Author Topic: Covid 19  (Read 5501 times)

Offline David Rose

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2020, 09:14:50 am »
Many demographers now believe that the world will reach its peak population much sooner than has hitherto been assumed, and at a much lower level - in 2050, with less than  8 billion people. Thereafter it will decline, reducing to 7 billion or less by 2100, and then continue to fall. The critical factors behind this are women's education, their increasing role in the workplace, consumerism - here the friend, not the enemy of environmental progress - and consequent wider use of birth control.

The recent book Empty Planet summarises the argument and the consequences. The evidence, they note, is already around us in many countries. Italy already has something close to a de facto one child policy - through choice, not edict, and this in a Catholic nation. Bangladesh, a place I know quite well, has seen its birth rate fall from about 6 per couple in 1973 to around 2.1 - in other words, barely above replacement rate, which obviously means much slower population growth. It also, non-coincidentally, has a far higher percentage of women graduates and professionals than, say, Pakistan. 

https://www.amazon.com/Empty-Planet-Global-Population-Decline/dp/1984823213

Here is the Amazon blurb:

For half a century, statisticians, pundits, and politicians have warned that a burgeoning population will soon overwhelm the earth's resources. But a growing number of experts are sounding a different alarm. Rather than continuing to increase exponentially, they argue, the global population is headed for a steep decline—and in many countries, that decline has already begun.
 
In Empty Planet, John Ibbitson and Darrell Bricker find that a smaller global population will bring with it many benefits: fewer workers will command higher wages; the environment will improve; the risk of famine will wane; and falling birthrates in the developing world will bring greater affluence and autonomy for women.
 
But enormous disruption lies ahead, too. We can already see the effects in Europe and parts of Asia, as aging populations and worker shortages weaken the economy and impose crippling demands on healthcare and social security. The United States and Canada are well-positioned to successfully navigate these coming demographic shifts--that is, unless growing isolationism leads us to close ourselves off just as openness becomes more critical to our survival than ever.
 
Rigorously researched and deeply compelling, Empty Planet offers a vision of a future that we can no longer prevent--but one that we can shape, if we choose.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2020, 12:14:40 pm »
Quote
The critical factors behind this are women's education, their increasing role in the workplace, consumerism - here the friend, not the enemy of environmental progress - and consequent wider use of birth control.

I suspect this may be a key factor in much of this current problem - as in, consumerism can be viewed as a measuring system to determine a level of affluence sufficient to raise a population from poverty-level to productive-level, but is not in itself a philosophy or way of life, which to some extent it has become in the more affluent societies. We're meant to use it, not believe IN it. This has created a sort of log-jam where the affluent societies are often 'hogging the sofa' and indulging in pointless distraction, when we should really be (for example) preparing to construct moon colonies by now, and enabling the third world to occupy our current position of 'consumerism' - so that when the moon colonies are finished, they'll be ready to start using them.

But we're too busy (for example) watching baking shows on TV, and indulging 'background piano music' every time something 'sad' is meant to be happening to us - or to someone else, ideally. And reaching for the smartphone every two minutes to illustrate another conversation about - well, needing the smartphone. It's so distracting. We have to want to leave this stuff behind ourselves for it all to move forward. There's been immense technological progress in affluent societies, but far less socio-economic progress, which seems to be tending toward a media/celebrity-driven culture, general levels of obesity, depression, anxiety for the future, etc. in more affluent populations. Societies where populations age unevenly due to the lack of personal risk (adventure?), hence discouraging fresh couplings/births. There are as many prescriptions for anti-depressants in Britain as there are people, and we're not all on anti-depressants, which means some (hopefully mostly older adults!) are on two or three different ones. Wild buzz...

And that mindset creates a tendency toward electing grumpy, paranoid and generally deceitful (and almost always male) political leaders who deliberately discourage forward-thinking members of the population from sticking their heads over the parapet - or from creating associations with like-minded populations elsewhere. And who encourage safety-first nostalgia as a way of life, rather than something to be treasured and filed for reference. Most of the major countries of the world are currently run by these assholes, kept in power by their 'safety-conscious' believers - and usually wielding a big stick for the non-believers. A few countries are run by intelligent, personable women, and seem to be doing quite well as a result. Makes you think.

However, China does teach moon-lander training as part of its general education programme, in the form of video games for four year-olds, as they anticipate by the time they reach adulthood they will have a job to do in that business. We don't really think like that yet, but we should have been doing it since 1969. There's nothing special about China, they just haven't had consumerism as a way of life as long as we have. We really do need to knuckle down and get stuck into the important stuff now. Maybe the BBC should make a new version of "Why Don't You...?" for adults?

« Last Edit: April 22, 2020, 12:24:31 pm by pwhole »

Offline droid

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2020, 12:25:46 pm »
Re Ibbitson and Bricker: looking on Wikipedia seems to indicate that both are journalists/commentators. I'd be more inclined to read something produced by specialists in population dynamics. Journalists, in my experience tend to look for the controversial and spectacular. Academics don't.
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Online Speleotron

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2020, 01:56:30 pm »
There are few things more annoying than a journalist(or anyone) who thinks 'I'm a jolly clever chap and I'm quite well-read, I bet I could understand this scientific topic and write a book about it'. Some do a good job of it but a lot don't. The Hay book festival is great for that kind of thing.
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Offline David Rose

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2020, 02:02:43 pm »
C'mon people. There are lots of excellent popular science books out there - and they're written by journalists, or experienced non-fiction writers who have a talent for explaining technical matters in a way that's accessible for non-specialists. They fulfil a valuable role.

If you want, you can read academic demographers. They'll give you projections. You can read economists, who can explain the consequences of a falling population, and sociologists and political scientists, too. But you can also read quite a bit of their work summarised in this one volume which has had positive reviews.

There's a lot of neo-Malthusian stuff being said at the moment - on this thread by mrdoc, for example. This is a counter-argument, and it deserves consideration. 

Online Speleotron

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2020, 02:07:19 pm »
Sorry, I was probably exaggerating, there is a lot of great popular science out there. I don't normally even post on here I'm probably just cluttering threads up because I'm bored. And I agree with you, I don't like the talk of reducing the population, because the population is us and outside of people we know they are as human as we are with the same right to be taking up space and resources etc. Having less kids is a kinder option.
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Online Benfool

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2020, 02:26:05 pm »
Hans Rosling's Ted talks a worth a watch. He wasn't a journalist and backed up some of the stuff Dave just posted.

B

Offline droid

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #32 on: April 22, 2020, 02:31:41 pm »
David:  agree there are many worthwhile books out there, 'popular' books written for a lay audience. But the better of these are written by the specialist themselves, maybe with the help of a journalist.

The book you cite is not one of these. It presents a hypothesis. Normally, such a hypothesis would be presented as a Paper in a peer-reviewed Journal. Failure to do this prevents specialist scrutiny and criticism, which is, I suspect, why most journalists produce books rather than Papers.
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Offline royfellows

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #33 on: April 22, 2020, 03:58:29 pm »
The governments Office of Public Statistics is not hypothesis, its statistical fact, a worth referencing in any of this type of discussion.
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Offline David Rose

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #34 on: April 22, 2020, 05:44:55 pm »
It doesn't present a hypothesis. It presents the views of experts who have plenty of peer reviewed publications to their name, some of whom have changed their views radically - such as Jorgen Randers and Wofgang Lutz

And "trade" (ie non academic) books do get reviewed, you know!

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/27/what-goes-up-population-crisis-wrong-fertility-rates-decline



Offline droid

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #35 on: April 22, 2020, 05:46:44 pm »
Hans Rosling's Ted talks a worth a watch. He wasn't a journalist and backed up some of the stuff Dave just posted.

B

Again presented as a talk rather than a peer reviewed paper.
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Offline droid

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #36 on: April 22, 2020, 05:52:32 pm »
It doesn't present a hypothesis. It presents the views of experts who have plenty of peer reviewed publications to their name, some of whom have changed their views radically - such as Jorgen Randers and Wofgang Lutz

And "trade" (ie non academic) books do get reviewed, you know!

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/27/what-goes-up-population-crisis-wrong-fertility-rates-decline

Peer review of Papers is rather different to book reviews as I'm sure you know David.

Randers: specialist subject: climate modelling.
Lutz: demographer. At last..... :lol:
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Offline owd git

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #37 on: April 22, 2020, 06:16:34 pm »
Phil' add intellectual willy waiving to unimportant things to do!  :lol: O. G.
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Offline Speleofish

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #38 on: April 22, 2020, 06:21:17 pm »
I think there's a danger of conflating three things here.

There is explanatory, popular science where someone who has good communication skills writes a book or an article about a complex but non-controversial subject that allows the lay public to understand it. This is a skill I wish I possessed. Unreservedly, but enviously, I approve.

A second group does much the same job but explains both sides of a controversial subject. This can be valuable but risks falling victim to Radio 4 syndrome, where both sides of an argument are given equal weight, even when there is overwhelming evidence  that the controversy is fatuous. Obvious examples include Norman Lamont being given airtime for his ill-informed views on climate change and the whole Andrew Wakefield farrago which has done enormous damage to vaccination and public health.

The third group are those described by Speleotron. Someone with a superficial understanding of a complex subject who wishes to advertise a personal hypothesis. Extreme examples include David Icke and Erich von Daniken. Most of us fall victim to this after a certain amount of alcohol. Examples can be heard at any scientific conference shortly before midnight. The important thing is that few people take this seriously (though occasionally these inspire significant advances)

Offline droid

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #39 on: April 22, 2020, 06:49:35 pm »
Phil' add intellectual willy waiving to unimportant things to do!  :lol: O. G.

It's the boredom, OG.  ::) :lol:
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Offline mikem

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #40 on: April 22, 2020, 07:27:15 pm »
Phil' add intellectual willy waiving to unimportant things to do!  :lol: O. G.
Waiving - refrain from using..!

Offline droid

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #41 on: April 22, 2020, 07:33:00 pm »
Phil' add intellectual willy waiving to unimportant things to do!  :lol: O. G.
Waiving - refrain from using..!

Lockdown  :( ::) :lol:
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Offline tony from suffolk

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #42 on: April 23, 2020, 08:08:22 am »
My wife and I lived a mile outside a small village.
It didn't save her.
I also caught it but survived.
I've only just spotted this Laurie, so please accept my sincere condolences for your loss. Sad times indeed.

Best wishes,

Tony.
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Online Speleotron

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #43 on: April 23, 2020, 09:01:58 am »
Me too I'm very sorry to hear this.
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Offline Chocolate fireguard

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #44 on: April 23, 2020, 09:36:09 am »
C'mon people. There are lots of excellent popular science books out there - and they're written by journalists, or experienced non-fiction writers who have a talent for explaining technical matters in a way that's accessible....

There's a lot of neo-Malthusian stuff being said at the moment ...

I had to look that one up (must have missed the explanation).


add intellectual willy waiving to unimportant things to do!  :lol: O. G.

Offline Robert Scott

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #45 on: April 23, 2020, 10:55:17 am »
My wife and I lived a mile outside a small village.
It didn't save her.
I also caught it but survived.
Sorry to see about your loss, please accept my condolences.
Stay safe in these difficult times
Kind Regards
Robert

Offline Barny

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #46 on: April 23, 2020, 10:31:14 pm »
MAY BE a way of putting it all into a context, or may be not

Offline mrodoc

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #47 on: April 24, 2020, 10:38:22 am »
Re David Rose's comment. I have retained the same views since my teens but at times I tend towards the optimistic. Probably reading a lot of SF eg Make Room! Make Room!, Stand on Zanzibar etc.  I doget irritated when people start fussing about a declining population. We need that to protect our resources and, of course it won't come without its own problems. Some writers have described the period ahead as the bottleneck ie the point where it gets very ugly before things begin to improve again. 

Offline Robert Scott

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #48 on: April 24, 2020, 10:03:49 pm »
Apologies to the easily offended.
But as soon as I see the word "Libertarian" I reach for my semi-automatic assault rifle.

Offline mrodoc

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Re: Covid 19
« Reply #49 on: April 24, 2020, 11:16:07 pm »
 ;D

 

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