Foot-stomping and caterwauling are so much easier than actually accomplishing something.
For much of the past decade, “declinism”–the notion that America is heading toward a deadly denouement–has largely been a philosophy of the left. But more recently, particularly in the wake of Barack Obama’s election, conservatives have begun joining the chorus, albeit singing a somewhat different variation on the same tune.
In a recent column in TheWashington Post George Will illustrates this conservative change of heart. Looking over the next few decades Will sees an aging, obsolescent America in retreat to a young and aggressive China. “America’s destiny is demographic, and therefore is inexorable and predictable,” he suggests, pointing to predictions by Nobel Prize economist Robert Fogel that China’s economy will be three times larger than that of the U.S. by 2040.
Rarely mentioned in such analyses is China’s own aging problem. The population of the People’s Republic will be considerably older than the U.S.’ by 2050. It also has far more boys than girls–a rather insidious problem. Among the younger generation there are already an estimated 24 million more men of marrying age than women. This is not going to end well–except perhaps for investors in prostitution and pornography.
In the longer term demographic trends actually place the U.S. in a relatively strong position. By the end of the first half of the 21st century, the American population aged 15 to 64–essentially your economically active cohort–are projected to grow by 42%; China’s will shrink by 10%. Comparisons with other competitors are even larger, with the E.U. shrinking by 25%, Korea by 30% and Japan by a remarkable 44%.
People are the only real resource on earth folks. Please try to understand that.