by Jennifer Coote


P. Longman, The Empty Cradle; How Falling Birth-rates Threaten World Prosperity and What to Do About It, Basic Books 04, is apprehensive of a world where falling birth-rates lead to economic crisis and religious fanaticism. The demographic case has three parts. In the less developed countries (LDCs) fertility rates are falling dramatically from 6.0 children per woman, 19651970, to 2.9, 2000-2005, and falling. China, Iran and Mexico are among 20 countries who are below replacement level. Though state policies are one factor, the chief reason is spontaneous change in human behaviour. Since many of the LDCs are poor countries, their people could well become old rather than rich; 4-2-1 societies where one child must support two parents and four grandparents.(continue…)

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