Sunday, February 17, 2008

Demographic Ice Age



The global warming catastrophists are right of course, we are in for a massive planetary die off, but not of polar bears or seals.

Demographic Winter

Nearly every country in the world is depopulating.

"It's happening in rich countries; it's happening in poor countries. It's happening in Catholic countries, Islamic countries... Never before in history have we had economic prosperity accompanied by depopulation."

For those of us who were raised on the teachings of Thomas Malthus, or Charles Darwin...these trends are very hard to absorb."


The trouble is, the math doesn't lie. It does not bow to our political or philosophical preferences.

Of course, this is something we've been writing about for some time. I noted an interesting schizophrenia at the UN. In one UN department, the screeching is all about overpopulation and the desperate need for reduction of the world's populations (that they usually mean the world's population of brown people is something rarely mentioned.) At the other end of the hall, another office is busy churning out apocalyptic warnings of the disastrous slide of human fertility rates.

I have also observed, that while the former theory is motivated largely by a particularly nasty ideology and is based on some very, shall we say, fluid statistics, the latter, is fairly easily identifiable, even without a degree in demographics.

Just by looking countries up in the CIA World Fact Book, in fact. A routine part of my job.

Keeping in mind that the fertility rate required to maintain a population at its current level is 2.1 children per woman, the patterns are instantly discernable:

Albania: 2.03

Algeria: 1.86

Argentina: 2.13

Bahrain: 2.57

Bangladesh: 3.09

Belarus: 1.22

Belize: 3.52

Bhutan: 4.67

Botswana: 2.73

Brazil: 1.88

Canada: 1.61

Chad: 5.56

Chile: 1.97

China: 1.75

Czech Republic: 1.22

Denmark: 1.74

Djibouti: 5.23

Ecuador: 2.63

El Salvador: 3.08

Estonia: 1.41

OK, we're getting the picture. These were just randomly picked from an alphabetical list. But even at the first glance some patterns are clear. Nearly all of them, (and if we were to continue down the list it would be the same) are either hovering near or are well below the replacement level of 2.1.

All the economically and socially advanced countries, those not suffering war, disease or food shortages are the worst off. All of these are far below 2.1. That means that they are sliding backwards, with aging and shrinking populations. They are also the ones that are producing and consuming the most goods and are driving the economies not only of the developed world, but of the underdeveloped world as well. They are the engine that runs the whole machine.

The very few countries that significantly exceed the 2.1 red line are also the least able to extend any economic benefits. Bangladesh, Belize, Bhutan, Chad, Djibouti and El Salvador are countries that most closely fit the well-advertised stereotypes of desperately poor countries, plagued with social and political instability, extreme poverty, disease and cultural decline. They are not, in other words, in a position to come to the economic rescue of the declining populations of the West, to take over the running of the Machine.

So, what are we looking at? And when?

You tell me.

5 comments:

Felix said...

that's the big picture, and it's scarey enough ...

but there's also the issue of different rates within the one community

for example, the Muslim community in France has a higher reproduction rate than the natives, so "les gauls" will end up the minority in their own country

Anonymous said...

I'm pregnant! It's not like there's much else interesting to do. - Karen

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Well, good for you. Thanks for having mine for me. I actually can't stand kids.

Anonymous said...

Most effective anti-abortion campaigners don't. If you like children, you're constantly tempted to place the lives and happiness of the ones you can see over that of the ones you can't. The best and most emotionally satisfying argument for abortion is that it's better for born children: in its starkest form, the argument that it is moral to abort a pregnancy that may kill a mother of other children. This is yet another problem with female suffrage. - Karen

Dale P. said...

Rest assured, many of the remaining Catholics will be Prices, so you have that in the plus column.