I think you're right on the money there. On Bill Gates' AMA at reddit he mentions this, and references this video: http://www.youtube.c.../watch?v=lYpX4l2UeZg
I'm a bit more skeptical there.
I read that as "better life conditions usually mean lower birth rates".
I hate to burst your bubble there... but...
I've seen his full presentation on the topic - it's very good. However, "better life conditions usually mean lower birth rates" doesn't fit with that presentation.
The presentation attempts to show that lower birth rates are associated with lower infant mortality. Nothing more. Ethiopia and the Sudan are still extremely poverty stricken with no real hope on the horizon. They don't have a better quality of life, unless the quality of dirt somehow increases over time or somehow starving today is better than starving yesterday.
Bill should have referenced the longer one as the author explains a lot more in there.
However, birth rate being linked to infant mortality is not the same as quality of life linked to birth rate. That's simply jumping to a conclusion with no evidence.
If that relation (birth rate :: quality of life) were true, China would have the highest quality of life on the planet. Only 1 child after all... Actually, that's not true. There are other countries with lower birth rates that still suck. Badly.
But the point here is that correlation and causation are NOT the same thing. Trying to pretend they are is dishonest.
Shall we now correlate the number of pirates in the Caribbean with the rise in computing power over time?
Critical thinking is almost completely dead. Makes a great buzz word though.
EDIT: This is the chart I was thinking of before:http://en.wikipedia....iratesVsTemp(en).svg
Absolutely awesome~! Hilarious!