But this month, one of the original researchers, Ron Lesthaeghe, has published a paper reckoning with how this theory has held up over the last 35 years. And the verdict is: proponents of the Second Demographic Transition theory were basically correct in their predictions: the model has been useful for understanding social changes since 1986, and alternative theories have not held up. In other words, virtually every society in the world is likely to move towards very low birth rates eventually, unless there is some unforeseen change in deeper social processes.I was told by my girlfriend in 1970, who had been assigned Paul Erlich's The Population Bomb for a high-school class, and by many of the best and brightest thereafter, that the world was in danger of catastrophic overpopulation, which we had better fix now, now, now with birth control.
Guess not. Demographic collapse, first in the wealthiest countries, looks like a serious problem. Europe keeps good numbers, so we can see what's up. Europe is ageing. Rather quickly, despite immigration.
This is the new reality. Unless there is some unforeseen cultural change, this is not going away.