Saturday, February 18, 2006

It's The Demography Stupid


Wouldn't you love to have a few beers with Mark Steyn? Not only are his opinions well reasoned, i.e. I agree with him, but he is among the most amusing pundits out there. This piece on the impending Islamic demographic supremacy is sobering. You should of course read the whole thing.
Demography doesn't explain everything but it accounts for a good 90 per cent. The "who" is the best indicator of the what-where-when-and-why. Go on, pick a subject. Will Japan's economy return to the heady days of the 1980s when US businesses cowered in terror? Answer: No. Japan is exactly the same as it was in its heyday except for one fact: it stopped breeding and its population aged. Will China be the hyperpower of the 21st century? Answer: No. Its population will get old before it gets rich.
Check back with me in a century and we'll see who's right on that one. But here's one we know the answer to: Why is this newspaper published in the language of a tiny island on the other side of the earth? Why does Australia have an English Queen, English common law, English institutions? Because England was the first nation to conquer infant mortality.
By 1820 medical progress had so transformed British life that half the population was under the age of 15. Britain had the manpower to take, hold, settle and administer huge chunks of real estate around the planet. Had, say, China or Russia been first to overcome childhood mortality, the modern world would be very different.

1 comment:

zaphod said...

Steyn is very good and incredibly prolific too. He also has the cover story for this week's National Review (where he gives George Clooney a hard time). And there's this from today's Chicago Sun Times.