"By 2060, the government estimates, there will be just 87 million people in Japan; nearly half of them will be over 65. Without a dramatic change in either the birthrate or its restrictive immigration policies, Japan simply won't have enough workers to support its retirees, and will enter a demographic death spiral. Yet the babies aren't coming."
It also proves that our current economic system is a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are defined by the need for continuous and exponential growth. As the article, linked and quoted above, clearly states, population growth is a necessary element of that expansion. No one denies the fact that "the economy" has to expand at a rate of approximately 3% per year if it is to avoid a recession, leading to depression, and ending in collapse. On the other hand, we live on a finite planet, with finite resources and a finite capacity to absorb pollution and waste. That means there's an absolute limit which has very nearly been reached. This is one of several double bind flaws that are inherent to the system. The only way out of a double bind dilemma is to eliminate one of the conflicting requirements. In this case, one of those elements is a conflict with the natural limits of the planet; the other is the imperative of the market system, to grow. Is there any way of resolving this dilemma? Actually, yes. There are a few possible solutions, but nobody wants to talk about them. Once I've explained what those possible fixes are, you'll understand why.
Abolish the pyramid scheme. Eliminate the need for continuous growth. That would require an end to the current market system. This is the solution I would favour. Needless to say, the powers that be, who sit at the apex of the pyramid, don't like this option, and have ruled it out.
Free up room for expansion. This is the solution promoted by people like Bill Gates. He claims it's necessary to prevent global warming, but that's a lie. The regulation and restriction of energy consumption, justified by the alleged threat of man-made global warming, is a ploy to buy the system time. It also serves to condition people to see their very existence as a threat to the planet, thus softening their resistance to the planned culling. As the linked article about Japan proves, he is being dishonest in his assertion that this goal can be accomplished by simply lowering birth-rates. Bill Gates isn't stupid; he must know this: In order to avoid system-collapse, the population reduction would have to mainly target adults, especially the elderly. I see this as the motivation behind, what some are calling, the soft-kill agenda. Believe it or not, this is the more humane of the options being considered by the powers that be.
Let the pyramid scheme collapse, then start over. This option would be devastating for the Earth's ecosystems and inhabitants. The planet would probably recover because it can survive more punishment that we can. I suspect this solution would be adopted as a last resort, should #2 fail or turn out to be too slow. As the Architect said of the machines in "The Matrix", "There are levels of existence we are prepared to accept." The "elite" have taken precautions to minimize the hardship they, and their most loyal minions, would face. There are enormous, underground facilities that we know have been built, ostensibly to ensure "continuity of government". No doubt, a number of private ones exist as well. I expect they're quite nice. They'd be powered by geothermal energy, or something more advanced, have kick-ass air filtration systems, bio-domes and holographic view windows. Those facilities could sustain their occupants comfortably and indefinitely while they waited for the dust to clear. Then they could emerge and start to rebuild their empire. In order for this plan to work, most of the people left on the surface of the Earth would have to be wiped out. Therefore, a global nuclear war is a strong possibility immediately prior to the elite's evacuation. There is some evidence to suggest that this scenario has played out before, many thousands of years ago.
As far as I can tell, these three solutions are the only ways that the over-population-versus-economic-growth situation can be resolved. This is why I have been so passionate and persistent about the need to abandon the market-driven society. It's not just because we'd be happier if we did; it's because the alternative is something no remotely sane person could want.