A growing population had long been considered a prime determinant of national strength -- at least until the "population bomb" crowd commandeered the dialogue almost a half-century ago and declared such growth to be a threat to human existence. But since then, with globalization's rapid expansion encompassing the bulk of the developing world -- and specifically demographic behemoths India and China -- we've seen industrialization and urbanization work their usual magic on female fertility. As a result, humanity is now projected to top out as a species sometime mid-century and likely decline thereafter.
To the amazement of many from my generation, who grew up in real fear of "Soylent Green"-type scenarios of over-population, our primary demographic challenge going forward is to maintain a decent worker-to-retiree ratio as national populations age at an unprecedented speed -- with the "world-conquering" Chinese leading the way. Compared to both the "old" West and most of the rising East, America stands apart in its ability to remain fertile with a birth rate 50 percent higher than Germany, Russia and Japan, and well above China, the leading Asian "tigers" and Eastern Europe. Add in our world-class capacity to integrate immigrants -- we attract roughly half the developing world's flow to developed states -- and we're more than just an odd outlier. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
- TWO WEEKS FREE.
- Cancel any time.
- After two weeks, just $11.99 monthly or $94.99/year.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Japan-China Maritime Talks Signal Slow Thaw in East China Sea
- Strategic Horizons: U.S. Must Be Prepared for Life After Putin, Even if Russia Isn’t
- U.S. and Cuba Face a Long Road Ahead to Normalization
- Global Insights: In State of the Union, Obama Should Not Forget Asia
- How New Metrics Can Reset Global Drug Policy