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Population has waxed and waned as an issue of public consciousness and action by policymakers. The issue is on the ascendancy again in part because of climate change and food crises caused by escalating food prices, the energy crisis and growing shortages of fresh water. In the face of these problems, attempts of some governments to stimulate higher birth rates, over concern with aging populations, are misplaced and counterproductive. Vallentyne's longneglected 'demotechnic index' holds newdoi:10.3354/esep00120 fatcat:gs4z7tg5pjathkcc6rdygvhesy