The “greying” of the population in Western countries is a well-known phenomenon. The current demographic trend that sees Western women having an average of about 1.5 children each means that that the birthrate stays well below replacement level. With substantial improvements in medical care for the elderly, Western societies have become top-heavy with older people — geezers like me.
This situation is obviously one of the driving reasons for importing so many young and fecund foreigners from the Third World. It’s clear to long-term policy planners that the current welfare state cannot be sustained if the cohort of working-age people keeps shrinking while the geriatric cohort keeps ballooning. The importation of young foreigners is the only way to keep the system from crashing — or so the reasoning goes.
Nationalists who desire to preserve their country’s culture and genetic makeup routinely discuss the need to increase the birthrate, to make motherhood more socially fashionable — I can’t think of a better word — and less of a financial burden to families. In countries where nationalist parties control the government, such as Russia and Hungary, programs have been put in place to encourage and support childbearing, with an eye towards raising the fertility rate to the magic number of 2.1.
Even the most optimistic promoters of birth-encouragement, however, admit that achieving success will be a long and difficult process. And even if they enjoy such success right now — which doesn’t seem to be happening — the benefits won’t kick in for a full generation. Whereas the liabilities of a rapidly-aging population are kicking in right now.
Nevertheless, there is another, obvious way in which the demographic makeup of the population could be shifted. But no one really wants to talk about it — and with good reason.
The demographics of a population are controlled by two factors: the birth rate and the death rate. When either changes, the demographic balance shifts. Nudging the birthrate upwards is, as policy-makers have discovered, quite difficult. But nudging the death rate upwards would be quite easy, especially in a welfare state with a fully socialized medical system.
Do you think the policy wonks that manage socialized medical care haven’t noticed this alternative? I don’t — anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of statistics would be aware of it. But it’s not something that a clinician or social scientist would want to write about, nor would any medical journal want to publish about it.
Up until now the planners have preferred a less draconian solution to the problem of the greying of the population. The plan has been to import new workers from among the teeming hordes in the “developing countries” to replace the aging whites whose taxes have hitherto propped up the system. “New skin for the old ceremony,” as Leonard Cohen said.
But it’s not working out the way it was supposed to. Even Angela Merkel must have realized by now that the “New Germans” aren’t going to provide a sufficient economic base to replace the native German one. Not anytime soon, and maybe not ever, based on the way the second and third generations of culture-enrichers stubbornly cling to their low-skill welfare-parasite habits.
No, the system will eventually collapse if present trends continue. Even when London becomes the Dhaka of the West and Berlin morphs into Istanbul, the problem will remain: there won’t be enough working young people to pay for the old people.
And that’s when the policy planners will start looking at the other side of the ineluctable demographic equation. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that they’re already looking at it — quietly and discreetly, behind closed doors. How could they not be looking at it?
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I’ll have more to say about the geriatric “final solution” to the demographic problem, but first let’s take a look at the statistics.
I recently ran across an excellent website called World Life Expectancy, which features well-designed graphical representations of demographic data for all the countries of the world, beginning in 1950 and projecting all the way up to 2050.
The site uses a graphing script to create a “population pyramid”, which shows the statistical breakdown of a population by age. Youngsters are at the bottom, geezers at the top; females on the
left right, males on the right left.
The traditional form of the pyramid is represented by the 2015 graph for Senegal:
(Click to enlarge)
Lots and lots of youngsters, very few old people, and a smoothly decreasing graph from the bottom to the top.
This is the sort of population that can, at least in theory, support socialized care for the elderly. Not many old people and lots of young ones: a modest tax on the youthful will suffice to support the senescent.
But for various reasons — among them the fact that the welfare state disincentivizes childbearing for all but the underclass — the population pyramid isn’t a pyramid at all for mature Western social democracies. Take a look at the USA in 2015:
(Click to enlarge)
You can see the Boomer Bulge up there at the top (that’s where I am). Down below is a second bulge for the children of the Boomers. And then below that it gets narrower.
Obviously, the American taxpayer is going to have to endure a much higher tax rate than the Senegalese do to support the geezers in their dotage.
But the USA is close to a best-case example of the fully-developed Western democracies. For something closer to worst-case, we need to look at Greece. Here it is in 1950:
(Click to enlarge)
This is not bad for supporting a full welfare state. It’s not quite a pyramid, but at least it’s similar to one.
Move ahead sixty-five years to 2015, however, and it looks completely different: