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Newspaper Warns of Demographic Poverty

Pardon my French, but demographic poverty, my butt!

My local daily newspaper, The Gazette, has been on a crusade lately to warn of impending doom from declining population. The latest installment was in a July 15 editorial titled We Have Far Worse Than a Debt Crisis: This is a Dawning of Demographic Poverty. I find the term, Demographic Poverty, as used, quite ridiculous, short-sighted and selfish.

demographic-povertyIt’s important that growthbusters everywhere challenge this kind of backward thinking in their communities. I did my part, submitting a letter to the editor. It’s been a week since I submitted it, but it has not found its way to the opinion pages. So I share it here:

GAZETTE: We’ll deliver the paper; you deliver the subscribers

The Gazette’s Wayne Laugeson stooped pretty low in Friday’s effort to cast baby boomers as selfish child-haters. Without facts on his side, he had little else to hang his hat on, so his editorial implied a restaurateur banning children under 6 indicates my generation despises them. Laugeson is disappointed we didn’t have more kids – to keep our social security Ponzi scheme in full swing.

First of all, we have Chuck E. Cheese, so we ought to also have a place where adults can enjoy a meal and a quiet conversation. Free country.

But more importantly, I take issue with The Gazette opinionator’s attempt to portray a loving, compassionate, responsible decision as selfish. Many who choose to have smaller families do so in a selfless effort to ensure a good life for the next generation. I, for one, do not wish for my two children to live a life of hunger or constant conflict over a declining supply of resources for a growing population.

Laugeson has lately made it very clear he would prefer we were all crowding the labor and delivery rooms, pumping out future Gazette subscribers. That is the ultimate selfish position. Bringing a new child into this world should not be a decision based on the economics of retirement or a media company’s desire for revenue.

Wayne is right, however, to point out we are beginning to see and feel the pain of adjusting to a new reality. That reality is the end of the social security pyramid scheme and the end of cheap, abundant resources. Ironically, if we hadn’t overpopulated the planet as much as we have, we might not be spending so much on resource conflicts.

That money could greatly ease the pain of adjusting to population stabilization. The challenges of making that adjustment, however, pale in comparison to the impossible task of trying to feed a growing population of Gazette subscribers in a post peak-oil, post peak-water, post peak-soil, and therefore post peak-food world.

Laugeson terms the slowing of population growth a “demographic catastrophe.” The real catastrophe is what will occur if we fail to bring population growth and overshoot to a stop. If the newspaper wants more subscribers, rather than asking us to deliver them, I suggest it gain them the old fashioned way – earn them!

Quick Update Unrelated to Neanderthal Newspaper Editorials: Our Kickstarter fundraising campaign is at 25%, with just over two weeks to go. If you feel it’s important to raise public awareness about limits to growth, please visit our Kickstarter page, make a pledge, and recommend your friends and family do the same. Thank you!

Dave Gardner

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