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Old 09-21-2007, 10:32 AM   #21
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As an aside... someone pointed out that we need 2.1 children to maintain the population... many developed countries are at or below that amount...

Russia or Ukraine (can't remember which) are paying women to have babies as their population is declining...

Italy is so low that it was predicted everyone would be gone within 1,000 years...

Birth rate... last 5 years and next 5 years proj..

114United States 2.06 2.09
136United Kingdom 1.63 1.85
European Union 1.50
166Germany 1.38 1.40
177Italy 1.18 1.29

As you can see... if we did not have immigration, our popluation would begin to decline... and many other countries are already declining...

PS.... looks like Ukraine from this chart...

184Ukraine 1.26 1.24

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Old 09-21-2007, 10:34 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I'm not sure if you're serious Justin, but building new roads only postpones the problem. It's like buying a bigger belt when your weight increases.

Let's say traffic becomes horrible, and people take the Metro. Traffic will not get better, it will just stay at the "horrible" level.
Obviously there are some physical limits on what transportation infrastructure can be built practically. At appropriate densities, metro/subway systems make sense. It is my opinion that almost every single person sitting in traffic has a good reason for doing so - that is, the benefits of traveling exceed the costs of traveling.

I think there is some maximum theoretical average commute time above which folks will either switch jobs and work closer to home, move, or not work at all.

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Old 09-21-2007, 10:39 AM   #23
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Let's examine American family planning today. People aren't having that many kids. Why? It's expensive. Every few months we see stories of reported costs of kids hitting $200,000+. Ignoring the truthfulness of the figure, the bottom line is that raising kids is expensive today (in terms of time and dollars). That's part of the "natural" feedback cycle in industrialized societies.
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Old 09-21-2007, 11:04 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by twaddle View Post
Al, I believe the US birth rate is at an all-time low. Same in Europe. Same in Japan.

At the same time, we have a higher proportion of old folk, our lifespan is increasing, and we're potentially on the verge of increasing it significantly more.

We need more young folk. So, which of you old farts would like to step-up to the plate and volunteer to exit early?
Most of Europe and the US both have (at the least, unofficial) policies that promote immigration. As some have stated, many European countries are now outright paying for children. This helps prop up existing social structures and hopefully retains the relative economic dominance of the country in question.

This also, in my opinion, is one of the reasons that illegal immigration into the US (and most of western Europe) has largely been ignored by government. In general, people within a country are cliquish and do not welcome large levels of immigration because of cultural changes, mild xenophobia, etc. However, to retain status quo policies, governments require increased populace. If the government wants to stay in power, it therefore must increase populace without riling their constituencies.

When you say that we need more "young folk", what you mean is that we need more young folk if we wish to retain the status quo. There are other solutions - but few want to make those changes (and potential sacrifices) themselves. Maybe those solutions will require people to work longer, maybe they will require higher taxes for a generation or two. Again, I stress that there are readily available solutions if we wish to partake.

If there is any hope to decrease or stabilize worldwide populations, though, it will also have to be a worldwide effort. For example, the US certainly won't wish to decrease populations because it wants to retain economic dominance over countries such as India and China.

Overall, we don't need more people - what we need is education and a paradigm shift in how, worldwide, people and governments view growth and sustainability. Either that or we need to discover a new world to which humans can emigrate (and eventually overpopulate )
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Old 09-21-2007, 11:53 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by justin View Post
Wow, I see a simple solution to this problem. Build more roads. Add more lanes. Upgrade existing system inefficiencies (such as integrated, coordinated traffic signal systems with detectors that work). Fix bottleneck areas. Mass transit in limited appropriate circumstances.
Not enough dollars are being spent on transportation issues. Our state (NC) and federal dollars that are earmarked for transportation are being siphoned off to fund other priorities.
caution: I'm a transportation engineer, so I might be a little biased. I am thoroughly convinced that we can build our way out of any existing or foreseeable transportation issues. If it gets too expensive, people will adapt (there's that equilibrium thing).
Screw the roads, I want my personal jet car license!


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