Feature

Australia: The last thing we need is fewer people

An Australia with only 7 million people in it would indeed spell the collapse of our civilization, said Chris Berg<em> </em>in<em> The Age.</em>

Chris BergThe Age

Environmentalists have it all wrong, said Chris Berg. They are urging Australians to stop having children, saying that “population growth will eventually lead to the collapse of our civilization and planet.” One of the fringier groups, Sustainable Population Australia, actually wants us to cut the population by two-thirds, from 21 million to 7 million, by adopting a Chinese-style one-child policy. What used to be “universally condemned” as a “massive human rights violation” is now greeted with a sunny, “Hey, that’s an idea!”

But just imagine an Australia with only 7 million people in it. That would indeed spell the collapse of our civilization, as such a country would be “excruciatingly boring.” As it is, we barely have enough inhabitants to sustain cultural institutions like the opera or a film industry. “If it weren’t for the fact that we can trade stuff with other countries, it would hardly be worth having an Australia at all.”

Fewer people would mean fewer inventions, fewer good restaurants, fewer novels, fewer concerts. Life would still be “nasty and brutish,” but it would also be “agonizingly long.”

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