Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Lily and the Rose

Scott McCormick, at Northern Exposure links to this article in Grist, an online environmental journal

…about falling population. Kinda. The UN still expects to see world population peak at 10 billion by mid-century, but birthrates have plunged nearly everywhere on earth, often well below replacement levels. So world population can be expected to decline, and already has in many places. Even immigration will not offset population declines in North America, Western Europe and Australia/NZ.

I recall reading an article once by an economist invoking a Thought Experiment - take Australia, divide it on a meridian that leaves roughly half of all resources in each half, consign the population to each half according to Under 35 or 35 and Older, and thereafter shift each person who attains the age of 35 to the latter half.

The Young half assumes the entire burden for raising children - the Old half takes on care for the elderly. Within five years, the economist contends, the Young half would enjoy a standard of living half again that of the elderly cohort…thereafter the gap would continue to widen exponentially.

Age and experience do NOT offset youthful energy. And raising kids isn't near as expensive as sustaining the aged.

I enjoy no competence in these matters, but I suspect the economist was right. Life is like that…unfair.

From Donald Justice:

In Bertram's Garden

Jane looks down at her organdy skirt
As if it somehow were the thing disgraced,
For being there, on the floor, in the dirt,
And she catches it up about her waist,
Smooths it out along one hip,
And pulls it over the crumpled slip.

On the porch, green-shuttered, cool,
Asleep is Bertram that bronze boy,
Who, having wound her around a spool,
Sends her spinning like a toy
Out to the garden, all alone,
To sit and weep on a bench of stone.

Soon the purple dark must bruise
Lily and bleeding-heart and rose,
And the little cupid lose
Eyes and ears and chin and nose,
And Jane lie down with others soon,
Naked to the naked moon



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