Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Breitbart; When climate activists discuss a “well being” economy, I thought they just meant communism. Turns out a “well being” economy is also code for encouraging the deplorables to gradually die off.
PM REPORT EXPOSES THE AGEING MYTH
8 OCTOBER 2021
A major new report by Population Matters busts the myth that a declining birth rate and ageing population spell economic disaster. Silver linings, not silver burdensreveals the benefits of fewer people being born, and identifies the common-sense policies that will meet the challenges of a society in which more people are older.
The new report is a significant contribution to the public debate on ageing. Headlines about “jaw-dropping crashes” in birth rate and a “silver tsunami” of old people threatening to overwhelm government budgets and leave millions of vacancies unfilled have led to calls for action to boost birth rates across the world.
The new report finds instead that falling birth rates offer multiple advantages, and the increasing number of old people is neither an imminent crisis nor an insoluble problem.
With a foreword by economist and former chair of the UK’s Climate Change Committee, Lord Adair Turner, the 30-page report – backed by more than 100 references – is available here.
CREATING A WELLBEING ECONOMY
The report calls for a reorientation of economic priorities, away from constant growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which benefits from an expanding birth rate and growing population. It notes that GDP places no value on the natural world and on human activities which don’t involve economic transactions.
While it’s right for poorer countries to grow their economies as part of the process of escaping poverty, in richer countries that growth in production and consumption is a key driver of our environmental crisis.
Transitioning to a wellbeing economy would not only ensure that quality of humans’ lives and protection of the natural world are the drivers of all economic activity, it would also help us to recognise the value of investing in older people.
That does not mean that policies to address our ageing populations are not available now. The solutions are already understood and can be implemented by governments in the time scale needed. One of the report’s reiterated points is that with 130 million births a year and population projected to keep growing until the second half of this century at least, there will be no shortage of people. At the same time, the transition to an older society is happening slowly.
The report’s findings include:
* The gap between supply and demand for labour in developed economies is likely to be lower than anticipated, due to continued population growth, enhanced productivity, and automation replacing existing jobs. Meanwhile, there are more than 200 million people unemployed, and labour force participation (people in work or looking for work) is only 49% for women. Investment in education and gender equality will help prepare people for work, and realise their potential.
Delving into the main report, improving labour force participation includes raising the retirement age.
… Delayed retirement and enhancing the economic productivity of older workers will put more money into pension schemes and the exchequer. Pension reform can significantly reduce the fiscal burden. It has already begun in most high income countries, but must continue, reflecting the particular challenges each faces. …
Read more: Smaller Families and Ageing Populations
The report also calls for tax rises.
… Tax rises to meet additional cost are viable policy options, likely to be accepted by the public if managed appropriately. …
Read more: Same link as above
The report presents Japan’s demographic crisis as the model to emulate;
… Presenting new research, the paper outlines three key findings on what the UK could achieve by 2035 if it matched the demographic trend set to be witnessed in Japan over the next fifteen years:
CLIMATE CHANGE – Generating 38 million fewer tonnes of CO2 annually by 2035. This is equivalent to taking almost 19 million cars off the road.
HOUSING CRISIS – Eliminating the need for some 4 million extra homes across Britain, helping to tackle the UK’s chronic housing problems.
NATURE – Stopping major building developments on some 435,000 acres of land. This in turn will help to mend Britain’s broken relationship with nature. …
Read more: Same link as above
This wellbeing economy idea has been kicking around for a while. The population reduction report notes Iceland is attempting to press ahead with measures of factors other than GDP being the key driver of government policy. Former British Prime Minister David Cameron pushed for GDP to be replaced by an arbitrary government measure of happiness, though his plan never got much traction.
A notable advocate of measuring happiness rather than GDP is the kingdom of Bhutan.
Bhutan is a small country perched in the Himalayas, between India and China, not far from Nepal, though Bhutan does not share a land border with Nepal.
In 2010 The Guardian printed an article praising Bhutan’s focus on happiness. But Bhutan’s focus on happiness rather than economic security has cost them dearly, around a third of the people of Bhutan suffer food insecurity.
I don’t know if mass hunger and a need for handouts from the global community is the ultimate fate of all nations which focus on goals other than maintaining a strong economy, but I have yet to find an exception.