April 14, 2004
Overpopulation has long been a global concern. But between modern medicine and reduced fertility, world population may in fact be shrinking--and is almost certain to do so by the time today's children retire. The troubling implications for our economy and culture include: the possibility of a fundamentalist revival due to the decline of secular fertility; the threat to the free market as the supply of workers and consumers declines; and the eventual collapse of the American health care system as inordinate expenses are incurred by an aging population. Phillip Longman's uncompromisingly sensible solutions fly in the face of traditional ideas. State intervention is necessary, he argues, to combat the effects of an aging population. We must provide incentives for young families, and we cannot close our eyes and hope for the best as an entire generation approaches retirement age. The Empty Cradle changes the terms of one of the most important environmental, economic, and social debates of our day.