The first world is now largely suffering from underpopulation.
This is bogus. This is what certain economists claim, who are only looking at how retirement benefits will be paid for, but that isn’t the whole picture, not by a long shot.
The first world is in no way suffering from underpopulation, nor would it unless like 80% of the population was killed off.
Indeed the massive population decrease caused by the Black Plague in Europe is credited for kick starting the European economy, because when 2/3 of the population died, everyone wealth was immediately increased as there were fewer people making more property available to more people.
All of the sudden a lot of people could own land, a lot of people could own homes, a lot of people inherited money and wealth, etc.
The earth has limited resources. At a certain point, each new person means that every person has to get by with less.
Someone in Hong Kong should understand this. If there were fewer people you could have more living space there, etc.
This is also only a one time issue, as birth rates start to decline for the first time after major population booms around the world after WWII. It’s not an on-going issue.
As automation technology continues to develop, this population problem with both be further solved in terms of so-called “shortages” and the population problem in terms of growth will get bigger, because as more jobs are done by machine, and as we create increasingly smart computers, we are making human labor increasingly obsolete.
I think that within my lifetime it will be technologically possible for most work to be done by machine, and indeed more jobs will become so advanced that humans will be incapable of even doing the work if they wanted to.
What are we going to do, what billions of couch potatoes? Just produce people purely to plug their heads into the Matrix, some sort of perpetual entertainment virtual reality or something?
We are coming up on cyborgs and transhumanism, with lifespans that will probably be into the 200 year range within the next 200 years.
At a certain point there simply isn’t room for any more people, and every additional person decreases the quality of life for everyone else on the planet.
I firmly believe that all competitive systems, of which nature is one, require regulation in order to be humane. This means market systems, sports, as well as nature itself. Yes, the 20th century Communists went too far, but no regulation is going too far in the other direction.
If responsible people decide that population growth is a problem, and that they will only have 2 children, but irresponsible people don’t care and have families of 5-10, then guess what, eventually the irresponsible people will overpopulate and eliminate the responsible ones and civilization will be diminished if not destroyed.
The whole argument that irresponsible people don’t produce irresponsible people simply doesn’t hold water.
Social responsibility is probably both genetic and learned, but people born into irresponsible families, even if not genetically pre-disposed to irresponsibility, will be more likely to learn irresponsibility as well.
By and large, people are like their parents. Not always, there are always exceptions to the rule, but they are exceptions, not the rule. In general, people are like their parents, and without some form of regulation at this point in history, with the stakes so high and the limits so stretched, its just a recipe for disaster.
We should work towards education and getting people to make the right decisions themselves, but we can’t depends on it.
And to get back to the OP, I think that in general religious people produce religious offspring. Again, both due to genetics and nurture. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, as many of us here know, but being born into a religious family increases the chance that you will be religious, while being born into a non-religious family increases the chance that you won’t be.
Religious people having more babies is yet one more thing that perpetuates religion.