LTE: On Economic Growth and Lower Birth Rates

Published on October 5th, 2015

Letter to the Editor
Leon Kolankiewicz
October 5, 2015
The Wall Street Journal

A population growing at 2% annually doubles in size every 35 years.

In his Sept. 24 op-ed “How the Birth Dearth Saps Economic Growth,” Ruchir Sharma laments what he calls a “plummet” and “collapse” in the rate of global population growth from 2% in the decades after World War II to 1% at present.

A population growing at 2% annually doubles in size every 35 years. If the global population of about six billion in 2000 were to grow at a continuous 2% rate throughout the 21st century, by 2100 there would be more than 40 billion people on Earth. By 2200 there would be more than 320 billion. It quickly reaches absurd proportions. Does Mr. Sharma seriously believe that science and technology can work miracles with the planet’s hard-pressed resources and environment to sustain numbers like these? It’s very clear that today’s levels of population and consumption are not sustainable.

The U.S. population is growing by almost 1% annually, mostly because of the highest sustained immigration rates in our history. From 322 million in 2015, demographers project the U.S. population to hit 400 million sometime after 2050 and more than 500 million by 2100. Our resources, environment and quality of life would all take a huge hit if we allow this to occur.

Sooner or later economists, politicians and the business community will have to accept the radical proposition that we live on a three-dimensional, round, finite planet Earth.

Leon Kolankiewicz

Californians for Population Stabilization

Santa Barbara, Calif.

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