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The enemy of my enemy

By Tom Toles


Not born in the USA

A story in yesterday's Post said the birthrate in the U.S. has fallen below replacement level. The debate about population has calmed quite a bit in the last few decades since we've learned that resources are more elastic than once thought and that trend lines show global population will crest in a half century or so, just in time to enjoy the fruits of our current carbon policies. But now the dark warnings about population come from the OTHER side: that we (as in we the developed countries) are not having ENOUGH children.

The arguments as I understand them are that it's hard to have a growing economy with a shrinking population (we'll leave immigration for another day) and that we won't be able to care for our retirees without more workers to foot the bill. These are serious arguments, interesting arguments, but I think there is a name for the type of system that requires ever greater numbers of people coming in to sustain the fewer that were in before: PONZI SCHEME. These are known to end badly.

How do we know what the human carrying capacity of earth is? As Warren Buffett has pointed out, we don't know, but we do know it's not infinite. I have my own formula. I think that until the number of species that are under severe threat because of human predation or habitat loss falls to the negligible, the presumption is there are still too many people. --Tom Toles



By Tom Toles  | April 8, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Afghanistan, Foreign Policy, International  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Fallback follies
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A slight suggestion on how to improve your Kharzai switching sides cartoon- instead of Uncle Sam, you draw Obama. After all it was Obama who stood by and let the corrupt elections in Afghanistan stand last August. Why are you going so easy on Obama?

Posted by: Wiggan | April 8, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps it is time to ride the liberal wave: more taxes. Perhaps we should tax people with children, instead of giving them checks and food stamps. We need to make sure there are no 'fatherless' children by enforcing the fathers and mothers to take responsibility and stop being a burden to the bottom line.

Over a few years, people would learn to stop having children that they do not want.

I think you have something there, liberals.

Posted by: primegrop | April 8, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Population in decline? Very likely and the real experts have been concerned for some time. But few have reported their fears. Next time you see a Mexican, thank them. That is if you want to retire.

Otherwise you will need to work forever.

The lesson to learn is that when experts want to save the world, just ask for a list of problems and options. If your common sense puts problems and options they do not list - you probably are smarter than they are.

Ignore them.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | April 8, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I liked it better when Tom's cartoons spoke for themselves.

Posted by: hugmekatie | April 8, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps the reduction in population will result in quality rather than quantity. Using the theory of Capitalism--that what becomes precious increases in value-- perhaps the population reduction will result in the value of what is not threatened with extinction: The American Middle Class.

Posted by: sarawaters | April 8, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Don't worry, Tom....
The America that you and the other leftists hate so much, will indeed be gone soon. Your lord and savior Obama is quite successfully dismantling it before our very eyes, and the only growth in population is amongst the least educated and least skilled. Our American culture is being overwhelmed by multicultural intolerance and disunity.
You can thank the leftist socialists from FDR on down for creating and fostering the welfare state and the accompanying culture of dependence and poverty, that all the trillions of wealth confiscation and transfer has only made worse and more intractable. The systems have been bastardized and raided to the point that they are all broke. The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money. (M.Thatcher)
Oh , and how about this for an improved "carbon policy"; hold your breath for about 20 minutes.... two problems solved, no carbon dioxide emissions and one less person. You too, can do YOUR small part to save the planet. Sounds pretty insane and stupid, doesn't it?... I wonder...

Posted by: Shrimper | April 8, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"The debate about population has calmed quite a bit in the last few decades since we've learned that resources are more elastic than once thought..."

The resources are only more elastic because we have learned to capture more resources for immediate human consumption, depriving other living things of the means for life. The collapse we are causing in other biological systems is the price paid for our growth in consumption. Sooner or later, that's a price we'll get to pay too.

Posted by: MiniSpare | April 8, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Tom....You need to be very have responsible and reasoned thoughts...which apparently are not very often welcomed among our Politicians...and you are surrounded by them may I add.....
Thanks for your astute comments!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: vistaviewpoint | April 8, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

America's future (and past) relies on immigrants. So America's democracy will probably survive even if the original mostly-white, mostly-Protestant demographics don't.

Posted by: egc52556 | April 8, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Oh, there will be a negligible number of species under threat soon enough, when the number of species left will be negligible.

If population decreases but consumption increases, net effect might be negative. We ALL want to live as "Americans"

Posted by: sek_smith | April 8, 2010 5:04 AM | Report abuse

re: Not born in the USA

1) You are absolutely right to NOT believe the population propaganda (or misunderstanding) that's out there. The Ponzi scheme of retirement began with PayGo social security; it should have been a legitimate retirement system, with Mr. X's contributions going into Mr. X's account. Read more here:

2) The number and size of our carbon footprints need to be reduced. Population is the biggest factor in that. Read more here:

Posted by: davidzet | April 7, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

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