Every hour of every day there are enough babies born to ensure that the global human population grows by 8,000 souls. In a week there are newborns enough to use up half a million disposable diapers a day. Human instinct to make more is a strong as ever. The net result is that we are not short of people.
Now lets switch the focus to one country, a developed one.
Around 22.6 million people call Australia home. Many of these people were born elsewhere or are the children of immigrants. Indeed Australia has a diverse populace and is justly proud of its multicultural tolerance. Most inner city primary schools can claim 20 or more first languages among their students, the result of a liberal immigration policy that has seen more than 7 million people arrive from all around the world since 1945.
Current immigration is around 180,000 per year. This rate ensures that the population grows and labour is available for economic activity.
Devotees of the economic growth gods would say this population growth is essential because people buy goods and services. It is hard to keep the economy moving when everyone has a house full of white goods. A growing population maintains demand for houses and fridges.
But if it is people that you want then there are many more around the world itching for a visa to enter Australia, many more than are granted permission. Some of them can’t wait and try to access the back door.
Most Australians see themselves as egalitarian, believing that people are people, apologizing for past intolerance of indigenous peoples, accepting of modern differences and building a society from people of many cultural backgrounds. And given a history of immigration and multiculturalism would accept the logic of immigration at rates sufficient to support economic growth
But here is the crazy thing. Government policy since 2002 has been to pay Australians to have babies.
It’s called the baby bonus and gives parents $5,000 per eligible child paid in 13 fortnightly instalments.
Why encourage, at significant cost to the taxpayer, more babies when we have so many already?
I wonder what you think the real reason is?