Comment on “Population a tool of economic growth”
The article by Dr Geoff Mosley (ERA July-August 2011) appears to suggest that a „steady population‟ will limit economic growth. Now that must be true but what troubles me is how this „steady population‟ is going to be achieved. If one is serious about this it has to be achieved by government. And then, like all governments, it will be achieved by a combination of invasive force and persuasion. „Persuasion‟ by government is an even more insidious form of force than legislation.
Of course there is another approach to the same end. This is by social justice. My reading of the history of countries where there has been an emerging broader prosperity is that they demonstrate a tendency towards a smaller and even negative rate of population growth – and hence a call for immigration. The same study of history suggests that population growth is quite rapid where there is poverty. Thus, the most natural way to limit population growth is to allow more economic activity.
At the moment governments are attacking economic growth directly by “demand management” (including the carbon tax). But what must happen the more this policy is used is to reduce living standards for the majority. This will bring increasing poverty and the likelihood of the need for larger families to produce the family income.
There must be a better way to conserve the environment than either population control or demand management. And that is the Georgist proposal.