happen to humanity if all the women who WANT children decided that they wanted to skip the discomforts of pregnancy and childbirth and, from now on, adopt
orphans, unwanted children, and abused foster children?" Ain't gonna happen, so stop asking. In the meantime, pollution isn't going to go away, so we need to do everything we can to reduce it, including having fewer kids. Who wants to live with cancer around every corner, as they have to in West Virginia?
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by J. Clarke
Post by l***@yahoo.com
And contrary to what the U.N. says, *I* think we'll be at 10 billion BEFORE 2050. Ever since the early 1970s, we've been increasing by 1 billion every 12 years, and no one seems to want to explain in simple terms why this would slow down significantly.
In simple terms, once people reach a certain standard of living they
stop wanting kids. I have no idea why, but observationally it is
true. In the US the population increase is due to immigration. With
no immigration the population would be declining. Japan's population
is already declining, You will find that the same is true of a number
of other countries with high standards of living.
"Until recently baby production was largely dependent on slave labour;
as soon as women are allowed to answer the question "Would you like to
squeeze as many objects the size of a watermelon out of your body as it
takes to kill you?" they generally answer "No, thank you." This leads to
falling birthrates everywhere women are not kept enslaved and ignorant
of the alternatives." - James Nicoll, 2005
The big stories are urbanization, rising standards of living, and
women's rights. Of course, they tend to go together.

To generalize wildly, as economists are wont to do, in a rural economy
housing is cheap and demand for unskilled labour is high. The incentive
is to have lots of children. In an urban economy housing is expensive,
and demand is for skilled labour. The incentive is to have less
children and invest more in their human capital. (Quantity/quality
tradeoff, which is increasingly shifting towards quality.)

Or even more simply: on a farm children are a necessity; in a city they
are a luxury.

People who defer having children for education or career-building tend
to have fewer of them, possibly just because they have less time for
making them. (Many women in developed countries report having less
children than planned.) This depends on women having the right to make
that choice and access to birth control, of course. In developing
countries women generally report having more children than planned.
--
Juho Julkunen
James Nicoll
2018-06-12 14:54:30 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Juho Julkunen
Or even more simply: on a farm children are a necessity; in a city they
are a luxury.
_If_ it's legal to use the kids as workers. It was when I was a kid
but I get the sense people are now less comfortable exposing kids to
a work environment whose serious accident rate is so high.
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
James Nicoll
2018-06-12 14:57:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Juho Julkunen
Or even more simply: on a farm children are a necessity; in a city they
are a luxury.
_If_ it's legal to use the kids as workers. It was when I was a kid
but I get the sense people are now less comfortable exposing kids to
a work environment whose serious accident rate is so high.
As much as I resent kids not being forced to pry this year's
harvest of rocks out of the ground, I am actually ok with them
not finding out first hand what it is like to get one's pocket
tangled with a rapidly moving axle or any of the less pleasant
bailing machine mishaps. Or even having tractors roll over on
them.
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Kevrob
2018-06-12 15:28:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Juho Julkunen
Or even more simply: on a farm children are a necessity; in a city they
are a luxury.
_If_ it's legal to use the kids as workers. It was when I was a kid
but I get the sense people are now less comfortable exposing kids to
a work environment whose serious accident rate is so high.
As much as I resent kids not being forced to pry this year's
harvest of rocks out of the ground, I am actually ok with them
not finding out first hand what it is like to get one's pocket
tangled with a rapidly moving axle or any of the less pleasant
bailing machine mishaps. Or even having tractors roll over on
them.
Tossing feed to free range chickens and gathering eggs from the
henhouse, milking cows by hand and leading Bossy out to the back
40: this is the bucolic image of a farm kid's life fed to us by
Old Hollywood and children's books when I was a kid. They rarely
mentioned shoveling manure or, as some of my friends from Long
Island duck farming families had to do, shooting rats and feral
dogs to keep them away from the eggs, the drakes and the hens.

Kevin R
James Nicoll
2018-06-12 16:43:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kevrob
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Juho Julkunen
Or even more simply: on a farm children are a necessity; in a city they
are a luxury.
_If_ it's legal to use the kids as workers. It was when I was a kid
but I get the sense people are now less comfortable exposing kids to
a work environment whose serious accident rate is so high.
As much as I resent kids not being forced to pry this year's
harvest of rocks out of the ground, I am actually ok with them
not finding out first hand what it is like to get one's pocket
tangled with a rapidly moving axle or any of the less pleasant
bailing machine mishaps. Or even having tractors roll over on
them.
Tossing feed to free range chickens and gathering eggs from the
henhouse, milking cows by hand and leading Bossy out to the back
40: this is the bucolic image of a farm kid's life fed to us by
Old Hollywood and children's books when I was a kid. They rarely
mentioned shoveling manure or, as some of my friends from Long
Island duck farming families had to do, shooting rats and feral
dogs to keep them away from the eggs, the drakes and the hens.
Horse and cow manure are a million times less unpleasant than pig
or chicken...
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Kevrob
2018-06-12 16:48:29 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Horse and cow manure are a million times less unpleasant than pig
or chicken...
Oh, so true. Horse manure on the neighbors roses would be
perfume compared to driving down the road on a hot day,
with a duck farm on either side, even with the windows
rolled up.

Kevin R
Ahasuerus
2018-06-12 17:49:32 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kevrob
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Juho Julkunen
Or even more simply: on a farm children are a necessity; in a city they
are a luxury.
_If_ it's legal to use the kids as workers. It was when I was a kid
but I get the sense people are now less comfortable exposing kids to
a work environment whose serious accident rate is so high.
As much as I resent kids not being forced to pry this year's
harvest of rocks out of the ground, I am actually ok with them
not finding out first hand what it is like to get one's pocket
tangled with a rapidly moving axle or any of the less pleasant
bailing machine mishaps. Or even having tractors roll over on
them.
Tossing feed to free range chickens and gathering eggs from the
henhouse, milking cows by hand and leading Bossy out to the back
40: this is the bucolic image of a farm kid's life fed to us by
Old Hollywood and children's books when I was a kid. They rarely
mentioned shoveling manure or, as some of my friends from Long
Island duck farming families had to do, shooting rats and feral
dogs to keep them away from the eggs, the drakes and the hens.
It's been my experience that juvenile fiction doesn't always include
accurate and comprehensive descriptions of various occupations. It can
be misleading in other ways as well, e.g. it vastly exaggerates the
number of talking animals out there.
James Nicoll
2018-06-12 17:57:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ahasuerus
Post by Kevrob
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Juho Julkunen
Or even more simply: on a farm children are a necessity; in a city they
are a luxury.
_If_ it's legal to use the kids as workers. It was when I was a kid
but I get the sense people are now less comfortable exposing kids to
a work environment whose serious accident rate is so high.
As much as I resent kids not being forced to pry this year's
harvest of rocks out of the ground, I am actually ok with them
not finding out first hand what it is like to get one's pocket
tangled with a rapidly moving axle or any of the less pleasant
bailing machine mishaps. Or even having tractors roll over on
them.
Tossing feed to free range chickens and gathering eggs from the
henhouse, milking cows by hand and leading Bossy out to the back
40: this is the bucolic image of a farm kid's life fed to us by
Old Hollywood and children's books when I was a kid. They rarely
mentioned shoveling manure or, as some of my friends from Long
Island duck farming families had to do, shooting rats and feral
dogs to keep them away from the eggs, the drakes and the hens.
It's been my experience that juvenile fiction doesn't always include
accurate and comprehensive descriptions of various occupations. It can
be misleading in other ways as well, e.g. it vastly exaggerates the
number of talking animals out there.
I feel talking animal YA set on farms really underplays the nightmarish
implications of thinking, speaking beings destined to be killed and
eaten by their owners.
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Ahasuerus
2018-06-12 18:03:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Ahasuerus
Post by Kevrob
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Juho Julkunen
Or even more simply: on a farm children are a necessity; in a city they
are a luxury.
_If_ it's legal to use the kids as workers. It was when I was a kid
but I get the sense people are now less comfortable exposing kids to
a work environment whose serious accident rate is so high.
As much as I resent kids not being forced to pry this year's
harvest of rocks out of the ground, I am actually ok with them
not finding out first hand what it is like to get one's pocket
tangled with a rapidly moving axle or any of the less pleasant
bailing machine mishaps. Or even having tractors roll over on
them.
Tossing feed to free range chickens and gathering eggs from the
henhouse, milking cows by hand and leading Bossy out to the back
40: this is the bucolic image of a farm kid's life fed to us by
Old Hollywood and children's books when I was a kid. They rarely
mentioned shoveling manure or, as some of my friends from Long
Island duck farming families had to do, shooting rats and feral
dogs to keep them away from the eggs, the drakes and the hens.
It's been my experience that juvenile fiction doesn't always include
accurate and comprehensive descriptions of various occupations. It can
be misleading in other ways as well, e.g. it vastly exaggerates the
number of talking animals out there.
I feel talking animal YA set on farms really underplays the nightmarish
implications of thinking, speaking beings destined to be killed and
eaten by their owners.
Somebody ought to write a book about talking farm animals revolting and
kicking humans out!
John Halpenny
2018-06-12 13:08:16 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by J. Clarke
Post by l***@yahoo.com
I just wanted to say that whenever I hear otherwise intelligent people - such as libertarian journalist Cathy Young - say, in effect: "Being childfree isn't anything to brag about; what would happen if everyone decided they didn't want children?" I want to laugh. It's a moot point. It's like asking "what would happen to humanity if all the women who WANT children decided that they wanted to skip the discomforts of pregnancy and childbirth and, from now on, adopt orphans, unwanted children, and abused foster children?" Ain't gonna happen, so stop asking. In the meantime, pollution isn't going to go away, so we need to do everything we can to reduce it, including having fewer kids. Who wants to live with cancer around every corner, as they have to in West Virginia?
And contrary to what the U.N. says, *I* think we'll be at 10 billion BEFORE 2050. Ever since the early 1970s, we've been increasing by 1 billion every 12 years, and no one seems to want to explain in simple terms why this would slow down significantly.
In simple terms, once people reach a certain standard of living they
stop wanting kids. I have no idea why, but observationally it is
true. In the US the population increase is due to immigration. With
no immigration the population would be declining. Japan's population
is already declining, You will find that the same is true of a number
of other countries with high standards of living.
Has this happened before?

I read one account of the late Roman empire which said that the population was essentially stagnant, and claimed it was due to the fact that most of the population was in economic or actually slavery. With no hope for the future and no way to really get ahead, there was no point in raising a future generation.

There seems to be a feeling in some circles that "I would have kids if I could get all the money I need first"

John
Lawrence Watt-Evans
2018-06-12 15:01:28 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
On Tue, 12 Jun 2018 06:08:16 -0700 (PDT), John Halpenny
Post by John Halpenny
Post by J. Clarke
In simple terms, once people reach a certain standard of living they
stop wanting kids. I have no idea why, but observationally it is
true. In the US the population increase is due to immigration. With
no immigration the population would be declining. Japan's population
is already declining, You will find that the same is true of a number
of other countries with high standards of living.
Has this happened before?
I read one account of the late Roman empire which said that the population was essentially stagnant, and claimed it was due to the fact that most of the population was in economic or actually slavery. With no hope for the future and no way to really get ahead, there was no point in raising a future generation.
The Roman Empire in the west had a fairly significant drop in
population in its later years. Actual slavery probably wasn't a major
cause, as in fact there weren't a lot of slaves in the West by then,
but economics and a lack of prospects for wealth definitely had a lot
to do with it. There were counter-incentives in the tax structure,
and in general the economy was pretty stagnant after the 2nd century
AD. As early as the reign of Augustus there was a propaganda campaign
urging citizens to have more kids, but it was completely ineffective,
and they never did fix the tax problems.

The eastern empire, however, was thriving for most of its existence,
and population there was usually growing.
--
My webpage is at http://www.watt-evans.com
My latest novel is Stone Unturned: A Legend of Ethshar.
See http://www.ethshar.com/StoneUnturned.shtml
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-06-12 16:56:14 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
On Tue, 12 Jun 2018 06:08:16 -0700 (PDT), John Halpenny
Post by John Halpenny
Post by J. Clarke
In simple terms, once people reach a certain standard of living they
stop wanting kids. I have no idea why, but observationally it is
true. In the US the population increase is due to immigration. With
no immigration the population would be declining. Japan's population
is already declining, You will find that the same is true of a number
of other countries with high standards of living.
Has this happened before?
I read one account of the late Roman empire which said that the
population was essentially stagnant, and claimed it was due to the fact
that most of the population was in economic or actually slavery. With no
hope for the future and no way to really get ahead, there was no point
in raising a future generation.
The Roman Empire in the west had a fairly significant drop in
population in its later years. Actual slavery probably wasn't a major
cause, as in fact there weren't a lot of slaves in the West by then,
but economics and a lack of prospects for wealth definitely had a lot
to do with it. There were counter-incentives in the tax structure,
and in general the economy was pretty stagnant after the 2nd century
AD. As early as the reign of Augustus there was a propaganda campaign
urging citizens to have more kids, but it was completely ineffective,
and they never did fix the tax problems.
Augustus brought in "Anti Celebicy" laws. Of course the male Romans
weren't celibate in the sense we usually use the word, but they
weren't making little Roman Citizens with their Citizen wives.
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
J. Clarke
2018-06-12 23:57:26 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
On Tue, 12 Jun 2018 06:08:16 -0700 (PDT), John Halpenny
Post by John Halpenny
Post by J. Clarke
Post by l***@yahoo.com
I just wanted to say that whenever I hear otherwise intelligent people - such as libertarian journalist Cathy Young - say, in effect: "Being childfree isn't anything to brag about; what would happen if everyone decided they didn't want children?" I want to laugh. It's a moot point. It's like asking "what would happen to humanity if all the women who WANT children decided that they wanted to skip the discomforts of pregnancy and childbirth and, from now on, adopt orphans, unwanted children, and abused foster children?" Ain't gonna happen, so stop asking. In the meantime, pollution isn't going to go away, so we need to do everything we can to reduce it, including having fewer kids. Who wants to live with cancer around every corner, as they have to in West Virginia?
And contrary to what the U.N. says, *I* think we'll be at 10 billion BEFORE 2050. Ever since the early 1970s, we've been increasing by 1 billion every 12 years, and no one seems to want to explain in simple terms why this would slow down significantly.
In simple terms, once people reach a certain standard of living they
stop wanting kids. I have no idea why, but observationally it is
true. In the US the population increase is due to immigration. With
no immigration the population would be declining. Japan's population
is already declining, You will find that the same is true of a number
of other countries with high standards of living.
Has this happened before?
I read one account of the late Roman empire which said that the population was essentially stagnant, and claimed it was due to the fact that most of the population was in economic or actually slavery. With no hope for the future and no way to really get ahead, there was no point in raising a future generation.
There seems to be a feeling in some circles that "I would have kids if I could get all the money I need first"
I don't know that accurate enough records exist to be able to tell.
But at one time the Egyptians had enough labor surplus to build the
Pyramids. Later they stopped building pyramids, and I find myself
wondering if declining population had something to do with it.
Titus G
2018-06-13 03:17:44 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
On Tue, 12 Jun 2018 06:08:16 -0700 (PDT), John Halpenny
Post by John Halpenny
Post by J. Clarke
Post by l***@yahoo.com
I just wanted to say that whenever I hear otherwise intelligent people - such as libertarian journalist Cathy Young - say, in effect: "Being childfree isn't anything to brag about; what would happen if everyone decided they didn't want children?" I want to laugh. It's a moot point. It's like asking "what would happen to humanity if all the women who WANT children decided that they wanted to skip the discomforts of pregnancy and childbirth and, from now on, adopt orphans, unwanted children, and abused foster children?" Ain't gonna happen, so stop asking. In the meantime, pollution isn't going to go away, so we need to do everything we can to reduce it, including having fewer kids. Who wants to live with cancer around every corner, as they have to in West Virginia?
And contrary to what the U.N. says, *I* think we'll be at 10 billion BEFORE 2050. Ever since the early 1970s, we've been increasing by 1 billion every 12 years, and no one seems to want to explain in simple terms why this would slow down significantly.
In simple terms, once people reach a certain standard of living they
stop wanting kids. I have no idea why, but observationally it is
true. In the US the population increase is due to immigration. With
no immigration the population would be declining. Japan's population
is already declining, You will find that the same is true of a number
of other countries with high standards of living.
Has this happened before?
I read one account of the late Roman empire which said that the population was essentially stagnant, and claimed it was due to the fact that most of the population was in economic or actually slavery. With no hope for the future and no way to really get ahead, there was no point in raising a future generation.
There seems to be a feeling in some circles that "I would have kids if I could get all the money I need first"
I don't know that accurate enough records exist to be able to tell.
But at one time the Egyptians had enough labor surplus to build the
Pyramids. Later they stopped building pyramids, and I find myself
wondering if declining population had something to do with it.
No. The opposite was the case, more later.
Deviating from what is being discussed but I was interested to read that
the Egyptian government is currently trying to convince China to
demolish their full sized replica of the Sphinx.
Back on topic.
Obviously they stopped building pyramids because this was the Pre-Musk
Economic Era and not one of them sold. Cheap with very little labour
cost and materials gathered for free, they should have been on many
shopping lists but perhaps it was the simplicity of design or high
freight costs. Anyway, lack of sales led to a lack of porridge for the
working man whose sperm could therefore only slowly dog paddle, hence
the declining population.

P.S. Please stop throwing stuff at me. I have plenty of vegetables in
the bottom of the fridge.
m***@sky.com
2018-06-14 04:40:16 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by John Halpenny
Post by J. Clarke
Post by l***@yahoo.com
I just wanted to say that whenever I hear otherwise intelligent people - such as libertarian journalist Cathy Young - say, in effect: "Being childfree isn't anything to brag about; what would happen if everyone decided they didn't want children?" I want to laugh. It's a moot point. It's like asking "what would happen to humanity if all the women who WANT children decided that they wanted to skip the discomforts of pregnancy and childbirth and, from now on, adopt orphans, unwanted children, and abused foster children?" Ain't gonna happen, so stop asking. In the meantime, pollution isn't going to go away, so we need to do everything we can to reduce it, including having fewer kids. Who wants to live with cancer around every corner, as they have to in West Virginia?
And contrary to what the U.N. says, *I* think we'll be at 10 billion BEFORE 2050. Ever since the early 1970s, we've been increasing by 1 billion every 12 years, and no one seems to want to explain in simple terms why this would slow down significantly.
In simple terms, once people reach a certain standard of living they
stop wanting kids. I have no idea why, but observationally it is
true. In the US the population increase is due to immigration. With
no immigration the population would be declining. Japan's population
is already declining, You will find that the same is true of a number
of other countries with high standards of living.
Has this happened before?
I read one account of the late Roman empire which said that the population was essentially stagnant, and claimed it was due to the fact that most of the population was in economic or actually slavery. With no hope for the future and no way to really get ahead, there was no point in raising a future generation.
There seems to be a feeling in some circles that "I would have kids if I could get all the money I need first"
John
The Romans had big problems with plagues - e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plague_of_Justinian. I suspect this was a big problem with the civilisation/barbarian balance of power. From the days of Pericles on, being about to build fortifications and hunker down behind them _should_ give you a big advantage against invaders - but if having all your population crowded together behind the walls means epidemic disease, the theory doesn't work too well.
Lawrence Watt-Evans
2018-06-14 14:13:28 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by m***@sky.com
Post by John Halpenny
Post by J. Clarke
In simple terms, once people reach a certain standard of living they
stop wanting kids. I have no idea why, but observationally it is
true. In the US the population increase is due to immigration. With
no immigration the population would be declining. Japan's population
is already declining, You will find that the same is true of a number
of other countries with high standards of living.
Has this happened before?
I read one account of the late Roman empire which said that the population was essentially stagnant, and claimed it was due to the fact that most of the population was in economic or actually slavery. With no hope for the future and no way to really get ahead, there was no point in raising a future generation.
There seems to be a feeling in some circles that "I would have kids if I could get all the money I need first"
The Romans had big problems with plagues - e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plague_of_Justinian. I suspect this was a big problem with the civilisation/barbarian balance of power. From the days of Pericles on, being about to build fortifications and hunker down behind them _should_ give you a big advantage against invaders - but if having all your population crowded together behind the walls means epidemic disease, the theory doesn't work too well.
I remember when I visited Barcelona and learned something about the
city's history. It's been there basically forever -- it's not just
pre-Roman, it's pre-Phoenician. And it's gone through a cycle where
it would grow in population for a century or two until it got up to
maybe 100,000 people (which was a lot for a low-tech civilization),
and then some trader would bring home a plague and it would collapse
down to maybe 20,000 and start over. It happened repeatedly.

Then in the 19th century they discovered sanitation, vaccination,
etc., and it stopped collapsing. As a result it's expanded steadily
ever since, out into the surrounding hills.

Anyway, at least two collapses happened while it was Roman.
--
My webpage is at http://www.watt-evans.com
My latest novel is Stone Unturned: A Legend of Ethshar.
See http://www.ethshar.com/StoneUnturned.shtml
Carl Fink
2018-06-12 12:59:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
And contrary to what the U.N. says, *I* think we'll be at 10 billion
BEFORE 2050. Ever since the early 1970s, we've been increasing by 1
billion every 12 years, and no one seems to want to explain in simple
terms why this would slow down significantly. So any child can figure out
that we would be at 14 billion by the end of the century, not 11 billion -
another U.N. claim!
It's already happening. Your saying you don't understand why, to my mind,
rather misses the point. As James said over at the Tor site, everywhere but
Africa is already experiencing birthrate declines.
--
Carl Fink ***@nitpicking.com

Read John Grant's book, Corrupted Science: http://a.co/9UsUoGu
Dedicated to ... Carl Fink!
l***@yahoo.com
2018-06-12 19:20:37 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Carl Fink
And contrary to what the U.N. says, *I* think we'll be at 10 billion
BEFORE 2050. Ever since the early 1970s, we've been increasing by 1
billion every 12 years, and no one seems to want to explain in simple
terms why this would slow down significantly. So any child can figure out
that we would be at 14 billion by the end of the century, not 11 billion -
another U.N. claim!
It's already happening. Your saying you don't understand why, to my mind,
rather misses the point. As James said over at the Tor site, everywhere but
Africa is already experiencing birthrate declines.
And from what I've heard, at least some European countries, such as Italy, have been experiencing that for at least the last 20 years if not more. Not to mention the US. So...why does it look, right now, as if it will take only 11 years, not 12, to go from 7 billion to 8 billion? (We reached 7 billion in the fall of 2011 and we're over 7.6 billion right now, according to Worldometers. Also, the U.N. used to say we'd "only" be at 9.5 billion by 2050 and now they're saying 9.7 billion. What's going on with them?)

Just as importantly, does anyone really WANT to see a world of 10 billion, even in two centuries, with all the likely disasters that would result?


Lenona.
Kevrob
2018-06-12 20:17:28 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Post by Carl Fink
And contrary to what the U.N. says, *I* think we'll be at 10 billion
BEFORE 2050. Ever since the early 1970s, we've been increasing by 1
billion every 12 years, and no one seems to want to explain in simple
terms why this would slow down significantly. So any child can figure out
that we would be at 14 billion by the end of the century, not 11 billion -
another U.N. claim!
It's already happening. Your saying you don't understand why, to my mind,
rather misses the point. As James said over at the Tor site, everywhere but
Africa is already experiencing birthrate declines.
And from what I've heard, at least some European countries, such as Italy, have been experiencing that for at least the last 20 years if not more. Not to mention the US. So...why does it look, right now, as if it will take only 11 years, not 12, to go from 7 billion to 8 billion? (We reached 7 billion in the fall of 2011 and we're over 7.6 billion right now, according to Worldometers. Also, the U.N. used to say we'd "only" be at 9.5 billion by 2050 and now they're saying 9.7 billion. What's going on with them?)
Declining death-rates, maybe? One of the fastest growing demographics
in the developed world are the elderly.

[quote]

65 and Older Population Grew Faster than Total Population

Between 2000 and 2010, the population 65 and older grew 15.1 percent,
while the total U.S. population grew 9.7 percent. The opposite
happened between 1990 and 2000 when the growth of the older population
was slower than the growth of the total population, with growth rates
of 12.0 percent and 13.2 percent, respectively.

[/quote] https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/2010_census/cb11-cn192.html

The first of the "baby boomer bulge" turned 65 in 2011.

The "old-old" are sticking around longer. More from the same
Census
link:

[quote]
Population 85 and Older Increased in All States

Between 2000 and 2010, all states experienced increases in the number
of people who were 85 and older. However, the magnitude of growth
varied among states.

Alaska had the largest percent change between 2000 and 2010 (78.9
percent), increasing from 2,634 in 2000 to 4,711 in 2010. Mississippi
had the smallest growth rate (3.4 percent) and increased from 42,891 in
2000 to 44,359 in 2010. Alaska was also the state with the lowest number
and percentage of the population 85 and older when compared with other states.

[/quote] - WEDNESDAY, NOV. 30, 2011
2010 Census Shows 65 and Older Population Growing Faster Than Total U.S. Population

Percentage Higher than in any Previous Census
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Just as importantly, does anyone really WANT to see a world of 10 billion, even in two centuries, with all the likely disasters that would result?
The Demographic Transition Model says population should peak,
then decline. In reality, rather than theory, lack of
development could still result in rapid population growth in
some regions, while population declines in others. Will the declines
sufficiently offset the rises so the world doesn't exceed carrying
capacity? Danged if I know. Modernizing backward areas so that they
start ratcheting back the baby production would seem to be a good thing.

Some folks in these areas just hate modernity, though.

Kevin R
Lawrence Watt-Evans
2018-06-12 21:22:50 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kevrob
The Demographic Transition Model says population should peak,
then decline. In reality, rather than theory, lack of
development could still result in rapid population growth in
some regions, while population declines in others. Will the declines
sufficiently offset the rises so the world doesn't exceed carrying
capacity? Danged if I know. Modernizing backward areas so that they
start ratcheting back the baby production would seem to be a good thing.
Some folks in these areas just hate modernity, though.
Most of them don't.
--
My webpage is at http://www.watt-evans.com
My latest novel is Stone Unturned: A Legend of Ethshar.
See http://www.ethshar.com/StoneUnturned.shtml
Kevrob
2018-06-12 23:08:35 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Post by Kevrob
The Demographic Transition Model says population should peak,
then decline. In reality, rather than theory, lack of
development could still result in rapid population growth in
some regions, while population declines in others. Will the declines
sufficiently offset the rises so the world doesn't exceed carrying
capacity? Danged if I know. Modernizing backward areas so that they
start ratcheting back the baby production would seem to be a good thing.
Some folks in these areas just hate modernity, though.
Most of them don't.
Unfortunately, some of the ones who hate it are in charge of levers
of political power. Political Islamists* certainly hate modernity.
Some of our fundamentalist Christians in the USA do, too, such as
the Dominionists. People can be hypocrites about it, ranting about
"when things were better" and spreading said rants with the most
modern technology.

Kevin R

* Not anything like all Muslims, mind you. Let's be clear about that.
l***@yahoo.com
2018-06-13 20:32:24 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kevrob
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Post by Carl Fink
And contrary to what the U.N. says, *I* think we'll be at 10 billion
BEFORE 2050. Ever since the early 1970s, we've been increasing by 1
billion every 12 years, and no one seems to want to explain in simple
terms why this would slow down significantly. So any child can figure out
that we would be at 14 billion by the end of the century, not 11 billion -
another U.N. claim!
It's already happening. Your saying you don't understand why, to my mind,
rather misses the point. As James said over at the Tor site, everywhere but
Africa is already experiencing birthrate declines.
And from what I've heard, at least some European countries, such as Italy, have been experiencing that for at least the last 20 years if not more. Not to mention the US. So...why does it look, right now, as if it will take only 11 years, not 12, to go from 7 billion to 8 billion? (We reached 7 billion in the fall of 2011 and we're over 7.6 billion right now, according to Worldometers. Also, the U.N. used to say we'd "only" be at 9.5 billion by 2050 and now they're saying 9.7 billion. What's going on with them?)
Declining death-rates, maybe? One of the fastest growing demographics
in the developed world are the elderly.
Just to be clear, I meant that it's pretty odd the U.N. would change its predicted figure by that much.

But just after I posted, I realized I'd forgotten to mention something I'd read in Conservation Magazine; it was from Sept. 2013.

http://www.conservationmagazine.org/2013/09/tv-as-birth-control/

Check out the chart on population growth, halfway down.

It seems that growing life expectancy is a pretty strong counterforce to falling birth rates - despite the (so far) successful use of TV soap operas in Third World countries as a way to let people know that they can have smaller families if they want and reap the benefits of doing so.

So that would suggest that by 2050, we'll have a much higher percentage of people older than 65 than ever before. If we ARE at 10 billion by then, I predict the over-65 population will number well over 2 billion - especially with improvements in medicine, IF people learn to spend less time on their phones and more time exercising.

At least some people disagree on that number. From one source in 2016:

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/worlds-older-population-grows-dramatically

"The world's older population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. Today, 8.5 percent of people worldwide (617 million) are aged 65 and over. According to a new report, 'An Aging World: 2015,' this percentage is projected to jump to nearly 17 percent of the world's population by 2050 (1.6 billion)."

(snip the rest)

But anyway, I can't imagine that we can afford to wait for things to slow down, even before the 10 billion mark - or assume that the population is ever going to decline. Maybe it will but if it doesn't...that would be a disaster. (Among other things, a healthy environment can survive without humans, but not vice versa.) Even the Depression and WWII failed to put global population growth into reverse between 1930 and the end of 1945. Pretty telling. Plus, someone said that if the 10 billionth baby is never born, that will be due to global nuclear war, mass famine, etc. Not birth control. Sounds plausible.


Lenona.
Ahasuerus
2018-06-13 22:23:33 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
[snip-snip]
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Post by Kevrob
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Also, the U.N. used to say we'd "only" be at 9.5 billion by 2050
and now they're saying 9.7 billion. What's going on with them?)
Declining death-rates, maybe? One of the fastest growing demographics
in the developed world are the elderly.
Just to be clear, I meant that it's pretty odd the U.N. would change
its predicted figure by that much. [snip]
I blame humans. They just can't make up their minds -- see my earlier post
which showed that Japan's TFR was 1.26 in 2006 and 1.45 in 2015. That's
completely irresponsible and makes it hard to manage the species
extinction process.

ObSF: The rebound coincided with the proliferation of isekai
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isekai) fantasies in light novels and
anime. Coincidence or conspiracy?..
Lynn McGuire
2018-06-13 22:32:33 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ahasuerus
[snip-snip]
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Post by Kevrob
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Also, the U.N. used to say we'd "only" be at 9.5 billion by 2050
and now they're saying 9.7 billion. What's going on with them?)
Declining death-rates, maybe? One of the fastest growing demographics
in the developed world are the elderly.
Just to be clear, I meant that it's pretty odd the U.N. would change
its predicted figure by that much. [snip]
I blame humans. They just can't make up their minds -- see my earlier post
which showed that Japan's TFR was 1.26 in 2006 and 1.45 in 2015. That's
completely irresponsible and makes it hard to manage the species
extinction process.
ObSF: The rebound coincided with the proliferation of isekai
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isekai) fantasies in light novels and
anime. Coincidence or conspiracy?..
I wonder if they are counting just Japanese citizens or all inhabitants
of Japan. There are many thousands of Koreans living in Japan for
decades who are not citizens.

Lynn
Ahasuerus
2018-06-13 22:44:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Lynn McGuire
Post by Ahasuerus
[snip-snip]
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Post by Kevrob
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Also, the U.N. used to say we'd "only" be at 9.5 billion by 2050
and now they're saying 9.7 billion. What's going on with them?)
Declining death-rates, maybe? One of the fastest growing demographics
in the developed world are the elderly.
Just to be clear, I meant that it's pretty odd the U.N. would change
its predicted figure by that much. [snip]
I blame humans. They just can't make up their minds -- see my earlier post
which showed that Japan's TFR was 1.26 in 2006 and 1.45 in 2015. That's
completely irresponsible and makes it hard to manage the species
extinction process.
ObSF: The rebound coincided with the proliferation of isekai
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isekai) fantasies in light novels and
anime. Coincidence or conspiracy?..
I wonder if they are counting just Japanese citizens or all inhabitants
of Japan. There are many thousands of Koreans living in Japan for
decades who are not citizens.
According to the Japanese Justice Ministry
(https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/17/national/record-2-38-million-foreign-residents-living-japan-2016/),
there were 2,382,822 foreign nationals living in Japan in 2016, i.e.
less than 2% of the overall population.
l***@yahoo.com
2018-06-14 18:40:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by l***@yahoo.com
I just wanted to say that whenever I hear otherwise intelligent people - such as libertarian journalist Cathy Young - say, in effect: "Being childfree isn't anything to brag about; what would happen if everyone decided they didn't want children?" I want to laugh. It's a moot point.
I slipped up - while plenty of people talk like that, Young isn't exactly one of them, and she's 55, has never had children, and doesn't seem to regret it.

Here's what I mean by "isn't exactly":

https://www.salon.com/2000/07/31/anti_child/

It's from 2000. In it, she focused on certain complaints of the childfree:

"The angry nonparents believe they are being treated as second-class citizens in a 'procreation-obsessed' America. They feel shafted by the tax code, with all the dependent deductions and child-care credits, and by working-parent benefits such as family leave and on-site day care. They gripe about a lot of things: having to pick up the slack for 'child-burdened' co-workers; enduring the noise of squalling kids in restaurants; the unfair privilege of parking spaces reserved for pregnant women and parents with babies or toddlers; inappropriate questioning of their choice not to have children."


She had plenty of valid criticisms about the childfree's lunatic fringe. However, she did not have the brains to avoid the Chicken Little argument so often made by pro-natalists:

"....But there’s nothing wrong with some societal recognition of the sacrifices parents make, or some societal effort to make things easier for those who have undertaken this difficult job.

"Nonsense, scoff the 'child-free' militants: These people made the choice to have children; why is that anyone else’s problem? Why, they cry, should I give up anything just because you decided to reproduce?

"Try this: Because if no one made the choice to reproduce, none of us would have a future."

And later:

"What I find truly infuriating about the 'child-free' advocates is their smug in-your-face insistence that there is nothing special about childbearing and child-rearing (heck, why should it be special? It's only about the survival of the human race!), that parenthood is no different from any other expensive hobby like, say, collecting antique dollhouses. It's not just parents they're disparaging, it's the very notion that our connection to future generations matters."


I mean, there's a big difference between demanding that we ALL stop reproducing right now (no adult I've ever heard of would try to make that argument with a straight face in a serious forum) and simply demanding, for serious reasons, that parents curb their parental appetites, which can be endless. (Not to mention all the couples, adult or not, married or not, who have kids for all the wrong reasons. Not good for the kids and those who have to live near them or work with them - such as teachers.) Also, until foster children no longer have to beg in the newspapers to get adopted, *I* say too many babies are being born in the U.S., at least.

See comments below. Five of them praised her column, others did not.

https://www.salon.com/2000/08/02/anti_child_2/


"I'm 38, single and childless. While I like children and hope to have one in the roughly 10 years I have left, my opinions on this subject tend to lean toward that of those who advocate the child-free movement. Actually it's not the children I have a problem with. It's their parents.

"It seems to me that these days, there is a general reproductive and parental irresponsibility that pervades our society. Why is it, exactly, that, in a time when we have a myriad of birth-control methods, we have an explosion of unwanted pregnancies, infanticides and neglected/abused children?

"While I may not agree with some of the more fringe ideology of the child-free movement, I do agree that too many adults are neglecting the results of the choice they made in the first place and that all of us are reaping the harvest that many of us never sowed."
- Juliette Ochieng

"...I think we should all be thankful for the people who are smart enough not to get pregnant if they don't want the responsibility!"
- Dale Caliaro

"Dear Ms. Young, what actually made you sick was swallowing that heaping helping of outdated pro-child propaganda. Kids are our future? Right now that future is freeways-turned-parking-lots and no affordable housing. And who relies on Social Security existing at all in 30 years? I sure don’t. Labor shortages? Puh-leeze. I’ll just be getting my Egg McMuffin from a vending machine.

"Our society has romanticized parenthood and made children into household gods. Deciding NOT to have children requires tremendous effort and constant explanation. The anti-child movement is providing support for those who don’t want ‘em , can’t stand ‘em and shouldn’t have ‘em. Yes, it’s a selfish movement, but it’s also pointing out that parents are at least as selfish — in their children’s names."
– Kat Daley



Lenona.
Quadibloc
2018-06-14 18:57:38 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by l***@yahoo.com
"What I find truly infuriating about the 'child-free' advocates is their smug
in-your-face insistence that there is nothing special about childbearing and
child-rearing (heck, why should it be special? It's only about the survival of
the human race!), that parenthood is no different from any other expensive hobby
like, say, collecting antique dollhouses. It's not just parents they're
disparaging, it's the very notion that our connection to future generations
matters."
This is at once true and false.

We would indeed have no one to take care of us in our old age if no one had any
children.

And, if there was any realistic prospect of that, people who failed to recognize
that the survival of the human race depended on some people having children
_would_ be mistaken, and in need of correction.

In fact, though, the world as a whole, as opposed to certain pockets of the
industrialized world, is still threatened by overpopulation. More children are
being had than can be supported properly, and the world's population is still
growing exponentially - which can't last forever, and thus is likely to come to
an end with a nasty bump of mass starvation.

Thus, treating having children like a personal hobby might be considered a rational response to this situation. It's not likely to be done, though, not for the sake of the survival of the "human race", but for the sake of the survival of the individual *tribe*.

While the reasoning behind that may have validity, defending the importance of
the survival of any particular race or culture risks being accused of racism in
today's climate.

John Savard
a***@yahoo.com
2018-06-12 00:19:32 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
In Brother Termite, some aliens are secretly reducing the human population.
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-06-12 00:51:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population
Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
In Brother Termite, some aliens are secretly reducing the human population.
By what means? Secret assassination? Secret sterilization?

There was a Doctor Who episode in which the Doctor's old nemesis,
the Master, having gained control of the world, commands his
troops, "Kill one-tenth of the population!" Which they do, as
the Master remarks to his wife that that's what "decimate" means.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
a***@yahoo.com
2018-06-12 01:59:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population
Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
In Brother Termite, some aliens are secretly reducing the human population.
By what means? Secret assassination? Secret sterilization?
Sterilization.
Kevrob
2018-06-12 14:25:19 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by a***@yahoo.com
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population
Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
In Brother Termite, some aliens are secretly reducing the human population.
By what means? Secret assassination? Secret sterilization?
Sterilization.
See also:

Edmund Cooper's SON OF KRONK (aka KRONK).

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?9

Spoiler: Gur fgrevyvmngvba cebprff hfrf n irarerny qvfrnfr nf n irpgbe.

Kevin R
a***@yahoo.com
2018-06-12 18:11:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Kevrob
Post by a***@yahoo.com
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by James Nicoll
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population
Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
In Brother Termite, some aliens are secretly reducing the human population.
By what means? Secret assassination? Secret sterilization?
Sterilization.
Edmund Cooper's SON OF KRONK (aka KRONK).
http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?9
Spoiler: Gur fgrevyvmngvba cebprff hfrf n irarerny qvfrnfr nf n irpgbe.
Also George Turner's Drowning Towers and The Destiny Makers (In which some drastic proposals to reduce overpopulation are brought up).
Lynn McGuire
2018-06-12 01:14:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by James Nicoll
Why Are There So Few SFF Books About the Very Real Issue of Population Decline?
https://www.tor.com/2018/06/11/why-are-there-so-few-sff-books-about-the-very-real-issue-of-population-decline/
Of course, there is the book, movie, and tv show, "Logan's Run".
Population control by executing people when they hit 21 or 30.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logan%27s_Run

Lynn
Loading...