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« A Look at the Likely State of the Economy Over the Next Several Years (Part 2) | Main | Lessons for Prospering When the Economy Isn’t »

December 05, 2007


Ronni Bennett

Here's what I have never understood about the falling birthrate:

We are using up the planet's finite resources. Rainforests are disappearing. Millions starve in third-world countries. Honeybees, on which agriculture depends are disappearing. Good god, even local water supplies are drying up in the U.S. There is much more, and it is all due to too many people than the planet can support.

We have known this for a long time.

So why aren't governments, business and economists developing new economic models that do not depend on continued population growth rather than encouraging more babies that will further deplete the planet's resources?

Call it a downsizing model or whatever they want, but it seems to me that everyone's missing (or ignoring) the big picture - the biggest picture ever: the survival of the planet.


Ronni, seminal question:

"So why aren't governments, business and economists developing new economic models that do not depend on continued population growth rather than encouraging more babies that will further deplete the planet's resources"

Lewis Mumford once observed, "Everything has its natural organic limits." Collectively, we've paid no head to that timeless wisdom.

Happy Holidays, Ronni, and may the New Year bring you a flood of joys.


Kare Anderson

Government leaders have not acted because it is not a war or other disaster so it is impossible to attract support or attention to it. it would have taken an extraordinary popular gov. leader, back by a squad of respected business leaders to even start a serious public discussion on this issue you have so aptly summarized. Beyond the drop in birth rates are other factors that are going to make "cash king" and lean to lean times or worse... so let's enjoy the holidays, eh?


Kare, I do intend to enjoy the holidays with my brood of 6 children (5 daughters, mind you) and 14 grandchildren. Still, with so many lives attributable to me you can surely understand my concern about the economic future.

Thanks for your observations.



David - With the aging of the leading (first and second) world economies over the next two decades, we have 5 options to deal with the economic fallout (coming global labor shortage and disequilibrium of retirees to workers):
1. Have a lot more babies
2. Open borders to the parts of the world (Africa, South America and Indian subcontinent) that are not aging as quickly.
3. Encourage euthanasia among retirees.
4. Increase productivity of the workforce dramatically.
5. Empower and enable work unitl much later in life.

I believe that 4 and 5 are the only politically viable alternatives.

Lauren Edwards

Hi David - Great that you have stepped outside the US and included the global economy. Down here in New Zealand,we too are seeing the effects of the baby boom on the economy, albeit slightly later than UK & US, and less pronounced (our second largest birth rate year after the boom in 1945 was actually during the GenX period).
However, in NZ, ingrained into society has been the drive to own your own home, even to the point that during the 50's & 60's the government released thousands of 'state houses' with their own 1/4 acre section, so the huge numbers of new families could enter the housing market through subsidised rents while they saved for their own home.
Now, with so many 20-40 year olds struggling to enter the inflated real estate market, paying off student loans and blaming the 'Boomers' on the 'mess, the proof of global recession is very real even here at the bottom of the world.
Being involved in mature marketing, it occurs to me that the only way to increase spend and stabalise the economy is to start exploiting the aging market the same way we have been exploiting the birth market. For years now we have seen huge growth in baby businesses, some would argue many of the products aimed at parents today are completely unnecessary, but exploitation of babies has continued regardless. So why is it so wrong 'exploit' older consumers by developing new products and services they can buy that generates economic growth? It's the only sure-fire method of getting all the $ tied up in housing and investments back into the local economy. As the saying goes - there are no pockets in a shroud!


Jeff -- Alan Greenspan agrees whole heartedly with you about empowering and enabling work much later in life than has been customary. He believes it is not so much as required for a healthyt economy in the future.




You will get no argument from mme on your jey points. In fact in my book "Serving the Ageless market" that I wrote nearly 20 years ago I said that the elder members of society were key to bring the economy to a soft landing following the great period of growth we had when boomers were starting and raising families. It seems that in their old age the economy still needs them while it adjusts to a very different demographic picture.



i really arpaecipte you caring enough abt.others limitations not push as many others make me angrY, when when thaY don't provide advise ,encouragement people w/restrictions due 2 health issues disabilities so thay don't hurt themselfs .less is more keeps u healthy so u don't get hurt have wait a few wks. 2 only lose more flexability .great job .

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