A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse (and the Elephant in the World's Living Room)...

...population decline

From the Preface, How Civilizations Die: (And Why Islam Is Dying Too), by David P. Goldman. Quoted in the Asia Times Online.
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Population decline is the elephant in the world's living room. As a matter of arithmetic, we know that the social life of most developed countries will break down within two generations. Two out of three Italians and three of four Japanese will be elderly dependents by 2050. [1] If present fertility rates hold, the number of Germans will fall by 98% over the next two centuries. No pension and health care system can support such an inverted population pyramid. Nor is the problem limited to the industrial nations. Fertility is falling at even faster rates - indeed, at rates never before registered anywhere - in the Muslim world. The world's population will fall by as much as a fifth between the middle and the end of the 21st century, by far the worst decline in human history.

The world faces a danger more terrible than the worst Green imaginings. The European environmentalist who wants to shrink the world's population to reduce carbon emissions will spend her declining years in misery, for there will not be enough Europeans alive a generation from now to pay for her pension and medical care. [2] For the first time in world history, the birth rate of the whole developed world is well below replacement, and a significant part of it has passed the demographic point of no return.

But Islamic society is even more fragile. As Muslim fertility shrinks at a rate demographers have never seen before, it is converging on Europe's catastrophically low fertility as if in time-lapse photography. The average 30-year-old Iranian woman comes from a family of six children, but she will bear only one or two children during her lifetime. Turkey and Algeria are just behind Iran on the way down, and most of the other Muslim countries are catching up quickly. By the middle of this century, the belt of Muslim countries from Morocco to Iran will become as gray as depopulating Europe. The Islamic world will have the same proportion of dependent elderly as the industrial countries - but one-tenth the productivity. A time bomb that cannot be defused is ticking in the Muslim world.
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You can read Goldman's entire preface, to his new book here.

4 comments:

Bill said...

Kind of interesting. I do know that there is still an Islamic threat to Europe, because even though Islam is declining, native Europeans are decline at a faster rate (the Germany example in the post is a good one). With divorce a ever common thing now, I believe that relates directly to birth rates in America and Europe, but as far as I can recall, divorce is out of the question in Muslim cultures. We do need to find a sense of Family again.

Allan Bevere said...

Bill, what amazes me is the lack of consideration of population decline in reference to health care and retirement benefits. It's as if the now almost present problem doesn't exist.

Simon Cozens said...

The world's population will fall by as much as a fifth between the middle and the end of the 21st century, by far the worst decline in human history.

As they say on Wikipedia, [citation needed].
The latest UN population projections have the world's population growing by another 50%, from 6 billion to 9 billion, by the end of the 21st century.

I agree there's a worrying decline in the developed world, but globally? It isn't true.

Allan Bevere said...

Simon,

Thanks for your comments. I am not convinced of the increase of the undeveloped world. With starvation et al, I think the issue is more complex. In many under developed countries, the death rate is far too high.