This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The speech by Joel Kotkin, "prominent authority on economic and social trends," to the Zions Bank's trade and business conference sounded like the tired groan of a dying dinosaur ("Author: World will feel crunch of fewer marriages and children," Tribune, May 30).
It was packed full of pithy catch-phrases: declining birthrates are a "sociological plague"; "we haven't figured out how to balance the career and educational aspirations of women with marriage and families"; secularism is undermining family formation. Kotkin was working overtime to feed the conservative paranoia that the world is going to hell.
My list of things to worry about is the mirror opposite of Kotkin's: world population growth (rushing to 8 billion) is fueling disparity between the rich and poor nations, increasing demand for scarce water, food and land, and increasing the consumption of fossil fuels that accelerate climate change, which will raise sea levels and displace masses of people (a true sociological disaster).
These real-world conflicts will destabilize a family unit far more effectively than secularism ever could.
Had I spoken at the Zions Bank soiree, this is the picture I would have painted. Feel free to book me for next year.
John H. Weis
Salt Lake City