Eight Is (Way More) Than Enough

Talk About Crowd Sourcing!

Talk About Crowd Sourcing!

I read a couple of interesting articles this week which may or may not be related.  But despite  what may be a  lack of  any real connection, my task here is to seamlessly weave them together while still holding your wavering attention.

The first is an article in The New Yorker about the exploding world population which will eventually doom our planet.  Ordinarily, this isn’t something I worry about.  Usually, I think it’s someone else’s problem.  But the author, Elizabeth Kolbert, in reviewing several books on the subject, lays out a doomsday scenario where I can readily envision a time when you and I will come to blows over the last loaf of Arnold™ Bread at the Key Food here in Park Slope.  It’s not a pleasant thought.  (Although a little more pleasant now that I’ve signed up for a martial arts class.)

The article is rife with interesting statistics.  The world population is currently about 7 billion people.  To put that in perspective, that means approximately one in seven people is are (you figure it out) on Facebook; the number who read this blog is slightly less.  As far as I’m concerned, that census could easily be wildly off the mark.  Can you imagine getting the head count in Africa? It’s a near impossibility just to keep track of the number of countries there.  (That figure seems to be a fluid number.)  But even if the world population count is off by a billion or so one way or another, that’s still a lot of mouths to feed.

When demographers look towards the future, the key figure they use is something called the T.F.R., (total fertility rate) which is the average number of children an average woman will produce in her lifetime.  A low T.F.R. (less than 1.5) usually means that a country’s population will decline.  In much of the world, this is happening…both by individual choice and by government intervention.  Japan’s T.F.R. is only 1.4 and despite having one of the longest life expectancies on the planet, has a diminishing population.  I know that’s not very interesting but the reason for the low T.F.R. is.  Recent studies have shown a large percentage of Japanese men are not all that interested in sex; Japanese women are even less interested.  No reason is given for this lack of libido but the anecdotal evidence I’ve collected suggests that it has something to do with all the rice they eat.

The low T.F.R.’s of a lot of the industrialized world is more than offset by what’s going on in third world countries.  Niger has the highest rate in the world, at 7.0.  Nigeria’s (see how confusing Africa is) is 5.7.  Which means that by the end of the century it will have more people than China.  My guess is there’s not enough rice in the Nigerian (or  the Niger) diet.

Not to be left out of the conversation, we Jews are doing our part to complicate matters.  An Orthodox Israeli mother of eight when interviewed, stated that she had no concerns about the burgeoning world population because, “God made the problem, and He will solve it.”  That may comfort her, but it’s not going to get me to quit the martial arts class.

The other article of interest that I read in The Times (remember the beginning of the blog?) was about the protest that Saudi women are engaged in to overturn the prohibition against women driving cars in Saudi Arabia.  The column included the following paragraph:

 Another cleric, Sheik Mohammed al-Nujaimi, described the campaign as a “great danger,” saying it would lead to ruined marriages, a low birthrate, the spread of adultery, more car accidents and “the spending of excessive amounts on beauty products.”

Do you see the part about “low birthrate”? How seamless was that!  I’m not sure what driving or buying lots of lipstick has to do with a low birth rate, but maybe a solution to the over-population problem is staring us right in the face (make-up).

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3 Responses to “Eight Is (Way More) Than Enough”

  1. RB Says:

    Comment! (becuase you need one)

  2. RB Says:

    Oh no. Misspelling! Not even that many words and I couldn’t get it right. I wish I could claim it had a symbolic meaning.

  3. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    You’re right…i do need one. Misspelled or not. Blogging can be a lonely business.

    thank you, thank you

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