Thursday, March 24, 2005

Can You Thrive Without Growth?

Interesting headline in the NYT today: Vibrant Cities Find One Thing Missing: Children

At first I thought it was just going to be about how no one can afford to raise children in Manhattan, but surprisingly, it focused a lot on Portland, Oregon. And more interesting figures were brought up
Nationally, the birthrate has been dropping while the overall population is aging as life expectancy increases. The problem is not just in cities. New figures released this month showed North Dakota losing more children than any other state.
By "losing more children", they mean that the population is aging, and new children are not being born at the same rates as they have in the past.

The article goes on to talk about how having children in a city really improves the quality of life there, but my mind wandered elsewhere. I was thinking of the concept of a United States that was not growing. Have we reached critical USA mass? Can we continue to prosper as a world superpower if we're not getting bigger? Without growth, will we lose our status? It seems possible to me, but I'm pretty pessimistic, lately.

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