The New York Times finally admits the demographic crisis
A broken clock is right twice a day. Such is the case with the New York Times.
Once known as the “Gray Lady” of US journalism, the NYT, along with the DC-based “Pravda on the Potomac” (sometimes called The Washington Post), are the oracles of erudition for the smart set that passes for American cognoscenti: the chattering class.
The NYT hit a home run last week with a devastatingly consequential piece on global demography.
It helps that this analysis of the demographic conundrum and where it is headed appears front and centre in the establishment press. Because when something makes the NYT, the chattering class – the regime’s echo chamber of academics, bureaucrats and techno-nerds – read about it. Maybe now they can understand that the path to extinction lies before us. It is no longer a doom-and-gloom right-wing conspiracy theory (after all, it was in the NYT). Remember the Hunter Biden laptop? A Russian disinformation op before the election, now the real thing. But I digress.
Written by NYT regular Lauren Leatherby, “How a Vast Demographic Shift Will Reshape the World” includes some salient points:
- By 2050, the populations of today’s top thirty-eight economies, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, will be about 40 percent aged 65 and over. More than every third person will be elderly. Just look at Japan. Dynamism is fading. Things are slowing down.
- This is without historical precedent.
- As a result, everything will change, especially what we know today as retirement, pensions, markets, labour forces and more. Future Social Security recipients beware.
Consider the UN World Population Prospects facts and projections:
In 1990 the top ten countries with the largest share of their population being of working age were Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Russia, United States, France, China, Thailand and the UK. Apart from Thailand, all were Global North economies.
Today, those top ten countries are South Korea, Brazil, Colombia, China, Thailand, Iran, Myanmar, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Only China and South Korea are of the Global North. Both are rapidly ageing societies with decreasing populations. South Korea has the dubious distinction of the world’s lowest fertility rate (0.77), and as far as we can tell, China’s is almost as bad (1.1).
In just over a quarter-century (by 2050), the countries with the highest percentage of their population being of working age will be South Africa, Myanmar, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya, Indonesia, Egypt, Ethiopia. None of today’s Global North powerhouses are represented. Thinking of the Global South as the lesser developed world will change, because if workforce size is any indication, the bulk of the globe’s industrial capacity will be there. They just need the capital, infrastructure and brainpower to make it happen, and that usually materialises when large numbers of young people are available to work.
With the Global South on track to have an overwhelming majority of the planet’s labour force, a profound shift is underway, and that spells enormous opportunity for those regions we’ve long discounted as the third world.
Philip O’Keefe of the Aging Asia Research Hub at the ARC Center of Excellence in Population Aging Research lays it out: “Demography is the raw material. The dividend is the interaction of the raw material and good policies.”
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The Far East and most of the West have already blown through their demographic dividend, where low dependency ratios (workers to dependents like children and retirees) meant there were sufficient resources for robust economic expansion. Those days disappeared with the birth dearth.
From Ms Leatherby’s piece:
Today’s young countries aren’t the only ones at a critical juncture. The transformation of rich countries has only just begun. If these countries fail to prepare for a shrinking number of workers, they will face a gradual decline in well-being and economic power.
The number of working-age people in South Korea and Italy, two countries that will be among the world’s oldest, is projected to decrease by 13 million and 10 million by 2050, according to U.N. population projections. China is projected to have 200 million fewer residents of working age, a decrease higher than the entire population of most countries.
This should come as a shock for today’s ultra-modern/economic man/NYT groupies who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. It debunks politically correct junk science about saving the planet by eliminating children. Thus it should allay their fears about bringing more children into the world. Maybe this will shake them from their politically correct hypnosis. Maybe.
Especially since the swinging '60s, the American establishment has become notorious for applying the quick fix to every challenge, and has deluded itself into believing that mass immigration and artificial intelligence would offset the birth dearth. This revealing NYT piece will hopefully put a damper on the quick-fix narrative for the foreseeable future.
As the pro-family dynamic duo Malcolm and Simone Collins remind us:
A fertility collapse takes around thirty years before it causes a population collapse, and once that happens, the collapse is inevitable. If 70 percent of a nation’s population is over age 50, and even though many of those people have almost half their lifespan left, they are not going to be having any more kids.
Across the world, we see a similar phenomenon: countries explode in population as access to modern wealth expands, then drop off and begin to collapse as incomes rise and lifestyle modernization sets in.
Our entire civilisation has been built like a Ponzi scheme that requires constant growth. That scheme will eventually collapse.
If you want, call the chattering class a bunch of smug over-educated lefty conformists. Have at it. They don’t care what you think, but what they think matters. Collectively, they have had a tremendous influence in dismantling traditional family-centred society. So for a dose of demographic realism to appear in their secular NYT bible, maybe a realistic assessment of the global demographic crisis will follow. Enlightenment works in mysterious ways.
There is no getting around it: “Demography is destiny.”
Louis T. March has a background in government, business and philanthropy. A former talk show host, author and public speaker, he is a dedicated student of history and genealogy. Louis lives with his family in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
Image credit: Pexels
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