The World' s Population
The first fifty。 years of the next millennium will be crit。ical for the world's population. By 2050 population growth shou。ld have leveled off, but by then we'll have 10 billion people--two-thirds as many again as we have today.The rate。 of population growth i。s something we can choose right now, though: it's not something that just happens, but a matt。er of human choice. The choice is a complicated one,with many variab。les, but it remains a choice.
If we want to prev。ent a population explosion, we should take action now -or assist t。he poorer countries to do so. They need better government, better institutions, better labor and capital markets, better sc。hools.
Any。thing that inc。reases the value of women's time and adds to the cost of caring for a child makes a woman less likely to have that child. Since big familie。s are often seen as safety nets for illness and old age, improving poor pe。ople's access to insurance, pensions and welfare institutions also has a major impact. This can be as s。imple as ru。ral credit, providing a m。eans of saving. Finally, there is educat。ion--both for wome。n and, perhaps even more important, for the next generation of children.
These steps are there to be taken, but there appear to be some countries that are not seriously trying at。 the moment. If we cannot achieve that we will c。ertainly not control population.
That said, I don't feel pessimistic that we are going to run out of resources: we are becoming more efficient at produc。ing food faster than the rate at which population is increasing. There is, ho。wever, a risk that we will wreck the environment so effectively。 that the world will no。 longer be an attractive place to live. That really would be a dismal outcome, to reach world population equilibrium only。 to find we'd d
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