Johnny Munkhammar skrev på denna blogg från 2004 till sin död 2012. Bloggen är upprätthållen som ett minne och som referens till Johnnys arbete av Johnny Munkhammars minnesfond.

This blog was operated by Johnny Munkhammar from 2004 until 2012 when he passed away. This blog is now in a memorialized state and operated by the Johnny Munkhammar fund.
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Thursday 18/07/2024, 04:31:36

12/01/2006 12:12:30 pm
It′s the Demography, Stupid! Just as there were horrifying predictions a few decades ago that the earth would be over-crowded, many now fear that there will be no population at all in the future. Mark Steyn wrote this in Opinion Journal:

"Much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most Western European countries. There′ll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands--probably--just as in Istanbul there′s still a building called St. Sophia′s Cathedral. But it′s not a cathedral; it′s merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate. The challenge for those who reckon Western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives is to figure out a way to save at least some parts of the West."

In all this gloom and doom, it is refreshing that The Economist in the latest edition points out that this is far too pessimistic. A decrease in population must not imply a decrease in prosperity. GDP per person may still grow. True, and it could be added that one part of the demographic development is the fact that people live longer. That is a great achievement. Another part is that fewer people feel they have to have lots of children in order to support themselves when they grow old.

Not having doomsday scenarios is essential, both because they are not true and because they often produce enormous and failing policies from the state. Having said this, however, the projections for the future are quite dramatic. The UN believes that by 2050, the population will be smaller than today in 50 countries. Russia′s population will decrease by 22 % and Ukraine′s by 43 %, for example. Japan′s population is already shrinking.

This may not happen. If the world gets more open for people to move, everything can change. But if it happens, it will of course feel slightly depressing to live in a society with empty houses, fewer cars, generally lower activity than before. Then again, this may not be negative. It is like a countryside that today in many countries has ever fewer inhabitants. And that happens because people decide freely that they want to live elsewhere. Hopefully, that is a liberty we will have on a global scale to a larger extent in the future.

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