31 May 2012

US Demographics at the Tipping Point

This article was previously published on abu al-fin blog

The US has passed a milestone: From now on, the majority of births in the US will be to non-European women. Highest birthrates in the US occur among non-white Hispanics. Black American women also have higher birthrates than do Euro American women. Birthrates among the much smaller groups of disparate Asian populations in the US vary considerably.
Wall Street Journal

For the first time in US history, whites of European ancestry account for less than half of newborn children, marking a demographic tipping point . . . _WSJ
This demographic tipping point changes a lot more than just the ethnic makeup of the US population. Because different population groups tend to arise from different cultures, holding different customs and values, the political and economic behaviour of the new majority is likely to tip the overall economic and political behaviour of the US significantly.

Perhaps it would be instructive to look at the differences between the populations of Northern Europe and Southern Europe. While both the North and the South are governed by some form of welfare state, Northern Europeans tend to be more naturally austere and thrifty, whereas Southern Europeans tend to take like more from day to day, enjoying the warmer sunnier climate, the wine, the Med.

Greece is becoming the first to suffer for its peoples' inherent lack of austerity and thrift. As Greece's economy crumbles, a regime of austerity would allow the country's economy to recover its footing -- but the politics of Greece and the natural inclination of its people will not tolerate austerity enforced from above. And as for austerity from within -- the people simply do not have it in them.

The same is likely to prove true for Spain, Italy, Portugal, as the economic crisis worsens for each in its turn. Their economies could use some austerity to allow them to recover and rebuild, but the people are not likely to stand for it. Perhaps it was the lack of inherent austerity in the people which allowed the situation to approach its denouement.

In the demographic transition of the US, we see populations of innate austerity giving way to rapidly growing populations which lack this natural thrift and planning sense. Given these changes, we can expect an acceleration of the trend toward larger government and less personal savings, planning, and responsibility.

Regardless of the best intentions, and all of the other strengths which may be brought to a nation, people cannot help who they are. If a majority contains a flaw which will prove to be fatal within a particular type of political and economic system -- say a democratic welfare state -- then events will work themselves out much like water finding its way to the sea.

There are many ways to find one's way to "the truth", but at the end of every chapter in life, the real world will have had its say.

Some changes are abrupt and unpredictable. Other changes -- such as the consequential changes in a society that come with a changing demographic -- may occur more slowly. While these shifts may be predictable, they can take place at a rate which allows them to be easily ignored, if the mainstream of government, media, and academia does not wish the population to be bothered with troublesome implications.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. And expect something somewhere unpredictably in between.

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Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

"Given these changes, we can expect an acceleration of the trend toward larger government and less personal savings, planning, and responsibility."

Two comments:

First, the failures across Europe have a lot more to do with perpetual government deficit spending across the continent -- clearly unsustainable -- than with a lack of innate austerity among Greeks & Spaniards in particular. This is rapidly bringing us to the point of Peak Government. The usual suspects may wish to see larger government, but the money is gone. Can't borrow more, and printing more won't help. Government will shrink because of lack of cash flow. Future trends are going to differ substantially from the past.

Second, why are Hispanic people who trace their ancestry to Spain considered non-White, while those who trace their ancestry across the border to Portugal are considered White? This is simply 'divide & conquer' Political Correctness. We should not go along with it.

Friday, 01 June, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...

At this time it seems that it is largely the government sector unions and their unsustainable wage, pension, and benefit packages which are making it more difficult for governments to flexibly deal with debt and spending problems.

"Hispanic" is a language category, not an ethnic one. When it is used purely as an ethnic category, it is being misused. Welcome to the Idiocracy. ;-)

As for ethnicity of Hispanics, most US hispanics are mestizos from Mexico and Central America. Their ancestry is largely native American.

It is true that if a Spaniard were to be naturalised in the US, that he would likely be treated as a favoured minority (Hispanic) and be given affirmative action preferential treatment. I agree that such policies are idiotic and should be scrapped.

If you are arguing that someone from Portugal should be given the same affirmative action preferential treatments as someone from Spain, I would have to disagree. Neither should receive preferential treatment.

Friday, 01 June, 2012  
Blogger M said...

Economist Yuji Aida forecast the problems 20 years ago

Sunday, 03 June, 2012  
Blogger M said...

Aside from austerity, there is the issue of trust and shared values that Peter Frost explains are crucial for market economies.

Sunday, 03 June, 2012  

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