- File Size: 2962 KB
- Print Length: 252 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1984823213
- Publisher: Crown (February 5, 2019)
- Publication Date: February 5, 2019
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07CWHYVW5
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#173,680 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #18 in Demography
- #95 in Demography Studies
- #216 in Cultural Anthropology (Kindle Store)
Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline Kindle Edition
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67 customer reviews
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Fertility declines are due to multiple factors, but the authors only include causes that fit their argument. They never mention or quantify the impact of abortions on the falling fertility in the US (the number of abortions is about equal to the number of immigrants that replace the unborn). The authors mention that fertility has declined the most in black communities but fail to acknowledge this is because of higher rates of abortions among blacks.
Nor do the authors assess the causes of fertility decline objectively. Women’s empowerment is claimed to be a root cause of declining fertility. In fact, fertility falls especially fast in Latin America where female empowerment is limited. They describe the fall in foreign adoptions as a trend, though actually it is due to the Hague Treaty that almost completely ended foreign adoptions by cutting off the prior path to citizenship for adopted children. A reader that is new to the subject would never be able to discern when they were getting the whole truth, and the authors work hard to conceal this.
The authors skip over the negatives of the mass migration they prescribe. They don’t mention the huge disenfranchised underclasses that have been created in Asia and the Middle East based on the policies they recommend. Nor the emergence of similar underclasses in California today. They don't mention the impossibility of enforcing the rule of law when transnational criminal organizations exploit open borders. They even fail to present the positives of Japan's choices to preserve their homogeneous society, despite that fact that Japan continues to pursue this policy and must see some benefit.
These Canadian authors present the Canadian approach as a panacea. They don't acknowledge the Canadian situation is unique geographically, because the United States provides protection through strategic depth. Critically, the Canadian immigration system is merit based, but they fail to include this in their prescription. Instead that authors answer is simply to resist Donald Trump and any political point of view that attempts to protect the interests of a country’s citizens.
What I found most offensive was that they didn’t make a recommendation and try to defend it, rather they gave a prescription as though they know more than the rest of us and have higher moral standards than we can only accept as absolute. I found the unscholarly, ideological mindset of the authors sickening.
This is an important topic that deserves a fact-based discussion. But for that discussion to be helpful, options need to be considered objectively and pros/cons acknowledged from the perspectives of all constituents. Instead we get selective facts to fit a predefined narrative with extensive condescending rants, hurling insults at those that would questing their prescription in any way.
The book starts by looking at the incorrect claims of various environmentalists from Malthus to Ehrlich. They point out that share of the world that is starving has plummeted and the share in absolutely poverty has also plummeted.
The book then starts looking at Europe, where populations are already starting to shrink. Throughout the authors interview people around the world to talk about their ideas of family. In Europe it is most drastic, a number of couples from Belgium who have a combined fertility rate of less than one talk about kids.
Then Korea and Japan are investigated. Japan being really 'the country of the future' in that populations are declining there. The book looks at how women wanting a career find it very hard to have kids as well given traditional roles for men in not helping much with parenting or around the house.
There is a great discussion of the economics of babies, how they have gone from a boon in agricultural societies to an economic burden in modern, urban ones. The impact of teenage pregnancy is discussed along with having kids at an older age.
The critical role of Africa in global population predictions and what is going on there is then investigated. There the fact that UN population predictions rely on African populations exploding is discussed and the impact that mobile phones and greater education and urbanisation is having is described.
Empty Planet then looks at how fertility is likely to change the size of India and China is outlined. The authors show how China's already low fertility will very likely lead to a population reduction and how India's fertility has changed and is likely to change gets a good discussion. Again the impact of information, urbanisation and education is likely underestimated.
Empty Planet then looks at how immigration driven by countries wishing to enrich themselves, such as Canada and Australia is likely to lead to those countries avoiding some of the impact of declining populations. It's a very well made point.
Empty Planet is really a fascinating book that makes a very strong case as to why global populations will peak sooner than expected and are likely to decline sooner than expected. It would have been good to get the case from a UN statistician as to why they think that population will be higher than the authors, but other than that Empty Planet is a really excellent book that describes a fascinating new phenomenon.