From Mr Patrick Carroll SIR – The difficulties now experienced in Europe and Japan are a far cry from the Malthusian-style famine invoked by Gerald Danaher (Letter, February 27).
The principle asserted by Thomas Malthus – that limitation of resources determines population size – no longer holds true in a modern world. The European and Japanese birthrates remain much below replacement level while there are ample resources as to food supplies and living accommodation.
Rather, we face challenges of the opposite kind to what had concerned Malthus. Recovery from recession would indeed be easier if we had more young consumers. In Europe as in Japan there is a lack of domestic vitality in the economy that is increasingly dependent on exports. When fewer young consumers are in prospect the outlook is sombre.
Pension reform is needed here because of the increased burden of the aged falling on reduced cohorts of working age. It is because the birth rate here has been so low here since the 1970s that we now have to rely so much on immigrants to staff basic services.
There is a need to restore family life and and reverse the decline in fertility. Challenges facing our Government are rather the result of Government promotion of contraception and funding of abortion via the NHS. And the political commitment to birth control, contraception and abortion has left European countries unable to bring about a recovery in the birth rate.
Lavish spending on measures to encourage larger families in France and Russia and Germany has produced disappointingly few live-born babies. Yours faithfully, PATRICK CARROLL London N1