30 January 2007

Countries should celebrate their falling birth rate not lament it.

A falling birth rate is usually a sign of a matured wealthy developed nation, a sign of high female education rates, a sign of a society coming of age, so it is always disappointing to read of countries that seem desperate to increase their birth rate.

I have mentioned this topic before but I will hammer home my point again. Those people who decide to remain childless should be given medals and lauded as responsible citizens.

With the world population heading towards a barely supportable 10 billion, the more countries that have a falling birth rate, the better - there is certainly no shortage of people in the world. There are plenty of young people in the world we can import for our countries needs.

There is only a transitional demographic problem for the developed world anyway as we move from higher to lower birth rates. Once the birth rate has been low over a few generations the ageing population problem will fall away.

As recent IPPR research shows, the world including ourselves (1 in 10 Brits abroad) is becoming a more transient place as peoples move around between countries much more easier. This can cause problems but is generally to be welcomed as people move to the places they are happiest and can improve the efficiency of the local labour markets providing the numbers and skills required. Certainly the opposition of those on the right to immigration is difficult to square with their supposed free market principles.

So to those 1 in 4 of us without children, well done, may this proportion increase.


  1. So Mrs Longrider and I are due a medal... She would probably appreciate a purple ribbon.

  2. Just on your point about the right and immigration in a free market. That is absolutely right (sic).

    To make just one ironic observation. When I was working in London I was always impressed by the fact that it was really very clear that many of London's essential service jobs were performed by immigrants. Without them the free market centre that is London just couldn't function. Of course this also obscures many other important points, such as the one you make that for a truly free market people have to be allowed to move freely and also the important point that much of immigration is skilled labour and that is vitally important - I myself am now an immigrant in another country, which is possible because of what I do.

    I really feel this illuminates that the right only really understands negative campaigning as a means to an end (power) and that they have little to offer in terms of a positive human vision of the future.

  3. longrider, I would be more than happy to pin the medals on but maybe you would prefer PM Blair (lol) or the Queen (I forgot, you are a republican aren't you?)

    jamez: Well said, it seems to me that people with the courage and drive to relocate to another country tend to have more drive and initiative in the workplace as well (sometimes in the face of enormous odds). People who are anti-immigrant defy rationality.

  4. What about the opposition to immigration from those on the left who just happen to be competing with immigrants for low skilled jobs or public services!?!

    The vast majority of support for the BNP surely comes from working class areas!

  5. snafu: sorry about delay in replying.

    I think there are plenty of inconsistencies on the left as well, but I was just pointing out that free movement of people should be supported by all those who believe in a 'free market' but this is not the case.

    I find it amazing that voters can shift from Labour to the BNP, but obviously they do.

    I'm not sure if there is any evidence to back this up but I would not be surprised to see a 'tory squeeze' in areas where the BNP do well.