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What do no Children Mean for the Global Economy?

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Societies and civilisations need children to replace previous generations that are needed to fight wars, work in the workforce and help run the world’s consumer-led economy; without these societies, the economy will collapse.

The best way to understand this is to imagine a society like a pyramid with the elderly at the top and young people at the bottom. If the top of the pyramid becomes too large, with older adults, society and the economy will collapse.

This does not mean old people are the problem or that there is anything wrong with the elderly. Still, with societies not having a replacement population, the cost of capital will rise, and there won’t be enough people paying into the tax system to help run systems like social care.

With the Europeans, apart from France’s population with an average birth rate of 1.2%, there isn’t a generation to replace the previous generation.

Photo by Wasa Crispbread on Unsplash

What Happens with the Population, not at Replacement Levels

After World War II, most nations had a baby boom, but places like Germany or Japan did not have this baby room for several reasons.

For the Germans, it was because they started the industrialisation process five generations ago, and the Japanese reindustrialised after the Second World War within 30 years.

To understand why these nations do not repopulate and expand their birth rates, it is first necessary to understand the geographies of Germany and Japan.

In the case of Germany, 1/3 of its landmass is mountainous, meaning it is not suitable for mass settlement.

The same goes for Japan, having very little land suitable for growing families. This, combined with industrialisation, meant that people no longer had large families because the children became a net liability.

With this information, you may be thinking, why doesn’t this affect places like the UK to the same extent? The simple answer is United Kingdom started the industrialisation process during the American Revolution War from 1775 CE to 1783 CE.

In practical terms, this meant that the United Kingdom experienced the benefits and drawbacks of industrialisation within seven generations.

The same applied to Germany with five generations in Spain and Portugal within three generations. The reason, as stated above, is geographical and cultural changes industrialisation brings about population declines.

For example, China experienced the process of industrialisation, which took the British seven generations within less than one generation.

Chinese experience phenomenal success during the past decades; however, it needs to be clarified if it will last for the long term as the world has been led to believe in the popular media.

After World War II ended, China went from being conquered by the Japanese to being liberated by the Americans. The Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by the atomic bomb.

The end of the wars in China, which started in 1931 with the invasion of Manchuria by the Japanese Empire and Chairman Mao Zedong’s communist victory in 1949, led to a baby boom of over 300 million people in China. With the Chinese in such a poor country, the Communist Party was terrified of mass famine and rebellion.

During the great leap forward is estimated that between 22 million and 50 million Chinese died. In response, the Chinese government first created the one-child policy in 1979.

With this policy, the Chinese ethnic majority, the Han, was no longer at replacement levels; it required at least two births to place the child’s mother and father successfully.

Also, the problem with the Chinese culture is its favouritism of males, which means the Chinese are missing 37% of its Chinese female population, and at the moment, the country has 34.9 million shortages of women. Without women, there is no capacity to expand the population.

Also, with China experiencing its massive population boom due to the rise of better healthcare and people living longer like Japan, China is now facing a population with more adults in diapers than newborns.

According to Peter Zelhen, a geopolitical writer and geopolitical analyst, China reached its peak industrial labour force in the early 2000s, and it was government spending that put China in the lead in global manufacturing in low-end manufacturing.

Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash

What Happens when there are not Enough People

During the 2020s and 2030s, the boomer generation will be retiring, and there won’t be a population to replace them in the Western world and East Asia.

Regarding the demographics, only France, the United States of America and New Zealand have a Millennial generation, and they have 20 years to start reproducing the next.

With the boomers retiring in practical terms for global finance, generating capital will be much more challenging because millennials will only be producing the kind of income to invest in the 2040s and put that extra income into investments.

This is even worse for the rest of the world because they don’t have a replacement generation. However, nations like Japan have inbuilt industrial plants where they invest their money in manufacturing products.

Japan also has the bonus of being the most technologically advanced nation on the planet, so outsourcing has become the key to Japan’s success.

The other option would be immigration, but in places like Japan, South Korea, and particularly China, opening the nation to immigration solves their demographic problems will not be happening because of cultural reasons.

Governments will also have to make hard choices during the next two decades the because there will not be enough workers paying taxes that pay for social care and people’s retirement.

The elderly may work into their 60s, but once they retire, they could be expected to live another 25 or even over 35 years due to modern medicine, which is decades of not being active but still taking money out of the system.

Modern society has become the victim of its successful governments, and people will need to start conversations about the importance of children and family.

However, with this stated, there is help in Africa having healthy demographics, same with South America, but globally United States will emerge the strongest from the coming democratic collapse.

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