The Future of the West – Through Children

 

Elon Musk has said that the earth is basically empty, and he is right. We could fit the entire world’s population in New Zealand without exceeding the population density of Manhattan.

The problem is that richer countries are in deep, deep demographic decline. Here is Japan’s population pyramid (2020):

This is deeply troubled. The average Japanese woman is too old to procreate.

The healthiest Western country (in terms of population growth) is Israel.

Check out this website and enter your own country to see the results. Demographics is, at some point, destiny.

The alternative is to invite immigrants and hope they assimilate (the path most of Europe has taken to overcome its own domestic population crises). That is a risky proposition, to say the least. And one that countries like Japan and Korea are quite unlikely to adopt.

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  1. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    iWe: And one that countries like Japan and Korea are quite unlikely to adopt.

    Their resistance to importing the next generation might save them in the end.  Any demographic decline ends, if it ends, when the fraction of the population willing to have significant numbers of children become the majority.  By attrition, if other factors are held at bay.  Refusing immigration gives the future fecund majority a chance to form.

    This is enhanced by the older generations’ expressions of regret over their lack of fertility.

    • #1
  2. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    A recent traveler to Israel said that the two most striking things he remembered were all of the building cranes in the air, and the sounds of children.  

    • #2
  3. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    There is a great article by David P Goldman that addresses this issue and the economic impact.  It’s from 2009 but still rings true as we are still living through the unwinding of the easy-money policies out in place in an attempt to avoid the consequences of the financial crisis.

    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/05/demographics-depression

    If capital markets derive from the cycle of human life, what happens if the cycle goes wrong? Investors may be unreasonably panicked about the future, and governments can allay this panic by guaranteeing bank deposits, increasing incentives to invest, and so forth. But something different is in play when investors are reasonably panicked. What if there really is something wrong with our future“if the next generation fails to appear in sufficient numbers? The answer is that we get poorer.

     

    • #3
  4. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Whoa, Jewish plot to take over the world!

    /tinfoil

    I did not know this about Israel.  Yay!  I hope demographic is driven by no-kidding Jews and not just any ol’ body who happens to be there.

    I gnash my teeth when people glibly gazette demographic numbers like “US birth rate” and “world population” without digging into just who is having kids and who is not.  In France, it is illegal to even ask.  A sly survey of neonatal maladies specific to some immigrant populations reveals that France is disappearing faster than we thought.  The French pandas can’t be bothered to procreate for dear life.  “Oh, that’s okay, they make up for it with immigrants!”  That doesn’t make France sustainable.  That makes Europe Mogadishu.

    Two months ago Parisians (“Parisians”) rioted over cost of living (bread).  Two weeks ago they rioted over sport (circuses).  Two days ago, they began rioting over race (demos).  The whole thing is on the table.

    • #4
  5. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    iWe: And one that countries like Japan and Korea are quite unlikely to adopt.

    Their resistance to importing the next generation might save them in the end. Any demographic decline ends, if it ends, when the fraction of the population willing to have significant numbers of children become the majority. By attrition, if other factors are held at bay. Refusing immigration gives the future fecund majority a chance to form.

    This is enhanced by the older generations’ expressions of regret over their lack of fertility.

    Yup.  “GET BUSY WITH THOSE GRANDKIDS!”

    • #5
  6. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    iWe: The problem is that richer countries are in deep, deep demographic decline.

    Why is that a problem?   Please be specific.   Don’t give us the Social Security is a Ponzi scheme line, because the fix for a Ponzi scheme is not “find more suckers”. 

    • #6
  7. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    BDB (View Comment):
    Yup.  “GET BUSY WITH THOSE GRANDKIDS!”

    I have three so far. I really need three more just to break even.

    • #7
  8. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    There is a great article by David P Goldman that addresses this issue and the economic impact. It’s from 2009 but still rings true as we are still living through the unwinding of the easy-money policies out in place in an attempt to avoid the consequences of the financial crisis.

    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/05/demographics-depression

    If capital markets derive from the cycle of human life, what happens if the cycle goes wrong? Investors may be unreasonably panicked about the future, and governments can allay this panic by guaranteeing bank deposits, increasing incentives to invest, and so forth. But something different is in play when investors are reasonably panicked. What if there really is something wrong with our future“if the next generation fails to appear in sufficient numbers? The answer is that we get poorer.

     

    Do we get poorer as result of demographic collapse? If the terms of measurement are per capita income, the aftermath of great plague of the 13th century would suggest otherwise. Farm labor wages increased dramatically as a result of the scarcity of labor. That was a real demographic collapse. 

    The same thing is occurring with the retirement of the boomers. 

    • #8
  9. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    BDB (View Comment):

    Whoa, Jewish plot to take over the world!

    /tinfoil

    I did not know this about Israel. Yay! I hope demographic is driven by no-kidding Jews and not just any ol’ body who happens to be there.

    I gnash my teeth when people glibly gazette demographic numbers like “US birth rate” and “world population” without digging into just who is having kids and who is not. In France, it is illegal to even ask. A sly survey of neonatal maladies specific to some immigrant populations reveals that France is disappeaqring faster than we thought. The French pandas can’t be bothered to procreate for dear life. “Oh, that’s okay, they make up for it with immigrants!” That doesn’t make France sustainable. That makes Europe Mogadishu.

    Two months ago Parisians (“Parisians”) rioted over cost of living (bread). Two weeks ago they rioted over sport (circuses). To days ago, they began rioting over race (demos). The whole thing is on the table.

    There are two large population blocks in Israel, and one isn’t Jewish. 

    • #9
  10. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Hang On (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Whoa, Jewish plot to take over the world!

    /tinfoil

    I did not know this about Israel. Yay! I hope demographic is driven by no-kidding Jews and not just any ol’ body who happens to be there.

    I gnash my teeth when people glibly gazette demographic numbers like “US birth rate” and “world population” without digging into just who is having kids and who is not. In France, it is illegal to even ask. A sly survey of neonatal maladies specific to some immigrant populations reveals that France is disappeaqring faster than we thought. The French pandas can’t be bothered to procreate for dear life. “Oh, that’s okay, they make up for it with immigrants!” That doesn’t make France sustainable. That makes Europe Mogadishu.

    Two months ago Parisians (“Parisians”) rioted over cost of living (bread). Two weeks ago they rioted over sport (circuses). To days ago, they began rioting over race (demos). The whole thing is on the table.

    There are two large population blocks in Israel, and one isn’t Jewish.

    Hence.

    • #10
  11. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    iWe: The problem is that richer countries are in deep, deep demographic decline.

    Why is that a problem? Please be specific. Don’t give us the Social Security is a Ponzi scheme line, because the fix for a Ponzi scheme is not “find more suckers”.

    “The future belongs to those who show up.”

    If the future doesn’t concern you personally, then I cannot imagine why any aspects of the future would. 

    • #11
  12. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    There is a great article by David P Goldman that addresses this issue and the economic impact. It’s from 2009 but still rings true as we are still living through the unwinding of the easy-money policies out in place in an attempt to avoid the consequences of the financial crisis.

    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/05/demographics-depression

    If capital markets derive from the cycle of human life, what happens if the cycle goes wrong? Investors may be unreasonably panicked about the future, and governments can allay this panic by guaranteeing bank deposits, increasing incentives to invest, and so forth. But something different is in play when investors are reasonably panicked. What if there really is something wrong with our future“if the next generation fails to appear in sufficient numbers? The answer is that we get poorer.

    Do we get poorer as result of demographic collapse? If the terms of measurement are per capita income, the aftermath of great plague of the 13th century would suggest otherwise. Farm labor wages increased dramatically as a result of the scarcity of labor. That was a real demographic collapse.

    The same thing is occurring with the retirement of the boomers.

    If shrinking the denominator is the goal, we should be able to shoot ourselves into wealth.  Productivity as a zero-sum game is the road to Marxism.

    • #12
  13. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    There is a great article by David P Goldman that addresses this issue and the economic impact. It’s from 2009 but still rings true as we are still living through the unwinding of the easy-money policies out in place in an attempt to avoid the consequences of the financial crisis.

    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/05/demographics-depression

    If capital markets derive from the cycle of human life, what happens if the cycle goes wrong? Investors may be unreasonably panicked about the future, and governments can allay this panic by guaranteeing bank deposits, increasing incentives to invest, and so forth. But something different is in play when investors are reasonably panicked. What if there really is something wrong with our future“if the next generation fails to appear in sufficient numbers? The answer is that we get poorer.

     

    Do we get poorer as result of demographic collapse? If the terms of measurement are per capita income, the aftermath of great plague of the 13th century would suggest otherwise. Farm labor wages increased dramatically as a result of the scarcity of labor. That was a real demographic collapse.

    The same thing is occurring with the retirement of the boomers.

    From the article …

    we are transfixed by the dense technicalities of credit flow, the new varieties of toxic assets, and the endless A­iterations of financial restructuring. Sometimes it helps to look at the world with a kind of simplicity. Think of it this way: Credit markets derive from the cycle of human life. Young people need to borrow capital to start families and businesses; old people need to earn income on the capital they have saved. We invest our retirement savings in the formation of new households. All the armamentarium of modern capital markets boils down to investing in a new generation so that they will provide for us when we are old.

    • #13
  14. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    I am not too worried about numbers but about quality. Has anyone here seen Idiocracy?

    • #14
  15. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    In the industrial world, there are more than 400 million people in their peak savings years, 40 to 64 years of age, and the number is growing. There are fewer than 350 million young earners in the 19-to-40-year bracket, and their number is shrinking. If savers in Japan can’t find enough young people to lend to, they will lend to the young people of other countries. Japan’s median age will rise above 60 by mid-century, and Europe’s will rise to the mid-50s.

    America is slightly better off. Countries with aging and shrinking populations must export and invest the proceeds. Japan’s households have hoarded $14 trillion in savings, which they will spend on geriatric care provided by Indonesian and Filipino nurses, as the country’s population falls to just 90 million in 2050 from 127 million today.

     

    • #15
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Hang On (View Comment):
    There are two large population blocks in Israel, and one isn’t Jewish. 

    If I recall correctly, a study was done on the surveys that the Palestinians take of their population, according to Caroline Glick. A surprising “correction” is that the Palestinians are not multiplying the way they used to do. Which means they are less of a threat of overrunning the number of Jews. I wonder if that’s the influence of the West.

    • #16
  17. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):
    There are two large population blocks in Israel, and one isn’t Jewish.

    If I recall correctly, a study was done on the surveys that the Palestinians take of their population, according to Caroline Glick. A surprising “correction” is that the Palestinians are not multiplying the way they used to do. Which means they are less of a threat of overrunning the number of Jews. I wonder if that’s the influence of the West.

    I think it’s an increase in education and birth control. Lower birthrates are happening throughout the Middle East and they are starting to happen in Africa. 

    • #17
  18. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):
    There are two large population blocks in Israel, and one isn’t Jewish.

    If I recall correctly, a study was done on the surveys that the Palestinians take of their population, according to Caroline Glick. A surprising “correction” is that the Palestinians are not multiplying the way they used to do. Which means they are less of a threat of overrunning the number of Jews. I wonder if that’s the influence of the West.

    I think it’s an increase in education and birth control. Lower birthrates are happening throughout the Middle East and they are starting to happen in Africa.

    In the future, everybody will be Nigerian for fifteen minutes.

    • #18
  19. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    From Proverbs 8 -speaking of Wisdom personified:

    30 then I was beside him, like a master workman,
    and I was daily his[e] delight,
    rejoicing before him always,
    31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
    and delighting in the children of man. (ESV)

    He wants the world to be inhabited by people and He likes kids.

     

    • #19
  20. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    iWe: Here is Japan’s population pyramid (2020)

    Interesting early 1970s spike:

    https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/JPN/japan/birth-rate#:~:text=The%20current%20birth%20rate%20for,a%201.3%25%20decline%20from%202019.

    • #20
  21. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Big picture, we will all be replaced.  The question is — by whom?  And therefore to whom shall the proceeds of our efforts, our lives, accrue?

    • #21
  22. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Demographics is Destiny.

    In Florida, everyone is born Hispanic, and dies Jewish.

    • #22
  23. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    iWe (View Comment):
    In Florida, everyone is born Hispanic, and dies Jewish.

    Are Hispanics converting?

    • #23
  24. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):
    In Florida, everyone is born Hispanic, and dies Jewish.

    Are Hispanics converting?

    How else would you explain the disparity between births and deaths? 

    / tongue in cheek

    • #24
  25. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Peter Zeihan posted a great clip on YouTube today about demographics:

    • #25
  26. Modus Ponens Member
    Modus Ponens
    @ModusPonens

    God’s first command to humanity was to reproduce and fill the earth. He also gave dominion over creation to our care.

    Modernity commands humanity to depopulate the earth and leave it pristine. It gives dominion over creation, humanity included, to nature’s care.

    It’s another way in which Western Societies have become perverse.

    • #26
  27. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Hang On (View Comment):
    Do we get poorer as result of demographic collapse? If the terms of measurement are per capita income, the aftermath of great plague of the 13th century would suggest otherwise.

    Indeed, *per capita* income matters, not just *aggregate* GDP.  But, social security aside, there are still some fixed national expenses that get more costly on a per-capita basis if there are fewer people.

    The most obvious of these is Defense…military costs, both personnel and procurement, don’t get any lower if there is a lesser population, so the costs per taxpaying person get higher.

    Also probably true of some infrastructure costs…the cost of keeping rivers and ports navigable may be somewhat dependent on traffic, but there is surely a large fixed-cost component. Partly true of railroads, also, I would think. Roads? Again a fixed/variable cost mix that would take some work to disentangle.

    I wonder if any economists have looked at this.

    • #27
  28. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    BDB (View Comment):
    I did not know this about Israel.  Yay!  I hope demographic is driven by no-kidding Jews and not just any ol’ body who happens to be there.

    Israel is the only country in the world where secular (non-religious) women are averaging 3+ children apiece.  

    • #28
  29. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    There is a great article by David P Goldman that addresses this issue and the economic impact. It’s from 2009 but still rings true as we are still living through the unwinding of the easy-money policies out in place in an attempt to avoid the consequences of the financial crisis.

    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/05/demographics-depression

    If capital markets derive from the cycle of human life, what happens if the cycle goes wrong? Investors may be unreasonably panicked about the future, and governments can allay this panic by guaranteeing bank deposits, increasing incentives to invest, and so forth. But something different is in play when investors are reasonably panicked. What if there really is something wrong with our future“if the next generation fails to appear in sufficient numbers? The answer is that we get poorer.

     

    Do we get poorer as result of demographic collapse? If the terms of measurement are per capita income, the aftermath of great plague of the 13th century would suggest otherwise. Farm labor wages increased dramatically as a result of the scarcity of labor. That was a real demographic collapse.

    The same thing is occurring with the retirement of the boomers.

    Who do you plan to have feeding you and changing  your bedsheets in the nursing home?

     

    • #29
  30. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    There is a great article by David P Goldman that addresses this issue and the economic impact. It’s from 2009 but still rings true as we are still living through the unwinding of the easy-money policies out in place in an attempt to avoid the consequences of the financial crisis.

    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/05/demographics-depression

    If capital markets derive from the cycle of human life, what happens if the cycle goes wrong? Investors may be unreasonably panicked about the future, and governments can allay this panic by guaranteeing bank deposits, increasing incentives to invest, and so forth. But something different is in play when investors are reasonably panicked. What if there really is something wrong with our future“if the next generation fails to appear in sufficient numbers? The answer is that we get poorer.

    Do we get poorer as result of demographic collapse? If the terms of measurement are per capita income, the aftermath of great plague of the 13th century would suggest otherwise. Farm labor wages increased dramatically as a result of the scarcity of labor. That was a real demographic collapse.

    The same thing is occurring with the retirement of the boomers.

    Who do you plan to have feeding you and changing your bedsheets in the nursing home?

    Personally, I have no intention to let things get that far.  Quite the opposite.

    • #30
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