January 05, 2006

Until I get the rest of my handwritten notes transcribed, I offer this excerpt from Mark Steyn.

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.

... The design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birthrate to sustain it. Post-Christian hyperrationalism is, in the objective sense, a lot less rational than Catholicism or Mormonism. Indeed, in its reliance on immigration to ensure its future, the European Union has adopted a 21st-century variation on the strategy of the Shakers, who were forbidden from reproducing and thus could increase their numbers only by conversion.

... If only a million babies are born in 2006, it's hard to have two million adults enter the workforce in 2026 ... And the hard data on babies around the Western world is that they're running out a lot faster than the oil is. "Replacement" fertility rate -- i.e., the number you need for merely a stable population, not getting any bigger, not getting any smaller -- is 2.1 babies per woman. Some countries are well above that: the global fertility leader, Somalia, is 6.91, Niger 6.83, Afghanistan 6.78, Yemen 6.75. Notice what those nations have in common?

Scroll way down to the bottom of the Hot One Hundred top breeders and you'll eventually find the United States, hovering just at replacement rate with 2.07 births per woman. Ireland is 1.87, New Zealand 1.79, Australia 1.76. But Canada's fertility rate is down to 1.5, well below replacement rate; Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. That's to say, Spain's population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy's population will have fallen by 22%, Bulgaria's by 36%, Estonia's by 52%. In America, demographic trends suggest that the blue states ought to apply for honorary membership of the EU: In the 2004 election, John Kerry won the 16 with the lowest birthrates; George W. Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest. By 2050, there will be 100 million fewer Europeans, 100 million more Americans -- and mostly red-state Americans.

As fertility shrivels, societies get older -- and Japan and much of Europe are set to get older than any functioning societies have ever been. And we know what comes after old age. These countries are going out of business -- unless they can find the will to change their ways. Is that likely? I don't think so.

... Even in 1968 Paul Ehrlich and his ilk should have understood that their so-called population explosion was really a massive population adjustment. Of the increase in global population between 1970 and 2000, the developed world accounted for under 9% of it, while the Muslim world accounted for 26%. Between 1970 and 2000, the developed world declined from just under 30% of the world's population to just over 20%, the Muslim nations increased from about 15% to 20%.

And yet the world is utterly altered. Just to recap those bald statistics: In 1970, the developed world had twice as big a share of the global population as the Muslim world: 30% to 15%. By 2000, they were the same: each had about 20%.

And by 2020?

So the world's people are a lot more Islamic than they were back then and a lot less "Western." Europe is significantly more Islamic, having taken in during that period some 20 million Muslims (officially) -- or the equivalents of the populations of four European Union countries (Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and Estonia). Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the West: In the U.K., more Muslims than Christians attend religious services each week.

... Permanence is the illusion of every age. In 1913, no one thought the Russian, Austrian, German and Turkish empires would be gone within half a decade. Seventy years on, all those fellows who dismissed Reagan as an "amiable dunce" (in Clark Clifford's phrase) assured us the Soviet Union was likewise here to stay. The CIA analysts' position was that East Germany was the ninth biggest economic power in the world. In 1987 there was no rash of experts predicting the imminent fall of the Berlin Wall, the Warsaw Pact and the USSR itself.*

... To avoid collapse, European nations will need to take in immigrants at a rate no stable society has ever attempted.
[Note: Canada took in 10% of its then-existing population in immigrants during the post-WW2 decade - T] The CIA is predicting the EU will collapse by 2020.* ... If anything, the date of EU collapse is rather a cautious estimate. It seems more likely that within the next couple of European election cycles, the internal contradictions of the EU will manifest themselves in the usual way, and that by 2010 we'll be watching burning buildings, street riots and assassinations on American network news every night. Even if they avoid that, the idea of a childless Europe ever rivaling America militarily or economically is laughable. Sometime this century there will be 500 million Americans, and what's left in Europe will either be very old or very Muslim. Japan faces the same problem: Its population is already in absolute decline, the first gentle slope of a death spiral it will be unlikely ever to climb out of. Will Japan be an economic powerhouse if it's populated by Koreans and Filipinos? Very possibly. Will Germany if it's populated by Algerians? That's a trickier proposition.

Best-case scenario? The Continent winds up as Vienna with Swedish tax rates.

Worst-case scenario: Sharia, circa 2040; semi-Sharia, a lot sooner -- and we're already seeing a drift in that direction.

* Tenebris' predictions: no expert, but I do predict the collapse of NATO within that period of time. As to the EU (assuming the disruption of NATO is relatively peaceable, ie. any hostilities limited only to what passes for skirmishes these days): not collapse, but split into two or three sections, depending on whether Great Britain decides in the end to go it alone -- and that by the year 2015, or maybe even sooner. The line of division is approximately along the old East / West Europe divide. Germany and to a lesser extent Austria and France are caught in the middle. The core issue is not societal (religious) values but labour supply and demand: who has the cheap, high unemployment rate labour force vs. who has the powerhouse labour-hungry economies slipping toward shareholder dominance. (Every rise in racism correlates directly -- I do not say caused -- with economic shifts bringing in a new, willing-to-work-more-cheaply workforce.) We are already seeing the rifts today.

hi, u have a nice blog here. keep going...
I like this thought. I have talked about some parts of it before to others. And my wife as well. I want a larger family and am seeing all of my anglo friends have just one or no children. Well a busy life is going to choke us.
Well anyway i just want our world to be better and for our country to be strong.

God bless,
Nice blog
I know that the statistics of this position are not argueable, and I only have my direct experience to compare with them. The two just don't jive well.

Where I spend the better part of my mundane time is presently experiencing unprecedented growth in terms of both population and infrastructure to support that population. Where is this coming from if the statistics say it all happening in those third world muslim countries? That is not where I live.

I find myself hoping that sooner would be better in my case than later for this great demographic shift to occur. I really don't want to have to pull up stakes and move north once again to flee the urban sprawl encroaching on my well loved digs.

And I am not alone in this. Folks a good deal newer to the neighborhood than I are becoming activists so that they too can keep their new found environs the way that they found them not so long ago.

This is the hurdle that will have to be overcome for this idea to gain veracity. Statistics can only do so much.
Well, ultimately all statistics can ever be is a cross-section, an interpretive static snapshot which may or may not provide an accurate (non-distorted) picture of the scene they claim to portray, and which may or may not have been presented in such a way as to promote a specific agenda.

The numbers are one thing. What the numbers mean, something else entirely.
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