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Can We Populate Our Way Out Of Recession?

I’ve been searching Twitter for “population” and “economics” this month and came across this article on The contention: Low population growth is responsible for the current recession. Here’s a snippet:

“With the decline in births, there are fewer young people that productively enter the working world,”  Tedeschi explained. At the same time, he said, “there are many more elderly people that leave the system of production and become a cost for the collective,” increasing social welfare costs that a shrinking proportion of taxable young workers will have to sustain.

There’s actually a smidgen of truth to that. In a nation where the population is growing, the young outnumber the old. Where there are “pay as you go” retirement programs like Social Security in the U.S., this places an increasing burden on the working class to support the elderly.

But to say that the current global recession is due to slow population growth disingenuous. China is still doing quite well, even though its population growth has also slowed. The US continues to have relatively rapid population growth, but it’s in a recession just like places where population is stagnating, like Western Europe and Japan. The places world where population is growing fastest are typically highly impoverished. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Daily Monthly*

Calorie Listings Don’t Seem To Influence Eating Behaviors In Poor Neighborhoods

It may still be a little fuzzy how health care reform will affect insurance coverage, but there is one area where it’s already having a clear impact, according to the Washington Post: menus.

A lesser-known aspect of the proposed legislation is that it will mandate calorie posting of the sort currently done in New York City for restaurants with more than 20 locations nationwide. The WashPo story reports on the positive impacts that publicization of calories has public health–apparently restaurants offer more healthy dishes, and diners swarm to them. Which is interesting, because the last time we discussed this issue, researchers were reporting that people actually consumed more calories after the stats were posted. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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