Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Million More By 2020

A Million More By 2020

This afternoon on the Kojo Nanamdi Show on WAMU a group of panelists discussed the projected growth of the Washington region between now and 2020. The consensus was that the area stretching from Northeast Maryland to Hampton Roads, Virginia will add a million more people in that time period. One of the panelists suggested that the region will soon be referred to as the "Chesapeake Crescent."

This weeks Kiplinger Letter also talked about growth. Kiplinger forecasts a national growth rate of "almost one percent per year, adding one person every 11 seconds. By 2030, there'll be 60 million more people living on U.S. soil, a total of 360 million."

Scary?

I don't think so. I happen to subscribe to the notion that growth is both healthy and desirable. Sure, it presents challenges but it also presents a wealth of opportunities. Managing the two is key to maintaining a high quality of living.

We are doubly blessed in this area as I said before. Our location smack dab in the center of the Chesapeake Crescent bodes very well for our local economy. As Jay Hancock pointed out in his column in today's Sun, Maryland is likely to weather any recession in the coming year due to increased defense spending and the growth in health care. Our proximity to Fort Meade means that we will see more than our fair share of those defense dollars.

We got it good indeed!

9 comments:

Eldersburg1976 said...

Growth is generally a good thing. Areas that don't grow eventually stagnate and deteriorate. The trick is finding a way to manage and/or plan for it appropriately.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it great we have infinite resources so we can just grow and grow and grow? Stagnate and deteriorate is just another way to say 'failed to achieve sustainability'.

Sustainability needs to be the goal, not growth ad infinitum.

Anonymous said...

"Our location smack dab in the center of the Chesapeake Crescent bodes very well for our local economy."

But how well does it bode for our local ecology?

wordbones said...

Anons,

Look, growth is inevitable, whether you like it or not. The U.S. population is projected to increase by 60 million people by 2030, the world population will grow to 8 billion by the same time period with the largest growth coming occurring in Bangladesh, India, China, Pakistan and Nigeria.

My point is that it is better to be in a growth area than a non growth area.

Growth is good. Consider the dilemma faced by the projected decline in population in Italy, Germany and Japan. They will have fewer workers to support an aging population.

As I stated, managing that growth is the key o maintaining a high quality of life and that includes preserving the envronment as well.

-wb

Eldersburg1976 said...

"Sustainable Development is a collection of methods to create economic growth which protects the environment, relieves poverty, and does not destroy natural capital in the short term at the expense of long term development."

From Wikipedia

Sustainability and smart growth can be inclusive

Anonymous said...

wb,

Growth is not inevitable. As you mentioned, some Western European countries, Russia included, are either experiencing or anticipating population declines. I believe Mongolia either was or is, too, to the extent they have substantial publicly-funded incentives to promote sustaining population numbers.

France, interestingly, is a notable exception to the situation of some of its neighbors. France's population is rising, primarily due to a society that is family friendly, offering liberal family leave at time of birth (more time off than here), inexpensive daycare, pre-school, etc.

Further, birth rates in developing nations will moderate considerably, as probably the most influential mechanism for shrinking the number of children per family is providing women better access to education. The Internet and other technology will bring this to fruition in the very near future.

As developing nations' birthrates decline, their standards of living will rise, and the econonic drivers of population migration will decline, resulting in less population growth in developed countries.

So, growth is hardly inevitable.

If you're saying we must continuously grow to support aging populations, that sure sounds like one big pyramid scheme to me, destined to fail at the expense of future generations.

Instead, I'd argue that aging populations can be supported via advances in medicine/quality of living/technology, higher productivity, and reform of social programs.

eldersburg,

While I sometimes find the term 'smart growth' problematic due to its sometimes inappropriate use to describe many things that aren't all that smart, for the most part it's a positive.

I do see a gap, however, between the goals of sustainability and the goals of smart growth. Sustainable development, to some, sounds oxymoronic. Sustainable communities is a term that is far less loaded.

wordbones said...

Anon 1:27 AM

You make good points for so early in the morning but I still stand by my statement that growth is inevitable...at least around here.

We are not Russia nor Mongolia, nor do I think we should aspire to be. Western Europe has an entrenched social welfare system that will bury it if they can't attract new workers and jobs to support it.

Thankfully, we don't have that problem.

-wb

Anonymous said...

Growth around here may be more apt to occur than in other parts of the country, primarily because of the behemoth that is the Federal economy.

A taxpayer could fairly ask if their tax dollar is being spent wisely putting money into infrastructure and staffing in the Capitol area vs. more equitably distributing Federal infrastructure throughout the country. There's a lot of fine places where the cost of doing business and the cost of living provide a lot more bang for the tax buck, both for the government employee or contractor and for the taxpayer.

Russia and Rome, too, had far more robust economies around their capitals than in most other parts of their empires.

As for entrenched government institutions requiring substantial expenditures, we too have many that exist, social and otherwise. I don't believe other nations' economies nor ours are dependent, nor should they be, on attracting migrating populations to keep them afloat.

David W. Keelan said...

Word,

Are you interested in the AOH?
You must be of Irish persuation and Catholic. We are getting a very good group of men together on this.
Let me know.