Apr 11, 2008

Everything And Nothing

It's hard to set a title for posts, if your post appears to be a jumble of everything. You can't just write 'Everything' or 'Anything' because it's not appealing enough and people end up not reading and not commenting, which I guess is quite common since what I'm getting is commercial comments. 'Everything And Nothing' isn't very appealing either, but at least it's better than 'Everything' and 'Anything'.
Went for a talk today by a professor emeritus from the Taiwan School of Tourism. The title was most unappealing, and unrelated to his career - Evolution in Human Population. Sadly, the school requires us to attend at least 6 of these useless talks, so to get my 1 credit I usually have to sacrifice a 2-hour session sitting there wondering how much lifespan the LCD projector still has, and whether it's probable that it will blow during the talk.
Met a few seniors during seating. ‘Seniors' though they are, we're quite literally as familiar as brothers, and we talked well even after the speaker started murmuring. His voice was so soft it had to be amplified by two microphones. And judging by how hypnotic the conditions were, I estimated it would take me less than 10 minutes to fall asleep.
The surprise unveils soon after. He introduced a few concepts on calculation of the human population - birth rates, fertility rate etc, and how majority of countries in the world are experiencing negative population growth, meaning, the people are dying faster than they are giving birth. A huge avalanche of problems precedes this phenomena.
Firstly, most adults nowadays choose not to give birth at all (I haven't decided, so, no comments). For those who do wish to, the amount won't hit higher than 2. Back in the 40's, you'd be amazed to find the average live birth rate was 9.6 per female, meaning an average family has at least 9 children (excluding those dead before being born). Back then, at the age of 30, only 2% of women aren't married. Back to the present, 42% of them are unmarried.
The peak fertility period of an average woman is from 15 to 27 years (seems our body is still dated back to ancient Tang dynasty). If you were to marry at 30 (considered extremely early in today's society), you have had lost the period when you have the highest chance of conceiving. By 35, you get pregnant once for every four pregnancies a mother of 20 gets.
With the evolution (and delay) of childbirth, the role of the gynecologist (doctor specializing in childbirth and women's health) changes rapidly. In the 40's, when the world was experiencing a massive baby boom, they are busy scheduling births. Now t'is the era of abortion and implantation of pregnancy prevention devices. The speaker then further postulates it will slowly switches to artificial pregnancy and in-vitro implantation of fetuses in 5 years to come.
The effects? Most of our generation has siblings countable with up to 3 fingers. Our next might be mostly only-sons and -daughters. Without sibling accompaniment and support, losing social communication skills is no doubt certain. There's a hidden fear though - parents in the future will impose lots of expectations (to be specific, expectations of 4 to 5 siblings in a traditional extended family) onto one single child. The child, receiving all resources, limelight, and milk powder from the parent, will have to support the entire clan - Dad, Mum, Granddad, Grandma, another-Granddad and another-Grandma. The 5 words the only child hears is not 'we love you so much' but rather 'our future lies with you'. Tell me then, how can future generations be anyhow better than us?
The speaker showed a simple estimation then of how the future population will look like, in terms of money. An average graduate earns TWD 22000 (about RM2200) per month, in the Taipei metropolitan area (highest wage in all Taiwan). Assume a grandparent is hospitalized, and assume he / she has full medical insurance coverage. Nevertheless, requiring medical care, an in-house nurse is almost a necessity. An average Indonesian professional nurse costs TWD 2400 (RM240) per day. It takes only 10 days of hospitalization of 1 grandparent to snap up one month's salary of the fresh graduate. Of course there's always the credit card and loan sharks to ask for help.
So, are we still living towards a better future?


Soon Khen said...

LoL, that's interesting. Hrmm, but considering the fact that the world's suffering from Global Warming which is also a side effect of overpopulation, won't that turn out good for everyone of us somehow?

I don't plan to have kids. Haha. That's why! Trying to help the world. Hehe.

blushstar said...

I love stats. And the stats u mentioned are heart-pumping, interesting stats.

I have this dream of getting married when I'm 26. I do plan to have children. Currently, I'll like to have 3, or more. But I MAY change my mind after I had my first taste of labour pains. Heh.

Anyway, I think another think that we should consider besides the fact that there would be less young ppl next time, is the increasing old population. The life expectancy of humans has increased quite dramatically in these few years...I think since the early 1990s. The world would have to turn their heads to these old people, who would probably have to work more. Governments would also have to tailor policies to suit these old ppl...

Blahblah...I'm doing too much economics here...talking a little bit like one now. =P