Mammon and Lynx and Japan

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“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Would you rather live in a fine expensive house, with the very best of comforts, never having to worry about paying your bills, eating whatever foods you want whenever you want, surrounded by strangers, or would you rather live in an old shack, rough, uncomfortable, always struggling, sometimes hungry, surrounded with your own people? What is more important, fellowship with those you connect with, those whom you love, or having the very best of material comforts and pleasures. If this were the choice given to you, which would you choose?

It is often stated that population growth is necessary for economic growth. This is used to then explain why immigrants are needed when the native population is not reproducing fast enough. I am not going to dispute the correlation between population growth and economic growth, what I am going to dispute is the belief that economic growth is always the proper goal, that economic growth should be put before all other things.

Japan is often given as an example of this issue. Japans birthrate is less than 1.5, which is to say, their population is shrinking. This is often brought up as to why the Japanese economy has stagnated (or is in decline). I do not deny that the two are connected, but I would ask those who call for immigration into Japan a question. How many people should be in Japan? What is the maximum number? At what point would they say Japan is full? One of the many problems at the core of the population growth fallacy is that there is no ceiling in their calculations. Those who push population growth (especially through immigration) only see that more people equals more money, so more people must always be good.

There are naturally occurring population cycles among several species on this planet. There has been extensive study of this phenomena. Some of these species experience periodic cycles of very fast, very large population growth, followed by a steep decline in population. During these times of large population growths, people who benefit economically from that population also increase their benefits. The graph below shows the number of pelts taken from the Canada lynx over a number of years.

lynx

http://www.bio.fsu.edu/~james/krebs.pdf

The men selling these pelts benefited from large populations. Now imagine if during a period of population decline, one of the trappers had the bright idea of bringing in thousands of a foreign species. In their mind, all they would see was the fact that they made more money, the more rabbits, or lynxs, or whatever there were. Perhaps this new species they brought in had diseases, or hunting methods, or a diet, that were different from the Canada lynx. Perhaps the Canada lynx could not compete, perhaps the entire ecosystem was changed to a point where the Canada lynx, and the new species, went extinct, and other species dependent upon the lynx went extinct.

Often times in our desire for material wealth, we are blind to other things, more lasting, more sacred things. We often get wrapped up in our current situation, only seeing a very small part of a very large trend, blinded by greed. The world is a complicated place, much larger, much older, much wiser than ourselves. This blind desire for an increase in material wealth can be disastrous. Take a look at the graph below.

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Looking at only a small part of this graph may cause you to jump to conclusions that could be disastrous. Looking at any one small section really doesn’t tell you much, and could cause you to make decisions that could negatively impact millions of lives.

The Japanese people, just like the Canada Lynx are wonderful. They should be preserved. They should be protected. The same with the peoples of Europe, the French, the English, the German. Let us not jump to conclusions, let us not make bad decisions for material gain. If those populations are shrinking, it is wrong, it is evil, to increase the population of their countries by immigration, just so that the GDP will increase. It would be a disgusting travesty to see the great and wonderful peoples and cultures of Europe and Japan disappear all for the sake of mammon.

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