Skip to main content
Non-financial boards have been closed.

Non-financial boards have been closed but will continue to be accessible in read-only form. If you're disappointed, we understand. Thank you for being an active participant in this community. We have more community features in development that we look forward to sharing soon. | The Motley Fool Community
Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 4
how could fewer be better?

Lower population => lower unemployment => competition for labor => rising wages.


had to wade in on this thread - I agree with the above...

What several people have posted, that the population of the planet should level off at some point, probably at 2 or 3 times current levels, appears to be a fairly well supported model...but it is more difficult to predict population trends for individual countries. To put population growth into perspective, the population of the planet did not reach 1 billion until 1800, and it took 130 years, until 1930, to add the next billion people, but 3 billion was reached 30 years later in 1960, and the planet housed 4 billion people 14 years later in 1974. Since the 1970s the world population seems to have departed from the exponential growth curve and has been growing by another billion about every 11-14 years, putting us at 6 billion in 1998. The model predicts that the curve will remain flat for awhile, adding about 1 billion every 11 years for a few decades and then the rate of growth should decline. Still, most models predict that, by 2100, 11-12 billion people will inhabit the planet.

BUT, in the U.S. our abundant natural resources and wide-open spaces, and generally vigorous economy, tends to draw a disproportionate share of citizens fleeing more crowded or simply less people-friendly parts of the planet. While only 30% of that growth in 2002 was directly due to immigration, analyzing total growth due to immigration requires futher analysis. Since 1970, our population has grown by about 68 million people. Almost half of that growth came from post-1970 immigrants and their descendants. If we do not lower the level of immigration, we will add 116 million people to our population size in the next fifty years - 80 million (60 percent) of whom will be post-2000 immigrants and their descendants. U.S. growth from all sources over the last 10 years is 30.6 million or 254,883 new citizens per month. To get just an inkling of the strain that puts on limited resources, consider that the reported "job growth" for June was a mere 112,000. Our politicians don't seem to have a clue. Let's take a look at some numbers :

Population Trends over 10 year Periods 1952 - 2002

1952 -1962 - 28.9 million

1962-1972 - 23.9 million

1972-1982 - 22.2 million

1982-1992 - 24.1 million

1992-2002 - 31.6 million

2002-2004 - 5.689 million

I think some of the population models floating around out there for the U.S. were predicated on the trends that we saw for the 40 years - 1950 - 1990 - in which the U.S. population growth actually declined (growth declined), at a time when world population was still increasing nearly exponentially. But the trend of the last 15 or so years has taken what, imo, is a disturbing turn - while the world population growth rate is leveling off, the U.S. growth rate has started going back up.

I think an analysis of these growth trends versus U.S./World GDP growth would be enlightening. You can probably see from a glance at the data that U.S. population growth appears to be correlated to U.S. GDP growth - or more likely the correlation is to the ratio of U.S./World GDP growth.

The implications of this are clear. The better the U.S. economy performs or the relatively better place it becomes to live in other ways, compared to other places on the planet, the more immigration it will attract.

And, IMO, as this happens the quality of life in the U.S. goes down for all of us.

The idea that technology growth is simply going to take care of all of this is pollyannic, to say the least. Population growth is the number one problem and clearly the most unrecognized problem facing this country today (IMO) - a problem that most politicians will not touch with a 10 foot pole. In fact, look around you and see that most of your state Governors are actually encouraging people to move to their state. Why? Does more people make your state a better place to live? Of course not! Population growth in the Texas Hill Country where I grew up has practically destroyed one of the most beautiful places in the country. Politicians encourage population growth to increase their tax base, of course. But as you Libertarians surely know, more money in the hands of politicians is only good for politicians. But it is BAD for people.

But look at the heat that Pat Buchanan took for his stand on immigration. While this may sound harsh and is probably not politically correct in some circles (and I thought that Buchanan used some unfortunate rhetoric to make his point), I believe Buchanan's main premise was correct: restricting immigration is essential to maintaining a higher standard of living for those of us living here now. Public policy has most recently been moving in exactly the opposite direction.

RIP JohnGaltII

Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.