Evaluate the consequences of changing population trends for both MEDCs and LEDCs
In the 1950s-60s, the « population explosion » caused major concern about mas starvation in the Global South, leading to the Green Revolution.
Nowadays, trends have been reversed : in most countries, population growth is falling and people are ageing, causing a « papy boom .» According to the DemographicTransition (DT) model, this should indicate that countries are more and more developed as they are advancing in their DT. However, although all countries follow the same patterns of population change, it does not necessarily mean that they are improving in terms of development. What are the real consequences of these shifhting populaition trends?
They can be divided in three different categories ofconsequences : effects of ageing population in both North and South, consequences of decline in population in MEDCs, and influence of falling population growth in LEDCs.
World population aged over 60 years is increasing, in absolute as well as relative numbers. [This increase is a result of improvements in health care technology and availability coupled with a reduction in fertility rate due towidespreading use of contraception.] Emblem of this ageing population is Western Europe, where countries like Italy count around 20% of their population over 60. [However, it also concerns other countries around the world : for instance, average proportion of elderly dependents in Africa is expected to triple between 2000 & 2050, reaching 25% of total population.] (these parts do not really answer thequestion)
The first impact of an ageing population is the increasing dependency ratio (total number of young or elderly dependents per person aged 15 to 55). This means that social and economic pressure is put on workers, with higher taxes and an increased necessity of having a job. A high concentration of elderly people in MEDCs can provide jobs in tertiary sector businesses, such as banks,pharmaceutical productors or tourism agencies, as in Florida, whereto many retired people move, in order to benefit from high quality surroundings. However, the environmental strain is greater in such areas because of chemical waste released in water streams, the need for energy for air conditioners, the waste from mass consumption, inter alia. In LEDCs, the picture is different : aged people are aburden for their families, in rural as welle as urban areas. Ageing population implies smaller workforce paying more taxes. The agricultural production cannot feed the country, forcing people to import food, thus undermining local production if the food come from trade bloc-based TNCs. This is the case of European poultry sold in Ghana. Furthermore, such low standards of living encourage ruralexodus and demand for stable jobs in the industrial (secondary) sector, leaving rural areas with only a crippled aged workforce : this is a vicious circle of rural underdevelopment. Such a process has worked in NICs, where oit brought about economic growth & development, yet for Sub-Saharan LDCs it means even more dependence on relocated TNC plants, which are not stable sources of revenue.
Togetherwith this ageing population, is there a decrease in population growth.
In MEDCs, high standards of education, career opportunities for women & availability of family planning means that fertility rates are very low, and indeed in many cases under the replacement level. For such countries, a natural decrease in population means that workforce is too small, and thus that competitiveness and growthare threatened. Smaller population often means greater job security and higher social minima, so large businesses might relocate abroad and stop FDI and taxpaying flow to this country. A widely used solution has therefore been to attract migrants, mostly unskilled young men from LEDCs in order to regenerate the ageing workforce. This immigration is theoretically an interesting opportunity to...
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