4: All that first world governments will have to do to promote slightly more population growth is simply provide more incentives for women to CHOOSE to have kids. More tax breaks, paid maternity leave, state-funded day care, pre-school, better educational systems, and a culture that does not punish professional women for having kids. That would cause birthrates to rise again.
As you (camhead) probably already know - other countries are doing this, and it's working. Hell, if the US had the policies of some European countries, I might well be a daddy already.
In reply to:
But finally, we're coming down to this problem, which at its root is Malthusian: Our economy needs exponential growth to keep going. While technology and knowledge might also grow exponentially as well, natural resources (clean air, food, water, minerals) either grow numerically, or decrease. In other words (DUH) our environment is unsustainable.
And, as Jared Diamond says, the environment could function quite nicely without the human economy. But could the human economy function without the natural environment?
Kinda scary stuff.
How does China fit into this? A billion people, a one child policy, and a strong and growing
economy. How can that be if economic growth requires population growth?
You think wages will go up to reflect the rising cost of living?
And I'm the one who smokes drugs?!?
Actually it's true. It's called inflation. And many economists think that a moderate (rather than the current miniscule) inflation is exactly what the US needs to dry up its current moderate debt crisis.
The economics nutshell version: With inflation, $$ are worth less in real economic terms. Not just positive dollars, but negative dollars (debt) too. So it means that US debt shrinks in relation to all real benchmarks.
The big downside: some wages *don't* go up. People on a fixed wage - pensioners - get screwed.