I have lived all over the country and I have never seen such a captured political system as in Baltimore.....it may be southern politics and more common than I think, but as we see and hear of unions and justice organizations organizing and shouting against issues in other places across the country....we hear nothing here in Maryland and especially Baltimore. The national issue of gay marriage was well covered and the International Trade Deal Immigration reform was as well....gun control as well but as you can see these are all social issues....not fiscal. Gambling was a hot topic only because the casino industries financed a fight for their own personal profit concerns. The point is this: all of these issues coming before the legislature should be aired publicly well before any vote. OK not all.....there is a lot of mundane stuff. The fact that nothing appears until just before a vote shows how captured policy is in the city and state. Then, there are so many private non-profits controlled by the state's 1% who then control all of what discussion there is...you see the problem. IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE LIKE THAT PEOPLE! IF YOU ABDICATE YOUR CITIZENSHIP BY NOT PARTICIPATING IN POLITICS AND YOUR COMMUNITY ISSUES.....you are peasants not citizens which is to where these pols are taking this country.
STOP ALLOWING A PERMANENT CABAL OF POLS RUN ROUGHSHOD OVER OUR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS!!!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE AND RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE NEXT ELECTIONS!!!!
I included as well more articles that discuss the dire state of our economy and you can see as well how all mainstream media fails to project honestly what is in store and what means are being taken to correct what is massive corporate fraud and the losses of tens of trillions of dollars from our US economy!!! Think about how that is all tied into this local hold on all policy and political issues! They should not be able to do this if we had a functioning free press and justice departments!!!
There are two concerns about this tax from a person who loves the idea of this tax. First, all legislation coming from Annapolis comes to the people in a vacuum. This no doubt has been the way things are done for some time but it does not meet the definition of civic participation that is democracy! If Maryland and Baltimore wants to leave the small town feel of crony politics and join the big city guys it will have to allow democratic organizations and structures to grow and flourish. I have never seen such a stark political landscape. Talk about blighted communities and lost assets! My point is there is never any public debate about these policy issues that are developed behind close doors and brought to the public as votes are ready to be taken. This is how you keep the public out of politics! A city with a working democracy has a media outlet that thrives off of controversy and political debate of all kinds. You should hear discussion on Rain Tax policy on all the local TV talk shows, radio talk shows, public media, and news print for months before the bill comes to vote. These pols know what issues they will address well in advance. Then you take these issue discussions to community forums.,...libraries, schools, and senior centers where groups of people are actively engaged in thinking about the concept as a whole. Can you imagine that in Baltimore?
Next, as the citizens of Maryland are all too aware when we see a bill that looks fair and balanced as this does when businesses are charged the same fee at the same rate, we also know that the modus operandus of Third Way corporate pols is to create loopholes for many businesses in paying this tax....whether it is added to TIFS or other corporate tax breaks.....we doubt that the biggest players in this Rain Tax deal will actually pay the tax. We have no doubt the public will. So, we have in Baltimore a mayor pushing lowering the property tax rate in the city while she is making residents pay for trash pickup and now this Rain Tax. This is why people do not have faith as to the ultimate resourcing of this money!!
The 'rain tax' sham Our view: Stormwater runoff is a growing threat to Chesapeake Bay and human health that the anti-tax crowd would prefer Maryland ignored
1:49 p.m. EDT, April 16, 2013 Baltimore Sun Opinion
There has been much hue and cry in recent days about the General Assembly approving a "rain tax" this year that is punitive, anti-commerce and unnecessary. What's truly remarkable about these protestations is how none of the underlying claims are true.
Rather, this may be a lesson in the perils of approving a policy at the state level but leaving the business of carrying it out to local government. It's far easier for county elected leaders to point a finger at Annapolis than to actually educate themselves on an issue — let alone try to explain why a tax is so clearly in their constituents' self-interest.
So here's what is actually happening. In 2012, the legislature approved a new program to reduce the fastest-growing source of water pollution in this state: stormwater runoff. What may fall as ordinary rain quickly picks up such contaminants as lawn and garden fertilizers, pet waste, septic tank overflow, chemicals like motor oil, litter and chemicals produced by cars and industry.
Hard, impervious surfaces make this problem much worse. Instead of naturally filtering into the ground, the pollution is sped along to vulnerable streams and rivers and eventually, at least for most of the state, the Chesapeake Bay.
These hard surfaces, such as roads and buildings, have rapidly increased over the last two decades. Between 1990 and 2007, the amount grew by an estimated 34 percent in the bay watershed even as population grew by only 18 percent. Lawmakers finally recognized that something needed to be done — particularly if the state and local governments are to meet the Chesapeake Bay "pollution diet" goals enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The stormwater law passed in Annapolis last year left much of the specifics of how to reduce this pollution to local government, requiring Baltimore and the 23 counties to set a fee to pay for such things as storm drains, collection ponds, stream restorations or other improvements that control and slow the flow of runoff. Some county officials are upset by this and lobbied the legislature to postpone the program's implementation — an effort that died in the waning days of the recent session.
Meanwhile, counties are, one by one, approving their fees. This week, the governing councils of Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties approved fees on homeowners and businesses — generally based on the amount of impervious surface. For most, the fee is modest. In Baltimore County, for instance, the owner of a single-family home will pay $39 annually.
To call this a "rain tax" is to try to make it sound like some absurd leftist plot to tax a natural process; to suggest, as one official did, that it's a "tax on civilization" is to imply that the damage done by stormwater runoff either doesn't exist or isn't especially serious. That's truly ridiculous. This isn't merely about protecting the bay (although that alone would justify the program) but also about protecting the health of freshwater drinking supplies and preventing local flooding, two issues that should strike most Marylanders pretty close to home.
We could ask each individual to create a stormwater collection system on his or her property, but that would be absurd and impossibly burdensome. Like most matters of public works, this is one area where government must help get the job done. And when we expect our government to take on a new task, we have to provide the means to pay for it.
Maybe conservative commentators of the Fox News variety would prefer Maryland just embraced algae-clogged streams, fish kills, contaminated groundwater and all the other effects of "paving the bay." But we think it's far more sensible to expect polluters to clean up after themselves — and in this case, that means all of us with a roof over our heads or blacktop under our feet.
We aren't taxing rain, we're taxing the pollution all of us generate, however unintentionally. The rain is just the vehicle by which that pollution is swept away. Businesses with big parking lots may find themselves paying more than they'd like, but, of course, they're also polluting more than everyone else would like. If tomorrow, those same businesses dumped waste in the local creek, would we ignore that damage, too? Stormwater runoff is just as harmful — the only difference is that it has been overlooked for too long.
Nobody likes paying more in taxes, but at least this is a straight-up user fee — financing a dedicated fund that goes directly to cleaning up a problem. People who don't think twice about water once it flows into a storm sewer are the ones living in a fantasy land. That critics can't even accurately describe when the tax was passed should tell you all you need to know about how carefully they've considered the issue.
The last comment ....the fund has made back all its losses from 2008-2009....government watchdogs have looked at these state and local public pensions funds and we know that in Maryland and in Baltimore these pensions were taken out of then safe bond market investments and placed into the stock market in 2007 just before the crash. This was deliberate as a way to boost the market for ever more gains before the crash. It was also malfeasance.
Now, everyone knows that you buy low and sell high and the crash in 2008 would have been the low. Did you know that the Fed's policy of 0% interest giving free money to banks happens just because of this fact. Loading banks and corporations with free money to invest in the stock market at its lowest has made billions of dollars in profits for corporations and banks. This has nothing to do with free markets, democracy, or Rule of Law....but they are doing it. Now, let's look at those pensions sitting there at 2008 with what was almost a 40% loss from what I'm told. All that was done for them is allow this diminished amount to grow back with the booming rise back to normal these few years fueled by all that free Fed money. So, instead of being where they were before the crash.....40% richer and building on those investments almost doubling the pension fund money as is happening with the banks and corporations, pols are telling us the pensions have made back the losses and now its time to cut. DOES THAT TAKE NERVE OR WHAT? Loses by malfeasance, missed boom in gains given to banks and corporations but not people, and on top of that....we are taking more money from you because we have not yet recovered tens of trillions of dollars in corporate fraud over this past decade. WOW. Are we in Uzbekistan?
If we had a working Justice System this is what would happen:
First, our State Attorney General would be bringing billions of dollars in mortgage fraud penalties back to Maryland and actually distributing the settlement money to the victims of the fraud....in this case the pension holders.
Second, our State Attorney General would be investigating, prosecuting, and penalizing the Comptrollers Office at State and local level for colluding with Wall Street in moving those pension funds from bonds to stocks when they all knew the crash was coming. The government officials are fined and fired.....Wall Street pays for all the losses in 2008-2009. Then the pensions actually see that double in gains as it should. IMAGINE THAT!!
Lastly, from the billions in mortgage fraud yet to be recovered all of the decades of underfunding of public sector pensions is restored to the pension funds causing them to be healthy and not needing any of the cuts these pols are saying is coming. THESE ARE THE VERY POLS INVOLVED FROM THE START....THINK O'MALLEY AND HIS HAND IN DEFUNDING!
The American people are sick and tired of this attack on public assets and the failure to bring justice!!!
Pension system advisor ‘very disappointed’ in legislative cut in contribution
April 17, 2013 at 7:39 am
Advisor Brian Murphy, left foreground, testifies to state pension board Tuesday.
By Len Lazarick
The outside advisor for the Maryland pension system told its Board of Trustees Tuesday that he was “very disappointed” that the legislature reduced the state’s payment into the retirement fund by $100 million in budget action this month.
The money comes from $300 million in added contributions of state employees and teachers passed in 2011. It is being set aside for the possible federal budget cuts from sequestration.
The State Retirement Agency and the Department of Legislative Services were also told to look into the impact of further reducing these payments in the future.
If the legislature continued “tinkering” with the $300 million added contribution, said Brian Murphy of Gabriel Roeder Smith & Co., it would show the absence of “a firm funding policy” and require recalculating the annual contribution. GRS is the system’s actuary.
“That’s very sad for the system,” Murphy told the 14-member board holding its monthly meeting in Baltimore. “I can’t tell you how disappointed I was.”
State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, chairman of the board of the State Retirement and Pension System, agreed. “I opposed it strongly,” she said.
Money came from extra contributions
Comptroller Peter Franchot, vice chairman of the board, had raised the issue about the cut in pension contribution.
“It just doesn’t result in what our future obligations demand,” Franchot said. He pointed out that the state is now taking “an extra 2% tax” from state government workers and teachers “in order to protect the security of the system.”
“I hope you’ll hold everybody’s feet to the fire,” Franchot told Murphy.
The legislature in 2011 raised the contribution rate from 5% to 7% of salary and reduced some benefits to reduce the long-term liabilities of the system.
Anne Gawthrop, director of legislative affairs for the State Retirement Agency, said the cut actually amounted to $87 million from the general fund, and would be restored to the pension contribution if the governor does not use the money by Jan. 1 to offset federal sequester cuts.
The legislative cut came at the same time that the General Assembly approved a plan to eliminate the “corridor method” of calculating the state’s employer contribution that had reduced annual required contributions over the past decade. The pension board had been trying to get that change passed for several years.
Good news on investments
The board got good news for the pension system from Chief Investment Officer Melissa Moye. The recent run-up in the stock market has brought the Maryland pension fund back to its record 2007 high of $40.6 billion at the end of March.
“It’s all good news,” said Moye. According to preliminary and unaudited figures, the fund is up by $3.5 billion since June — earning 11.3% for the fiscal year that started July 1. The fund has is earned 7.88% over the past 10 years, beating its target of 7.72%.
The fund now has made back all its losses from 2008 and 2009.
As an academic with a life career in medical research and writing among other things I want health institutions to restructure just as we are seeing the corporate pols trying to do with the rest of US society. We love that good missions like this in the article are happening and we see the value. What we also see are institutions who have taken trillions of dollars in taxpayer money to grow to global size and taxpayer money used to research and develop all these wonderful medical advances at the same time we hear these institutions working with politicians calling for a health care reform that is based on the premise there isn't enough public money to cover universal health care in America. I won't even go into the fact that 1/2 of entitlement spending over decades were stolen through health fraud by doctors and institutions now calling for cutting access.
The time has come where all those institutions fat on the success of accessing public money pay the piper. We want to see private non-profits like Hopkins restructured as a public hospital for universal care for the forseeable future. Trillions are owed to the public and this is the start. Do we want to see these important international missions stopped? No, but we have gazillionaires to pay for that!!
Hopkins dean among those who want to eradicate polio
The dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is among a group of leading scientists that has joined an initiative to eradicate polio.
Dr. Michael J. Klag signed a declaration last week endorsing a Polio Eradication Endgame Strategic Plan. It calls for creating a polio-free world by 2018.
The initiative is led by Emory University and Aga Khan University. Officials say there is an opportunity to end polio because there are so few cases being reported.
More than 400 other scientists from 80 countries signed the declaration, which calls for sustaining containment of the disease once it is eradicated. Other signers from the Bloomberg School include Patti Gravitt, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology; Dr. Neal Halsey, professor in the Department of International Health; Dr. Katherine O'Brien, professor in the Department of International Health; and Dr. Mathuram Santosham, professor in the Department of International Health.
WE NEED TO BE CLEAR,......ALL OF THIS WORK TO REBUILD THE ECONOMY WILL LEAD TO NOTHING BECAUSE WALL STREET IS ABOUT TO BRING THE ECONOMY DOWN AGAIN. WE CANNOT HAVE FISCAL POLICY THAT ALLOWS THIS KIND OF MARKET ECONOMY!
Remember, it is Fed Reserve's policy of 0% interest rates that fuel the stagnation and allow the high unemployment to move wages ever lower. When the Fed gives banks and corporations free money to invest in the market to make record profits which are then spent on overseas development you create an environment where corporations do not have to work for a living.....they simply play the market and that is why the domestic economy is stagnant and unemployment remains high. The Fed wants unemployment high because that makes labor desperate and willing to work for less....increasing profits!!
What we need to see coming is the Immigration Bill with a goal of flooding the economy with immigrant labor from second and third world countries at both the high and low end of the income scale. This bill is not about protecting Hispanic workers....it will actually institutionalize exploited labor and bring more people to compete at lower wages. What it does as well is expand from agriculture into construction and restaurants and delivery....all done right now on a smaller scale. SEE WHY UNEMPLOYMENT IS SO HIGH AND WILL REMAIN HIGH FOR DOMESTIC WORKERS? JUST HOW POOR CAN YOU GET? LOOK AT THIRD WORLD TO SEE WHERE THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS ARE TAKING US!!
Wage Recession Hits 5 Years; Worse Than Jobs Drought
By JED GRAHAM, INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
Posted 02/28/2013 08:05 AM ET
As bad as the current job recovery has been — and it's by far the weakest since World War II — the recovery in wages has been far worse.
Five years after the recession began in December 2007, total wages in the economy have yet to fully recover in real terms, Commerce Department data show. In other words, the wage recession continues.
By comparison, the longest previous post-war wage recession, which began with the 2001 downturn, was over in 2-1/2 years, even though that jobs recession lasted four years.
In recoveries past, wage recessions have ended long before payrolls hit new highs. But in the current expansion, wages and employment are on the same slow track to recovery. Both remain about 2% below their old peaks.
Sixty months after the start of the 2001 recession, where we are now in the current cycle, wages were already nearly 8% above their prior peak, though payrolls were just 2% higher. A similar recovery would have boosted current wages by about $650 billion annually.
The early 1980s, marked by high inflation, saw real wages recover from one recession only to fall again before staging a more durable rebound. But the current wage recession has outlasted even that era of real wage stagnation.
The simplest explanation as to why wages have been so sluggish in this recovery is that the depth of job losses eroded employee bargaining power more than usual.
While it may not be true in all industries and specializations, the broad oversupply of labor means that workers have tended to feel fortunate to have a steady job, even without the gravy of pay hikes that outstrip inflation.
Another factor has been the underlying job shift since the end of 2007, with the bulk of the lingering losses in industries that tend to pay pretty well.
Compared to five years ago, there are 3.5 million fewer construction and manufacturing jobs and 1 million fewer jobs in financial services and government.
"Job quality is rapidly emerging as a second front in the struggling recovery," the National Employment Law Project, a low-wage worker advocacy group, concluded in a study in August. NELP found that lower-wage occupations accounted for 21% of the recession's job losses but 58% of the recovery's job gains.
By contrast, midwage occupations made up 60% of the job losses in the recession but just 22% of the jobs recovered in its aftermath.
While plenty of employers are awarding real pay increases, the tilt of the job market toward lower-paying work has meant aggregate wages, in real terms, are only growing as fast as net hiring.
Another factor at play may be a move toward more part-time work. The Labor Department reports that 7.8 million workers are holding part-time jobs because they can't find full-time ones, up from 4.6 million at the end of 2007, though down from a peak of 9.2 million in early 2010.
New data show that real average hourly earnings rose 0.6% in January from a year ago, but weekly earnings only rose at half that rate because workers clocked slightly shorter workweeks.
NELP noted in August that 1.7 million jobs added over the prior two years, or 43% of job gains, came in three generally low-paying industries: food services, retail and employment services.
Restaurants and retailers are bracing for ObamaCare's employer mandate that takes effect next year and already appear to have begun a shift to more part-time work ahead of a mid-2013 deadline. Fines of up to $3,000 per ObamaCare-subsidized worker won't apply for part-time workers, which the law defines as 30 hours per week.
Total employee compensation, including pension and health benefits, is roughly flat with its real level at the end of 2007. But it doesn't appear that the growth of fringe benefits is a key factor behind this recovery's prolonged wage recession vs. prior ones.
For example, although the 2001 job recession lasted four years, real compensation recovered after about a year in that cycle.
Both the Federal Reserve and now Obama funding the IMF have the US funneling tens of billions of US dollars and more to Europe to keep them from collapse. They do this because Wall Street is so tied by bad debt to the subprime loan and sovereign debt frauds in Europe that as goes Europe goes the US.
The Entire Economy Is a Ponzi Scheme. The Global Financial System is Insolvent
By Washington's Blog Global Research, April 13, 2013 Washington's Blog
Ponzinomics Bill Gross, Nouriel Roubini, Laurence Kotlikoff, Steve Keen, Michel Chossudovsky, the Wall Street Journal and many others say that our entire economy is a Ponzi scheme.
Former Reagan budget director David Stockton just agreed:
So did a top Russian con artist and mathematician.
Even the New York Times’ business page asked, “Was [the] whole economy a Ponzi scheme?”
In fact – as we’ve noted for 4 years (and here and here) – the banking system is entirely insolvent. And so are most countries. The whole notion of one country bailing out another country is a farce at this point. The whole system is insolvent.
As we noted last year:
Nobel economist Joe Stiglitz pointed out the Ponzi scheme nature of the whole bailout discussion:
Europe’s plan to lend money to Spain to heal some of its banks may not work because the government and the country’s lenders will in effect be propping each other up, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said.
“The system … is the Spanish government bails out Spanish banks, and Spanish banks bail out the Spanish government,” Stiglitz said in an interview.
“It’s voodoo economics,” Stiglitz said in an interview on Friday, before the weekend deal to help Spain and its banks was sealed. “It is not going to work and it’s not working.”
[The same is true of every other nation.]
Credit Suisse’s William Porter writes:
“Portugal cannot rescue Greece, Spain cannot rescue Portugal, Italy cannot rescue Spain (as is surely about to become all too abundantly clear), France cannot rescue Italy, but Germany can rescue France.” Or, the credit of the EFSF/ESM, if called upon to provide funds in large size, either calls upon the credit of Germany, or fails; i.e, it seems to us that it probably cannot fund to the extent needed to save the credit of one (and probably imminently two) countries that had hitherto been considered “too big so save” without joint and several guarantees.***
As Nouriel Roubini wrote in February:
[For] problems of that magnitude, there simply are not enough resources—governmental or super-sovereign—to go around.
As Roubini wrote in February:
“We have decided to socialize the private losses of the banking system.
Roubini believes that further attempts at intervention have only increased the magnitude of the problems with sovereign debt. He says, “Now you have a bunch of super sovereigns— the IMF, the EU, the eurozone—bailing out these sovereigns.”
Essentially, the super-sovereigns underwrite sovereign debt—increasing the scale and concentrating the problems.
Roubini characterizes super-sovereign intervention as merely kicking the can down the road.
He says wryly: “There’s not going to be anyone coming from Mars or the moon to bail out the IMF or the Eurozone.” [Others have made the same point.]
But, despite the paper shuffling of debt at the national level—and at the level of supranational entities—reality ultimately intervenes: “So at some point you need restructuring. At some point you need the creditors of the banks to take a hit —otherwise you put all this debt on the balance sheet of government. And then you break the back of government—and then government is insolvent.”
Peak Demographics? Indeed, population may be the biggest ponzi scheme of all. Specifically – as we’ve pointed out for years – rapidly-aging populations in the developed world will exert a big drag on the economy.
The Global Mail notes:
Half the world, including almost all the developed world, now is reproducing at below replacement level. A generation from now, according to United Nations Population Division projections, less than a quarter of the world’s women – most of them in Africa and south Asia – will be reproducing at above replacement rate. And those UN forecasts are probably on the high side, for reasons we’ll come to later.
And as the birth rate has plunged in developed nations, and the native-born population has begun to shrink and rapidly age, governments and business have sought to make up the numbers by importing people to prop up their economies. It’s all they know how to do, for our economic system is, at its base, a giant Ponzi scheme, dependent on ever more people producing and consuming ever more stuff.
But what happens if that all stops? What happens when you get an ageing, shrinking population that consumes less?
“The answer to that question is that we don’t know because it’s never happened before,” says Peter McDonald, professor of demography and director of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute at the Australian National University.
“We’re certainly operating a Ponzi scheme in Australia,” says Dr Bob Birrell, an economist and migration expert from Monash University.
“Our growth is predicated on extra numbers… [and] more of our activity is going into city building and people servicing, which do not directly produce many goods that can be traded in overseas markets.
Half the world is facing the problem of low fertility, and Australia, with its massive program of importing people, is providing an extreme example of one approach to the conundrum.
In a nutshell, the problem is this: lower fertility rates mean older, less innovative and productive workforces. More importantly to the Ponzi economic order, older, stable or declining populations consume less. So growth requires either importing people, or exporting stuff, or a combination of the two. Orthodox economics simply can’t cope otherwise.
Europe as a whole has been reproducing at well below replacement rate for close to 40 years. The last period for which UN data showed Europe’s total fertility rate above the replacement rate was 1970-75.
Europe’s contemporary demographics give new meaning to the descriptor ‘the old world’. The continent’s average person is over 40 now. By 2050, if things continue on trend, the average European will be 45.7. If one takes the UN’s “low variant” projection, he/she will be over 50 years of age.
And the low variant now looks closer to the mark. Fertility rates had actually rebounded a little over recent years, the result of a bit of “catch-up” after a shift over several previous decades in which women delayed child-bearing. But the European recession has set fertility rates plunging again.
" height="545" width="620"> Jamie Ferguson/The Global Mail
The recession’s effects will likely linger for decades, in lower rates of earnings and savings, and also in reduced fertility.
Last year, Forbes magazine, that most reliable voice of the economic orthodoxy, laid the blame for Europe’s economic decline squarely on its citizens’ failure to reproduce in adequate numbers, in an article headlined What’s Really Behind Europe’s Decline? It’s The Birth Rates, Stupid.
The Forbes piece was unequivocal: the biggest threat to the European Union was its low fertility rate.
The piece ended with a dire warning that unless Club Med managed to induce people to have more babies, catastrophic economic consequences would flow for all of Europe and maybe the world.
As Thomas Sobotka, one of the authors of a 2011 study on population trends by the Vienna Institute of Demography, told the Guardian newspaper, massive cuts in social spending would only exacerbate the problem.
“This may prolong the fertility impact of the recent recession well beyond its end. It could lead to a double-dip fertility decline,” he said.
But when it comes to fertility declines, Asia takes the cake.
Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, and most importantly China currently all have fertility rates lower than those of Europe.
China’s and Korea’s are about to start falling, if they haven’t already.
“I’m pretty pessimistic about the east-Asian situation,” says McDonald. “I think those countries find it very difficult move in the right direction of supporting work and family, in particular, reducing work hours.
“We are now talking about some 30 per cent of Japanese women not getting married.”
“I saw a couple of people from the Japanese government give a paper recently, essentially accepting this as an inevitability – a low birth rate forever,” he says.
It’s the same all over Asia.
Hong Kong has a birth rate of 1.09, which is on track to see its population almost halve in a generation. Taiwan is at 1.10; China, 1.55; Thailand, 1.66; Vietnam, 1.89. Even Indonesia’s fertility is just above replacement rate, at 2.23, and is falling fast. Malaysia and the Philippines are still growing pretty quickly, as are the south-Asian countries, which may give them a competitive edge for a few decades – and a growing export industry of people. But it is not projected to last more than a few decades.
Let’s return to America. The United States also is reproducing at below replacement rate, and its birthrate has declined sharply in recent years.
The US birth rate not only fell to its lowest level ever in 2011, but the greatest decline was among immigrant women.
In the longer term, the world will have to adjust its economic system to cope with the novel concept of less. Fewer people, less consumption, lowered need for resources, energy, housing, roads, you name it.
Indeed, smart curmudgeons like Jeremy Granthan and Chris Martensen think that we have not only “peak” demographics, but also peak resources.
There’s HOPE The above is admittedly depressing. But the reality is that there’s hope.
We can have a very bright future, indeed … if we switch from the status quo to something smarter. For example, see this and this.
For example, we can cut out the middlemen in the banking and political realms … and prosper.
And as we’ve previously noted about energy:
The current paradigm is that energy is produced expensively by governments or large corporations through gigantic projects using enormous amounts of money, materials and manpower. Because energy can only be produced by the big boys, we the people must bow our heads to the powers-that-be. We must pay a lot of our hard-earned money to buy electricity from them, and we can’t question the methods or results of their energy production.
Our life will become much better when we begin to understand that energy is all around us – as an ocean of electromagnetic forces and as a byproduct of other processes in the form of heat, pressure, etc. – and all we need do is learn how to harvest it.