Economics

The economics of zero population growth

Some 50 years ago, US biologist Paul Ehrlich’s warnings of a teeming planet sparked a panic that has yet to abate. There is indeed reason to be fearful, but not of too many humans. The very real and looming problems have everything to do with declining birth rates.

Chris Berg and I have an essay on the economics of zero population growth in the April issue of Quadrant, which can be found online here. it’s a long-form essay, so we won’t cross-post, but our conclusion:

A zero population growth economy will impose substantial challenges on Australia in the future. It is not the ecological utopia that some imagine, but nor is it likely to be a Marxist dystopia. It will make us all poorer. And it will do so in significant part because of its effect on entrepreneurship and innovation. But these consequences can be mitigated by sensible and far-sighted commitment not to allow the harms to happen. Maintaining an open economy, constraining government growth with commitment to free-market institutions, will go a long way towards allowing us to live well as population growth slows.

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