The Global Baby Bust

You awaken to news of a morning traffic jam. Leaving home early for a doctor’s appointment, you nonetheless arrive too late to find parking. After waiting two hours for a 15-minute consultation, you wait again to have your prescription filled. All the while, you worry about the work you’ve missed because so many other people would line up to take your job. Returning home to the evening news, you watch throngs of youths throwing stones somewhere in the Middle East, and a feature on disappearing farmland in the Midwest. A telemarketer calls for the third time, telling you, “We need your help to save the rain forest.” As you set the alarm clock for the morning, one neighbor’s car alarm goes off and another’s air conditioner starts to whine.

So goes a day in the life of an average American. It is thus hardly surprising that many Americans think overpopulation is one of the world’s most pressing problems. —Phillip LongmanThe Global Baby Bust (Foreign Affairs)