There is less than a week in which to write my _Analysis_ script on demography and I finally managed to scan in one of the passages which inspired the thought that informed opinion knows what will happen to the population in fifty years’ time — and informed opinion is always wrong. This is George Orwell, writing in 1945 ( _In front of Your Nose_ )
bq. Twenty or twenty-five years ago, contraception and enlightenment were held to be almost synonymous. To this day, the majority of people argue – the argument is variously expressed, but always boils down to more or less the same thing – that large families are impossible for economic reasons. At the same time, it is widely known that the birthrate is highest among the low-standard nations, and, in our population, highest among the worst-paid groups. It is also argued that a smaller population would mean less unemployment and more comfort for everybody, while on the other hand it is well established that a dwindling and ageing population is faced with calamitous and perhaps insoluble economic problems. Necessarily the figures are uncertain, but it is quite possible that in only seventy years our population will amount to about eleven millions, over half of whom will be Old Age Pensioners. Since, for complex reasons, most people don’t want large families, the frightening facts can exist somewhere or other in their consciousness, simultaneously known and not known.