Rosie B. Luistro (“Inevitable population decline: What to do about it,” 11/30/22) errs on several points.
1. As one of the most densely populated countries on earth (388 per square kilometer, ranking 36th, just behind Israel), the Philippines should benefit by slightly lessening its density—unless the majority of people vote for more traffic, more pollution, more CO2 emissions, more crowding, and less adequate infrastructure.
2. Economic stagnation is not the result of a declining population. The “Asian giants” who turned themselves from poverty to affluence in the 20th century achieved it partly by lowering their fertility rates. Families with two children have more capital than families with four. A greater proportion of young people can be educated. Land per farmer can remain stable rather than shrink. And so on.
3. Below-replacement-level fertility will not result in the “extinction” of a nation but only a flattening and slight, temporary decline in its population curve.
4. To argue that “education for women” is a problem because it lowers the fertility rate—ask Filipino women if they would like to give up their education and careers.
High and growing global population, multiplied by high consumption by the affluent, cause not only crowding and noise in many places but a shortage of land, tensions, and violence arising from competition for land, water, fossil fuels, and minerals. Add immigration conflicts and many aspects of poverty: climate change, pollution ranging from plastics to poisons, habitat loss, and overexploitation of wildlife on land and sea.
The more quickly we transition to modest levels of population and consumption—possibly a lower population in 2100 than now, and far less consumption per capita among affluent nations such as the United States, the better our world will be for us and for the generations who follow.
New York, USA