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MAYBE BABY: POPULATION POLITICS PART 1 – politicalbetting.com

SystemSystem Posts: 8,489
edited January 23 in General
imageMAYBE BABY: POPULATION POLITICS PART 1 – politicalbetting.com

The ONS reported in October 2021 that “the total fertility rate for England and Wales in 2020 fell to 1.58 children per woman, the lowest since records began in 1938.” Contrary to predictions of a baby boom, conceptions during the first COVID lockdown fell and didn’t begin to pick up until after restrictions were eased.

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Comments

  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 27,139
    An excellent threader thanks. Lots to think about.
  • rcs1000rcs1000 Posts: 42,552
    It's funny how in the 80s and early 90s, a massive bogeyman for politicians was teenage single mothers.

    Whatever happened to them?
  • rcs1000rcs1000 Posts: 42,552
    Oh yeah: excellent header Tom.
  • pigeonpigeon Posts: 1,617
    Leon said:

    pigeon said:

    Leon said:

    Pro_Rata said:

    TimT said:

    BigRich said:

    Leon said:

    Something more cheering

    The weird flu-y outbreak in Xian which has only infected about 150 people a day, yet has sent the Chinese into a headspin and made them grimly lockdown 13 million people with special apartment welding kits and personnel who looked dressed for a landing on the sun might NOT be horrible hemmorhagic fever, a disease caught from mice in the viral family of Ebola

    No, instead it might be a new variant of Covid which simply has the same effect as hemmorhagic fever but is much more infectious. So that's alright then!


    “My personal guess is that hemorrhagic fever can’t be so transmissible. I’m afraid a new variant of Wuhan virus has emerged, and after getting infected, the illness resembles hemorrhagic fever,” the tweet reads.

    As of 2:00 a.m. on Dec. 20, the topic of “multiple cases of hemorrhagic fever in Xi’an” on Weibo has attracted 280 million people and 4,483 discussions."


    https://www.visiontimes.com/2021/12/20/outbreak-of-plague-in-northern-china-people-suffering-with-viral-hemorrhagic-fevers.html


    NB: I am wary of that source, too. But there are no reliably GOOD sources

    What is hemmorhagic fever? if I google it will I get horrid photos?
    Haemorrhagic fevers are a group of nasty viral diseases, generally with high mortality and morbidity rates, a feature of which is internal bleeding. Examples include such lovable old favorites as Ebola, Lassa, Marburgs, CCHF, and hanta
    Something positive to start the New Year on.....I am still going with its Omicron and CCP are shitting themselves that it getting out of hand....fingers crossed.
    FWIW, it looks like that part of the outbreak is being reported as an endemic hantavirus.
    Hantavirus doesn't fit the Level One Ultra-safe Hazmat suits (which do seem to be in Xi'an)

    Also, consider that this is an official statement from the Xian authorities. We know how much the CCP likes to hide away any problems. If they are willing to admit this, what is actually going on?


    "Despite the low case count compared with clusters in many cities around the world, Xian officials have imposed tough curbs on travel within and out of the city since Dec. 23, as Beijing demands each outbreak be contained quickly.

    "Xian has reached a live-or-die stage in its fight against the virus," Zhang Fenghu, a city government official, told a news conference on Wednesday.""

    A live or die stage??? Does that square with 150 cases a day? Or does it square with something scary and weird which is why they have - apparently - just built tens of thousands of quarantine hostels and are violently arresting anyone who leaves the city?


    https://www.reuters.com/world/china/xian-fights-biggest-covid-19-outbreak-chinese-city-this-year-2021-12-30/

    My guess is still: Omicron. But my word the alternatives are pretty fucking frightening


    And vanishingly unlikely.
    Disagree. Unlikely yes, but not vanishingly unlikely - as in all-but-impossible

    I also disagree with your analysis of the likelihood of a variant emerging in China

    1. It started there, almost certainly in the lab

    2. They have obviously lied about the prevalence, tho they have - I accept - done a good job in suppressing it

    3. China is simply enormous. 1.4bn people. A quarter of humankind. If a variant is gonna emerge anywhere the population stats say: China or India. We already had Delta from India

    4. They may have imported a variant: one theory is this came from Pakistan. China has tens of millions of workers abroad, all over the world



    "Five million Chinese will be working in Pakistan in next four years"

    Read more at:
    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/five-million-chinese-will-be-working-in-pakistan-in-next-four-years/articleshow/86421638.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst


    I'm still fairly confident this is Omicron and they are freaking out because their Zero Covid prowess is threatened and they have the winter Olympics looming. But the alternatives are not "vanishingly unlikely"

    I think you and I will have to agree to disagree on this one. The notion of Covebola suddenly springing up in China isn't impossible but it is very, very unlikely. To take each of your points in turn,

    1. Irrelevant. Even if the lab escape theory is true, there is no reason to imagine that the Chinese have allowed a new variant to evolve (or, indeed, have engineered one) in laboratory experiments and then let it loose on their own population

    2. They probably haven't lied about prevalence in any meaningful way. I don't believe that because I'm taken in by the propaganda machine of a totalitarian state. I believe that because they're clearly desperate to pursue zero Covid and stories such as Xi'an get out and are, indeed, broadcast by Chinese state media. It's conceivable that small outbreaks in rural areas are being identified and successfully contained by local authorities without the outside world hearing of it, but large numbers of cases, no

    3. Population size is irrelevant, it is number of cases that counts when one wishes to consider the likelihood of variant emergence. China has had about 100,000 cases since the start of the pandemic, and the nature of the Chinese surveillance state, scientific capability and ruthless suppression tactics means that cases are probably being identified and recorded reasonably accurately, especially post the original Wuhan outbreak. India has reported nearly 35 million cases and that's likely a gross underestimate. The two are not remotely comparable in this regard

    4. If the Chinese had imported a devastating new form of Covid from somewhere as underdeveloped and populous as Pakistan then we would have expected to receive many alarming reports of Pakistani hospitals beginning to fill with Covid patients bleeding from all sorts of nasty places by now. We have not. Again, the likelihood of a variant of concern being simultaneously so transmissible that even the Chinese struggle to contain it, yet having originated and been imported from another jurisdiction where it has failed to cause an outbreak at all, is remote in the extreme

    In summary, a miserable situation for people in Xi'an, but not something we ought to be getting innervated about. Frankly, the next nasty variant - even if there is something nastier than Omicron to come, which there may well not be - is vastly, vastly more likely to originate here than in China.
  • pigeonpigeon Posts: 1,617
    rcs1000 said:

    It's funny how in the 80s and early 90s, a massive bogeyman for politicians was teenage single mothers.

    Whatever happened to them?

    Society became more liberal, the Conservatives were voted out, and people stopped pointing at them.
  • rcs1000rcs1000 Posts: 42,552
    edited January 2
    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...
  • pigeonpigeon Posts: 1,617
    edited January 2
    Sunday Telegraph: "Children forced back into masks in lessons"

    To steal shamelessly from @rcs1000, something must be done, this is something, so we're doing it.

    The Welsh started gagging secondary schoolchildren in the classroom at the beginning of the Omicronpanic, to quote just one of numerous examples. Scotland never stopped. Confronted with the new variant, it has made naff all difference to anything, along with all of the other mild-to-moderate restrictions.

    Our leaders must realise, by now, that sticking a piece of blue paper to a child's face is no barrier to Omicron. Zahawi, who is not an idiot, has insisted on starting to do it again regardless. Useless interventions intended for show really ought to stop. But they won't, of course.
  • pigeonpigeon Posts: 1,617
    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Housing, of course, is only one factor. There's also the cost of childcare; less pressure/expectation from wider family for people to reproduce; children getting in the way of other lifestyle choices, such as the desire to go travelling or save to buy nicer stuff; and having children getting in the way of people's (typically women's, of course,) career development.

    It all stacks up, although how much we actually want to be doing about it is another matter. There are strong arguments to be advanced for the idea that both this country and the world as a whole are overpopulated with humans. We're most likely to develop economically in an environmentally sustainable way through managed population decline, even though this means that we have to deal with the painful demographic problem, bluntly put, of too many dependent elderly along the way.
  • CarlottaVanceCarlottaVance Posts: 52,799
    edited January 2
    pigeon said:

    rcs1000 said:

    It's funny how in the 80s and early 90s, a massive bogeyman for politicians was teenage single mothers.

    Whatever happened to them?

    the Conservatives were voted out
    Which Prime Minister wanted “Gulags for Slags”?
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 38,321
    An interesting header; the explanation for some of the mentioned anomalies in East London Boroughs is changing ethnicity.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 21,301
    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Over what sort of time period did all that happen? Could it not be that if housing costs force down fertility rates for an extended period of time, it fundamentally changes society?
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 27,139
    pigeon said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Housing, of course, is only one factor. There's also the cost of childcare; less pressure/expectation from wider family for people to reproduce; children getting in the way of other lifestyle choices, such as the desire to go travelling or save to buy nicer stuff; and having children getting in the way of people's (typically women's, of course,) career development.

    (Snip)
    Another issue related to childcare: many people rely on close family members to help raise their kids: uncles and aunts babysitting for an evening; grandparents doing the school run. If you move more than (say) half an hour from family, this can become very difficult to arrange, and means either a greater lifestyle shift or much more expense.

    Anecdotally, when I look at my friends and acquaintances of my own age, there seems to be a correlation between proximity of family and the number of kids: the people who have family nearby have an extra child or two over those of us who do not. It'd be interesting to see if others agree with this.

    So a question is: are people moving more (as in between areas/regions of the UK) than they did in (say) the 1980s and 1990s?
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 21,301
    pigeon said:

    rcs1000 said:

    It's funny how in the 80s and early 90s, a massive bogeyman for politicians was teenage single mothers.

    Whatever happened to them?

    Society became more liberal, the Conservatives were voted out, and people stopped pointing at them.
    This whole topic is another one of those areas that doesn't necessarily conform to left/right analysis. One could argue that it is those on the left who should care more about reducing teenage pregnancies as having a baby in your teens probably rules out university etc. for the mother.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 26,108

    pigeon said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Housing, of course, is only one factor. There's also the cost of childcare; less pressure/expectation from wider family for people to reproduce; children getting in the way of other lifestyle choices, such as the desire to go travelling or save to buy nicer stuff; and having children getting in the way of people's (typically women's, of course,) career development.

    (Snip)
    Another issue related to childcare: many people rely on close family members to help raise their kids: uncles and aunts babysitting for an evening; grandparents doing the school run. If you move more than (say) half an hour from family, this can become very difficult to arrange, and means either a greater lifestyle shift or much more expense.

    Anecdotally, when I look at my friends and acquaintances of my own age, there seems to be a correlation between proximity of family and the number of kids: the people who have family nearby have an extra child or two over those of us who do not. It'd be interesting to see if others agree with this.

    So a question is: are people moving more (as in between areas/regions of the UK) than they did in (say) the 1980s and 1990s?
    It's not at all uncommon for posts to appear on our small town's Facebook page to the effect that the poster has just moved here, has a young child and would like to meet other mothers for peer group support.
    Maybe, of course, we'll see less of such posts as Facebook's demographic changes.

    And good morning to one and all.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 38,321
    tlg86 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Over what sort of time period did all that happen? Could it not be that if housing costs force down fertility rates for an extended period of time, it fundamentally changes society?
    It looks to me like a false correlation, created by a handful of outliers - take away the small number of London Boroughs bottom right, and Coventry, and the apparently clear correlation disappears and you are left with a bunch of data and likely mostly random variation. It isn’t difficult to find special factors for a handful of areas in mostly east London; I don’t know Coventry but maybe it has similar, or is simply a random outlier.
  • rcs1000rcs1000 Posts: 42,552
    tlg86 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Over what sort of time period did all that happen? Could it not be that if housing costs force down fertility rates for an extended period of time, it fundamentally changes society?
    Possible, sure. But there seems to be next to no correlation between housing costs and birth rates.

    Japanese house price peaked in 1991. That's 30 years ago. If there was going to be an impact on birth rates from lower housing costs, we could reasonably expect it by now,

    For the Italians it was a mere 16 years ago... and house prices are marooned.

    Spanish house prices halved between 2007 and now. The birth rate has actually declined.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 38,321
    pigeon said:

    rcs1000 said:

    It's funny how in the 80s and early 90s, a massive bogeyman for politicians was teenage single mothers.

    Whatever happened to them?

    Society became more liberal, the Conservatives were voted out, and people stopped pointing at them.
    Possibly, although you could posit an opposite position and look at the changing ethnicity (particularly of births in the UK) and suggest that it is due, partly at least, to the greater social costs of being a single mother in asian cultures?
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 21,301

    pigeon said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Housing, of course, is only one factor. There's also the cost of childcare; less pressure/expectation from wider family for people to reproduce; children getting in the way of other lifestyle choices, such as the desire to go travelling or save to buy nicer stuff; and having children getting in the way of people's (typically women's, of course,) career development.

    (Snip)
    Another issue related to childcare: many people rely on close family members to help raise their kids: uncles and aunts babysitting for an evening; grandparents doing the school run. If you move more than (say) half an hour from family, this can become very difficult to arrange, and means either a greater lifestyle shift or much more expense.

    Anecdotally, when I look at my friends and acquaintances of my own age, there seems to be a correlation between proximity of family and the number of kids: the people who have family nearby have an extra child or two over those of us who do not. It'd be interesting to see if others agree with this.

    So a question is: are people moving more (as in between areas/regions of the UK) than they did in (say) the 1980s and 1990s?
    Annoyingly, I didn't talk about grandparents in Part 2. But you're absolutely right, they are really important.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 21,301
    IanB2 said:

    tlg86 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Over what sort of time period did all that happen? Could it not be that if housing costs force down fertility rates for an extended period of time, it fundamentally changes society?
    It looks to me like a false correlation, created by a handful of outliers - take away the small number of London Boroughs bottom right, and Coventry, and the apparently clear correlation disappears and you are left with a bunch of data and likely mostly random variation. It isn’t difficult to find special factors for a handful of areas in mostly east London; I don’t know Coventry but maybe it has similar, or is simply a random outlier.
    Really? Give me the local authorities to exclude and I'll rerun the analysis and see what happens.

    Of course, those local authorities you want to ignore are part of the country so I'm not sure why we would want to exclude them.
  • state_go_awaystate_go_away Posts: 3,898

    pigeon said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Housing, of course, is only one factor. There's also the cost of childcare; less pressure/expectation from wider family for people to reproduce; children getting in the way of other lifestyle choices, such as the desire to go travelling or save to buy nicer stuff; and having children getting in the way of people's (typically women's, of course,) career development.

    (Snip)
    Another issue related to childcare: many people rely on close family members to help raise their kids: uncles and aunts babysitting for an evening; grandparents doing the school run. If you move more than (say) half an hour from family, this can become very difficult to arrange, and means either a greater lifestyle shift or much more expense.

    Anecdotally, when I look at my friends and acquaintances of my own age, there seems to be a correlation between proximity of family and the number of kids: the people who have family nearby have an extra child or two over those of us who do not. It'd be interesting to see if others agree with this.

    So a question is: are people moving more (as in between areas/regions of the UK) than they did in (say) the 1980s and 1990s?
    Maybe the reason (if it is ) that people have more kids if they live near their wider family is more that they are more likely to be "family orientated" (in the sense they value family life more than say independant living or career) or more soft or maybe even hard pressure exerted on them to have more kids .
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 3,482

    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/08/30/elon-musk-jack-ma-biggest-problem-world-will-face-is-population-drop.html

    Musk has been talking about this problem for years. “Civilisation ending with a whimper”. I’ve little doubt Tesla’s foray into humanoid robotics is motivated by his fear of this. How else to maintain humanity’s standard of living with an ever declining labour force?
  • state_go_awaystate_go_away Posts: 3,898
    edited January 2
    Personally I think the low fertility rate (maybe not that bad a thing if the old except they may have to retire later or at least have less pension or less wealth when they die) is maybe as much to do with lifestyle changes and the promotion of you can be who you want to be as with financial issues.
    I definitely dont think government should intervene of course although it is perfectly legitimate to improve the spend on child services and child benefit not to engineer the birth rate but because it is fair
  • state_go_awaystate_go_away Posts: 3,898
    edited January 2
    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 38,321
    edited January 2

    pigeon said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Housing, of course, is only one factor. There's also the cost of childcare; less pressure/expectation from wider family for people to reproduce; children getting in the way of other lifestyle choices, such as the desire to go travelling or save to buy nicer stuff; and having children getting in the way of people's (typically women's, of course,) career development.

    (Snip)
    Another issue related to childcare: many people rely on close family members to help raise their kids: uncles and aunts babysitting for an evening; grandparents doing the school run. If you move more than (say) half an hour from family, this can become very difficult to arrange, and means either a greater lifestyle shift or much more expense.

    Anecdotally, when I look at my friends and acquaintances of my own age, there seems to be a correlation between proximity of family and the number of kids: the people who have family nearby have an extra child or two over those of us who do not. It'd be interesting to see if others agree with this.

    So a question is: are people moving more (as in between areas/regions of the UK) than they did in (say) the 1980s and 1990s?
    Italy has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe, and precisely that explanation has been offered as a large part of why. Grandparents have always been hugely important in Italian child-raising and (largely as a consequence) there isn’t the same infrastructure of organised childcare to fall back on.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 27,139

    pigeon said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Housing, of course, is only one factor. There's also the cost of childcare; less pressure/expectation from wider family for people to reproduce; children getting in the way of other lifestyle choices, such as the desire to go travelling or save to buy nicer stuff; and having children getting in the way of people's (typically women's, of course,) career development.

    (Snip)
    Another issue related to childcare: many people rely on close family members to help raise their kids: uncles and aunts babysitting for an evening; grandparents doing the school run. If you move more than (say) half an hour from family, this can become very difficult to arrange, and means either a greater lifestyle shift or much more expense.

    Anecdotally, when I look at my friends and acquaintances of my own age, there seems to be a correlation between proximity of family and the number of kids: the people who have family nearby have an extra child or two over those of us who do not. It'd be interesting to see if others agree with this.

    So a question is: are people moving more (as in between areas/regions of the UK) than they did in (say) the 1980s and 1990s?
    It's not at all uncommon for posts to appear on our small town's Facebook page to the effect that the poster has just moved here, has a young child and would like to meet other mothers for peer group support.
    Maybe, of course, we'll see less of such posts as Facebook's demographic changes.

    And good morning to one and all.
    Another thing to note is that it seems to me that more men are giving up careers to raise children, whilst their wives work. I did this, and so did our best friend (who blames me, as his wife saw me doing it and 'suggested' he might try the same). Again, this might be just my immediate grouping, though. Another friend-of-a-friend in Yorkshire does the same - he chucked in his job in a supermarket and they live on her small wage.

    Other parents seem much more into 'shared' parenting: it's yet another anecdote, but probably about a third of the people at pick-ups at our school in the afternoon are male. I'm sure when I was at school, it was almost all the mothers picking kids up.
  • LostPasswordLostPassword Posts: 5,941
    tlg86 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Over what sort of time period did all that happen? Could it not be that if housing costs force down fertility rates for an extended period of time, it fundamentally changes society?
    In that case, though, you can no longer argue that people are having fewer children then they want to have.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 27,139

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 21,301

    tlg86 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Over what sort of time period did all that happen? Could it not be that if housing costs force down fertility rates for an extended period of time, it fundamentally changes society?
    In that case, though, you can no longer argue that people are having fewer children then they want to have.
    Absolutely. Perhaps we're already at that point in this country, but the geographic differences make me think not.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 27,139
    moonshine said:


    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/08/30/elon-musk-jack-ma-biggest-problem-world-will-face-is-population-drop.html

    Musk has been talking about this problem for years. “Civilisation ending with a whimper”. I’ve little doubt Tesla’s foray into humanoid robotics is motivated by his fear of this. How else to maintain humanity’s standard of living with an ever declining labour force?

    If Musk is saying it, it isn't true. The guy's a hilarious charlatan.

    Humankind will muddle on, as we've always done. It doesn't require lying mega-billionaires to 'invent' solutions to the problems they themselves define.
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 35,758

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    The restrictions they had at my daughters old school really damaged her mental health. Going back to that would be a retrograde step.
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 3,482

    moonshine said:


    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/08/30/elon-musk-jack-ma-biggest-problem-world-will-face-is-population-drop.html

    Musk has been talking about this problem for years. “Civilisation ending with a whimper”. I’ve little doubt Tesla’s foray into humanoid robotics is motivated by his fear of this. How else to maintain humanity’s standard of living with an ever declining labour force?

    If Musk is saying it, it isn't true. The guy's a hilarious charlatan.

    Humankind will muddle on, as we've always done. It doesn't require lying mega-billionaires to 'invent' solutions to the problems they themselves define.
    Lol. Anyone that looks at his set of achievements and thinks him a charlatan has no clue what they’re talking about.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 93,284
    edited January 2
    Of course the more we increase our birth rate back to replacement level the less immigration we then need, certainly of the lower skilled. However our birthrate is still higher compared to say Germany and Italy, much of Eastern Europe and the Far East
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 21,301

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 26,108
    IanB2 said:

    pigeon said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Housing, of course, is only one factor. There's also the cost of childcare; less pressure/expectation from wider family for people to reproduce; children getting in the way of other lifestyle choices, such as the desire to go travelling or save to buy nicer stuff; and having children getting in the way of people's (typically women's, of course,) career development.

    (Snip)
    Another issue related to childcare: many people rely on close family members to help raise their kids: uncles and aunts babysitting for an evening; grandparents doing the school run. If you move more than (say) half an hour from family, this can become very difficult to arrange, and means either a greater lifestyle shift or much more expense.

    Anecdotally, when I look at my friends and acquaintances of my own age, there seems to be a correlation between proximity of family and the number of kids: the people who have family nearby have an extra child or two over those of us who do not. It'd be interesting to see if others agree with this.

    So a question is: are people moving more (as in between areas/regions of the UK) than they did in (say) the 1980s and 1990s?
    Italy has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe, and precisely that explanation has been offered as a large part of why. Grandparents have always been hugely important in Italian child-raising and (largely as a consequence) there isn’t the same infrastructure of organised childcare to fall back on.
    Mrs C certainly did quite a lot of child-care for our eldest grandchild while her mother, our daughter, worked part-time. Family economics had improved by the time her second child arrived, so the demand on my wife was less. Elder son and wife lived nearer her parents, so they gave the support. Younger son and his wife live well away from both us and her parents so support was, and still is, peer-group.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 38,321
    tlg86 said:

    IanB2 said:

    tlg86 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Over what sort of time period did all that happen? Could it not be that if housing costs force down fertility rates for an extended period of time, it fundamentally changes society?
    It looks to me like a false correlation, created by a handful of outliers - take away the small number of London Boroughs bottom right, and Coventry, and the apparently clear correlation disappears and you are left with a bunch of data and likely mostly random variation. It isn’t difficult to find special factors for a handful of areas in mostly east London; I don’t know Coventry but maybe it has similar, or is simply a random outlier.
    Really? Give me the local authorities to exclude and I'll rerun the analysis and see what happens.

    Of course, those local authorities you want to ignore are part of the country so I'm not sure why we would want to exclude them.
    It's not about "wanting" to exclude any part of the country; you will know that an apparent correlation that is largely being created by a minority of the data points strongly suggests some other factor or variable at play, since if the two modelled variables were strongly correlated, you'd expect to see the relationship in the body of the data and not just the outliers. I'm only trying to assess by eye, but it would be interesting to see what correlation you have left without any of the London Boroughs or Coventry?
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 57,774
    Good morning, everyone.

    Mr. Pigeon, I agree entirely. Masks in school are akin to banning gatherings in Trafalgar Square. A wide open space with as much ventilation as possible is verboten, so gatherings in tight, confined spaces go ahead instead.

    It's doing 'something' but not something effective or sensible.

    I'll be having to wear a piece of cloth when I get my booster next week. Tedious bloody thing.
  • state_go_awaystate_go_away Posts: 3,898
    edited January 2

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    you are then pretty closed off from humanity if you dont see misery with this . I worry about the way you and others maybe casually dismiss this as ok
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 3,482
    pigeon said:

    Leon said:

    pigeon said:

    Leon said:

    Pro_Rata said:

    TimT said:

    BigRich said:

    Leon said:

    Something more cheering

    The weird flu-y outbreak in Xian which has only infected about 150 people a day, yet has sent the Chinese into a headspin and made them grimly lockdown 13 million people with special apartment welding kits and personnel who looked dressed for a landing on the sun might NOT be horrible hemmorhagic fever, a disease caught from mice in the viral family of Ebola

    No, instead it might be a new variant of Covid which simply has the same effect as hemmorhagic fever but is much more infectious. So that's alright then!


    “My personal guess is that hemorrhagic fever can’t be so transmissible. I’m afraid a new variant of Wuhan virus has emerged, and after getting infected, the illness resembles hemorrhagic fever,” the tweet reads.

    As of 2:00 a.m. on Dec. 20, the topic of “multiple cases of hemorrhagic fever in Xi’an” on Weibo has attracted 280 million people and 4,483 discussions."


    https://www.visiontimes.com/2021/12/20/outbreak-of-plague-in-northern-china-people-suffering-with-viral-hemorrhagic-fevers.html


    NB: I am wary of that source, too. But there are no reliably GOOD sources

    What is hemmorhagic fever? if I google it will I get horrid photos?
    Haemorrhagic fevers are a group of nasty viral diseases, generally with high mortality and morbidity rates, a feature of which is internal bleeding. Examples include such lovable old favorites as Ebola, Lassa, Marburgs, CCHF, and hanta
    Something positive to start the New Year on.....I am still going with its Omicron and CCP are shitting themselves that it getting out of hand....fingers crossed.
    FWIW, it looks like that part of the outbreak is being reported as an endemic hantavirus.
    Hantavirus doesn't fit the Level One Ultra-safe Hazmat suits (which do seem to be in Xi'an)

    Also, consider that this is an official statement from the Xian authorities. We know how much the CCP likes to hide away any problems. If they are willing to admit this, what is actually going on?


    "Despite the low case count compared with clusters in many cities around the world, Xian officials have imposed tough curbs on travel within and out of the city since Dec. 23, as Beijing demands each outbreak be contained quickly.

    "Xian has reached a live-or-die stage in its fight against the virus," Zhang Fenghu, a city government official, told a news conference on Wednesday.""

    A live or die stage??? Does that square with 150 cases a day? Or does it square with something scary and weird which is why they have - apparently - just built tens of thousands of quarantine hostels and are violently arresting anyone who leaves the city?


    https://www.reuters.com/world/china/xian-fights-biggest-covid-19-outbreak-chinese-city-this-year-2021-12-30/

    My guess is still: Omicron. But my word the alternatives are pretty fucking frightening


    And vanishingly unlikely.
    Disagree. Unlikely yes, but not vanishingly unlikely - as in all-but-impossible

    I also disagree with your analysis of the likelihood of a variant emerging in China

    1. It started there, almost certainly in the lab

    2. They have obviously lied about the prevalence, tho they have - I accept - done a good job in suppressing it

    3. China is simply enormous. 1.4bn people. A quarter of humankind. If a variant is gonna emerge anywhere the population stats say: China or India. We already had Delta from India

    4. They may have imported a variant: one theory is this came from Pakistan. China has tens of millions of workers abroad, all over the world



    "Five million Chinese will be working in Pakistan in next four years"

    Read more at:
    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/five-million-chinese-will-be-working-in-pakistan-in-next-four-years/articleshow/86421638.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst


    I'm still fairly confident this is Omicron and they are freaking out because their Zero Covid prowess is threatened and they have the winter Olympics looming. But the alternatives are not "vanishingly unlikely"

    I think you and I will have to agree to disagree on this one. The notion of Covebola suddenly springing up in China isn't impossible but it is very, very unlikely. To take each of your points in turn,

    1. Irrelevant. Even if the lab escape theory is true, there is no reason to imagine that the Chinese have allowed a new variant to evolve (or, indeed, have engineered one) in laboratory experiments and then let it loose on their own population

    2. They probably haven't lied about prevalence in any meaningful way. I don't believe that because I'm taken in by the propaganda machine of a totalitarian state. I believe that because they're clearly desperate to pursue zero Covid and stories such as Xi'an get out and are, indeed, broadcast by Chinese state media. It's conceivable that small outbreaks in rural areas are being identified and successfully contained by local authorities without the outside world hearing of it, but large numbers of cases, no

    3. Population size is irrelevant, it is number of cases that counts when one wishes to consider the likelihood of variant emergence. China has had about 100,000 cases since the start of the pandemic, and the nature of the Chinese surveillance state, scientific capability and ruthless suppression tactics means that cases are probably being identified and recorded reasonably accurately, especially post the original Wuhan outbreak. India has reported nearly 35 million cases and that's likely a gross underestimate. The two are not remotely comparable in this regard

    4. If the Chinese had imported a devastating new form of Covid from somewhere as underdeveloped and populous as Pakistan then we would have expected to receive many alarming reports of Pakistani hospitals beginning to fill with Covid patients bleeding from all sorts of nasty places by now. We have not. Again, the likelihood of a variant of concern being simultaneously so transmissible that even the Chinese struggle to contain it, yet having originated and been imported from another jurisdiction where it has failed to cause an outbreak at all, is remote in the extreme

    In summary, a miserable situation for people in Xi'an, but not something we ought to be getting innervated about. Frankly, the next nasty variant - even if there is something nastier than Omicron to come, which there may well not be - is vastly, vastly more likely to originate here than in China.
    On point 1), I disagree here. If their standards were so poor it happened once, it could easily happen again. In fact knowing what I do about how chaotic and corrupt the pyramid of power is in China, it should probably be the base case. Indeed I would contend that sarscov2 probably wasn’t the first inadvertent leak from the Wuhan lab, just the first that we noticed.

    The real question for the day, is whether there’s a similar viral research lab in Shanxi?
  • LostPasswordLostPassword Posts: 5,941
    I remember in the early 00s seeing some surprising statistic that one-third of births followed unintended conceptions. I don't know how reliable such a statistic is, or whether it is routinely measured, but it would be interesting to see whether that has changed.

    If the internet is a strong factor in declining fertility then you'd expect that to have a stronger effect on unintended conceptions. Whereas if it is a response to housing costs then you'd expect to see a decline in intended conceptions.

    If there are environmental factors that are reducing fertility biologically then you'd see this evenly.

    The other thought I have is that the decline in the over-20 fertility rate is I think coincidental with the change to welfare rules in 2017, and the introduction of a two-child limit.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 27,139

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    you are then pretty closed off from humanity if you dont see misery with this .
    Don't be a silly sausage. We're in a situation where there might be misery whatever we do.

    Kids will get over this easily enough: unless adults don't let them.

    I've got a lot more time for the argument that schools closing affects kids much more, especially those who most need the extra-curricula support schools can give. So if it's a choice between schooling in masks and no schooling, I'd prefer the former. Ideally neither, but I can see why masks may be required given the spread.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 21,301
    IanB2 said:

    tlg86 said:

    IanB2 said:

    tlg86 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Over what sort of time period did all that happen? Could it not be that if housing costs force down fertility rates for an extended period of time, it fundamentally changes society?
    It looks to me like a false correlation, created by a handful of outliers - take away the small number of London Boroughs bottom right, and Coventry, and the apparently clear correlation disappears and you are left with a bunch of data and likely mostly random variation. It isn’t difficult to find special factors for a handful of areas in mostly east London; I don’t know Coventry but maybe it has similar, or is simply a random outlier.
    Really? Give me the local authorities to exclude and I'll rerun the analysis and see what happens.

    Of course, those local authorities you want to ignore are part of the country so I'm not sure why we would want to exclude them.
    It's not about "wanting" to exclude any part of the country; you will know that an apparent correlation that is largely being created by a minority of the data points strongly suggests some other factor or variable at play, since if the two modelled variables were strongly correlated, you'd expect to see the relationship in the body of the data and not just the outliers. I'm only trying to assess by eye, but it would be interesting to see what correlation you have left without any of the London Boroughs or Coventry?
    Here you go. No London and no Coventry...


  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 41,681
    tlg86 said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
    I thought it was initially a thing that the very young weren't a Covid transmission vector as they didn't pass on a significant viral load. Perhaps with Omicron being so ridiculously infectious, that has changed? And the snot-goblins are as much of a threat as adults - which would make the French decision sensible?
  • state_go_awaystate_go_away Posts: 3,898

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    you are then pretty closed off from humanity if you dont see misery with this .
    Don't be a silly sausage. We're in a situation where there might be misery whatever we do.

    Kids will get over this easily enough: unless adults don't let them.

    I've got a lot more time for the argument that schools closing affects kids much more, especially those who most need the extra-curricula support schools can give. So if it's a choice between schooling in masks and no schooling, I'd prefer the former. Ideally neither, but I can see why masks may be required given the spread.
    you really believe a paper mask will stop the spread of covid in schools ? Its just covid theatre and its making school life miserable for many. Evil policy. and dont patronise me with calling me silly.
  • fox327fox327 Posts: 339
    This will become a real problem, but it will take a long time to play out. Eventually, smaller populations will result in a return to frontier-style living and a reduced level of government intervention in society. At this point social attitudes could change, and there could be an increase in the population.

    Alternatively, the human population could continue to decrease. Eventually civilisation would end, and finally the extinction of humanity could take place. My guess is that evolution will find a way and humanity will survive, but in a changed form. This will all take hundreds of years or longer.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 27,139
    moonshine said:

    moonshine said:


    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/08/30/elon-musk-jack-ma-biggest-problem-world-will-face-is-population-drop.html

    Musk has been talking about this problem for years. “Civilisation ending with a whimper”. I’ve little doubt Tesla’s foray into humanoid robotics is motivated by his fear of this. How else to maintain humanity’s standard of living with an ever declining labour force?

    If Musk is saying it, it isn't true. The guy's a hilarious charlatan.

    Humankind will muddle on, as we've always done. It doesn't require lying mega-billionaires to 'invent' solutions to the problems they themselves define.
    Lol. Anyone that looks at his set of achievements and thinks him a charlatan has no clue what they’re talking about.
    You'll notice I've discussed Tesla and SpaceX many times on here, often with praise (especially for the latter).

    IMO he is a charlatan. Look at the promises he's made that have not paid off as well. Or his constant ramping and deramping of cryptocurrencies. Also, that many of 'his' achievements are not actually his.

    To be clear: there is much to admire about Musk. But like Steve Jobs, he has massive personality flaws that put him firmly into the 'bad' camp in my eyes - a shift that's occurred over the last few years. I love his vision; I just don't like or trust the man.
  • noneoftheabovenoneoftheabove Posts: 12,649
    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Japanese and Italian house prices might have fallen but Tokyo, Osaka, Milan and Rome today are some of the most expensive place to live on the planet with double figure income multiples. Children are expensive. Houses in some places are expensive. With a limited budget and low wage inflation it seems obvious that high house prices reduce the number of desired children across society. The cultural changes to society take a long time to filter through so the correlations between annual changes and annual birth rates may not be clear but people do respond to high house prices (and lack of house security) by having fewer children.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 27,139

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    you are then pretty closed off from humanity if you dont see misery with this .
    Don't be a silly sausage. We're in a situation where there might be misery whatever we do.

    Kids will get over this easily enough: unless adults don't let them.

    I've got a lot more time for the argument that schools closing affects kids much more, especially those who most need the extra-curricula support schools can give. So if it's a choice between schooling in masks and no schooling, I'd prefer the former. Ideally neither, but I can see why masks may be required given the spread.
    you really believe a paper mask will stop the spread of covid in schools ? Its just covid theatre and its making school life miserable for many. Evil policy. and dont patronise me with calling me silly.
    I know there's an anti-mask continent on here, but yes: masks do help.

    The theatre is those who think that they can continue their lives as normal in these abnormal times.

    As for patronising: you did say I was 'closed off from humanity'. I'd argue you got off lightly... ;)
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 22,380

    moonshine said:


    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/08/30/elon-musk-jack-ma-biggest-problem-world-will-face-is-population-drop.html

    Musk has been talking about this problem for years. “Civilisation ending with a whimper”. I’ve little doubt Tesla’s foray into humanoid robotics is motivated by his fear of this. How else to maintain humanity’s standard of living with an ever declining labour force?

    If Musk is saying it, it isn't true. The guy's a hilarious charlatan.

    Humankind will muddle on, as we've always done. It doesn't require lying mega-billionaires to 'invent' solutions to the problems they themselves define.
    Err...

    In the early 90s, there was the looming "pensions gap" crisis - due to falling birthrates, all the pay-as-you-go social security systems were due to go bankrupt.

    The mooted solution was defined pension pots, per tax payer.

    The politicians really didn't like this, since it meant telling people to pay more and (at least initially) get less.

    A major part of the advocacy for mass immigration was, that instead of such measures, we would just import enough young people to "re-inflate" the population pyramid.

    IF, as seems quite likely, the world population stops growing and begins the shrink, that will become less and less of an option.

    The pay-as-you-go schemes can't survive a shrinking population, during the phase when we have lots of old people living longer, and less employed people paying for them.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 38,321
    tlg86 said:

    IanB2 said:

    tlg86 said:

    IanB2 said:

    tlg86 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Over what sort of time period did all that happen? Could it not be that if housing costs force down fertility rates for an extended period of time, it fundamentally changes society?
    It looks to me like a false correlation, created by a handful of outliers - take away the small number of London Boroughs bottom right, and Coventry, and the apparently clear correlation disappears and you are left with a bunch of data and likely mostly random variation. It isn’t difficult to find special factors for a handful of areas in mostly east London; I don’t know Coventry but maybe it has similar, or is simply a random outlier.
    Really? Give me the local authorities to exclude and I'll rerun the analysis and see what happens.

    Of course, those local authorities you want to ignore are part of the country so I'm not sure why we would want to exclude them.
    It's not about "wanting" to exclude any part of the country; you will know that an apparent correlation that is largely being created by a minority of the data points strongly suggests some other factor or variable at play, since if the two modelled variables were strongly correlated, you'd expect to see the relationship in the body of the data and not just the outliers. I'm only trying to assess by eye, but it would be interesting to see what correlation you have left without any of the London Boroughs or Coventry?
    Here you go. No London and no Coventry...


    Interesting, thanks. The R2 has dropped from 37% to 17%, so I was right that the London dots were doing a lot of the heavy lifting. But there does appear to be a weak relationship remaining. My suspicion is still that we have a more significant missing variable - the hidden factor that made London different likely applies elsewhere.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 21,301

    tlg86 said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
    I thought it was initially a thing that the very young weren't a Covid transmission vector as they didn't pass on a significant viral load. Perhaps with Omicron being so ridiculously infectious, that has changed? And the snot-goblins are as much of a threat as adults - which would make the French decision sensible?
    Yeah, but would you be happy for your six year old to be made to wear a mask?

    What I'm getting at is, everyone has there limits. I was just interested to see if French had crossed a boundary even for those who are generally pro-mask.
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 93,284
    edited January 2

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Japanese and Italian house prices might have fallen but Tokyo, Osaka, Milan and Rome today are some of the most expensive place to live on the planet with double figure income multiples. Children are expensive. Houses in some places are expensive. With a limited budget and low wage inflation it seems obvious that high house prices reduce the number of desired children across society. The cultural changes to society take a long time to filter through so the correlations between annual changes and annual birth rates may not be clear but people do respond to high house prices (and lack of house security) by having fewer children.
    High House prices, especially of starter families for young families, distance from grandparents who can help with childcare, high childcare costs, level of development of the nation and the need for more children to help economically or to ensure survival beyond infancy and level of religious belief amongst under 45s likely all impact on birthrate to some degree
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 27,139
    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
    I thought it was initially a thing that the very young weren't a Covid transmission vector as they didn't pass on a significant viral load. Perhaps with Omicron being so ridiculously infectious, that has changed? And the snot-goblins are as much of a threat as adults - which would make the French decision sensible?
    Yeah, but would you be happy for your six year old to be made to wear a mask?

    What I'm getting at is, everyone has there limits. I was just interested to see if French had crossed a boundary even for those who are generally pro-mask.
    I can see a case for it in schools, given Omicron's increased infectiveness. What makes me think it might be too far is the 'outside' requirement, even with the exercising exemption.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 21,301
    IanB2 said:

    tlg86 said:

    IanB2 said:

    tlg86 said:

    IanB2 said:

    tlg86 said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Over what sort of time period did all that happen? Could it not be that if housing costs force down fertility rates for an extended period of time, it fundamentally changes society?
    It looks to me like a false correlation, created by a handful of outliers - take away the small number of London Boroughs bottom right, and Coventry, and the apparently clear correlation disappears and you are left with a bunch of data and likely mostly random variation. It isn’t difficult to find special factors for a handful of areas in mostly east London; I don’t know Coventry but maybe it has similar, or is simply a random outlier.
    Really? Give me the local authorities to exclude and I'll rerun the analysis and see what happens.

    Of course, those local authorities you want to ignore are part of the country so I'm not sure why we would want to exclude them.
    It's not about "wanting" to exclude any part of the country; you will know that an apparent correlation that is largely being created by a minority of the data points strongly suggests some other factor or variable at play, since if the two modelled variables were strongly correlated, you'd expect to see the relationship in the body of the data and not just the outliers. I'm only trying to assess by eye, but it would be interesting to see what correlation you have left without any of the London Boroughs or Coventry?
    Here you go. No London and no Coventry...


    Interesting, thanks. The R2 has dropped from 37% to 17%, so I was right that the London dots were doing a lot of the heavy lifting. But there does appear to be a weak relationship remaining. My suspicion is still that we have a more significant missing variable - the hidden factor that made London different likely applies elsewhere.
    I should really have made this point in the header, but the analysis is limited by the fact that the points carry the same weight irrespective of size. It's a shame that the shire counties are aggregated. For example, I'd like to see Oxford and Cambridge as distinct from the surrounding areas.

    But I find it interesting that you want to exclude London. Why? Isn't it part of England?

    And if this correlation is incidental, I'd be curious to know what you think the hidden factor is.
  • felixfelix Posts: 13,843
    tlg86 said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
    Similar in Spain but of course when the EU countries do it.....
  • state_go_awaystate_go_away Posts: 3,898

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    you are then pretty closed off from humanity if you dont see misery with this .
    Don't be a silly sausage. We're in a situation where there might be misery whatever we do.

    Kids will get over this easily enough: unless adults don't let them.

    I've got a lot more time for the argument that schools closing affects kids much more, especially those who most need the extra-curricula support schools can give. So if it's a choice between schooling in masks and no schooling, I'd prefer the former. Ideally neither, but I can see why masks may be required given the spread.
    you really believe a paper mask will stop the spread of covid in schools ? Its just covid theatre and its making school life miserable for many. Evil policy. and dont patronise me with calling me silly.
    I know there's an anti-mask continent on here, but yes: masks do help.

    The theatre is those who think that they can continue their lives as normal in these abnormal times.

    As for patronising: you did say I was 'closed off from humanity'. I'd argue you got off lightly... ;)
    well you seem to like running and running obviously releases and spreads more breath than walking so lets ban that shall we as a bit of covid theatre as well. Or because its something you do yourself thats ok is it? Most measures can be argued that if we ban them might cut coivd in small way but they are not worth doing for the other effects .
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 3,482

    moonshine said:

    moonshine said:


    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/08/30/elon-musk-jack-ma-biggest-problem-world-will-face-is-population-drop.html

    Musk has been talking about this problem for years. “Civilisation ending with a whimper”. I’ve little doubt Tesla’s foray into humanoid robotics is motivated by his fear of this. How else to maintain humanity’s standard of living with an ever declining labour force?

    If Musk is saying it, it isn't true. The guy's a hilarious charlatan.

    Humankind will muddle on, as we've always done. It doesn't require lying mega-billionaires to 'invent' solutions to the problems they themselves define.
    Lol. Anyone that looks at his set of achievements and thinks him a charlatan has no clue what they’re talking about.
    You'll notice I've discussed Tesla and SpaceX many times on here, often with praise (especially for the latter).

    IMO he is a charlatan. Look at the promises he's made that have not paid off as well. Or his constant ramping and deramping of cryptocurrencies. Also, that many of 'his' achievements are not actually his.

    To be clear: there is much to admire about Musk. But like Steve Jobs, he has massive personality flaws that put him firmly into the 'bad' camp in my eyes - a shift that's occurred over the last few years. I love his vision; I just don't like or trust the man.
    He was recently diagnosed as autistic, which might explain much about his sometimes off hand manner and awkward social awareness. Doesn’t make him “a baddie”. There’s an easily arguable case that there’s no one else alive today who has personally done more to advance human civilisation than he. I fully expect this to be a slam dunk argument in 10-15 years if he meets even half of his stretch goals (or “promises” as you call them).
  • turbotubbsturbotubbs Posts: 5,572
    rcs1000 said:

    It's funny how in the 80s and early 90s, a massive bogeyman for politicians was teenage single mothers.

    Whatever happened to them?

    They've had six kids by six different father's, never worked and still live off the state... Obviously an exaggeration but there are some like that.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 41,681
    moonshine said:

    pigeon said:

    Leon said:

    pigeon said:

    Leon said:

    Pro_Rata said:

    TimT said:

    BigRich said:

    Leon said:

    Something more cheering

    The weird flu-y outbreak in Xian which has only infected about 150 people a day, yet has sent the Chinese into a headspin and made them grimly lockdown 13 million people with special apartment welding kits and personnel who looked dressed for a landing on the sun might NOT be horrible hemmorhagic fever, a disease caught from mice in the viral family of Ebola

    No, instead it might be a new variant of Covid which simply has the same effect as hemmorhagic fever but is much more infectious. So that's alright then!


    “My personal guess is that hemorrhagic fever can’t be so transmissible. I’m afraid a new variant of Wuhan virus has emerged, and after getting infected, the illness resembles hemorrhagic fever,” the tweet reads.

    As of 2:00 a.m. on Dec. 20, the topic of “multiple cases of hemorrhagic fever in Xi’an” on Weibo has attracted 280 million people and 4,483 discussions."


    https://www.visiontimes.com/2021/12/20/outbreak-of-plague-in-northern-china-people-suffering-with-viral-hemorrhagic-fevers.html


    NB: I am wary of that source, too. But there are no reliably GOOD sources

    What is hemmorhagic fever? if I google it will I get horrid photos?
    Haemorrhagic fevers are a group of nasty viral diseases, generally with high mortality and morbidity rates, a feature of which is internal bleeding. Examples include such lovable old favorites as Ebola, Lassa, Marburgs, CCHF, and hanta
    Something positive to start the New Year on.....I am still going with its Omicron and CCP are shitting themselves that it getting out of hand....fingers crossed.
    FWIW, it looks like that part of the outbreak is being reported as an endemic hantavirus.
    Hantavirus doesn't fit the Level One Ultra-safe Hazmat suits (which do seem to be in Xi'an)

    Also, consider that this is an official statement from the Xian authorities. We know how much the CCP likes to hide away any problems. If they are willing to admit this, what is actually going on?


    "Despite the low case count compared with clusters in many cities around the world, Xian officials have imposed tough curbs on travel within and out of the city since Dec. 23, as Beijing demands each outbreak be contained quickly.

    "Xian has reached a live-or-die stage in its fight against the virus," Zhang Fenghu, a city government official, told a news conference on Wednesday.""

    A live or die stage??? Does that square with 150 cases a day? Or does it square with something scary and weird which is why they have - apparently - just built tens of thousands of quarantine hostels and are violently arresting anyone who leaves the city?


    https://www.reuters.com/world/china/xian-fights-biggest-covid-19-outbreak-chinese-city-this-year-2021-12-30/

    My guess is still: Omicron. But my word the alternatives are pretty fucking frightening


    And vanishingly unlikely.
    Disagree. Unlikely yes, but not vanishingly unlikely - as in all-but-impossible

    I also disagree with your analysis of the likelihood of a variant emerging in China

    1. It started there, almost certainly in the lab

    2. They have obviously lied about the prevalence, tho they have - I accept - done a good job in suppressing it

    3. China is simply enormous. 1.4bn people. A quarter of humankind. If a variant is gonna emerge anywhere the population stats say: China or India. We already had Delta from India

    4. They may have imported a variant: one theory is this came from Pakistan. China has tens of millions of workers abroad, all over the world



    "Five million Chinese will be working in Pakistan in next four years"

    Read more at:
    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/five-million-chinese-will-be-working-in-pakistan-in-next-four-years/articleshow/86421638.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst


    I'm still fairly confident this is Omicron and they are freaking out because their Zero Covid prowess is threatened and they have the winter Olympics looming. But the alternatives are not "vanishingly unlikely"

    I think you and I will have to agree to disagree on this one. The notion of Covebola suddenly springing up in China isn't impossible but it is very, very unlikely. To take each of your points in turn,

    1. Irrelevant. Even if the lab escape theory is true, there is no reason to imagine that the Chinese have allowed a new variant to evolve (or, indeed, have engineered one) in laboratory experiments and then let it loose on their own population

    2. They probably haven't lied about prevalence in any meaningful way. I don't believe that because I'm taken in by the propaganda machine of a totalitarian state. I believe that because they're clearly desperate to pursue zero Covid and stories such as Xi'an get out and are, indeed, broadcast by Chinese state media. It's conceivable that small outbreaks in rural areas are being identified and successfully contained by local authorities without the outside world hearing of it, but large numbers of cases, no

    3. Population size is irrelevant, it is number of cases that counts when one wishes to consider the likelihood of variant emergence. China has had about 100,000 cases since the start of the pandemic, and the nature of the Chinese surveillance state, scientific capability and ruthless suppression tactics means that cases are probably being identified and recorded reasonably accurately, especially post the original Wuhan outbreak. India has reported nearly 35 million cases and that's likely a gross underestimate. The two are not remotely comparable in this regard

    4. If the Chinese had imported a devastating new form of Covid from somewhere as underdeveloped and populous as Pakistan then we would have expected to receive many alarming reports of Pakistani hospitals beginning to fill with Covid patients bleeding from all sorts of nasty places by now. We have not. Again, the likelihood of a variant of concern being simultaneously so transmissible that even the Chinese struggle to contain it, yet having originated and been imported from another jurisdiction where it has failed to cause an outbreak at all, is remote in the extreme

    In summary, a miserable situation for people in Xi'an, but not something we ought to be getting innervated about. Frankly, the next nasty variant - even if there is something nastier than Omicron to come, which there may well not be - is vastly, vastly more likely to originate here than in China.
    On point 1), I disagree here. If their standards were so poor it happened once, it could easily happen again. In fact knowing what I do about how chaotic and corrupt the pyramid of power is in China, it should probably be the base case. Indeed I would contend that sarscov2 probably wasn’t the first inadvertent leak from the Wuhan lab, just the first that we noticed.

    The real question for the day, is whether there’s a similar viral research lab in Shanxi?
    Along with: whatever their public proclamations, do the Chinese still actively develop bio-weapons? Do they maintain stocks of such weapons they have developed? How secure are those storage facilities?
  • LostPasswordLostPassword Posts: 5,941

    moonshine said:


    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/08/30/elon-musk-jack-ma-biggest-problem-world-will-face-is-population-drop.html

    Musk has been talking about this problem for years. “Civilisation ending with a whimper”. I’ve little doubt Tesla’s foray into humanoid robotics is motivated by his fear of this. How else to maintain humanity’s standard of living with an ever declining labour force?

    If Musk is saying it, it isn't true. The guy's a hilarious charlatan.

    Humankind will muddle on, as we've always done. It doesn't require lying mega-billionaires to 'invent' solutions to the problems they themselves define.
    Are the declines in fertility below replacement level in much of the world the first time any society has seen a falling population that isn't externally caused by a disaster of some sort (e.g. plague, famine, war), but instead by the success of society in providing freedom and opportunity to women of child-bearing age?

    If that's the case then it is potentially a more fundamental change, and may prove a more difficult one to solve. A gently declining population sounds like a good idea when the global population is seven billion and rising, but if, at some point in the future, the global population is one billion and declining with increasing pace, it won't look so clever.

    I think there's a risk that the economic consequences of a declining population (placing a greater economic burden on a shrinking workforce to support the elderly) will act to reduce fertility further, creating a spiral of decline. If the young are too busy caring for their grandparents to have children then the normal pattern of inter-generational family support has inverted and it becomes hard to shift back.

    That's not to defend Musk as such. He may be concerned more about a shortage of colonists for Mars.
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 3,482

    I remember in the early 00s seeing some surprising statistic that one-third of births followed unintended conceptions. I don't know how reliable such a statistic is, or whether it is routinely measured, but it would be interesting to see whether that has changed.

    If the internet is a strong factor in declining fertility then you'd expect that to have a stronger effect on unintended conceptions. Whereas if it is a response to housing costs then you'd expect to see a decline in intended conceptions.

    If there are environmental factors that are reducing fertility biologically then you'd see this evenly.

    The other thought I have is that the decline in the over-20 fertility rate is I think coincidental with the change to welfare rules in 2017, and the introduction of a two-child limit.

    Just so we’re clear, are we using “the internet” as a polite proxy for availability of porn?

    An interesting feature of Japanese society is how normal it is for men to pay for sexual services. No doubt this cuts down the unintended conceptions figure. Easy to see how internet porn is achieving similar everywhere else.
  • felixfelix Posts: 13,843
    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
    I thought it was initially a thing that the very young weren't a Covid transmission vector as they didn't pass on a significant viral load. Perhaps with Omicron being so ridiculously infectious, that has changed? And the snot-goblins are as much of a threat as adults - which would make the French decision sensible?
    Yeah, but would you be happy for your six year old to be made to wear a mask?

    What I'm getting at is, everyone has there limits. I was just interested to see if French had crossed a boundary even for those who are generally pro-mask.
    Stopping Omicron is really hard - cloth masks can give around 30/40% protection - the medical onea FFP2, etc push that up to near 100% depending on the type and how worn. No measures can prevent the spread at all - it's all about the speed of spread and protecting health services. Doing nothing is the worst option.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 21,301

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
    I thought it was initially a thing that the very young weren't a Covid transmission vector as they didn't pass on a significant viral load. Perhaps with Omicron being so ridiculously infectious, that has changed? And the snot-goblins are as much of a threat as adults - which would make the French decision sensible?
    Yeah, but would you be happy for your six year old to be made to wear a mask?

    What I'm getting at is, everyone has there limits. I was just interested to see if French had crossed a boundary even for those who are generally pro-mask.
    I can see a case for it in schools, given Omicron's increased infectiveness. What makes me think it might be too far is the 'outside' requirement, even with the exercising exemption.
    Given omicron's infectiveness, I think the only options are let it go or lockdown, and even a full, hard lockdown might not be enough to stop it.
  • state_go_awaystate_go_away Posts: 3,898
    edited January 2
    felix said:

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
    I thought it was initially a thing that the very young weren't a Covid transmission vector as they didn't pass on a significant viral load. Perhaps with Omicron being so ridiculously infectious, that has changed? And the snot-goblins are as much of a threat as adults - which would make the French decision sensible?
    Yeah, but would you be happy for your six year old to be made to wear a mask?

    What I'm getting at is, everyone has there limits. I was just interested to see if French had crossed a boundary even for those who are generally pro-mask.
    Stopping Omicron is really hard - cloth masks can give around 30/40% protection - the medical onea FFP2, etc push that up to near 100% depending on the type and how worn. No measures can prevent the spread at all - it's all about the speed of spread and protecting health services. Doing nothing is the worst option.
    I woudl suggest doing nothing on the preventative side is the best option given that the world has been trying to do the impossible and stop a pandemic now for two years and as failed . Just stop the need for staff to isolate with covid , increase medical resource and live with it. The number of people dying from it and hospitalised (less than 9 per parliamentary seat) is really quite low compared to other deaths even now
  • HYUFDHYUFD Posts: 93,284
    edited January 2
    HYUFD said:

    rcs1000 said:

    "Conception rates may have fallen due to increased housing costs resulting from population increases"

    This is a very interesting idea...

    That I was going to do a video on (back when I made YouTube videos).

    What I was going to say was "People are economically rational, and when housing costs rise, people respond by - for example - having fewer children so they need less housing. As housing prices fall again, you would expect to see birth rates rise."

    And then I looked at a bunch of places where house prices had fallen: the two biggest examples being Japan and Italy, where they have dropped 50% or so in real terms in the last quarter century.

    Unfortunately, my thesis didn't play out. Birth rates remained super low in both places.

    So... Hmmm...

    Japanese and Italian house prices might have fallen but Tokyo, Osaka, Milan and Rome today are some of the most expensive place to live on the planet with double figure income multiples. Children are expensive. Houses in some places are expensive. With a limited budget and low wage inflation it seems obvious that high house prices reduce the number of desired children across society. The cultural changes to society take a long time to filter through so the correlations between annual changes and annual birth rates may not be clear but people do respond to high house prices (and lack of house security) by having fewer children.
    High House prices, especially of starter homes for young families, distance from grandparents who can help with childcare, high childcare costs, level of development of the nation and the need for more children to help economically or to ensure survival beyond infancy in less developed nations and level of religious belief amongst under 45s likely all impact on birthrate to some degree
    Corrected
  • felixfelix Posts: 13,843

    felix said:

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
    I thought it was initially a thing that the very young weren't a Covid transmission vector as they didn't pass on a significant viral load. Perhaps with Omicron being so ridiculously infectious, that has changed? And the snot-goblins are as much of a threat as adults - which would make the French decision sensible?
    Yeah, but would you be happy for your six year old to be made to wear a mask?

    What I'm getting at is, everyone has there limits. I was just interested to see if French had crossed a boundary even for those who are generally pro-mask.
    Stopping Omicron is really hard - cloth masks can give around 30/40% protection - the medical onea FFP2, etc push that up to near 100% depending on the type and how worn. No measures can prevent the spread at all - it's all about the speed of spread and protecting health services. Doing nothing is the worst option.
    I woudl suggest doing nothing on the preventative side is the best option given that the world has been trying to do the impossible and stop a pandemic now for two years and as failed . Just stop the need for staff to isolate with covid , increase medical resource and live with it. The number of people dying from it and hospitalised (less than 9 per parliamentary seat) is really quite low compared to other deaths even now
    There are hundreds of thousands if not more alive and well today thanks to the vaccine programme - the best preventative measure you can get. Hence your last sentence.....
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 27,139
    moonshine said:

    moonshine said:

    moonshine said:


    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/08/30/elon-musk-jack-ma-biggest-problem-world-will-face-is-population-drop.html

    Musk has been talking about this problem for years. “Civilisation ending with a whimper”. I’ve little doubt Tesla’s foray into humanoid robotics is motivated by his fear of this. How else to maintain humanity’s standard of living with an ever declining labour force?

    If Musk is saying it, it isn't true. The guy's a hilarious charlatan.

    Humankind will muddle on, as we've always done. It doesn't require lying mega-billionaires to 'invent' solutions to the problems they themselves define.
    Lol. Anyone that looks at his set of achievements and thinks him a charlatan has no clue what they’re talking about.
    You'll notice I've discussed Tesla and SpaceX many times on here, often with praise (especially for the latter).

    IMO he is a charlatan. Look at the promises he's made that have not paid off as well. Or his constant ramping and deramping of cryptocurrencies. Also, that many of 'his' achievements are not actually his.

    To be clear: there is much to admire about Musk. But like Steve Jobs, he has massive personality flaws that put him firmly into the 'bad' camp in my eyes - a shift that's occurred over the last few years. I love his vision; I just don't like or trust the man.
    He was recently diagnosed as autistic, which might explain much about his sometimes off hand manner and awkward social awareness. Doesn’t make him “a baddie”. There’s an easily arguable case that there’s no one else alive today who has personally done more to advance human civilisation than he. I fully expect this to be a slam dunk argument in 10-15 years if he meets even half of his stretch goals (or “promises” as you call them).
    SpaceX succeeded due to NASA funding. If he'd started the company a few years earlier, or COTS had not occurred, then they'd still be developing the Falcon 9. Tesla has benefitted from massive public subsidies.

    But look at all the things he goes into that are ridiculous: all his claims about autonomous driving, with its constantly retreating timelines. The cryptocurrency rubbish. The Boring Company. etc, etc.

    I get it: you promise big and deliver less. But there comes a time when it just becomes out-and-out lying for your own benefit.

    So tell me: what 'advances' has he made for human civilisation? I could just about buy the jump-starting electric vehicles, but SpaceX has little relevance to anyone day-to-day - not even with Starlink.

    If you want an invention that has advanced civilisation, look at GPS...
  • LostPasswordLostPassword Posts: 5,941
    moonshine said:

    I remember in the early 00s seeing some surprising statistic that one-third of births followed unintended conceptions. I don't know how reliable such a statistic is, or whether it is routinely measured, but it would be interesting to see whether that has changed.

    If the internet is a strong factor in declining fertility then you'd expect that to have a stronger effect on unintended conceptions. Whereas if it is a response to housing costs then you'd expect to see a decline in intended conceptions.

    If there are environmental factors that are reducing fertility biologically then you'd see this evenly.

    The other thought I have is that the decline in the over-20 fertility rate is I think coincidental with the change to welfare rules in 2017, and the introduction of a two-child limit.

    Just so we’re clear, are we using “the internet” as a polite proxy for availability of porn?

    An interesting feature of Japanese society is how normal it is for men to pay for sexual services. No doubt this cuts down the unintended conceptions figure. Easy to see how internet porn is achieving similar everywhere else.
    Not just porn, but also other addictive aspects - social media, mobile games, doomscrolling news. Also, potentially, the effect of internet dating encouraging people to increase their standards to levels less likely to be attained.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 26,108
    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
    I thought it was initially a thing that the very young weren't a Covid transmission vector as they didn't pass on a significant viral load. Perhaps with Omicron being so ridiculously infectious, that has changed? And the snot-goblins are as much of a threat as adults - which would make the French decision sensible?
    Yeah, but would you be happy for your six year old to be made to wear a mask?

    What I'm getting at is, everyone has there limits. I was just interested to see if French had crossed a boundary even for those who are generally pro-mask.
    I can see a case for it in schools, given Omicron's increased infectiveness. What makes me think it might be too far is the 'outside' requirement, even with the exercising exemption.
    Given omicron's infectiveness, I think the only options are let it go or lockdown, and even a full, hard lockdown might not be enough to stop it.
    When I was a small child I had a gas mask. Didn't have to wear it all the time, of course, but had to have one somewhere.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 27,139
    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
    I thought it was initially a thing that the very young weren't a Covid transmission vector as they didn't pass on a significant viral load. Perhaps with Omicron being so ridiculously infectious, that has changed? And the snot-goblins are as much of a threat as adults - which would make the French decision sensible?
    Yeah, but would you be happy for your six year old to be made to wear a mask?

    What I'm getting at is, everyone has there limits. I was just interested to see if French had crossed a boundary even for those who are generally pro-mask.
    I can see a case for it in schools, given Omicron's increased infectiveness. What makes me think it might be too far is the 'outside' requirement, even with the exercising exemption.
    Given omicron's infectiveness, I think the only options are let it go or lockdown, and even a full, hard lockdown might not be enough to stop it.
    You don't have to 'stop' it: just delaying its spread, smoothing the peak, would help hospitals enormously.
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 35,758

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    you are then pretty closed off from humanity if you dont see misery with this . I worry about the way you and others maybe casually dismiss this as ok
    It might be ok if it was going to be (a) effective; and (b) meaningful

    I’m not convinced either of those conditions are met
  • StockyStocky Posts: 7,664
    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
    I thought it was initially a thing that the very young weren't a Covid transmission vector as they didn't pass on a significant viral load. Perhaps with Omicron being so ridiculously infectious, that has changed? And the snot-goblins are as much of a threat as adults - which would make the French decision sensible?
    Yeah, but would you be happy for your six year old to be made to wear a mask?

    What I'm getting at is, everyone has there limits. I was just interested to see if French had crossed a boundary even for those who are generally pro-mask.
    It's about time that checks and balances and the law did some of the heavy lifting. Parents should write to the school heads clearly stating that their six year old will not be wearing a mask and any attempt that a teacher makes to apply one will be regarded as abuse. If the school persists regardless then lawyers on here will be able to image various legal remedies I am sure.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 27,139

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
    I thought it was initially a thing that the very young weren't a Covid transmission vector as they didn't pass on a significant viral load. Perhaps with Omicron being so ridiculously infectious, that has changed? And the snot-goblins are as much of a threat as adults - which would make the French decision sensible?
    Yeah, but would you be happy for your six year old to be made to wear a mask?

    What I'm getting at is, everyone has there limits. I was just interested to see if French had crossed a boundary even for those who are generally pro-mask.
    I can see a case for it in schools, given Omicron's increased infectiveness. What makes me think it might be too far is the 'outside' requirement, even with the exercising exemption.
    Given omicron's infectiveness, I think the only options are let it go or lockdown, and even a full, hard lockdown might not be enough to stop it.
    When I was a small child I had a gas mask. Didn't have to wear it all the time, of course, but had to have one somewhere.
    A few years back my dad was overjoyed when he visited a museum and saw a Mickey Mouse gas mask: "I had one of those!"
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 3,482

    moonshine said:

    pigeon said:

    Leon said:

    pigeon said:

    Leon said:

    Pro_Rata said:

    TimT said:

    BigRich said:

    Leon said:

    Something more cheering

    The weird flu-y outbreak in Xian which has only infected about 150 people a day, yet has sent the Chinese into a headspin and made them grimly lockdown 13 million people with special apartment welding kits and personnel who looked dressed for a landing on the sun might NOT be horrible hemmorhagic fever, a disease caught from mice in the viral family of Ebola

    No, instead it might be a new variant of Covid which simply has the same effect as hemmorhagic fever but is much more infectious. So that's alright then!


    “My personal guess is that hemorrhagic fever can’t be so transmissible. I’m afraid a new variant of Wuhan virus has emerged, and after getting infected, the illness resembles hemorrhagic fever,” the tweet reads.

    As of 2:00 a.m. on Dec. 20, the topic of “multiple cases of hemorrhagic fever in Xi’an” on Weibo has attracted 280 million people and 4,483 discussions."


    https://www.visiontimes.com/2021/12/20/outbreak-of-plague-in-northern-china-people-suffering-with-viral-hemorrhagic-fevers.html


    NB: I am wary of that source, too. But there are no reliably GOOD sources

    What is hemmorhagic fever? if I google it will I get horrid photos?
    Haemorrhagic fevers are a group of nasty viral diseases, generally with high mortality and morbidity rates, a feature of which is internal bleeding. Examples include such lovable old favorites as Ebola, Lassa, Marburgs, CCHF, and hanta
    Something positive to start the New Year on.....I am still going with its Omicron and CCP are shitting themselves that it getting out of hand....fingers crossed.
    FWIW, it looks like that part of the outbreak is being reported as an endemic hantavirus.
    Hantavirus doesn't fit the Level One Ultra-safe Hazmat suits (which do seem to be in Xi'an)

    Also, consider that this is an official statement from the Xian authorities. We know how much the CCP likes to hide away any problems. If they are willing to admit this, what is actually going on?


    "Despite the low case count compared with clusters in many cities around the world, Xian officials have imposed tough curbs on travel within and out of the city since Dec. 23, as Beijing demands each outbreak be contained quickly.

    "Xian has reached a live-or-die stage in its fight against the virus," Zhang Fenghu, a city government official, told a news conference on Wednesday.""

    A live or die stage??? Does that square with 150 cases a day? Or does it square with something scary and weird which is why they have - apparently - just built tens of thousands of quarantine hostels and are violently arresting anyone who leaves the city?


    https://www.reuters.com/world/china/xian-fights-biggest-covid-19-outbreak-chinese-city-this-year-2021-12-30/

    My guess is still: Omicron. But my word the alternatives are pretty fucking frightening


    And vanishingly unlikely.
    Disagree. Unlikely yes, but not vanishingly unlikely - as in all-but-impossible

    I also disagree with your analysis of the likelihood of a variant emerging in China

    1. It started there, almost certainly in the lab

    2. They have obviously lied about the prevalence, tho they have - I accept - done a good job in suppressing it

    3. China is simply enormous. 1.4bn people. A quarter of humankind. If a variant is gonna emerge anywhere the population stats say: China or India. We already had Delta from India

    4. They may have imported a variant: one theory is this came from Pakistan. China has tens of millions of workers abroad, all over the world



    "Five million Chinese will be working in Pakistan in next four years"

    Read more at:
    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/five-million-chinese-will-be-working-in-pakistan-in-next-four-years/articleshow/86421638.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst


    I'm still fairly confident this is Omicron and they are freaking out because their Zero Covid prowess is threatened and they have the winter Olympics looming. But the alternatives are not "vanishingly unlikely"

    I think you and I will have to agree to disagree on this one. The notion of Covebola suddenly springing up in China isn't impossible but it is very, very unlikely. To take each of your points in turn,

    1. Irrelevant. Even if the lab escape theory is true, there is no reason to imagine that the Chinese have allowed a new variant to evolve (or, indeed, have engineered one) in laboratory experiments and then let it loose on their own population

    2. They probably haven't lied about prevalence in any meaningful way. I don't believe that because I'm taken in by the propaganda machine of a totalitarian state. I believe that because they're clearly desperate to pursue zero Covid and stories such as Xi'an get out and are, indeed, broadcast by Chinese state media. It's conceivable that small outbreaks in rural areas are being identified and successfully contained by local authorities without the outside world hearing of it, but large numbers of cases, no

    3. Population size is irrelevant, it is number of cases that counts when one wishes to consider the likelihood of variant emergence. China has had about 100,000 cases since the start of the pandemic, and the nature of the Chinese surveillance state, scientific capability and ruthless suppression tactics means that cases are probably being identified and recorded reasonably accurately, especially post the original Wuhan outbreak. India has reported nearly 35 million cases and that's likely a gross underestimate. The two are not remotely comparable in this regard

    4. If the Chinese had imported a devastating new form of Covid from somewhere as underdeveloped and populous as Pakistan then we would have expected to receive many alarming reports of Pakistani hospitals beginning to fill with Covid patients bleeding from all sorts of nasty places by now. We have not. Again, the likelihood of a variant of concern being simultaneously so transmissible that even the Chinese struggle to contain it, yet having originated and been imported from another jurisdiction where it has failed to cause an outbreak at all, is remote in the extreme

    In summary, a miserable situation for people in Xi'an, but not something we ought to be getting innervated about. Frankly, the next nasty variant - even if there is something nastier than Omicron to come, which there may well not be - is vastly, vastly more likely to originate here than in China.
    On point 1), I disagree here. If their standards were so poor it happened once, it could easily happen again. In fact knowing what I do about how chaotic and corrupt the pyramid of power is in China, it should probably be the base case. Indeed I would contend that sarscov2 probably wasn’t the first inadvertent leak from the Wuhan lab, just the first that we noticed.

    The real question for the day, is whether there’s a similar viral research lab in Shanxi?
    Along with: whatever their public proclamations, do the Chinese still actively develop bio-weapons? Do they maintain stocks of such weapons they have developed? How secure are those storage facilities?
    Those are pertinent but unsettling questions Mark.

    If we run through a list of plausible scenarios:

    1) a benign scenario where there’s a coincidental and fairly typical outbreak of Hanta virus, and all the dystopian activity by the state is to snaffle omicron before the Olympics, purely for internal Pr purposes. Right now almost no one on the planet is deviating from this view.

    2) coincidental hanta virus outbreak but the measures are arguably a proportionate response to omicron for a population with no acquired immunity to sarscov2 and shithouse Chinese vaccines. This one isn’t as benign as it sounds for China and the world economy / markets, nor indirectly for democracy lovers in Taiwan, given how Xi might react to the collapse of his covid policy (and potentially property based economy / financial system).

    3) a new covid variant that seems to cause a more severe and horrific form of inflammation in an unspecified percentage of patients. This one means Mr Horse Battery might win his argument against Max last week that a terrible new and worse variant might be coming. Could be meh, could be the stuff of nightmares. Watch this space.

    4) it’s a new viral outbreak altogether. Whether zoonotic or lab borne ultimately makes little difference. Hide under the bed time.
  • LostPasswordLostPassword Posts: 5,941

    So tell me: what 'advances' has he made for human civilisation? I could just about buy the jump-starting electric vehicles, but SpaceX has little relevance to anyone day-to-day - not even with Starlink.

    I don't know about the technical details, so perhaps there are reasons why this won't work, but isn't Starlink going to have a huge effect on authoritarian countries that try to control access to the internet?
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 21,301

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
    I thought it was initially a thing that the very young weren't a Covid transmission vector as they didn't pass on a significant viral load. Perhaps with Omicron being so ridiculously infectious, that has changed? And the snot-goblins are as much of a threat as adults - which would make the French decision sensible?
    Yeah, but would you be happy for your six year old to be made to wear a mask?

    What I'm getting at is, everyone has there limits. I was just interested to see if French had crossed a boundary even for those who are generally pro-mask.
    I can see a case for it in schools, given Omicron's increased infectiveness. What makes me think it might be too far is the 'outside' requirement, even with the exercising exemption.
    Given omicron's infectiveness, I think the only options are let it go or lockdown, and even a full, hard lockdown might not be enough to stop it.
    When I was a small child I had a gas mask. Didn't have to wear it all the time, of course, but had to have one somewhere.
    Yeah, but that was for your own protection. These masks do nothing to help kids.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 21,301

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    How do you feel about what's happening in France?

    https://www.politico.eu/article/france-reduces-mask-wearing-age-to-six-year-old/

    Children as young as six in France will have to wear masks outdoors and in most public spaces from Monday, according to details published by the French government Saturday.
    I thought it was initially a thing that the very young weren't a Covid transmission vector as they didn't pass on a significant viral load. Perhaps with Omicron being so ridiculously infectious, that has changed? And the snot-goblins are as much of a threat as adults - which would make the French decision sensible?
    Yeah, but would you be happy for your six year old to be made to wear a mask?

    What I'm getting at is, everyone has there limits. I was just interested to see if French had crossed a boundary even for those who are generally pro-mask.
    I can see a case for it in schools, given Omicron's increased infectiveness. What makes me think it might be too far is the 'outside' requirement, even with the exercising exemption.
    Given omicron's infectiveness, I think the only options are let it go or lockdown, and even a full, hard lockdown might not be enough to stop it.
    You don't have to 'stop' it: just delaying its spread, smoothing the peak, would help hospitals enormously.
    Okay, let me rephrase:

    Given omicron's infectiveness, I think the only options are let it go or lockdown, and even a full, hard lockdown might not be enough to slow it down.
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 27,139

    So tell me: what 'advances' has he made for human civilisation? I could just about buy the jump-starting electric vehicles, but SpaceX has little relevance to anyone day-to-day - not even with Starlink.

    I don't know about the technical details, so perhaps there are reasons why this won't work, but isn't Starlink going to have a huge effect on authoritarian countries that try to control access to the internet?
    Not really IMV. It'll just be banned from those countries on spurious grounds. And because the aerials are static and use known frequencies, it'll be easy to find any that are in use - particularly if people use them all the time.

    Or Musky baby will make a deal with China that 'allows' them to capture all traffic from within China. And probably eslewhere...
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 41,681


    I think there's a risk that the economic consequences of a declining population (placing a greater economic burden on a shrinking workforce to support the elderly) will act to reduce fertility further, creating a spiral of decline.

    The other thing that could happen is a greater intolerance amongst the economically active of supporting an aged population with terminal dementia. Unless there are some great medical strides in reversing dementia, there could be societal pressure to impose radical end-of-life controls. Essentially, society refusing to fund the costs of supporting somebody who has undergone a drastic reduction in their mental faculties - and giving family members the choice of "funding - or ending".

    Not exactly Logan's Run - but a very different society to that we have now.
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 3,482

    moonshine said:

    moonshine said:

    moonshine said:


    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/08/30/elon-musk-jack-ma-biggest-problem-world-will-face-is-population-drop.html

    Musk has been talking about this problem for years. “Civilisation ending with a whimper”. I’ve little doubt Tesla’s foray into humanoid robotics is motivated by his fear of this. How else to maintain humanity’s standard of living with an ever declining labour force?

    If Musk is saying it, it isn't true. The guy's a hilarious charlatan.

    Humankind will muddle on, as we've always done. It doesn't require lying mega-billionaires to 'invent' solutions to the problems they themselves define.
    Lol. Anyone that looks at his set of achievements and thinks him a charlatan has no clue what they’re talking about.
    You'll notice I've discussed Tesla and SpaceX many times on here, often with praise (especially for the latter).

    IMO he is a charlatan. Look at the promises he's made that have not paid off as well. Or his constant ramping and deramping of cryptocurrencies. Also, that many of 'his' achievements are not actually his.

    To be clear: there is much to admire about Musk. But like Steve Jobs, he has massive personality flaws that put him firmly into the 'bad' camp in my eyes - a shift that's occurred over the last few years. I love his vision; I just don't like or trust the man.
    He was recently diagnosed as autistic, which might explain much about his sometimes off hand manner and awkward social awareness. Doesn’t make him “a baddie”. There’s an easily arguable case that there’s no one else alive today who has personally done more to advance human civilisation than he. I fully expect this to be a slam dunk argument in 10-15 years if he meets even half of his stretch goals (or “promises” as you call them).
    SpaceX succeeded due to NASA funding. If he'd started the company a few years earlier, or COTS had not occurred, then they'd still be developing the Falcon 9. Tesla has benefitted from massive public subsidies.

    But look at all the things he goes into that are ridiculous: all his claims about autonomous driving, with its constantly retreating timelines. The cryptocurrency rubbish. The Boring Company. etc, etc.

    I get it: you promise big and deliver less. But there comes a time when it just becomes out-and-out lying for your own benefit.

    So tell me: what 'advances' has he made for human civilisation? I could just about buy the jump-starting electric vehicles, but SpaceX has little relevance to anyone day-to-day - not even with Starlink.

    If you want an invention that has advanced civilisation, look at GPS...
    Oh ok. You’re one of those “Tesla is a con because it leaches on public money” people. More pressing things to do with my Sunday than argue the toss with you over this. Like making my first cup of tea of the day.
  • CharlesCharles Posts: 35,758

    moonshine said:

    I remember in the early 00s seeing some surprising statistic that one-third of births followed unintended conceptions. I don't know how reliable such a statistic is, or whether it is routinely measured, but it would be interesting to see whether that has changed.

    If the internet is a strong factor in declining fertility then you'd expect that to have a stronger effect on unintended conceptions. Whereas if it is a response to housing costs then you'd expect to see a decline in intended conceptions.

    If there are environmental factors that are reducing fertility biologically then you'd see this evenly.

    The other thought I have is that the decline in the over-20 fertility rate is I think coincidental with the change to welfare rules in 2017, and the introduction of a two-child limit.

    Just so we’re clear, are we using “the internet” as a polite proxy for availability of porn?

    An interesting feature of Japanese society is how normal it is for men to pay for sexual services. No doubt this cuts down the unintended conceptions figure. Easy to see how internet porn is achieving similar everywhere else.
    Not just porn, but also other addictive aspects - social media, mobile games, doomscrolling news. Also, potentially, the effect of internet dating encouraging people to increase their standards to levels less likely to be attained.
    I do wonder whether that last point has something to it. A surprisingly large number of my wife’s friends growing up are single (in their 40s) having never met anyone who hit their standards (which were probably unrealistic). I’ve no idea whether this proportion is higher than in the past (although Jane Austen et so have lots of maiden aunts).

    If you were to exclude the single / unmarried from the data set what does the fertility rate look like - ie are we having the same level of breeding but only from a subset of the population
  • JosiasJessopJosiasJessop Posts: 27,139
    moonshine said:

    moonshine said:

    moonshine said:

    moonshine said:


    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/08/30/elon-musk-jack-ma-biggest-problem-world-will-face-is-population-drop.html

    Musk has been talking about this problem for years. “Civilisation ending with a whimper”. I’ve little doubt Tesla’s foray into humanoid robotics is motivated by his fear of this. How else to maintain humanity’s standard of living with an ever declining labour force?

    If Musk is saying it, it isn't true. The guy's a hilarious charlatan.

    Humankind will muddle on, as we've always done. It doesn't require lying mega-billionaires to 'invent' solutions to the problems they themselves define.
    Lol. Anyone that looks at his set of achievements and thinks him a charlatan has no clue what they’re talking about.
    You'll notice I've discussed Tesla and SpaceX many times on here, often with praise (especially for the latter).

    IMO he is a charlatan. Look at the promises he's made that have not paid off as well. Or his constant ramping and deramping of cryptocurrencies. Also, that many of 'his' achievements are not actually his.

    To be clear: there is much to admire about Musk. But like Steve Jobs, he has massive personality flaws that put him firmly into the 'bad' camp in my eyes - a shift that's occurred over the last few years. I love his vision; I just don't like or trust the man.
    He was recently diagnosed as autistic, which might explain much about his sometimes off hand manner and awkward social awareness. Doesn’t make him “a baddie”. There’s an easily arguable case that there’s no one else alive today who has personally done more to advance human civilisation than he. I fully expect this to be a slam dunk argument in 10-15 years if he meets even half of his stretch goals (or “promises” as you call them).
    SpaceX succeeded due to NASA funding. If he'd started the company a few years earlier, or COTS had not occurred, then they'd still be developing the Falcon 9. Tesla has benefitted from massive public subsidies.

    But look at all the things he goes into that are ridiculous: all his claims about autonomous driving, with its constantly retreating timelines. The cryptocurrency rubbish. The Boring Company. etc, etc.

    I get it: you promise big and deliver less. But there comes a time when it just becomes out-and-out lying for your own benefit.

    So tell me: what 'advances' has he made for human civilisation? I could just about buy the jump-starting electric vehicles, but SpaceX has little relevance to anyone day-to-day - not even with Starlink.

    If you want an invention that has advanced civilisation, look at GPS...
    Oh ok. You’re one of those “Tesla is a con because it leaches on public money” people. More pressing things to do with my Sunday than argue the toss with you over this. Like making my first cup of tea of the day.
    No, I am not one of those people. I never said that. But the success of both Tesla and SpaceX - and especially the latter - has been heavily influenced by public money. It's easier to build a successful business if people are throwing money at you.

    I admire the way Musk built Tesla up: it is an incredibly difficult business to be successful in, even with subsidies. If he was just building cars and not over-promising and over-hyping things - especially autonomous driving - I'd be much happier.

    As ever with people, try to split the hype from the reality. And there's a heck of a lot of undeserved hype around Musk.
  • EabhalEabhal Posts: 709
    Fertility rate will only drop in the next few years.

    My gf and other women I know consider the last two years written off, wasted, so will delay any children until that year in Australia is done, or all the Munros climbed, or a Masters degree etc etc

    I'm fully onboard with this cos I want to do all that too.
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 57,774
    Mr. Charles, I recall hearing, perhaps here, that (historically) 40% of men and 80% of women have had children. A relatively high number of women not becoming mothers by choice would, I'd tentatively suggest, be quite unusual.
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 3,482


    I think there's a risk that the economic consequences of a declining population (placing a greater economic burden on a shrinking workforce to support the elderly) will act to reduce fertility further, creating a spiral of decline.

    The other thing that could happen is a greater intolerance amongst the economically active of supporting an aged population with terminal dementia. Unless there are some great medical strides in reversing dementia, there could be societal pressure to impose radical end-of-life controls. Essentially, society refusing to fund the costs of supporting somebody who has undergone a drastic reduction in their mental faculties - and giving family members the choice of "funding - or ending".

    Not exactly Logan's Run - but a very different society to that we have now.
    The Aubrey de Grey / Calico set would no doubt look at already declining birth rates and think “well that’s one social problem solved”.

    It’s telling though whether in theoretical physics, music, art, how many major breakthroughs are made by the young and how few even by the middle aged yet alone the old. While there are exceptions, it does seem to be that we need new souls growing up, challenging orthodoxy and authority and making their own mistakes to stimulate innovation.

    Do we face a future of dementia and disease free centurions holding almost all the capital, while an ever declining human labour force works in tandem with robots and ai to keep their lifestyles going? That truly is civilisation ending with a whimper.
  • Morris_DancerMorris_Dancer Posts: 57,774
    Mr. Mark, that also reminds me of hearing (I forget where, which isn't helpful) that women typically want men who earn more than them. Which in a traditional 1950s scenario is fine, because there's a huge number of men in that category for the vast majority of women.

    But in an era when young women earn more, on average, than young men (despite the innumerate and ideological propaganda of the 'gender pay gap') the reverse is true.

    Hmm. If I have time/inclination I might try furkling through my old psych textbooks and see if there's anything on that.
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 3,482
    Charles said:

    moonshine said:

    I remember in the early 00s seeing some surprising statistic that one-third of births followed unintended conceptions. I don't know how reliable such a statistic is, or whether it is routinely measured, but it would be interesting to see whether that has changed.

    If the internet is a strong factor in declining fertility then you'd expect that to have a stronger effect on unintended conceptions. Whereas if it is a response to housing costs then you'd expect to see a decline in intended conceptions.

    If there are environmental factors that are reducing fertility biologically then you'd see this evenly.

    The other thought I have is that the decline in the over-20 fertility rate is I think coincidental with the change to welfare rules in 2017, and the introduction of a two-child limit.

    Just so we’re clear, are we using “the internet” as a polite proxy for availability of porn?

    An interesting feature of Japanese society is how normal it is for men to pay for sexual services. No doubt this cuts down the unintended conceptions figure. Easy to see how internet porn is achieving similar everywhere else.
    Not just porn, but also other addictive aspects - social media, mobile games, doomscrolling news. Also, potentially, the effect of internet dating encouraging people to increase their standards to levels less likely to be attained.
    I do wonder whether that last point has something to it. A surprisingly large number of my wife’s friends growing up are single (in their 40s) having never met anyone who hit their standards (which were probably unrealistic). I’ve no idea whether this proportion is higher than in the past (although Jane Austen et so have lots of maiden aunts).

    If you were to exclude the single / unmarried from the data set what does the fertility rate look like - ie are we having the same level of breeding but only from a subset of the population
    I guess you can draw a line of negative correlation between western birthrates and preponderance of Disney princes.

    Speaking for myself, the reason I will clock in 0.1 below the replacement ratio is I started too old and feel too tired now to do it again.

    There’s an economics driver behind that of course, but I’d go further and say society has encouraged the extension of adolescence deep into adulthood. I know plenty of 30-somethings and a few 40-somethings who still live like adolescents.
  • AlistairAlistair Posts: 21,866
    moonshine said:

    moonshine said:


    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/08/30/elon-musk-jack-ma-biggest-problem-world-will-face-is-population-drop.html

    Musk has been talking about this problem for years. “Civilisation ending with a whimper”. I’ve little doubt Tesla’s foray into humanoid robotics is motivated by his fear of this. How else to maintain humanity’s standard of living with an ever declining labour force?

    If Musk is saying it, it isn't true. The guy's a hilarious charlatan.

    Humankind will muddle on, as we've always done. It doesn't require lying mega-billionaires to 'invent' solutions to the problems they themselves define.
    Lol. Anyone that looks at his set of achievements and thinks him a charlatan has no clue what they’re talking about.
    I mean he's been hugely successful on building businesses based on government handouts. I'll give him that.
  • BenpointerBenpointer Posts: 19,088
    HYUFD said:

    Of course the more we increase our birth rate back to replacement level the less immigration we then need, certainly of the lower skilled. However our birthrate is still higher compared to say Germany and Italy, much of Eastern Europe and the Far East

    Our PM is leading from the front on this one at least!
  • GallowgateGallowgate Posts: 17,673
    The huge drive through testing facility in Newcastle was empty this morning when I went for my PCR test. Weird.
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 33,021
    Charles said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    The restrictions they had at my daughters old school really damaged her mental health. Going back to that would be a retrograde step.
    Very sorry to hear that Charles.

    The government doesn't seem to understand that at three jabs and the virus not going anywhere this is as good as it gets.

    Introducing what must be a hugely damaging measure for children, most of whom AAUI have already had the virus is just corrosive gesture politics.
  • Scott_xPScott_xP Posts: 18,607
    Who is leaking?

    EXC: Liz Truss overruled officials to demand £1.4K lunch at Tory donor's gentleman's club in Mayfair

    Officials warned 5 Hertford St was "incredibly expensive"

    But per emails, she "refused to consider anywhere else" and "explicitly" rejected alternatives

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/liz-truss-wants-to-lunch-and-only-a-tory-donors-place-will-do-z0gq8pknc
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 3,482

    The huge drive through testing facility in Newcastle was empty this morning when I went for my PCR test. Weird.

    Most people can’t be arsed to follow up a positive lateral flow test with a pcr anymore. If they’re not very ill all they’re doing is waiting for their negative LTFs to crack on again.
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 3,482
    TOPPING said:

    Charles said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    The restrictions they had at my daughters old school really damaged her mental health. Going back to that would be a retrograde step.
    Very sorry to hear that Charles.

    The government doesn't seem to understand that at three jabs and the virus not going anywhere this is as good as it gets.

    Introducing what must be a hugely damaging measure for children, most of whom AAUI have already had the virus is just corrosive gesture politics.
    It’s deeply frustrating how casually people swat aside any concerns that things like mandated mask wearing and frequent testing have on children. “Snowflakes don’t know they’re born, it’s hardly the blitz” etc… We’ve committed a crime against childhood the last two years.
  • TazTaz Posts: 3,114
    TOPPING said:

    Charles said:

    I see another pointless but arrogant measure in bringing in facemasks for classrooms today. We really have a miserable society dont we where the old rule and the young get life sucked out of them

    Oddly, the only misery I see on here is from your post...
    The restrictions they had at my daughters old school really damaged her mental health. Going back to that would be a retrograde step.
    Very sorry to hear that Charles.

    The government doesn't seem to understand that at three jabs and the virus not going anywhere this is as good as it gets.

    Introducing what must be a hugely damaging measure for children, most of whom AAUI have already had the virus is just corrosive gesture politics.
    The govt seems to understand it. It is the public and the devolved administrations that need to understand it as well as the likes of diet sage.
  • BenpointerBenpointer Posts: 19,088
    edited January 2
    This is an interesting and detailed analysis.

    Stepping back, I wonder whether we should accept the falling conception rates as a generally good thing - raising difficult challenges for society and civilisation but good for the planet.

    There are nearly 8bn people on earth - if that fell by half, or even by 90%, it would not be a 'bad thing' overall.

    I look forward to part 2 of this header but remain to be convinced that HMG should be incentivising people to have children.

  • GallowgateGallowgate Posts: 17,673
    moonshine said:

    The huge drive through testing facility in Newcastle was empty this morning when I went for my PCR test. Weird.

    Most people can’t be arsed to follow up a positive lateral flow test with a pcr anymore. If they’re not very ill all they’re doing is waiting for their negative LTFs to crack on again.
    Most people have run out of lfts
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 21,301

    HYUFD said:

    Of course the more we increase our birth rate back to replacement level the less immigration we then need, certainly of the lower skilled. However our birthrate is still higher compared to say Germany and Italy, much of Eastern Europe and the Far East

    Our PM is leading from the front on this one at least!
    I originally wrote:

    To what extent, if at all, should politicians seek to influence the birth rate?

    And then I realised the obvious response.
This discussion has been closed.