Saturday, November 29, 2008

More break-up news

That the US may be on the verge of breakup is debatable but highly unlikely, but there are other major powers facing economic and demographic crises that make our problems look like an ice-cream headache:
China Faces A Sexual Crises

November 28, 2008: The U.S. National Intelligence Council recently issued a report, directed at national leaders; "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World". Would you believe, the Executive Summary is about eight pages long? Few senior people have enough patience to wade through that. Fortunately, a lot of what was in the report was fairly obvious for anyone that's been paying attention.

But the main points are that by 2025, the post-World War II international system will be revolutionized, as new players, like Brazil, Russia, India and China, will have a seat at the international high table. This is a "Duh." Russia's been a player since 1945. China and then India joined up by the '90s, and Brazil, well, there's a saying "Brazil will always have a bright future"

The unprecedented transfer of wealth roughly from West to East now under way will continue for the foreseeable future. But beyond 2025, Russia and China face some serious demographic problems. China's "one child" policy (to halt population growth), and the unanticipated appearance of cheap sonograms (enabling parents to determine the gender of their child while there was still time for an abortion) has caused an imbalance in the gender ratio. There are now 115 boys for every 100 girls. Young men are having a problem finding wives. Wealthier urban males attract more women from the rural areas (where 70 percent of Chinese still live), leaving a lot of lonely, poor and angry young men in the countryside. The smaller generations means that the proportion of elderly (made wealthier and healthier by the booming economy) is skyrocketing, while the workforce is shrinking. Both these trends are bad, and will have negative social and economic impacts. India has the same gender imbalance problem, but a growing population that contains a higher proportion of poor people than in China. Not good.

Unprecedented economic growth, and a global population that has 1.5 billion more people, will put pressure on resources. There's not enough energy, food, and water to support the rising expectations of the growing middle class in China and India.

The Middle East remains a source of conflict. The social, economic, political and religious crises within the Islamic community will have to be resolved, somehow, before the threat subsides. Meanwhile, the spread of nuclear weapons makes future conflicts within the Middle East more dangerous.

More immigrants for us. The most capable will flee to here, the least capable will stay put and suffer. Somehow I don't see too many emigrants from China and India fleeing to Russia.


Blogger Harry Eagar said...

You may be right about emigrants at leisure, but refugees have to go where they can.

I think China will split apart, not peacefully, as unity has never been the default for China. Chinese will then rush for the exits.

In the '20s, Russians fled to China for the same reason, producing a cosmopolitan city at Harbin along with Jews fleeing Germany, Koreans fleeing Korea and so on.

I wonder, though, if the Chinese sex imbalance ratio is so very great compared to pre-Mao days, when the rich kept many concubines. There must have been a lot of frustrated peasants then, too.

November 29, 2008 11:30 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

The article hints at, but does not detail, Russia's demographic problems.

"Problems" must be a new synonym for "crisis."

IIRC, Russia's death rate exceeds its birth rate by just under 1M per year, and there is no immigration to speak of.

November 29, 2008 3:34 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Can't feed itself, no economy to speak of. Yearning for days of imperial glory.

Russia has about the same outlook, materially anyway, as Islam.

It's only advantages over the Muslims would be high literacy and low tribalism.

November 29, 2008 8:09 PM  

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