Charles Moore, former editor of, and current columnist for the Daily Telegraph, has raised his head above the parapet in an article in today's D.T.
Questioning a view, dear to the hearts of some, including such as Jonathan Porritt, of the Optimum Population Trust, Moore argues that shrinking populations will continue to have disastrous economic effects in the western world.
"If you are getting 2 or 3 per cent richer each year, you can see a path of widening opportunity ahead. If you are getting 2 or 3 per cent poorer (let alone, as is currently the case, nearly 5 per cent), the future prospect narrows.
So it is with population; and the change is not marginal, but drastic. In 1960, OECD countries had a fertility rate of 3.2 children. Today, they have one of 1.6, well below the "replacement rate" of 2.1. So the rate has halved in my lifetime, moving from fast increase to steady decline. We in the West are collectively deciding not to bestow on others the gift which we most value for ourselves – life."Charles Moore also addressess some of the non-economic arguments:
"And some of the strongest cultural changes of the past 50 years seem to reflect a strange anger at the idea that the perpetuation of the human race is important. The abortion argument is conducted between "right to choose" and "right to life". It is interesting that "choice" and "life" are seen almost as opposites and that, in public opinion in the West, "choice" wins.."
"And the indifference to life applies to its end as well as to its beginning. A society that increasingly refuses to reproduce itself does not have enough people to look after the old. It resents them hanging around. We have the money and medical skill and, as in the Hospice Movement, the spiritual understanding to help people endure the experience of dying, but we get impatient with the idea. The phrase "die with dignity" is now the cant term for being killed by doctors. "
Watch out for the 'brick bats'!