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Demographic Underpinnings of US Growth

From the WSJ:

The U.S. population will hit 300 million at 7:46 on Tuesday morning, says the Census Bureau. But it’s the 400 million milestone, which the U.S. will reach in about 35 years, that has demographers and economists really talking.

Those additional 100 million people, many of them immigrants, will replace aging baby boomers in the work force, fill the Social Security coffers and, in all likelihood, keep the economy vital…

The Census Bureau says the U.S. population will grow by a further 34% by midcentury, even as Europe’s population shrinks by 8% and Japan contracts by 9%. As Columbia’s Mr. Prewitt puts it: “It’s deep in our culture to grow.”

 

posted on 13 October 2006 by skirchner in Economics

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It makes me wonder what the ultimate goal is of economic management is.  Is it growth for growth’s sake?  Do economists take account of the downsides of growth such as environmental degradation, depletion of natural resources, overcrowding etc.  If not, why not?

I would have thought a meritocratic society with low unemployment and low inflation would be a sensible goal.  Can that be achieved with zero or low growth?  I don’t know.

One of my favourite quotes, from an economist no less:
“Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” - Kenneth E. Boulding

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/13  at  08:24 AM



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