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Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Turk, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. Turk

    Turk Rookie

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    Considering that more and more people are unemployed, thus spending most of their time at home...


    U.S. Birth Rate Drops Again
    on.wsj.com
    The U.S. birth rate has dropped for the second year in a row, and experts think the wrenching recession led many people to put off having children. The 2009 birth rate also set a record: lowest in a century.
  2. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Globally speaking this is a good thing.
    As for sovereignty, not a good thing.
    There's too many people causing too many problems. :bricks:
  3. PatsFanInVa

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    Different situation, b/c China has been so enormous for so long - but you don't see them worrying about losing their sovereignty because they cut their birthrate through central planning.... and are losing the overpopulation race to India!!! :eek: They seem okay w/that...

    By the way, on the population list, I think we're third.

    This is definitely the case. Many sub-problems get created by varying age-cohorts as Gen. X is about to find out, as we continue to pay even wealthy boomers (and of course "greatest generation" babies) for being old, regardless of wealth. The majority of people continue to think it's fairest to extend the window soc. sec. tax applies to, or to means-test soc. security for higher income seniors. But mark my words, we'll end up telling 40-somethings and 30-somethings to just work to 70 and beyond.

    But worldwide, or even society wide, zero population growth would be a good thing in absolute terms. We're so mentally locked into financial models that proceed from the assumption of endless population growth that we neglect to see that the artificial system can be modified, if a different norm pertains for birthrates worldwide.

    The larger driver, of course, is attaining a certain level of wealth and education, in combination w/available birth control -- which in this day and age predicts smaller family size.

    Don't sweat what delusional revanchists say, lower population growth is a good thing.

    PFnV
  4. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    This doesn't include the birth rate of anchor babies and illegals though.
  5. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    What are they now? 2 billion or so. I would have to agree.
    Then again, I don't think they have a huge migration problem either.
    Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Behind China and India, of course. I remember it being this way since I was a kid. (60's). Of course, The old USSR was in the mix before their empire fell. Now they can't count all those former Soviet states.



    I'm not quite sure what you mean by the first part of this paragraph.
    How are the varied age-cohorts causing problems. I guess I need you to be more specific on this, if you would.
    As far as seniors who are collecting SS goes regardless of their income, I have no problem with this as they have payed into the system. Of course I would have to agree that if they are being payed beyond what they paid in even though they are already well off then there should be some kind of cut off point. The problem would be where would "well off" be defined.
    Frankly, I'm already counting on working into my 70's. I just hope it will be at a reduced physical rate or as my health will allow.

    I agree. Without a doubt. Overpopulation will overburden our resources.
    Remember when a MacDonalds hamburger was actually 3 sheets of paper thin. Now they are one sheet of paper thin. Is this one manifestation of this, do you think?
    Edit: I think I may have veered off point on this one.

    Now this is the onion. Certainly is ideal but not all ethnic groups will follow this. Since this is a democratic society, the uncooperative groups will eventually outnumber the cooperating groups and their vote will carry the day and most if not all ideals will be lost. We are not a melting pot. Cultural assimilation is not legally required here.

    On the whole I agree. But as you see, I have my concerns.
    BTW- Are you a globalist? That is, do you see it working in the very near future?
    I would be but I don't think that humanity is quite ready. There is still too many people causing too many problems.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  6. PatsFanInVa

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    China's population is 1.3 billion. I believe India is up to 1.1 billion. Don't know the migration stats for either.

    There's the real specific phenomenon of the unusually large baby boom generation being supported increasingly, starting in the general vicinity of now, by the unusually small age cohort of generation X, just starting to move closer to their peak earning years, but not there yet. The millenials are another big age cohort, but they're just starting their careers, and typically have much less disposable income to cure grandma's ills.

    Then there's the larger question: we have programs designed under an assumption of constant population growth. We have to adjust such program design (social security for example) to accomodate a new reality, if we have one to accomodate -- for example, ZPG.

    An even larger question from ZPG relates to capitalism at large. If the population does not grow -- for a moment, thinking of the world as one big market -- where does new demand come from? No new markets, no capitalism. Obviously we will create new kinds of stuff that same-size market will always want, but one big factor of new markets has always been the incorporation of new humans to consume the new goods. ZPG will militate toward zero economic growth. It would not do it alone, but it would be part of a lower-growth environment.

    Yeah, I'm assuming late 60s, not necessarily 70s. I might want to work into my 70s, but with more "quality of life/work" considerations, and less "make all you can" considerations (if I'm lucky.)

    As I get older -- middle-ageder, really -- I begin to realize there's always the question of whether you'll be able to do what you plan to. I might not be able to work in my 70s...

    But long story short, social security recipients do not just withdraw what they paid in. They take other peoples' money too (unless they die abnormally young.) So if you actuarily decided you would have to contribute as much as you take out, you would have to put in more than 6.2 percent matched by your employer. That is because the assumption underlying the current formula is a generally growing population (and one that dies younger). That is why it will be exhausted by 2037. At the point the trust fund is exhausted, if nothing is done, recipients will get about 75% of what they are currently projected to receive. Fix the system -- i.e., make it solvent -- and you can do one of a few things:

    1. Give less to wealthy retirees
    2. Make everybody pay more in the payroll tax
    3. Extend the income window in which you pay s.s. tax (currently it cuts off at 108K)
    4. Make people work longer to get their benefits
    5. Some combination of the above

    The trouble is people will collect until they die, and they won't die fast enough. Also, there are too few people paying in to support the lifestyle of the retirees. They themselves will do fine, but succeeding generations will work longer and get less. That's why I think it's a good idea to fix the system. I do disagree w/making the mandatory retirement age higher than the current high figure of 68 (I believe) for the younger workers.

    The new Soylent Wrap. Its... PEOPLE!

    Meh. McDonalds isn't reflecting sustainable population policies, they're reflecting their own interests. But I will say this - I remember when a Big Mac was considered the "big" burger at McD's, and the quarter pounder was the "big" burger with more meat than glop. 3/4 of a pound of meat in a burger was already considered normal next door at Wendy's by the 80s or so... now God knows what the limit is.

    Nope, nothing to do w/cultural assimilation. I think you're reading me wrong.

    The single best predictor of small family size is the educational status of the woman in the family. With that empowerment, she begins to balance more childrearing against career goals. This is the case worldwide.

    Empowering women through education usually happens in societies with reliable access to birth control. Obviously, it doesn't much matter if the lady of the house has an advanced economics degree. She'll get nowhere if the standard is no birth control and a likely half dozen kids by age 30. That's why I added in the "access to birth control" part.

    My guess is that (just for example) birthrates among Latinos in the U.S. will follow the birthrates among other Catholic populations, such as Italians. They'd probably be higher than among Protestants and Jews, because some will take the hard line on birth control recommended by the Church. However, across the confessional group, birth rates will likely drop as the status of women improves.

    Look at societies with lower levels of rights for women, such as the Muslim countries. The "traditional" societies tend to result in large family sizes.

    I think I'm about where you are. Nations are still at war, and non-governmental gangs have joined in, at present. "At present" is just that, however. I will say that with the globalization of commerce, we're moving faster and faster toward a future where nations are shills for specific corporate concerns.

    The people, of course, will still end up in the "necessary evil" category... we are markets, not persons, to the Corporations. Our value is that we might buy something.

    Might Corporations supplant the nation state? It will still be a long time. Will we, in some other future, have a single global state analogous to our present day nation states? I don't think it will happen that way. Some other force will have to supplant the current system.

    PFnV
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  7. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You've given me much to absorb, PFiV.
    I could take the lazy route and go pithy in my responses as it's getting late here. But I'd rather take my time and think about the points you've made.

    Your effort in this exchange deserves nothing less.
    Perhaps tomorrow I can properly respond.
    Thank you.
  8. PatsFanInVa

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    Not to worry - we can snipe and gripe and get mean on another thread or in the next post... for now I am glad one of my "novels" got read. Thanks back.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  9. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Industrial countries are depopulating themselves, this is a long trend bad economics accentuate the process.
  10. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Apparently, they do. Although it is difficult/impossible to get info regarding this as you know the Chinese like to keep this kind of stuff in house. But here's what I found...

    Does China experience problems with illegal immigration? - Yahoo! Answers
    There are really only personal testimonies here but make of it what you will.

    I doubt that they aren't crying about it, if the above is true. I could be wrong but it seems to me that they are trying to keep their own population down even using draconian measures to achieve this so why would they want more people that would further load on their resources.



    So you're saying that there is not or will not be enough base workers giving to the system to support those collecting from the system.
    I can understand that... I think. :)
    But when I say "too many people...", I am referring to the numerous ideologies competing for domination coupled with the "end justifies the mean" mentality. Tends to make a planet...well let's just say uncomfortable.

    I'm aware of social security solvency issues. To me, this is just another brick in the pile that is our economic situation as it stands today. As to what the solution might be, I'm sure there are better minds than my own who are on top of the situation. You , for example, might be one of those minds. The question is, who do we trust to solve these issues. Both parties seem only to want to do what's best to keep power rather than what will actually work.

    I don't know if I believe that expansion is the way to economic survival.
    People will always need and buy food, clothes, housing, means of transportation and big screen HD TVs and such because they brake.
    If people go on doing what people do, the economy may level off and so what if it does? That will just mean that some people will not increase their own wealth and the government will have to cap off taxation somewhere down the line. Because if they don't, lifestyle standards will erode and that will make people very angry.



    Good point. I agree. That's why I am an advocate of a healthy lifestyle. Eat right and exercise, though I don't always practice what I preach.

    There is nothing here for me to dispute. It seems you might have more ideas regarding SS solvency in mind. I like your disposition regarding this.



    LOL! Classic. But MacDonalds is huge. Even globally speaking. They just might become the primary feeders of the world if they aren't already.

    IDK- It seems that whenever they raise prices for their food. They don't raise the prices outright but rather they make the portions smaller. I know you could argue that it's just their way of keeping the cost increases stealthy but I'm not so sure. It could be a little of both.



    Regarding access to birth control, this is good for the globe but not for sovereignty of a nation.
    I also disagree that cultural assimilation has nothing to do with it. This is your belief system. It will require funding for it to continue. Voters of a different culture will see it different then you do. They may( I think "will") vote for funds to go elsewhere. Your dream of ZPG to preserve the resources could be shattered.
    I guess what it boils down to, is that you're more optimistic about the nature and goodwill of humanity than I am.



    It's funny that you mention corporations and nation states because this is exactly what I suspect is going on right now.

    363839
  11. PatsFanInVa

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    One thing incredibly interesting in this slew of personal anecdotal answers is that they seem to agree that people immigrate to China from North Korea... to escape political repression. LOL... how bad does North Korea suck?

    Yeah, you can see the popular impressions among the "dominant" ethic group here when they observe other "groups" with higher birthrate - especially (My GOD!) if they're not citizens.

    Think about how your average Han Chinese feels, if he observes a family with three kids from Korea or Africa or somewhere... and he can not, by law, have more than one child. Wow.

    Yeah, many of our programs are set up with assumptions of more and more paying into the system.

    Personally, I'd argue for sustainable growth, where you want a couple percent per annum steady growth, rather than lurching booms and busts -- that is, if you can figure out how to do it.

    Interesting point about too many kinds of people, too much conflict. I'm of two minds: Can we all be proud of who we are, without identifying with hatred of those who are not us? Can I be a Jew, without defining myself by what Muslims and Christians do that I don't? Can I define myself as a Christian, without needing conflict with Muslims, or vice versa? Or can I be any of them without seeking to hunt down and convert (or worse) the village atheist? And that's just religion.

    But flip it around, and I am still not happy (of course.) If we all utterly assimilate and cast aside our roots -- whether in a U.S. context or a world context -- and we get this big bland blob of humanity. I want to get stoopit at the local salsa bar during the world cup, and scream my lungs out for Espana... I want to have 50 kinds of food within a couple of meto stops. Etc.

    What I love about America, and what gives me hope in general, is that if we're all just trying to do okay for us and ours, do right by our neighbors, etc., the conflict gets minimized, and you get an endless buffet of cool cultural quirks. Some conflict, yes, but you get a lot for that price.

    How do I put this...

    I'm not an expert, I'm just the "educated layperson." Sometimes I rephrase what the experts say to make it more understandable. But what I find - and this is coming from a guy who's been in the federal gov't about 10 years - is that "policy wonks" tend to be married to the subject matter, not to a political ideology.

    Example - social security, & the options I mentioned. You could vaguely say that one set of answers tends to be embraced by the left, and another by the right.

    But here's the thing - the polilcy wonks are all about fixing it. They have their preferences of course, but the business of government is to carry out the will of whatever is the present administration. "Career" government is surprisingly apolitical. I personally frown on ideologues sometimes, because they always throw out a bunch of "take my word for it" assumptions for the purposes of ideology.

    So the social security mess, though it has a long fuse, could be cured, but you're right, we'll play football with it instead of solve it. An additional percent of income into the system would probably solve it (some additional percentage certainly would). Making young people work longer would solve it. All sorts of things would solve it... yet here we sit. (PS, the one idea that can't be relied on to solve it is privatization... that's rolling the dice.)

    Here's the zero-growth-kills-capitalism thing in a nutshell.

    If there's growth, I will invest. Even if I just invest market-wide through mutual funds or SPIDRs or something, I "assume" a certain amount of growth. I capitalize 10,000 things a penny at a time, instead of dropping $100 on a couple of shares of one stock. Either way, I bet the company or companies will grow. Those companies have money to hire more people, build more plants, etc. I want stock in those companies because I think it will be worth more at some future time.

    With zero growth, we keep making the same amount of stuff. Great for consumers, in a way: in the absence of collusion, companies will all try to capture the biggest piece of the pie, and they will race to the bottom, in terms of prices. Bad for labor markets: they will all race for lower labor rates (which pertains already,) and will try to compete at razor-thin margins.

    But what do I do, as an investor? Bet on one of these sweatshops? And with no inflation, aren't I better off with zero-risk greenbacks (or gold) than with stock shares?

    In the system as we know it, if we decline to zero growth and stay there, it will basically feel like it feels now, just moreso: Capital sits on the sidelines, companies hold on for dear life or go under as the best low-baller takes over the market. Those employees go begging for jobs, but with slight improvements you can avoid actually hiring those people (once you've won the race to the bottom.)

    My little compromise solution is "sustainable growth," as I mentioned above... But if you're trying to provide returns of 8% per annum, sustainable growth of 2-3% per year doesn't do the trick.

    On the govt side (or pension fund side, or any side that plans for the future): if you are trying to pretend you have the money to pay future obligations, an assumption of high growth helps you. You only need a small amount of cash (which will grow at 8%) to pay what you have to in say 10 years. If your cash is growing at 3%, you have to have more on hand to pay what you owe. How does gov. make up such shortfalls? Higher, not lower, taxes.

    Wellll maybe. I just see some things that actually do work sometimes. When things do work, you can pursue policies that favor those outcomes.

    Okay you win: there is cultural imperialism involved in this part of the the answer to population growth, but it's an assimilation that the actors freely choose when given the opportunity. Even those societies that try to avoid women's rights lose half their workforces to prove medieval ideologies. This, again, is not sustainable.

    Muscle power is no longer the determinant of the value of most workers. As women gain their place in the workforce -- and this is global -- we gain a reliable force for mitigation of the geometric rise of populations worldwide.

    But this thorny question aside, one phrase jumps out at me: "low birth rate is bad for sovereignty."

    Think about Britain, with a population of perhaps 70 million. They're still a sovereign nation. Or think of Vanuatu, 400,000 people on an island (or an island chain,) refusing to lose their peoplehood even though their long-term plan is to go somewhere else when the sea level rises above their home.

    U.S. sovereignty does not rest on the U.S. being #3 on the list. If there are more Indonesians than Americans, it's no more a threat than the fact that there are more Chinese or Indians. There are 300 million Americans, and 5700 million not-Americans. You really think it matters if there are still 300 million Americans in 20 years, and 10 billion not-Americans?

    It does seem to be the current work in progress. But we'll all keep fighting the last (cold) war, and look for socialists under every rock.

    Our next elections might be tragic exemplars of the trend, the current lay of the political land aside. If not in the mid-terms, we'll see this in the next presidential elections.

    Good back-and-forth, it's enjoyable

    PFnV
  12. 363839

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    Yes. I noticed that too. It must really suck to live in North Korea.

    I really don't blame them, though. It's easy for people on the outside to just say they should be open minded but I don't know what would be at risk for Han Chinese as I'm sure their government does what it wants whether the citizens like it or not. I do know what's at stake for their American counterparts as this is a democracy where the majority rules.
    Their numbers will be deluded and their culture will be compromised if not completely subdued.
    I know what I just wrote might be considered racist. But I mean no malice to anyone.

    This is a very reasonable expectation, I would think. In fact, I always felt it was a core American value. Wouldn't you agree? Would you also agree that we are losing that value?

    It's a Catch 22, isn't it. Sameness is maddening.
    When I say "assimilate", I don't mean it as absolute. Just the core such as what you wrote in your previous paragraph.

    "Carry on with your dreams, things are not what they seem and we'll have no time to let slip the dogs of war"
    I actually wrote that in a poem a long time ago.
    Does that not fit what you wrote here?

    You may not be an expert but you clearly know much more about it than I do so there is not too much for me to say or add to this.
    But I will say I am with you regarding privatization of social security.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  13. 363839

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    That's a nutshell?:p
    Just kidding with you, PFiV.
    While I sincerely appreciate the lesson in our economic system, I have a question for you. Much of what you said in the Business portion of this lesson seems to presume that the investors are necessary.
    I mean, ideally, shouldn't the only investors be the ones who will be running the business ? Not outside forces whose only motivation is to make as much money as they can. I'm probably being naive here but...

    Actually it's quite sustainable as Muslim cultures in the Middle East have sustained it for the last 500 years. The Amish have sustained it for at least 100 years or so. Of course, their lifestyle standards are very low and they deal with opposition with an iron fist.

    It's a shame, I think, that manual labor is not more highly regarded and more properly rewarded as those that do it compromise their health and their very ability to continue their strenuous occupation.
    They will eventually become our poor and needy. Yet they worked very hard all their life.

    First of all, Britain is no longer a sovereign nation. They are now part of the European Union. As far as the Vanuatu people, I can easily see them holding their identity even if their Island does sink. I can think of another group of people who have held their identity for several thousand years even though for the last 2 thousand minus the last 60 or so, they had no sovereignty any where.

    The populations in other nations have nothing to do with American sovereignty. It's the populations inside the country that matter.

    I like your attitude. :bricks:

    There is tragic irony that people think that if they just vote out the incumbent, everything will be all right. I'm sorry but I really think there ought to be some kind of litmus test before a person is allowed to vote.

    I appreciate that, PFnV.
    For me it's been very educational as well as enjoyable.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  14. 363839

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    I guess I probably shouldn't use your WHOLE quote. :p
  15. PatsFanInVa

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    LOL... I had to quote yours or mind would have been longer.

    Intriguing what you're saying about "sovereignty within the country."

    I think you're saying not so much that we can't absorb another wave of immigrants, but that the wave is definitionally the dilution of national sovereignty (?)

    But oddly enough, we've just looked at China having an illegal immigration problem -- China, of all places -- which might sort of give us a clue as to the efficacy of draconian anti-immigration policies. I think when nations really did have "trade borders" of sorts through protectionist tariffs, there was way less reason to go where the jobs were, especially the better-paid ones. Essentially when we opened the lid on the "free flow of goods," we sort of predicted a free flow of labor, try as we might to control it (same goes for China.)

    The beauty of America, however, is that we can assimilate those who come here to work. I don't think it's wise to have as long and difficult a path to citizenship as we do. Sure make people study their constitution (how else can they sue Disney for not letting them wear their hijab?), but the wait time is nuts, to me. It just results in what we already see.

    As for the Han Chinese, hell, we're still the wealthier nation. So whatever disgruntlement you have in the U.S., I am sure it is multiplied there. Like I say... if you and the Missus just can't scrape together the scratch to PAY some guy for a second-child permit... and the immigrant Korean family has two or three little rug-rats... how are you going to feel about it? LOL - that's way more of a kick in the crotch than "you took our jobbbbbs!"

    An' another thing... you want those jobs back? Stand out in front of 7-11 with the day laborers. That's the jobs these guys are getting in many cases: helping you clear some brush or paint a house off the books.

    Yeah you're right about "another group" that maintained its identity over 2000 years, and it flashed through my mind. But the Brits haven't lost their sovereignty because they use the Euro (optionally) and help to bail out the Greeks. Still, Europe is probably where we were under the articles of confederation, which is still something nobody ever thought they'd see.

    /weekend

    Talk to ya later - good times

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