The arc of history sets the narrative. Not presidents.

Now that we’ve heard from the candidates, here’s some reality. This overshadows everything. It’s not a national problem – it’s a global problem like so many of the other challenges we face these days. As has been said, by whom I cannot remember, ‘demographcs is destiny’.  Which may be why the increasingly insular plutocrats of this globe are systematically separating themselves from the rest of us. They know very well what’s happening and will create their ‘safe zones’.  Soylent Green guys, Soylent Green. (I really have been in a foul mood. Working on it.)





14 responses to “The arc of history sets the narrative. Not presidents.

  1. No wonder you’re in a foul mood, Moe, thinking about what this means. The fiscal cliff we can deal with, but the population bomb has no obvious solution. I probably won’t be around to see the denouement, but you have my sympathy.


  2. I think I see this as largely driven by two things: A falling birth rate; and rising life expectancy. Except for the fact that the second could mean more folks spending more of their life in a mildly debilitated state, I think these are both good things.

    I wouldn’t expect overpopulation at least with fewer births.

    Rising cost of the retirement population is the main drawback. We may have to a work later into life, save more in out youth, or maybe subsidize children to raise the birthrate.

    Things will change at the least, but I don’t see these trend-lines as harbingers of doom. The country that may be the canary in the coal mine on this issue is likely Japan. They are definitely graying, and by the way face a government debt that is much larger relative it GDP than the US or even the European nation with their supposed debt issues.


    • Bruce – the country in the most dire straits is going to be China, because of their decades long one child policy. I do agree with you that the fact of what’s happening isn’t of itself a bad thing. What is bad though is the societal models that have been in place pretty much around thw world for a few hundred years won’t work. We need to get thinking abou this one.


  3. Oh, it gets even worse. The ones not reproducing are the ones who are expected to pay for everything. The dependent population is closer to stable and the influx of poor immigrants increases.

    Yeah, without dramatic and probably painful chain, it’s all going to collapse in a generation or two.


    • I didn’t say it would collapse jonolan and I disagree entirely with your premise. The fact is that immigrants provide the dynamism that fades as the overall population ages. And the changes we need to make must be dymamic and innovative. It is NOT just about cutting costs. It’s about creating entirely new societal models. My father was the son of uneducated immigrants who built their own business and sent him to law school. And his four children succeeded even more and had six more little descendants who are lawyers, Navy Captains, business owners, and even a professional basketball scout (he’s a lawyer too – fallback you know).

      But the ‘dependant’ population as you call the working poor have far fewer opportunities than my famlly did. Upward mobility over generations in this country has been falling and we’re now way behind while other countries have more opportunities to move up.


      • In America, still the world’s economic cash cow, what you’re describing is a lost variant of immigration. What we have now isn’t integrating – they’re discouraged from doing so, actually – and isn’t contributing to the current federal tax model. That’s NOT dynamic.

        Look at it this way. If the poor breed and the affluent don’t, with our taxing and spending system, it’s going to collapse unless drastic changes are made.

        And it IS all and only about cutting costs, at least when it comes to the government. That’s the only way to salvage anything.


        • I remember – even in my lifetime – people snickering about the Irish (we were Irish) and thier ‘breeding habits’, having all those children because they were Catholic. In those days, Catholics were a minority. In my grandfather’s day, Irish were portrayed as monkeys, beasts, illiterates who ate with their hands. All they accused the Jews of was drinking the blood of Christian babies. Get off it jonolan, we need to figure out how to deal with reality and stop ‘blaming the poor’.


          • Make up your mind, Moe. Either we stop blaming people for their own failures and stop blaming those who enable their failure or we deal with reality. It’s a binary toggle.


            • “Their own failures”? Unless you assume that a child raised in poverty without education or proper nutruition is to be blamed for any shortcoming in her own future life, this is not binary. I’ll assign blame and praise on both “sides” as warranted. I’m sure you say you wouild too except I hear you blame an entire class of people equally.


              • For the good of the nation as a functioning whole, better to blame an entire class of dependent people than to excuse them, Moe.

                I also notice you have no problems with blaming another class as a whole, the productive and successful who want to stay that way.

                Funny thing about talking about macroeconomics as it related to demographics – it’s all generalities and there’s always exceptions and particular subgroups that we want to make exceptions for,


                • I have no problems blaming the oligarchs, those who are in fact something like .0001% of our population. That’s not a ‘class of people’. That’s 400 families. Successful people? Those who build businesses? I love ’em.

                  And I’d be fine with those .00001% if they’d just keep their hands off my society and my government. It’s not what htey have, it’s what they do with it.

                  And to be clear, people like Romney don’t qualify for that class. To them, $250mil net worth is ‘down market’.


  4. Actually I think it would be interesting to see what is historic and projected share of the population world wide that is working age (18-6? maybe).

    If we have fewer youngsters, but more oldsters: the working age population doesn’t necessarily change so much. Resources that go to children may go more to a population that spend more of its life in retirement.


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