• What to Expect When No One's Expecting

  • America's Coming Demographic Disaster
  • By: Jonathan V. Last
  • Narrated by: Jonathan V. Last
  • Length: 6 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 05-08-13
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Encounter Books
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 (1 rating)


Look around you and think for a minute: Is America too crowded?
For years, we have been warned about the looming danger of overpopulation: people jostling for space on a planet that's busting at the seams and running out of oil and food and land and everything else.
It's all bunk. The population bomb never exploded. Instead, statistics from around the world make clear that since the 1970s, we've been facing exactly the opposite problem: people are having too few babies. Population growth has been slowing for two generations. The world's population will peak, and then begin shrinking, within the next fifty years. In some countries, it's already started. Japan, for instance, will be half its current size by the end of the century. In Italy, there are already more deaths than births every year. China's One-Child Policy has left that country without enough women to marry its men, not enough young people to support the country's elderly, and an impending population contraction that has the ruling class terrified.
And all of this is coming to America, too. In fact, it's already here. Middle-class Americans have their own, informal one-child policy these days. And an alarming number of upscale professionals don't even go that far - they have dogs, not kids. In fact, if it weren't for the wave of immigration we experienced over the last thirty years, the United States would be on the verge of shrinking, too.
What happened? Everything about modern life, from Bugaboo strollers to insane college tuition to government regulations, has pushed Americans in a single direction, making it harder to have children. And making the people who do still want to have children feel like second-class citizens.
What to Expect When No One's Expecting explains why the population implosion happened and how it is remaking culture, the economy, and politics both at home and around the world. Because if America wants to continue to lead the world, we need to have more babies.
©2013 Jonathan V. Last (P)2013 Jonathan V. Last
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3 out of 5 stars
By isaiah on 05-06-18

Your typical social conservative screed full of lots of misleading facts

The author is quite dishonest in this book. He is willing to take the time and effort to go and find the statistics on birth rates in Georgia (the country) but can’t seem to give the full picture of potential reasons the birth rate have decreased in America. There is talk of women entering the workforce but no talk of WHY they needed to enter the workforce. It wasn’t simply a preference. Middle class women needed to enter because of stagnant male wages. There is no talk of the decimation of unions which has lead to a lessening if labor’s power and a subsequent shrinkage in the share of GDP going to moderately educated (his term for high school grads) Americans. He mentions the increase in out of wedlock births in the black community but doesn’t dedicate a word to the massive structural changes in the labor market around black neighborhoods in the 50’s-70’s which lead to this such as deindustrialization of core urban areas where blacks live and then mass incarceration which creates gender imbalances on top of poor male earning potential. He mentions the increase in college tuition without mentioning the republicans who are fighting to cut government support for those institutions. He mentions that the woman responsible for bringing about the creation of the birth control pill was clearly a eugenicist and a bigot, but when singing the praises of the Levittown construction, doesn’t mention that post WWII suburban construction which created single family homes in the suburbs that lead to higher fertility rates were by design for whites only and that many of these towns were sundown towns where blacks would be killed for entering them after dark. There is no mention on the potential reason why upper income people have fewer kids and invest more in each one is because falling out of the upper middle class is such a long way down now due to inequality that they don’t want to risk that life for their kids. I am fine with the idea of advocating for more children, it would have been more convincing if the author had been more honest about potential causes though.

His answers at the end seem to be poorly thought out. I agree with him that there are no easy answers and no one has been able to increase their birth rates once they drop but the idea of telecommuting is just silly. Silicon Valley (he mentions the possibility of someone doing work for them while living in Montana) dominates because of innovation. Innovation in the technological context happens because of random, unplanned interactions between people telecommuting doesn’t work for this kind of industry. Also, any job that is open to telecommuting is a job that won’t stay in the United States if you can do it in Montana for 1/5 the pay, you can do it in China for 1/20 the pay. Just not well thought through at all.

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3 out of 5 stars
By Terlaw on 03-06-17

Good Read, But Dismisses Obvious Questions

This book definitely has conservative leanings. It actually helped me understand the conservative mindset in modern America. The book constantly admits that immigrants are the only reason why birth rates are increasing in industrialized nations, but never explores the reason the native population's birth rate is falling outside of social issues. Why is there an increase in IVF? Also, why are only ethnic groups that practice social and genetic purism seem to be the only groups suffering population decrease? What about the rest of the world? Why are many experiencing population booms with less resources, but with constant GDP growth? The book was well research, but never seemed to answer the really hard questions. I'd still recommend it as a good read. Just so you can understand the rise of nationalism and authoritarianism in many industrialized countries.

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