Society & Demographics News and Discussions

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Yuli Ban
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Italy's plummeting birth rate worsened by pandemic
For Micaela Pisanu and Pino Cadinu, the vines on their Sardinian hillside require an investment of love and care. Rather like their plan for a baby that they, like a record number of Italian couples, have felt compelled to postpone.

The engaged Sardinian couple had planned to start a family last year. But then the pandemic hit, the bar Micaela was running closed and now they work on their small vineyard in the wildflower-filled fields above the town of Mamoiada, eking out a living and putting off their hopes of having a baby.

"It's very hard when you want to have a child but don't feel able to because of uncertainty about your future," Micaela says. "Things are so insecure that if I find work, then fall pregnant and maybe lose my job, it would be unmanageable. People will now think 20 times before having a baby."

Births outnumbered by deaths
Their difficulty, felt across this country, is crippling Italy's birth rate, now at the lowest since its unification in 1861. It's declined every year since the 2008 financial crisis.
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"Great resignation" wave coming for companies

Jun 14, 2021

Companies that made it through the pandemic in one piece now have a major new problem: more than a quarter of their employees may leave.

What's happening: Workers have had more than a year to reconsider work-life balance or career paths, and as the world opens back up, many of them will give their two weeks' notice and make those changes they’ve been dreaming about.

“The great resignation” is what economists are dubbing it.
  • Surveys show anywhere from 25% to upwards of 40% of workers are thinking about quitting their jobs.
  • "I don't envy the challenge that human resources faces right now," says Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University.
A number of colliding trends are driving the resignation boom, experts say.

https://www.axios.com/resignations-comp ... 0ee55.html
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Yuli Ban
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I 100% agree. Just like with discussions of AI, biotechnology, and space travel and how we rarely if ever think to cross the three in our discussions of the future, whenever people talk about the future economic state of the world, it's almost always focusing on either demographic collapse or technological unemployment. Never both at once. Indeed, some of the solutions presented to each completely fall apart when taking the other into account, which wouldn't be as big of a problem if it wasn't for the fact the same people will talk of both issues separately, giving contradictory solutions.



I presume it comes down to the sheer number of issues we're going to face, all of whom are extremely unique. The only time civilizations have EVER had to deal with population decline was when said civilizations were falling apart, and even then that was usually due more to people fleeing from population centers or the empire losing control of territory more than any great dying. In our case, population decline would actually be a sign of our civilization stabilizing, which is completely bonkers historically.
What's more, no civilization in history ever had to worry about its workers being rendered redundant by a superior force. Indeed, "the history of humanity hitherto the present is the history of class struggle" and all that— human history is literally defined by the state, size, productivity of the working class. This feeds back into the first point of how civilizations historically were falling apart when populations declined. Before industrialization, population size determined your economy. 15th century China wasn't any more developed than Europe, but they had the largest economy because they had the most people. Low-tech agrarianism works that way on principle. After the Industrial Revolution, the same was still very roughly true to an extent but only because the average worker could now produce more, so if you had more workers in an industrial society, you'd have more productivity. Then again, this also depended on the state of your technology; a billion workers using inefficient industry can be outproduced by a million using super-efficient industry. This has almost never been the case before; for almost all of human history, technology has been mostly equivalent. I mean Ancient Rome was obviously more advanced than the Australian Aborigines, but it was all classical manpower. Nothing enhanced by electricity or special mechanisms.

My point is that the circumstances of the near future are unlike anything we've ever seen before, and that might be overwhelming to consider.

AI also is still a bit "cartoony" for a lot of serious publications and news outlets, I reckon. It's easy to get into the realm of science fiction when talking about future AI. Compared to demographic implosions, which feel more real, more urgent, and more "serious" to discuss.
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What the pandemic's baby bust means
“By 2065 Japan’s population will plummet from 127 million to 88 million — but the low fertility variant indicates an even lower possibility of 82 million”
he problem with some companies is they can’t think past the next quarterly report.

The problem with some politicians is they can’t think past the next election.

And that brings us to the recent report that said the birth rate in the United States last year fell by its sharpest rate since 1973. So much for all of those predictions that said the pandemic lockdowns inevitably would lead to a baby boom.

Instead, it led to just the opposite. Nor is this is an isolated event, skewed by the pandemic. The precise numbers indeed are skewed by the pandemic, but the larger fact is that the birth rate in the United States generally has been falling for a long time.
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I feel this thread's going to become a softcore "Population Decline News and Discussions" hub

The baby bust: How a declining birth rate will reshape the world
A paper published last year in the medical journal the Lancet predicted that the world’s population will peak at 9.73 billion in 2064, and then decline
In the days when we were still disinfecting our groceries and stockpiling loo roll, there was speculation that lockdowns might produce a baby boom: couples were stuck at home – what else was there to do? Instead, as the pandemic has worn on, maternity wards have become quieter. Birth rates have plummeted across much of Europe, the US and Asia.

Provisional data for England and Wales suggests the number of births fell by 3.9 per cent in 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, which would put the fertility rate at an all-time low. It turns out – and it seems obvious now – that the horror and uncertainty of a pandemic has a dramatic contraceptive effect: the monthly fertility rate in England and Wales in December 2020 and January 2021, around nine months after Britain shut down, fell by 8.1 per cent and 10.2 per cent year-on-year respectively. A record number of women in England and Wales had abortions last year.

In the US, the fertility rate fell by 4 per cent in 2020, to the lowest on record. Italy’s birth rate has dropped to its lowest level since unification in 1861; together with a high Covid-19 death toll, this has caused a drop in population equivalent to a city the size of Florence. In France birth numbers have dropped to their lowest since the Second World War; in Japan and South Korea there have been record lows. The number of births in China dropped 15 per cent in 2020; after decades of maintaining a one-child policy, replaced with an allowance for two in 2016, the government announced in May that women could now have three children.

These figures are striking taken in isolation, but represent an acceleration in a decades-long trend – one that will completely reconfigure the global economy, the international balance of power, and our intimate and personal lives.
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MIT Predicted in 1972 That Society Will Collapse This Century. New Research Shows We’re on Schedule.
14.7.21

A remarkable new study by a director at one of the largest accounting firms in the world has found that a famous, decades-old warning from MIT about the risk of industrial civilization collapsing appears to be accurate based on new empirical data.

As the world looks forward to a rebound in economic growth following the devastation wrought by the pandemic, the research raises urgent questions about the risks of attempting to simply return to the pre-pandemic ‘normal.’
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In 1972, a team of MIT scientists got together to study the risks of civilizational collapse. Their system dynamics model published by the Club of Rome identified impending ‘limits to growth’ (LtG) that meant industrial civilization was on track to collapse sometime within the 21st century, due to overexploitation of planetary resources.

The controversial MIT analysis generated heated debate, and was widely derided at the time by pundits who misrepresented its findings and methods. But the analysis has now received stunning vindication from a study written by a senior director at professional services giant KPMG, one of the 'Big Four' accounting firms as measured by global revenue.

The study was published in the Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology in November 2020 and is available on the KPMG website. It concludes that the current business-as-usual trajectory of global civilization is heading toward the terminal decline of economic growth within the coming decade—and at worst, could trigger societal collapse by around 2040.
https://www.vice.com/en/article/z3xw3x/ ... lapse-soon
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Taiwan's falling birthrate 'threatens its economic security'
The NDC forecasts that Taiwan will become "superaged" in 2025, with more than 20% of its population over 65 years old, rising to 30% in 2040
In February 2020, Gao, a 32-year-old administrative officer working in the Hsinchu Science Park, a technology hub southwest of Taipei, fell over in the office. She was pregnant, a doctor told her, but her excitement ended when she was abruptly dismissed by her employer, Dase-Sing Packaging Technology. The company said the COVID-19 pandemic had forced it to restructure, but Gao was the only employee let go.

Gao took the dismissal order to court, and won her case in November. Her story encapsulates the deep-rooted pregnancy discrimination in many Taiwanese companies. It also highlights the fear among many young working women of leaving their jobs temporarily to give birth -- a sentiment that is undermining the Taiwan government's efforts to boost the country's alarmingly low birthrate.

In 2020, the island state recorded negative population growth for the first time since records began, with 173,156 deaths and 165,249 births, according to the Ministry of the Interior. That compares with more than 400,000 births a year during the baby boom after World War II.

The announcement was not a surprise. Taiwan has hovered around the bottom of the global fertility league for years. In April, it ranked last among 227 countries and regions surveyed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, with just 1.07 births per woman -- far below the rate of 2.1 needed to maintain its 23.5 million population.
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New Zealand best place to survive global collapse of society - study
12 mins ago

New Zealand is the best place to survive a global collapse of society, researchers have said.

A study, conducted by the the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University, has suggested a combination of ecological destruction, limited resources and population growth could trigger a worldwide breakdown “within a few decades.”

It also believes that climate change could exacerbate the issue.

The study, published in the journal Sustainability, identified five out of 20 countries as best placed to maintain civilisation within their borders.

New Zealand came out on top - beating Iceland, the UK, Ireland and Australia, who all followed closely behind.
https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/newslond ... ar-AAMH1XY
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I must be missing something but aren't pretty much all those listed countries ones that are heavily dependent on imports? Iceland I know is very dependent on imports, and I recall a discussion not that long ago that suggested the UK farming and energy systems are not in good enough shape to sustain the countries population through domestic production.
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Can AI make democracy fairer?
Algorithm ensures fairer selection of citizens’ assemblies
Democracy in ancient Athens looked quite different from democracies today. Instead of elections, most offices — including those in the legislature, governing councils, and magistrates — were filled by citizen volunteers, selected by random lottery. These citizens’ assemblies drafted, debated, and passed laws; made major foreign policy decisions; and controlled military budgets.

Today, citizens’ assemblies are making a comeback. In 2019 and 2020, citizens’ assemblies in France and the UK convened to draft measures to address climate change. Citizens’ assemblies in Ireland have led to changes to the Irish constitution which legalized abortion and same-sex marriage.

One of the biggest challenges in organizing these assemblies — both in ancient times and today — is deciding who should serve. The assembly needs to be representative of the population as a whole. But selection should be random — ideally, with all volunteers having an equal chance of being chosen.
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