Monday, October 31, 2011

As world population reaches 7 billion (today), futurists warn of aging crisis in wealthier societies

Joel Achenbach has a big story as the world’s population reaches 7 billion: “A world growing – and growing grayer”, on the front page of the Oct. 31 Washington Post online it’s titled “World population not only grows, but grows old”, link here

The upshot is, of course, that the wealthier populations are not replenishing themselves, whereas in the third world, population is exploding.  In the United States, Hispanics account for more of the population replacement. In Europe, Muslim immigrants, threatening a political crisis.

But the biggest problem is, of course, is that there are fewer workers per retired or unable-to-work person as life spans in wealthier countries increases.  Hence, the pension crises as well as, obviously, Social Security challenges.

The article mentions two important books. One is by Matthew Connelly from Columbia University, “Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population” (2011, Belknap of Harvard University, 500+ pages), and  Ted C. Fishman, “Shock of Gray: The Aging of the World’s Population and How it Pits Young Against Old, Child Against Parent, Worker Against Boss, Company Against Rival, and Nation Against Nation”, (2010, Scribner, 400+ pages).  I just ordered the second of these to review (the long title sounds more relevant to my specific concerns). 

Some countries, varying from France to Russia, have started programs to encourage families to conceive of more children. 

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