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PMC Articles Tagged 'economics'

Nine Population Strategies to Stop Short of 9 Billion

July 12th, 2012 by PMC | 1 Comment

Press Release by Worldwatch Institute

Washington, D.C.-Although most analysts assume that the world’s population will rise from today’s 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050, it is quite possible that humanity will never reach this population size, Worldwatch Institute President Robert Engelman argues in the book State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity.

In the chapter “Nine Population Strategies to Stop Short of 9 Billion,” Engelman outlines a series of steps and initiatives that would all but guarantee declines in birthrates-based purely on the intention of women around the world to have small families or no children at all-that would end population growth before mid-century at fewer than 9 billion people. “Unsustainable population growth can only be effectively and ethically addressed by empowering women to become pregnant only when they themselves choose to do so,” Engelman writes.

Examples from around the world demonstrate effective policies that not only reduce birth rates, but also respect the reproductive aspirations of parents and support an educated and economically active society that promotes the health of women and girls. Most of these reproduction policies are relatively inexpensive to implement, yet in many places they are opposed on the basis of cultural resistance and political infeasibility.

Eschewing the language and approaches of “population control” or the idea that anyone should pressure women and their partner on reproduction, Engelman outlines nine strategies that could put human population on an environmentally sustainable path.

To read the full article, click here:


Whose lost decade? Japan’s economy works better than pessimists think-at least for the elderly

January 3rd, 2012 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Bill Ryerson for suggesting this article, originally sent in by Jim McDonald. Arguably, the people living on the island of Japan have achieved at least one aspect of what many seek for the whole planet: a generally stable, gradually declining population. See The Economist: http://www.economist.com/node/21538745

Whose lost decade?

Japan’s economy works better than pessimists think-at least for the elderly

Nov 19th 2011 | TOKYO | from the print edition

THE Japanese say they suffer from an economic disease called “structural pessimism”. Overseas too, there is a tendency to see Japan as a harbinger of all that is doomed in the economies of the euro zone and America-even though figures released on November 14th show its economy grew by an annualised 6% in the third quarter, rebounding quickly from the March tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Look dispassionately at Japan’s economic performance over the past ten years, though, and “the second lost decade”, if not the first, is a misnomer. Much of what tarnishes Japan’s image is the result of demography-more than half its population is over 45-as well as its poor policy in dealing with it. Even so, most Japanese have grown richer over the decade.

In aggregate, Japan’s economy grew at half the pace of America’s between 2001 and 2010. Yet if judged by growth in GDP per person over the same period, then Japan has outperformed America and the euro zone (see chart 1). In part this is because its population has shrunk whereas America’s population has increased.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.economist.com/node/21538745

Growth, Debt, and the World Bank

December 16th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Mark O’Connor for this article. See: http://steadystate.org/growth-debt-and-the-world-bank/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DalyNews+%28The+Daly+News%29

Growth, Debt and the World Bank

By Herman Daly

When I was in graduate school in economics in the early 1960s we were taught that capital was the limiting factor in growth and development. Just inject capital into the economy and it would grow. As the economy grew, you could then re-invest the growth increment as new capital and make it grow exponentially. Eventually the economy would be rich. Originally, to get things started, capital came from savings, from confiscation, or from foreign aid or investment, but later out of the national growth increment itself. Capital embodied technology, the source of its power. Capital was magic stuff, but scarce. It all seemed convincing at the time.

Many years later when I worked for the World Bank it was evident that capital was no longer the limiting factor, if indeed it ever had been. Trillions of dollars of capital was circling the globe looking for projects in which to become invested so it could grow. The World Bank understood that the limiting factor was what they called “bankable projects” – concrete investments that could embody abstract financial capital and make its value grow at an acceptable rate, usually ten percent per annum or more, doubling every seven years. Since there were not enough bankable projects to absorb the available financial capital the WB decided to stimulate the creation of such projects with “country development teams” set up in the borrowing countries, but with WB technical assistance. No doubt many such projects were useful, but it was still hard to grow at ten percent without involuntarily displacing people, or running down natural capital and counting it as income, both of which were done on a grand scale. And the loans had to be repaid. Of course they did get repaid, frequently not out of the earnings of the projects which were often disappointing, but out of the general tax revenues of the borrowing governments. Lending to sovereign governments with the ability to tax greatly increases the likelihood of being repaid – and perhaps encourages a bit of laxity in approving projects.

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This economic collapse is a ‘crisis of bigness’

November 9th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Ben Zuckerman for this article. Please see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/25/crisis-bigness-leopold-kohr

This economic collapse is a ‘crisis of bigness’

Leopold Kohr warned 50 years ago that the gigantist global system would grow until it imploded. We should have listened

Paul Kingsnorth

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 September 2011 16.00 EDT

Living through a collapse is a curious experience. Perhaps the most curious part is that nobody wants to admit it’s a collapse. The results of half a century of debt-fuelled “growth” are becoming impossible to convincingly deny, but even as economies and certainties crumble, our appointed leaders bravely hold the line. No one wants to be the first to say the dam is cracked beyond repair.

To listen to a political leader at this moment in history is like sitting through a sermon by a priest who has lost his faith but is desperately trying not to admit it, even to himself. Watch Nick Clegg, David Cameron or Ed Miliband mouthing tough-guy platitudes to the party faithful. Listen to Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy or George Papandreou pretending that all will be well in the eurozone. Study the expressions on the faces of Barack Obama or Ben Bernanke talking about “growth” as if it were a heathen god to be appeased by tipping another cauldron’s worth of fictional money into the mouth of a volcano.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/25/crisis-bigness-leopold-kohr

Half the world’s working women are without basic legal rights, says UN

November 7th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/jul/06/un-women-report-access-to-justice

UN women report: Access to justice remains a work in progress

Flagship report from the new UN agency shows there is a way to go before improvements in the legal position of women are translated into equality and justice for all

Date: Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Source: The Guardian (UK)
Author: Madeleine Bunting

More than half of working women in the world, 600 million, are trapped in insecure jobs without legal protection, according to the first report of the new agency UN Women. A similar number do not have even basic protection against domestic violence, it finds, while sexual assault has become a hallmark of modern conflict.

Michelle Bachelet, the executive director of UN Women, said the document showed that many millions of women had no access to justice.

“The report reminds us of the remarkable advances that have been made over the past century in the quest for gender equality and women’s empowerment,” she said. “However it also underscores the fact that despite widespread guarantees of equality, the reality for many millions of women is that justice remains out of reach.”

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/jul/06/un-women-report-access-to-justice

A Future of Price Spikes

November 2nd, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Carter Dillard for this Time article.  See: http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2083276,00.html

Thursday, Jul. 14, 2011

A Future of Price Spikes

By Michael Schuman

Thomas Malthus lived in an era much like today’s – when emerging technologies made anything seem possible. The 19th century was approaching, the Industrial Revolution was steaming along, and in intellectual circles it was popular to believe that expanding scientific knowledge could create a more enlightened, even utopian, society.

Malthus, however, was making a more dire calculation. In 1798 he published An Essay on the Principle of Population, whose grim vision of the future haunts mankind to this day. Malthus thought we could never overcome two basic laws of nature: the planet’s population grows exponentially, while food production increases arithmetically. Therefore the planet will become short on food. “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man,” he contended. The “natural inequality” between these two forces “appears insurmountable in the way to the perfectibility of society.” Inevitably, the result would be “misery and vice.”

Taking a look around us today, it would be easy to conclude that Malthus was prescient. Food prices are near historic highs, driven upward by an ever larger, ever hungrier population. Every report of drought or flooding raises fears of global shortages. About 925 million people go to bed hungry every night. And every day we add 219,000 mouths to feed, while the land, water and other resources needed to produce additional food edge closer to their apparent limits. This intensifying “natural inequality” leaves some experts sounding like modern-day Malthuses. “No civilization has ever survived the ongoing destruction of its natural support system,” says Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute. “And neither will ours.”

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2083276,00.html

Welcome to the Post-Growth Economy

October 26th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to the Post Carbon Institute for this article by Richard Heinberg.  For a PDF of this article, see http://www.postcarbon.org/Museletter/Museletter-232.pdf

MuseLetter #232 / September 2011 by Richard Heinberg

The September Museletter is comprised of two pieces related to my book ‘The End of Growth’. The first is the op-ed which the mainstream press seems reluctant to publish as they hang desperately on to idea that economic growth will continue. The second is a section from Chapter 6 of my book and looks at one piece of the puzzle in changing our economic model.

Welcome to the Post-Growth Economy

During recent weeks, evidence has piled up that U.S. and European economies, far from recovering, are swirling back into recession. Failure of American politicians to address the federal debt crisis, the U.S. credit rating downgrade, and increasing fragility of European economies have investors running for the hills.

Concern is being voiced that we may be at a fundamental economic turning point. Deutsche Bank’s strategist Jim Reid even suggests that the western world’s financial system might be “totally unsustainable.”

As it happens, I’ve just published a book, The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality, that reaches the same conclusion, and that foresaw the economic relapse that’s playing out in headlines. The book’s content was finalized in March, when economic data appeared to show the nation in a recovery. I suppose I’m justified in saying “I told you so,” but others are as well. Herman Daly, former World Bank economist, has pointed out the absurdity of expecting continual economic growth on a planet with limited resources.

To read the full article (pdf), please click here: http://www.postcarbon.org/Museletter/Museletter-232.pdf

Learning from China: Why the Existing Economic Model Will Fail

October 24th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thank to Lester Brown for this article. See: http://www.earth-policy.org/data_highlights/2011/highlights18

Learning from China: Why the Existing Economic Model Will Fail
By Lester R. Brown, September 8 2011

For almost as long as I can remember we have been saying that the United States, with 5 percent of the world’s people, consumes a third or more of the earth’s resources. That was true. It is no longer true. Today China consumes more basic resources than the United States does.

Among the key commodities such as grain, meat, oil, coal, and steel, China consumes more of each than the United States except for oil, where the United States still has a wide (though narrowing) lead. China uses a quarter more grain than the United States. Its meat consumption is double that of the United States. It uses three times as much coal and four times as much steel.

These numbers reflect national consumption, but what would happen if consumption per person in China were to catch up to that of the United States? If we assume conservatively that China’s economy slows from the 11 percent annual growth of recent years to 8 percent, then in 2035 income per person in China will reach the current U.S. level.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.earth-policy.org/data_highlights/2011/highlights18


October 22nd, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Joe Bish for this article. See: http://www.nvaged.org/americas-crises-in-energy-landwateragriculture-spells-out-substantial-tribal-wealth.htm

America’s Crises in Energy\ Land\Water\Agriculture Spells out Substantial Tribal Wealth Development

By Terrance H. Booth, Sr. – Tsimshian Tribe


The following two pages are highlights of the study, “Food, Land, Population, and the U.S. Economy” by Drs. David Pimentel of Cornell University and Mario Giampietro of the Istituto Nazionale della Nutrizione, Rome. This comprehensive assessment of U.S. population growth and its impact on America’s agricultural productivity was commissioned by Carrying Capacity Network (CCN), a non-profit organization in Washington, DC which focuses on the interrelated nature of the economy, population growth, and environmental degradation.


“At the present growth rate of 1.1% per year, the U.S. population will double to more than half a billion people within the next 60 years. It is estimated that approximately one acre of land is lost due to urbanization and highway construction alone for every person added to the U.S. population.

This means that only 0.6 acres of farmland would be available to grow food for each American in 2050, as opposed to the 1.8 acres per capita available today. At least 1.2 acres per person is required in order to maintain current American dietary standards. Food prices are projected to increase 3 to 5-fold within this period.

If present population growth, domestic food consumption and topsoil loss trends continue, the U.S. will most likely cease to be a food exporter by approximately 2025 because food grown in the U.S. will be needed for domestic purposes.

To read the full related article, please click here: http://www.nvaged.org/americas-crises-in-energy-landwateragriculture-spells-out-substantial-tribal-wealth.htm

A ‘no-growth’ boom will follow 2012 global crash

October 11th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Fred Brown for this article.  See: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-no-growth-boom-will-follow-2012-global-crash-2011-08-23

Aug. 23, 2011, 12:01 a.m. EDT

A ‘no-growth’ boom will follow 2012 global crash

Commentary: 20 promising sectors for post-crash investors

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) – There is a global economic boom coming, but unfortunately, that boom comes only after a systemic collapse of the global economy, markets and capitalism – a collapse that may well eliminate billions of people from the planet. Shocking? Cruel? Brutal? Yes.

But folks, that is the coded message in many recent warnings from environmental economists who finally realize that nothing will wake up the public. Nothing but a catastrophic system failure. Only then, a path to reform, recovery, a new boom.

But wait, you ask: If the consequences are worse than an asteroid slamming into Earth, why don’t we just plan ahead? Avoid the Black Swan? Why wait for some “creative destruction” to wipe out capitalism, reduce the global population to 5 billion? Why? Because our human genes are not good at planning ahead for catastrophes. Our brains are designed for fight-or-flight. Otherwise we procrastinate. We respond best when our backs are against the wall. Then we rally the troops, go to war, so to speak.

Until we reach that point, we focus on everyday stuff, like jobs, the kids, short-term buy-sells and ideological stuff like today’s anti-science, anti-intellectual political rhetoric. Free-market capitalism. Don’t tread on me. Stuff like that keeps us in denial about the future. No, we don’t plan, don’t act until a crisis. Not till the asteroid is about to hit. Even then, we pray for divine intervention to rescue us. Or a Churchill to emerge, take charge of the impossible challenge, get people energized and focused on a common cause. Then we’ll charge ahead, solve the problem. Until then, our brains can only think short-term.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-no-growth-boom-will-follow-2012-global-crash-2011-08-23