Gone are the days of the post-war baby boom and nation-wide one-child policies. Fertility rates around the world – From the US to China to South Korea to Japan - are on the decline, and 23 nations are expected to see their populations halve by 2100. Some demographers are sounding the alarm. They argue that low birth rates combined with an aging population will lead to wage inflation, soaring healthcare costs for the elderly and shrinking workforces to pay for public services and already massive government debts. In sum, the shrinking populations of advanced economies will lead to widespread social and economic decline. Other demographers aren’t so concerned. They point out that a declining population will put less pressure on our resources and slow the effects of climate change. It will also ease the burden on women and lead to less unemployment as the demand for workers increases and wages improve. And finally, it will force governments to improve existing childcare, health care, and education policies to encourage families to have more kids. Lower birth rates are an opportunity to re-examine our existing social and economic structures and make changes that will benefit everyone in society.
Arguing for the motion is Sarah Harper, Professor of Gerontology at Oxford University and Director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing
Arguing against the motion is Lyman Stone, Adjunct Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Research Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies
BBC, PBS, CNN Money, Airirang News
The host of the Munk Debates is Rudyard Griffiths - @rudyardg.
Tweet your comments about this episode to @munkdebate or comment on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/munkdebates/
To sign up for a weekly email reminder for this podcast, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To support civil and substantive debate on the big questions of the day, consider becoming a Munk Member at https://munkdebates.com/membership
Members receive access to our 10+ year library of great debates in HD video, a free Munk Debates book, newsletter and ticketing privileges at our live events.
This podcast is a project of the Munk Debates, a Canadian charitable organization dedicated to fostering civil and substantive public dialogue - https://munkdebates.com/
The Munk Debates podcast is produced by Antica, Canada’s largest private audio production company - https://www.anticaproductions.com/
Executive Producer: Stuart Coxe, CEO Antica Productions
Senior Producer: Ricki Gurwitz
Editor: Reza Dahya
Associate Producer: Abhi Raheja