Originally Posted by twaddle
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