27 September 2011

The Coming Global Age of the Old and Decrepit

The U.N. now projects that over the next 40 years, more than half (58 percent) of the world's population growth will come from increases in the number of people over 60, while only 6 percent will come from people under 30. Indeed, the U.N. projects that by 2025, the population of children under 5, already in steep decline in most developed countries, will be falling globally -- and that's even after assuming a substantial rebound in birth rates in the developing world. A gray tsunami will be sweeping the planet. _FP
This avalanche of aging and debility will sweep across portions of the Earth like a plague, leaving once-thriving societies and civilisations at the mercy of more barbarous, but more vital, societies. Who will win and who will lose in this race to the edges of death?
In many countries, such as Germany, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, the one-child family is now becoming the norm. This trend creates a society in which not only do most people have no siblings, but also no aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, or nephews. Many will lack children of their own as well. Today about one in five people in advanced Western countries, including the United States, remains childless. Huge portions of the world's population will thus have no biological relatives except their parents.

And even where children continue to be born, they are being raised under radically different circumstances, as country after country has seen divorce and out-of-wedlock births surge and the percentage of children living with both of their married parents drop sharply. So not only is the quantity of children in the world poised to shrink rapidly, but on current trends, a near majority of them will be raised in ways that are today strongly associated with negative life outcomes. _FP
In fact, virtually all of Europe, Russia, Canada, and much of East Asia are being swept up by the tsunami of global aging. We are living in the eye of the storm, when the repercussions of this demographic storm are not as turbulent as they will be quite soon.

When the "experts" discuss issues such as economic crises, climate change, resource scarcity, and trends in culture, they always leave out some critical pieces of the puzzle. Without these pieces, it is impossible for ordinary people to get a grasp on what is happening. Demographic changes -- due to differential birthrates and migrations -- are key to predicting future trends. Differences between populations in cognitive aptitude, executive function, cultural norms, aesthetics, ethics, impulse control, and many other genetically influenced civilisational fulcrums, must be acknowledged and understood, before future trends can be unraveled and delineated.

Many of the troubling trends in modern societies such as an increase in cheating and dishonesty at all levels of society, media, government -- even in science -- are in large part due to the demographic transitions that are taking place. If you don't understand what is happening on the level of population changes and displacements, you will be at a loss as the massive shocks and aftershocks precede and follow the coming tsunami.


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Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

Yes.. but what can be done about it?
How do you get high IQ people to have lots of kids?

This problem has been around for a very long time. Roman Emperor Vespasian tried offering financial incentives for the upper classes to have more children. It didn't work

Tuesday, 27 September, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

In the absence of artificial wombs, the use of surrogates is likely to enjoy an upsurge in popularity among those of independent income.

There are plenty of women who don't mind having children. But most of them can't spare the time or expense to carry, birth, and raise them.

HILN, if you were farsighted enough, you might begin gathering a herd of surrogates and start your own surrogate empire. A good deal all around. ;-)

Women are, in general, quite impressionable, and sensitive to what they believe people in their circle are thinking about them. A good surrogate king will use that trait to his advantage.

Tuesday, 27 September, 2011  
Blogger kurt9 said...

Guys, all this is is motivation for the development of SENS life extension therapies. Arguing about these demographics is like arguing about the accumulation of horse manure in city streets in 1900 when car were about to be developed.

Tuesday, 27 September, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

On the other hand, waiting for SENS therapies may be like happily sitting on the deck of the sinking Titanic, believing that the Coney Island lifeguards will swim out and save you.

If the western world can maintain its civilisation and its funding of advanced biomedicine, the odds are good that humans who were born in 1980 or later will benefit significantly from life extension therapies.

Unfortunately, the kind of leaders in charge of the US, the EU, and several other government entities of the advanced world, do not inspire hope for the longevity of western civilisation and the freedoms that evolved within it.

Tuesday, 27 September, 2011  
Blogger Robert said...


You've probably heard of Dr Bill Andrews and his research into telomere's. If not, he was recently the subject of an article in the August issue of Popular Science titled "The Man Who Would Stop Time"


Wednesday, 28 September, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

Thanks, Robert.

Yes, I was investing in Geron back in the 90s, following that earlier research and getting luckier than I deserved, perhaps.

The telomere approach is likely to be effective for certain forms of cancers long before it is safe to use for anti-aging, in the opinion of Al Fin Gerontologists.

Wednesday, 28 September, 2011  
Blogger Robert said...

What do you think of his new partnership with Isagenix and their new "Product B" ? I came across a couple of podcasts with Dr Andrews:



Wednesday, 28 September, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

Robert, no doubt there is a lot of money in selling products such as isagenix. The global population is aging, and most of these people do not particularly want to die anytime soon.

Bill Andrews has apparently decided to collaborate with an herbal formulator so as to cash in on a growing and lucrative trend.

Looking through the ingredients and approach, most people will probably not be hurt significantly by the Isagenix plan, although some people should probably avoid particular parts of the plan.

Herbs can be very potent tonics and medicines, but every individual is different. We do not know enough about the individual reaction to nutritional and herbal supplements to formulate personalised regimens.

So we have to make do with approximations which might be insufficient for some and too much for others, and ideal for only a very few. That caveat will apply to each and every one of the several ingredients in Isagenix.

My opinion? It probably won't hurt most people, and probably won't help most people very much.

But a few people might do very well indeed with such an approach.

Wednesday, 28 September, 2011  

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