Have we placed too much faith in Malthus' statement?
Toward the end of the eighteenth century (1798), an English priest named Thomas Robert Malthus issued a warning that became one of the most popular and influential quotes of the modern era when he stated in his famous treatise on the relationship of population growth to resources: Population growth follows a geometric progression, whereas resource growth follows a numerical progression, giving rise to the term "Malthusianism," which was one of the most common theories for "scarcity" in contemporary political and economic theories.
THE INVERSE DEMOGRAPHIC PATH
At the turn of the century, the United Nations warned European countries and Japan of the consequences of continuing to reject the North American and Australian models of encouraging mass immigration as a solution to the aging problem, not after two centuries, but rather "right now." It's worth noting that the United Nations referred to these changes as "the new world population order." The European Commission stated at the end of March 2006 that Europeans should take the issue seriously and "take advantage of the current economic recovery to find a solution to demographic aging that may cause a collapse in the growth and lifestyle of Europeans."
The United Nations has previously warned of a demographic shift that will have far-reaching consequences for all aspects of human life, including economic growth, savings, consumption, and labor markets, as well as the structure of the family, housing, environment, health, education, and political aging, which will alter voting patterns and the means of parliamentary representation, ultimately leading to the formation of governments. Consumer tastes, social values, and images of literary and artistic production are all valid topics to discuss.
The elderly, particularly in the West, have become a large economic factor, with the purchasing power of the healthy aging sector reaching $26.5 trillion in 2022. The Sharjah Research, Technology, and Innovation Park revealed the world's largest database of healthy aging, which includes more than 50,000 companies.
It is thus not a matter of silent numbers, but of indicators of humanity's - or at least a large portion of humanity's - future, as well as a forerunner of the impending collapse of a "way of life." Today, just over two centuries after Malthusian's cry, the world is filled with warnings that humanity is on the verge of extinction because the "geometric progression" of population growth has been disrupted and then broken?!
And, if we define the elderly as those over the age of 65 today, they may become recruited as young people in the year 3000!
"SAMBO GENERATION" IN KOREA
After 1982, there was indifference, and at the turn of the century, protests began. Employees in France went on strike in August 2003 as a result of changes in the pension system that forced citizens to work for longer periods of time. It was proposed at the time that roughly a quarter of the French workforce would work an additional two and a half years to receive a full pension. Then Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffran warned that due to an aging population, current pensions would be cut in half in twenty years.
The term "demographic suicide" entered the political lexicon of Europe in 2018, when a report predicted that the continent would lose 49 million workers by 2040. There is only a scattering of facts, the implications of which can be understood - and then only within a certain framework.
One of the variables of this framework is that social security systems for retirees are primarily funded by the working population. This system simply means that those who work now pay pensions to retirees in the same way that retirees did in the past when they were still working. In the United States, there are three workers for every retiree. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts that the retirement age will rise to 66.1 years in 20 of 38 countries, and the organization believes that aging is more dangerous than the pandemic.
The phrase "younger than ever" has recently gained currency in Germany. By the end of 2021, one in every ten Germans (8.3 million) will be between the ages of 15 and 24, compared to more than 18 million over the age of 65. The current worker-retiree balance indicates that approximately 4.5 workers provide one retired pension, and this rate is expected to decrease to two for each retiree by 2050. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, there are 37 pensioners for every 100 participants in Germany, and this figure is expected to rise steadily to around 58 by 2050. One of the phenomenon's distorted ideas is that if the elderly is a citizen of a wealthy developed country, he automatically receives a generous pension and retirement benefits. A study released by the Ministry of the Family in December 2021, however, refutes this misconception. In Germany, one-quarter of the elderly are impoverished.
Today (August 2022), less than two decades after the French protests, Germany is debating raising the retirement age to seventy!!
FAILURE TO PREDICT DISASTER
One of the forecast’s limitations is that the phenomenon is global - in general - with a specificity associated with industrial societies and cultures with a more liberal individualist tendency. The World Health Organization projections in October 4, 2021, indicated that the world's population over the age of 60 will rise and grow by 34% between 2020 and 2030.
Today, those aged 60 and up outnumber children under the age of five, and by 2050, those aged 60 and up are expected to outnumber those aged 15-24, with approximately 65 percent of older people living in low- and middle-income countries.
One of the most important determinants of the projection is that actual aging rates over the last quarter century have been faster than predictive models in many cases, implying that the phenomenon is more complex than the statistical models used to predict its future. For example, in China, the rapid decline in fertility has forced major revisions to official estimates of how quickly people are aging, and when the Chinese government released its population development plan in 2016, it predicted that China's total population would not begin to decline until 2030.
The release of the 2022 United Nations World Population Prospects report revealed that China's population began to decline this year (ten years earlier than was predicted in 2019), and that India's population will surpass China's population in 2023, that is, seven years earlier than the 2019 forecast.
One of the projection’s limitations is that some East Asian societies are more influenced by Western lifestyle than many Western societies, where change follows patterns, some extreme and some strange. South Korea's population, for example, is aging faster than that of any other developed country.
The change is not limited to the perception of marriage or childbearing, but that a career almost completely replaces a man, and according to a BBC report ( November 12, 2019), women choose to have fewer children, and some even choose to stay away from romantic relationships completely, "and abstain from any legal marriage relationships or even casual relationships, in order to obtain an independent life and jobs!!"
This shift is part of a growing social phenomenon in South Korea known as the "sambo generation," which refers to the act of letting go of things such as relationships, marriage, and children. The statistics reflect a cultural shift that has never been seen before. Marriage rates among 25 to 29-year-olds were 23% in 2015, compared to 90% in 1970. Surprising figures for a large proportion of Japanese people's aversion to sex, even within marriage, are one example.
According to one expert, Karl Minzner, a senior researcher in China studies and professor at Fordham Law School, one of the lessons learned from attempting to change demographic reality through incentives alone is that "family-friendly labor policies have no value if people do not use them, and they make no sense." Child allowances are ineffective if the underlying causes that lead people to reject marriage and childbearing are not addressed.
Given that East Asia's great economic success has plunged several countries into a dark demographic tunnel with indicators far worse than those of the Western demographic transition, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote an article in Foreign Affairs titled "The Endangered Asian Century." In it, he warned of the "growing threat of demographic change, which poses an ominous threat" to Asia's long-term prosperity.
SINO-EUROPEAN FINAL SCENE
The map of demographic danger clearly shows two major patterns. There is a European pattern in which conflicts between values and interests exacerbated the crisis. In one sense, what Europeans are now facing is the result of a Western lifestyle that has nourished an extreme individualist tendency in the people of these societies.
One of the unchanging cosmic norms is that increasing the value of pleasure in a society where individuality is the most important value leads inevitably to a reluctance to marry, so that the nuclear family itself disappears after the extended family has disappeared. At the same time, the extreme sensitivity to "identity badges" in the public sphere has put Europe in an economic bind - its roots are cultural - with so-called "guest workers," to whom Europe opened its doors after WWII to rebuild the continent's economy. The guest workers have become citizens, whose religions, fashion, and tastes in general serve as the fuel for an ideological struggle. This discord confirms the correctness of what was advised by the United Nations years ago, viz., that Europe absorb the Anglo-Saxon lesson in its pluralism and acceptance of immigrants, so that the European peoples, together with these immigrants, repair the "great demographic rift" that threatens the future of Europe.
The Chinese pattern, on the other hand, demonstrates the dramatic – even historical – effects that demographic change can have. Beginning in the 2000s, Chinese academics began to express concerns about the long-term demographic consequences of these policies, including significant imbalances in male-to-female ratios at birth as a result of aborting female fetuses due to the communist system's totalitarian regulations. It took researchers ten years to confirm the fertility decline, and another decade for the Chinese government to accept the scientists' findings.
Yi Fuxian, a demographer specializing in Chinese society, contends that "since China's economic miracle has been based largely on its inexhaustible labour force, the lack of population growth will be an inflection point in its economic model ... which may prevent China from ever overtaking the United States." According to a 2020 census report from China's National Bureau of Statistics, a third of China's population will be retired in about a quarter-century. In addition, the large economic burden of pension fund budget deficits increased by 11.6 percent between 2014 and 2016, reaching $410 billion.
Demography may play a larger role than expected in bringing the US-China rivalry to a painful end.
FACTS AND FIGURES
In 1989, Japan's fertility rate fell to its lowest level, and what became known as the "shock of 1.57" pushed a child.
In her unvarnished novel "Children of Men," British novelist Phyllis Dorothy James predicted in 1992 that the world would be without any newborn by 2021, "which means the extinction of mankind."
January 2000: The United Nations warns European countries and Japan to encourage immigration in order to address their aging populations.
European Statistics Office study from 2003: In the last decade, the number of marriages in the EU has fallen by 15% and the annual rate of increase recorded at the start of the year is 0.4%, with immigration accounting for three-quarters of the increase.
Protests occur in France over the extension of the retirement age in August 2003.
The German Central Statistics Office warned in April 2015 that the sharp decline in the number of working-age women and men in 2060 will be offset by a similarly large increase in the number of elderly pensioners.
The German Central Statistics Office warned in April 2015 that Germany's population would fall from 80.8 million in 2013, according to the last census, to 73.1 million, or 67.6 million, in 2060.
October 2015 Global Monitoring Report 2015/2016: Population Change and Development Goals (Peru). The world is undergoing a major demographic transition that will reshape economic development over the next several decades.
The Chinese government abolished its strict one-child policy in 2016, then began new policies to encourage childbearing in 2021, but the experiences of its neighbors indicate that these measures are unlikely to succeed.
According to the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs, there were 230 million elderly people in China at the end of 2016, accounting for 16.7 percent of the total population. The annual cost of caring for retirees is $410 billion.
February 2018 Research: By 2050, Europe's population will have declined by 49 million people of working age.
In November of 2019, according to a BBC report regarding a UN study, South Korea's population will peak in 2024, then decline, and by 2100, the country's population will be around 29 million, the same as it was in 1966.
November 2019 South Korea has one of the world's lowest fertility rates, with an average of 1.1 children per woman (the global average is around 2.5).
A report by Eurostat of the European Commission, published in November 2019 by the American magazine Foreign Affairs: In 2050, 33% of the European population will be over the age of 60.
US federal figures for 2020: The birthrate fell by 4%, resulting in the slowest population growth rate since 1979. The number of states with more deaths than births increased from 5 in 2019 to 25 in 2020.
According to a March 2021 study, 40% of Belgian households may have only one member by 2070.
United Nations, October 2021: The number of people over the age of 60 will rise by 34% between 2020 and 2030. People aged 60 and up now outnumber children under the age of five.
According to a study published in December 2021, one-quarter of the elderly in Germany are impoverished.
President Putin, December 2021: Demographic growth is one of Russia's most pressing challenges.
The Economist, December 2021: By 2050, one in every six people in the world will be over 65, up from one in every eleven in 2019, and the population of 55 countries is expected to decline between now and 2050.
December 2021: America's population growth rate will fall to one-tenth of one percent in 2021, the lowest rate in the country's history.
South Korea formed a task force in June 2022 to address the country's declining population. People aged 65 and up made up 14% of the population.
According to Statistics Korea, the working-age population will fall by 35% to 24.19 million in 2050.
According to a UN report published in July 2022, the global population growth rate fell below 1% annually in 2020 for the first time since 1950. The global population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950.
The OECD predicts that the retirement age will rise to 66.1 years in 20 of the 38 OECD countries.
August 2022: Vietnam is one of the world's fastest aging countries, and it will be an aging society by 2035.
After Japan, Italy has the highest life expectancy in the industrialized world in August 2022.
Childbirth in Sweden has reached a 20-year low in August 2022.
According to the United Nations World Population Prospects Report for 2022, China's population began declining ten years earlier than expected, and India's population will surpass China's seven years sooner than expected.
South Korea's working-age population is expected to decline by 35% over the next 30 years, due to fewer births and a societal aging.
Statistics Canada stated in April 2022 that "never before has the number of people approached this high before retirement age," with more than one in every five workers (21.8 percent) approaching retirement age. The mandatory retirement age of 65 years.
Statistics Canada stated in April 2022 that there will be one million vacancies in Canada by late 2021.
The value of the healthy aging sector in 2022, according to Sharjah Research, Technology, and Innovation Park, is $26.5 trillion in August 2022.
According to a May 2022 University of Washington study, 151 of the world's 195 countries will see population declines by 2050.