March 16, 2005


Population not booming, says 'prophet of boom' (Christian Esguerra, 2005-03-16, Inquirer)

Who's afraid of overpopulation?

Not economist Dr. Bernardo Villegas, senior vice president of the University of Asia and the Pacific and once described as the "prophet of boom," who insists that there is no truth to the doomsday scenario being painted by proponents and supporters of the government's family planning program.

Citing official figures from the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB), Villegas said the Philippines' current population growth rate was only 1.94 percent and not 2.3 percent, as claimed by lawmakers.

"These statements about our population doubling are propaganda tools used by population controllers to frighten us," he said on Monday at a forum organized by the Human Life International-Asia. [...]

The Harvard-trained Villegas, a prominent leader of Opus Dei in the Philippines, said that based on the current trend, the number of Filipinos would peak only at 111 million at a population density of 370 people for every square kilometer.

He said the density would still be much lower than those of developed Asian countries, like Singapore (7,223), Hong Kong (6,501), Taiwan (625) and South Korea (483).

"What's so alarming with 370?" he said, pointing out that the Philippines' current population density was only 255 per square kilometer.

Villegas also said Filipinos should actually be concerned because the country would register zero population growth by 2025 because of a fertility rate of only 2.1 percent then.

"If you have 2.1, then you will just be replacing those who are dying. If it goes down, then the population will obviously come down," he said, citing the experience of Spain whose fertility rate was supposedly a pathetic 1.1 percent.

"Give them enough time and they will disappear," he added.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 16, 2005 12:00 AM

When I was young I always thought that the government would kill off old people (convincing them that they were burdens). But I never expected killing babies -- I saw no logical upside for the state to kill off future tax payers.

Unless you figure in trying to destroy the influence of the Catholic church in the Philippines -- hey, there's a thought.

Posted by: Randall Voth at March 16, 2005 6:44 AM


The only reason abortion was initially accepted was because we were promised it would be used to rid us of poor black kids.

Posted by: oj at March 16, 2005 7:39 AM

You can't use Singapore and Hong Kong to do national population density comparisons, they are cities.

Zero population growth will be a fact that the world will have to get used to. As worldwide prosperity improves, population density will level off or drop. Once population peaks mid-century between 10-12 billion, we'll probably see a slow decline for the rest of the century and at some point a atable, long-term level will be reached around which population will vary within some boundary. Along the way, new cultural norms will be tested until a stable set will emerge that can support a ZPG civilizations.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at March 17, 2005 12:31 AM

Just So--and then we all survive together in a magical Darwinian equilibrium.

Posted by: oj at March 17, 2005 12:48 AM