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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press USA Today Says Nations are Jealous of U.S. Traffic Jams and Crowded Parks

USA Today Says Nations are Jealous of U.S. Traffic Jams and Crowded Parks

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Friday, 07 January 2011 16:10

That is effectively what a USA Today article implied when it told readers that:

"U.S. [population] growth is the envy of most developed nations."

The article implied that countries with stagnant or declining populations will experience economic hardship as a result. In fact, the impact of productivity growth in raising living standards is an order of magnitude greater than whatever drag demographics, in the form of rising dependency ratios, might be in slowing the growth of living standards. Furthermore, lower populations may directly improve living standards by reducing congestion and pollution and increasing the ratio of capital to labor. This is especially likely to be the case in the densely populated countries of Europe and Japan.

Comments (7)Add Comment
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written by DavidS, January 07, 2011 5:35
"'U.S. [insert noun here] is the envy of most developed nations.'"

Guaranteed to generate page views.
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written by izzatzo, January 07, 2011 6:26
Exactly. No one understands the benefits of a declining population better than the new Republican majority, whose first order of business is to increase the capital-to-labor ratio by using deficit spending cuts to increase the unemployment rate of labor relative to the existing stock of physical capital.

Any economist knows the result will increase the productivity of remaining employed labor, since each worker will increase output per unit of labor input by working with more of the freed up capital.

Over the long run, after the Republicans also eliminate health care, total population and the size of the labor force will eventually decline and restore full employment, except with less congestion and higher living standards for the survivors.

When this announcement was made, John Boehner was crying with relief, Eric Cantor was saluting the flag with pledges that all of government would be converted to a private enterprise in order to run it like a business, and Mitch McConnell praised it as another example of Republican willingness to compromise with Obama before bringing him down as their primary objective.
Sharpen your elbows
written by diesel, January 07, 2011 6:55
Insane. They are simply insane.
Incredulous and Contradictory Comments
written by Nexus, January 08, 2011 5:27
Propaganda - I guess it is to make the simple people feel good. I suppose if the US population grows it will provide a greater supply of cheap labour.
What about immigration?
written by Robert, January 08, 2011 8:18
For all their complaints about conservatives thinking that truth has a liberal bias, progressives are unwilling to wrap their heads around the obvious policy implication of this post for America: slow down on immigration. The population will increase by tens of millions over the next decades, and this is almost all immigration driven. What do liberals think this will do for our traffic, labor market crowding, and carbon emissions?
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written by vorpal, January 08, 2011 12:31
@Robert,

USAToday is a corporate newspaper, so "liberals" aren't the only people pushing immigration, the corporate elite are doing their best as well.

As more populations around the world become in crisis, this issue will only become more important. The world will soon be filled with economic refugees.
We need new memebrs to keep this ball of sh-t from collapsing
written by Paul Yarbles, January 08, 2011 1:18
Ever increasing numbers of new members is the main requirement for keeping any pyramid scheme going.

If we want any sort of prosperity the only alternative we have to population growth is an economic and social restructuring that will be painful to those currently at the top.

Of course, if we continue on the course we are on now, the pyramid scheme will eventually collapse in an environmental/resource-depletion catastrophe. So any prosperity (for most of us) will be short-lived.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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