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Government And Its Role Essay

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Government and Its Role
The Demographic Future by Nicholas Eberstadt (Foreign Affairs, Nov/Dec 2010)

Submitted For: International Business Environments Professor Andrew R. Thomas

Submitted By: Joe F. Dolder

October 2, 2012

Joe F. Dolder 

 

October 2, 2012 

Article Overview3
Utilizing current population statistics, mortality rates, and fertility rates, Nicholas Eberstadt projects the global demographic future for the next 20 years and what this future portends is a series of social and economic problems relating to a contracting work-force and an aging population. The century leading up to the Baby Boom generation saw an explosion in population stemming largely from medical and nutritional improvements. While birthrates during this period remained fairly constant, and even declined in the latter part of the century, life expectancy doubled. This meant an increasingly younger and more innovative work-force that fueled one of the most economically prosperous periods in history. However, by the advent of the Baby Boom generation in the US, widespread use of increasingly more effective forms of birth control and later the increased use and cultural acceptability of feticide fueled a global, sustained fertility rate decline. What is striking about the global decline in fertility rates is that they are not confined to the developed world. While virtually the entire developed world has fertility rates that are at or below replacement levels, this accounts for less than 20% of the world’s population. The vast majority of countries with sub-replacement fertility rates are in low-income countries such as China. This lack of socioeconomic correlation with fertility rates makes it difficult to predict when a country will enter such a state and how long it will last. This lack of socioeconomic correlation may be due to the developed world’s intervention in low-income and third world nations, both culturally and in the subsidized distribution of birth-control, abortifacients, and abortion services. A shrinking population due to reduced fertility rates invariably means an aging population. These two factors adumbrate a host of problems. An older workforce generally means a less healthy, less educated, and less tech-savvy workforce. Additionally, a dwindling working age population will mean that inefficiencies in the use of human capital will be more keenly felt as human capital growth will no longer act to balance it. Finally, smaller workforce/retiree ratios will put tremendous pressure on successive generations and their governments to keep in place entitlement programs and tend to the needs of the aging.

Government and Its Role   

International Business Environments 

 

Joe F. Dolder 

 

October 2, 2012 

Eberstadt states that the economic profile of the world will depend largely on the economies of the six major economies: China, India, Japan, Russia, Western Europe, and the United States. Each of these countries faces unique demographic challenges. China is particularly affected by demographic changes because it has such a large population, is a lowincome country, and its coercive population-control measures have exacerbated their demographic problems, both in terms of an aging population and skewed male/female ratios. Since 1992, Russia’s deaths have outnumbered its births by 50% and average life expectancy is less now than it was half a century ago. Additionally, the surplus of mortalities that it is experiencing seems concentrated in its working-age population (20-50 year olds). India’s population is set to grow by 1% per year over the next 20 years, but regional disparities mean that its surplus population will be located in the rural, less educated north where it is less likely to fuel economic prosperity for the country. Currently, India lacks the educational infrastructure necessary to take f...

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