Development is not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

In 1976, The Science Council of Canada (Canada’s most eminent scientists) recommended that in order to maintain living standards, Canada should conserve its resources, restrict immigration, and stabilize its population at around what it has now. In particular, it recommended that Canada conserve its farmland to produce food for an increasingly food-dependent world. Doing this would contribute significantly to its balance of payments. 

However, since then, particularly since 1990, Canada has completely ignored those recommendations. It is selling off its resources at a record pace, has implemented and maintained a senseless 250,000 immigrant intake through three serious economic downturns, has covered farmland with housing for un-needed immigration, and added close to six million people since 1990 through immigration alone.

This bulletin consists of two items. The first is an excerpt from an Op Ed by Crispin Hull, former editor of The Canberra Times in Australia. Crispin Hull repeats the findings of Australian academics who have stated that the Australia gov’t is (1) completely ignoring the ability of the country to service its infrastructure needs and (2) is traveling down a road that leads to very serious negative economic consequences.

The second  is a shortened U.S. article from Charlottesville, Virginia which repeats the findings of The U.S. Commission on Population and the American Future (1972). The latter, which consisted of the most eminent U.S. economists concluded, “We have looked for, and have not found, any convincing argument for continued national population growth (beyond 200 million). The health of our economy does not depend on it. The vitality of business does not depend on it. The welfare of the average person does not depend on it.” Like that report, the new study quantified the fiscal costs of population growth and concluded that it too did not need unending growth.


From Australia and the U.S : Development is not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

(1) Never-ending welfare story a blight on all

Crispin Hull. Former Editor
The Canberra Times
January 5, 2013

There was an unspoken message this Christmas-New Year to those (Australians) waiting in traffic….

It (the traffic) will get worse for the simple reason that the federal government, which controls immigration, seems determined to continue to allow high numbers of people to come to Australia without any reference to the capacity of the states to provide for the infrastructure to service the higher population.

Very simply, the states need to spend 2 per cent of the total value of the infrastructure every year just to maintain it. The average piece of public infrastructure lasts about 50 years. If you add 2 per cent of population every year, you have to double your infrastructure effort. No state is doing it, or can do it. The feds have set them an impossible task.

The stress on the infrastructure this holiday season is just a portent for everywhere all the time in Australia on present population projections (35 million by 2050).

For details on Australian infrastructure research, see the following and


(2) New report quantifies the fiscal costs of population growth

by Brian Wheeler
Senior Reporter
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Sunday, January 06, 2013  

A new report produced for Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population (ASAP) says that continued population growth in Charlottesville and Albemarle County (both in Virginia) would only increase the fiscal challenges faced by local government.

It also argues that “smart growth” strategies and economic development efforts to recruit even targeted industries are “doomed to fail” in a fiscal analysis that examines the full cost-benefits.

“I think we have long used a drug that we thought would cure our ills, and the drug is growth,” said Jack Marshall, ASAP’s president.  “This drug has side effects and its probably not a drug that is appropriate for most communities in America.  It’s time to reconsider that drug’s claims for what it can do.”

Using publicly available government data for the fiscal years between 2006 and 2009, the study examines the fiscal costs and benefits of population growth in the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

Various land use categories ­ like residential, commercial, industrial and agriculture ­ were examined to determine if they pay their own way for the public services required.

The report concludes, “few land uses pay their way … because new area residents require services that increase local government costs at a level greater than the additional local revenue they contribute.”

“Growth will not pay for itself, (In fact,) …to remain prosperous and have opportunities for your citizens, and to sustain a healthy community you already have, you actually don’t need it,” said ASAP board member David Shreve.  “This does not mean that all growth must end, nor does it mean, as we have been criticized, that we need to build a moat.”

Shreve, who holds a doctorate in economic history, served as the report’s editor and adviser.

Craig Evans was the project manager and principal author for the study.  Evans is a former member of ASAP’s board of directors and he serves as a member of Albemarle County’s Fiscal Impact Advisory Committee.

“If you look at a land use in isolation, like commercial and industrial, they pay their way [so you think] let’s attract more,” Evans said.  “What happens is that as you attract more commercial and industrial uses, you inevitably attract more people.”

The report says that for every dollar in revenue generated, residential housing for those additional people has costs of $1.41 in Albemarle and $1.37 in Charlottesville.  The costs of public education are a large factor.

The study says recruiting more wealthy residents to help pay down the fiscal gap is unrealistic since it would require an average home price of $2.7 million for the next 2,000 homes in Albemarle to raise enough tax revenue to address even existing deficits.

“Development is not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Development has a cost,” Evans said.  “The question has to be how much do we want to grow and, as we grow, how are we going to pay for it?”