Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Demographics Are Destiny

Wow.  "Spengler" notes something new.

...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.

In his view, that's bad news.

Imminent population collapse makes radical Islam more dangerous, not less so. For in their despair, radical Muslims who can already taste the ruin of their culture believe that they have nothing to lose.

Political science is at a loss in the face of demographic decline and its consequences. The wasting away of nations is an insoluble conundrum for modern political theory, which is based on the principle of rational self-interest. At the threshold of extinction, the political scientists' clever models break down. We "do not negotiate with terrorists". But a bank robber holding hostages is a terrorist of sorts, and the police negotiate with such miscreants as a matter of course. And what if the bank robber knows he will die of an incurable disease in a matter of weeks? That changes the negotiation. The simple truth - call it Spengler's Universal Law #1 - A man, or a nation, at the brink of death does not have a "rational self-interest".

PRChina and Japan are also de-populating; Japan is far more advanced in that regard than PRChina.

Interesting times.

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