Ageing and population decline – good for us, good for the planet

The next meeting of the 17 Group will be on Wednesday the 1st of May at 7pm in Unit 6 at 20 Drury St, West End. It will be addressed by Dr Jane O’Sullivan on the topic: “

Aging and Declining Populations – Good for Us, Good for the Planet.”


Daily, we are bombarded with news items decrying the aging of our population. Yet this should be a welcome development, as the culmination of modern progress to ensure that most people born lead long and healthy lives. Instead, it is treated as a calamity which must be redressed by aggressive increases in population growth, through either births or immigration. The claimed problems of aging (including a shrinking workforce, a ballooning pension bill, and skyrocketing health and aged care needs) are poorly supported in evidence, and the cure is much worse than the disease. This talk will unpack some of the myths and truths about demographic aging and discuss the benefits of declining populations containing more older people.

Biographical notes:

Dr. Jane O’Sullivan is a former senior researcher at the University of Queensland’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, where she led research programs on agricultural intensification of subsistence crops in the Pacific and South East Asia. She subsequently turned attention to the demographic pressures on food security, economic development and environmental sustainability. She has published ground-breaking work on the economic impacts of population growth, population aging and the use of population projections in relation to projecting climate change. She is an executive member of Sustainable Population Australia and has represented that organisation at United Nations climate change meetings.

When we asked Leon what he thought of old age, good or bad for the individual and the society, he declined to be drawn. But he did go into his archives, as we poured the vodka into the glasses, and then came back with an ironic smile, these two photographs, and this quotation from his collected works:

“Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man.” Image result for leon trotsky and old age

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