Posted: 04/06/2014 at 20:54
This was one of the posts on the comments bit of that article in the guardian link.
it totally sums up my view on this subject.
The corollary of this statement is that populations in already densely populated Western Europe need to keep on growing, otherwise economic decline follows.
If economic activity and revenues, affordable pensions and housing are all predicated on ever growing populations, there is clearly something very wrong with our economic system.
But is it true? Do we need endless population growth or face economic and societal decline?
Western economists have been berating Japan for twenty years of such economic decline. Two lost decades, an exorbitant amount of debt, hapless leaders, desperate central bankers etc.
Yet Japan is still extraordinarily prosperous. Real wages have actually risen during those lost decades - while in the West they were stagnating at best. Infrastructure is top notch, innovation is actually boosted by the declining labour force, house prices have gone down everywhere accept Tokyo.
All the while, Japan's population has been ageing and declining. Last year they sold more diapers for the elderly than for babies for the first time.
Economic growth that's not sustained by rising productivity is itself unsustainable. There's nothing against a shrinking economy as long as the population shrinks, preferably a bit slower.
This tired and tiresome narrative of endless immigration and population growth being essential to prosperity not only betrays a lack of imagination, it's unsustainable, untenable and frankly plain stupid