Monday, August 20, 2012

New York City, Sauk Centre, and a 'Brain Pool'

For several decades now, America's establishment has been concerned about overpopulation. The idea is that lots of people living and working near each other causes poverty and other bad stuff.

Some folks don't do much besides eat, sleep, breathe, and take up space. But most of us take a more active part in life.

Big City, Small City

Let's see what effect 'overpopulation' can have, buy comparing two cities which share a common language, and are both in the same nation's economic network.

The first example is my home, Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Sauk Centre isn't what many folks think of as a "city," but our website calls us the "City of Sauk Centre."

With a population of about 4,000, spread over 4 square miles, overcrowding isn't much of a problem.

I like living here. We've got running water, electricity, pretty good Internet connections, several gas stations, and a hotel downtown that towers three stories above the street.

(Brian H. Gill (2010), via Sauk Centre Journal)
Downtown Sauk Centre, Minnesota.

The other example is New York City. With more than 8,000,000 people packed into 305 square miles, New York City is the most densely-crowded city in the United States.

On the whole, I'd rather live in Sauk Centre: but New York City's downtown doesn't seem to be a deplorable pit of grinding poverty caused by 'too many people.'

(Terabass (2009), via Wikipedia, used w/o permission)
Downtown New York City.

Are there poor people in New York City? I'd be astonished if there weren't, with a population of around 8,200,000. But as a whole, I get the impression that folks living in New York City aren't worried about where their next meal is coming from.

Sauk Centre isn't facing starvation, either: but we don't have the sort of economic activity you'll find in New York City. Even though we're not suffering from 'overpopulation,' not like New York.

"...A Rich Social and Economic Resource..'."

Benedict XVI says that having children isn't a bad thing. In fact, the Pope points out that having people around makes economic sense.
"...Morally responsible openness to life represents a rich social and economic resource. Populous nations have been able to emerge from poverty thanks not least to the size of their population and the talents of their people...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 44)
He also says that not having enough children isn't a good idea. Not in the long run.
"...On the other hand, formerly prosperous nations are presently passing through a phase of uncertainty and in some cases decline, precisely because of their falling birth rates; this has become a crucial problem for highly affluent societies...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 44)

A 'Brain Puddle?'

Some folks in Japan looked at their country's declining birth rate, did some calculations: and I've been over that before. (June 9, 2012)

Here's a more general look at why not having enough babies isn't a good idea:
"...The decline in births, falling at times beneath the so-called 'replacement level', also puts a strain on social welfare systems, increases their cost, eats into savings and hence the financial resources needed for investment, reduces the availability of qualified labourers, and narrows the 'brain pool' upon which nations can draw for their needs...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 44)
I suspect that a "brain pool" is more than a country's equivalent of Harvard grads and MIT professors.

I think folks can notice problems or opportunities, and make decisions, in Ivy League faculty lounges, and the car dealership down the street: if a society lets us. I've posted about subsidiarity before. (August 17, 2012)

I also think that when more folks are involved, more ideas get discussed - and that this is a good thing.

A country's "brain pool" will grow or shrink, along with it's population. At some point, that "pool" will be more like a puddle.

There's quite a bit more in "Caritas in Veritate, 44. I'll pick up with the counter-cultural idea that having "miniscule families" can be risky.
More posts about "Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in Truth)
"Caritas in Veritate"

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I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

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Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

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