Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Population Time Bomb--The 2 Child Trap.

The underlying problem of aging population is a UNIVERSAL TIME BOMB. Currently we have an ideal model of >2 children per couple(less than the actual replacement level of 2.1 children per couple) and that seems like the way to reduce population but that model has some huge problems over a period of 60-80 years.

The Experiment:

Take a group of 100 couples and place them in a controlled place, give them moderate medical care and then enforce a policy of a maximum of 2 children per family, no exceptions--encourage people to have less children, if they choose. Average age is 20 years old.

In 5 years, you would have about 398 people (1 or 2 people would die from natural causes) Worker ratio would be 51% workers to 49% dependents. Think of this period as the US from 1930-1950. Accumulated resources are scarce and people work hard to build infrastructure. Average age is 15 years old-medical costs are the lowest possible.

In 20 years, (third generation) you would have about 588 people(a few more natural deaths+people who never have children). Worker ratio would be nearly 66% workers to 34% dependents. Think of this period as the US from 1950-1970. Most people are working and everyone is prospering. Average age is 22-medical costs are low.

In 40 years(fourth generation) you would have about 768 people, worker ration is at it's highest peak with 76% of the population able to work and 24% dependents. This would be the US between 1980 and 2000. Most people are still working, but many are losing work time to illnesses as the first generation approaches 60 years old, medical costs begin to rise and the first generation looks forward to retirement. More resources are diverted to making retirement possible and comfortable. Average age is rising now at 31 years old and 25% are near 60- medical care cost rise sharply.

In 60 years(fifth generation) you have about 950 people. Worker ratio begins to drop sharply as people retire-59% worker ratio to 31% dependents. 20% of the population is approaching 80 years old, another 20% are age 60, and medical cost rise dramatically. Healthy living combined with moderate medical care means half of the people who survive to 65 years old are expected to live to 88. This is the age we live in now as the Baby Boomers head into retirement. Stress begins to build in the workers and many choose solitude over community.
The birthrate plummets--more workers are watching their future sucked away by excessive taxes and limited opportunity. As many as 25% will take this option and stay single for most, if not all of their lives.

During the next 20 years the population(sixth generation) is around 950(birthrates are not keeping up with replacement) and another 190 people enter retirement age. Worker ratio drops to 53% with 47% dependents. Medical care has risen to all time highs and will stay at this level indefinitely. Quality of life has returned to post-depression years as more and more resources are diverted to medical care. By 2050, retirees will be over 21% of our population. Increased taxes and rising costs of health care have caused many to limited retirement savings--today the average American, age 50, has less than $60,000 in retirement savings--about 2 years worth, barring any increased medical care needs. Compare that $60,000 to the cost of cancer treatment at around $120,000 or a heart by-pass surgery at around $150,000, and you can clearly see how inadequate that amount of savings really is.

At the sixth generation the pattern becomes nearly stable with about 50% of people working, and 50% of the population as dependents. Average age approaches 40 years old. Each worker is required to pay for the care and medical costs of another person besides themselves. Attempts to make the population healthier and productive for a longer period of time will result in a larger, older population. Constant stress of obligations may cause women to put off having children leading to higher incidence of genetic health problems and over all lower fertility. From this point on, 50% of the effort and productivity of the group will be used to care for the elderly and 20% of the population will be directly involved with care for the elderly as Doctors, Nurses, and in manufacturing products needed by the elderly.
Many of these Geriatric Care Providers will be locked into dead-end jobs at less than 50% of the US average income.(1), (2), (3)

Consider these facts when reading news about longer lifespans, new cures, and population control. In reality, every child born today will be the basis for support of the elderly in the future. Cutting population growth without limiting lifespan or imposing delayed retirement will mean that an ever larger part of the population will have to work to support the elderly.

In a "1 Child" scenario, the outcome is drastically worse, especially at the Third or Fourth Generation when the system reaches near equilibrium --each working person is responsible for the care of up to 4.5 non-working people (4 parents and grandparents and 1/2 child) and a married couple will be tasked with the care of an average of 11 people, including themselves. And, once that level is reached, the situation stays that way as the overall population halves each generation. The only foreseeable way out is to spread the load over a greater number of young, productive workers while limiting life-extending practices.
Unfortunately, at this point, it becomes too expensive to have more children and the average birthrate continues to drop until societies are forced to pay women to have children.

Lower birthrates are not going to benefit the human race as long as we insist on making longer lifespans the only ideal worth pursuing. As gloomy as this experiment looks, it is actually much better than the actual numbers projected by most authorities on aging including the World Health Organization, which foresees a much darker future that includes more reliance on slavery(1), (2), (3), and child labor(1), (2), (3) to make up the work force of the coming years. The more workers that are diverted to caring for the aging population, the more societies will rely on children to take over the tasks of food production, especially for goods that are labor intensive such as chocolate, cotton and coffee, as well as low-level manufacturing and assembly jobs. As the population growth slows, the demand for slaves and children to fill these roles will soar and kidnapping for slave trafficking will become common place. All under supervised children and unattached adults may be subject to the influences of the slave trade. Many legal jobs already have such low wages that the workers become virtual slaves, even traditionally well paid jobs will no longer pay enough to repay the cost of education.

Recent efforts by Western Nations to stop child labor have actually backfired in that Third World employers who are caught with child laborers have dismissed or even killed child employees to cover up their crimes. Children dismissed from these jobs are considered unsuitable for other employment and resort to prostitution or begging. Many younger children, primarily girls, simply starve to death in the absence of a simple labor job-they are never reintegrated with their families. (UniCef)

The future is coming and we have already borrowed so much against it that there will be little, if anything left for our children or grandchildren. This current generation's greed for leisure, comfort and long life is dooming all the children that will follow into a life of servitude to support the people who have outlived their ability or inclination to contribute to society.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Recycle Fabric to Save Bucks!

Re: How do I recycle clothing?

1) Cleaning rags. Use the soft items to make into cleaning clothes. I make mine about 12x12 and stuff them into a bag to keep them neat. I also moved my paper towel dispenser to the inside of the cabinet where I keep the rags. This reminds me to use the rags instead of paper towels whenever possible.

2) Save the seams and sew them into a long strip. Then crochet or knit the strips into rag rugs. You can use polyester scraps but try to keep the cotton at least 75% of the rug so it is absorbent.

3) Cut old jeans and make shopping bags, car seat covers, furniture throws and pet beds. These sell very well at Farmer's Markets and Street Fairs.

4) Cut down on kitchen cleaning by covering all your counter top appliances with individual "cozies". When the covers look dingy, toss them in the wash.

5) Cotton prints make beautiful patchwork quilts. Make the quilt in 2x2 foot blocks and work on them while watching TV or during waiting time.

6) Use fabric blocks to sew book covers in assorted sizes to protect books from spills and hand oils. Even paperbacks benefit from having a book cover while you are reading it.

7) Use bright scraps to add embellishments to other clothing. Add a tiny faux pocket to a plain sweater or a bright red collar to a black shirt. Add fancy patches to jeans to cover stains!

8) Sew funny teeshirts into pillows for the floor or sofa.

9) Recycle lacy lingerie into sachets stuffed with potpourri to keep linen closets and drawers smelling nice.

10) Keep a bag of rags in your car in case you have to change a tire or need a little traction in the snow.

11) Make your own hot pads, trivets and oven mitts from scraps.

-Vic in Seattle