Wednesday, 22 June 2016

My Jersey Survey Avoids Population Issues

Among its primary tactics, Ponzi demography exploits the fear of population decline and aging. Without a young and growing population, we are forewarned of becoming a nation facing financial ruin and a loss of national power. (Joseph Chamie).

“The human-pyramid scheme works like this: Population growth, either through births or immigration, boosts demand for goods and services, increases borrowing, boosts tax revenue and adds to corporate profits. Everything seems grand and leaders take a bow. It’s a bubble, though, and it eventually bursts when population growth stalls. Incomes top out, high debt crushes consumption and investment, the need for public assistance rises, environmental degradation increases and angry people take to the streets.” (William Pesek)

Jersey’s population has now exceeded 100,000 and it appears the flood gates are open.

Senator Paul Routier was on BBC Radio Jersey this morning, waffling on about getting the balance right etc. He says we need younger people coming into the Island to pay for all the people who have retired.

Such short-termism has never addressed the problem that it is like a Ponzi scheme. More people in, they get older, and you need still more people to take care of those who have come in.

It is unsustainable because it is based on a false promise. The needs of the supporting the population increases exponentially. There just isn't enough immigration possible to keep it going for ever.

It was interesting that Senator Routier said there was a survey on “My Jersey” – yes, there is but there are absences from the questions, not least of which is any lack of mention of population or its impact on infrastructure.

If we lived in an island of unlimited resources, unlimited population growth might not be a problem. But more population means more schools, more health services etc. And these don't come cheap.

Jersey’s water supply is in danger of outstripping demand. As the population grows, there will be an impact on water supply. This is “water stress”, where demand exceeds the current levels of rainfall input, and extraction of groundwater is often outstripping supply.

Even with metering, we live on a small Island with limited water resources. We have a desalination plant, but that is to plug short term gaps, not to keep going all the time. And the levels of a fungicide can be breached because this is being found in one of the Island’s largest reservoirs

The sewage treatment plant has been patched up since the 1970s when it was built. It cannot cope, especially when there is heavy rainfall. How will it continue when the population grows?

There are already comments about too much congestion on Island’s roads. As the population grows, expect this to get worse. Car parking in St Helier is becoming worse, with loss of spaces at the new finance centre. Will we see an underground car park before the next block gets under way? Don’t hold your breath! Amazingly, the new Dandara building has parking for directors, but not staff.

Electricity supply is reaching the point where it cannot be sustained by on-Island generators making it very vulnerable, as Liberation Day showed, to problems with French supply. As the population grows, so will the electricity demands.

Severe inclement weather already leads to short term food shortages in shops. Expect this to get worse as the population grows, and climate change leads to increases in severe weather events.

So what can we say of Senator Routier’s remarks. He carefully avoided the question of what to do when the immigration leads to an even larger aged population. This is a Ponzi scheme.

While it may come in many guises, Ponzi demography is essentially a pyramid scheme that attempts to make more money for some by adding on more and more people through population growth.

The basic pitch of those promoting Ponzi demography is straightforward and intoxicating in its pro-population growth appeal: "more is better."

As Joseph Chamie noted:

“Ponzi demography turns to immigration for additional population growth in order to boost companies’ profits. The standard slogan in this instance is ‘the country urgently needs increased immigration,’ even when immigration may already be at record levels and unemployment rates are high.”

“Despite its snake-oil allure of "more is better," Ponzi demography's advocacy for ever-increasing population growth is ultimately unsustainable.”

The sooner Jersey rejects Ponzi demography and makes the needed gradual transition from ever-increasing population growth to population stabilization, the better the prospects for all who live here.

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