This ticking time bomb is not going away, no matter how intently we ignore it.
The change may take decades, but once it starts, decline (just like growth) spirals exponentially. With fewer births, fewer girls grow up to have children, and if they have smaller families than their parents did — which is happening in dozens of countries — the drop starts to look like a rock thrown off a cliff.
“It becomes a cyclical mechanism,” said Stuart Gietel Basten, an expert on Asian demographics and a professor of social science and public policy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “It’s demographic momentum.”
Some countries, like the United States, Australia and Canada, where birthrates hover between 1.5 and 2, have blunted the impact with immigrants. But in Eastern Europe, migration out of the region has compounded depopulation, and in large parts of Asia, the “demographic time bomb” that first became a subject of debate a few decades ago has finally gone off.
South Korea’s fertility rate dropped to a record low of 0.92 in 2019 — less than one child per woman, the lowest rate in the developed world. Every month for the past 59 months, the total number of babies born in the country has dropped to a record depth.NYT
From East Asia to Europe to North America, populations in developed and emerging nations are on the brink of rapid decline. Goodbye singularity. Hello idiocracy.
Maternity wards are already shutting down in Italy. Ghost cities are appearing in northeastern China. Universities in South Korea can’t find enough students, and in Germany, hundreds of thousands of properties have been razed, with the land turned into parks.NYT
It is foolish to see this crisis primarily in terms of the closing of maternity wards and schools from K-U. Focusing primarily on the coming pension and social security crisis is likewise short sighted. The nightmare that is coming should be seen through the lens of infrastructure collapse due to critical skills shortages, as the people who keep the lights on and keep the food growing and transported to your tables more rapidly retire and die, without replacement.
More intelligent people around the world are choosing not to have children. Since IQ is up to 80% heritable, we are seeing an accelerating decline in global average population IQ. Those skills and occupations which keep advanced societies advanced, are becoming more scarce with time. Eventually, that scarcity will become critical.
As the process of decay continues, one will no longer count on lights coming on at the flip of a switch, or being able to call 911 and expect a meaningful response. Food and fuel will be harder to come by, and obtaining quality repairs for technical equipment will become more difficult and expensive.
Average IQ makes a difference. If you don’t think so, try living in Rhodesia — er — Zimbabwe. A shift in population quickly in that country led to a rapid collapse in infrastructure and quality of life. The same thing is occurring in South Africa.
The ongoing baby bust in the larger world will take longer to cause a shift from a functioning to a non-functioning society. But the mechanisms are there.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. The fraudulent US government and the decadent institutions of society are not helping, but are instead bringing on decline much more quickly than would otherwise be the case.
More: Below is the latest from Peter Zeihan on the geopolitics of the ongoing demographic transition. Interestingly, the talk is given with a focus on India, giving some of the old ideas a slightly new flavor.