Demographic Doom
Why the World is Falling Apart


A Book and Website Project by Glenn Campbell
 

  On this website: Main Page · Introduction · Key Points · Manuscript · References · Newsfeed · Essays & Videos · Prehistory · Timeline · Instagram · Twitter · Facebook · Glenn Campbell  

Bad times are coming to Planet Earth, and there is little we can do to stop them.
Low birth rates will trigger political chaos and a brutal economic collapse.
Debt systems will implode; worldwide economic growth will end,
and big governments will fall into chaos.
...then things will really get bad.


















If you were an alien approaching Earth, the first questions you might ask are:
  • What is the dominant life form?
  • How many of them are there?
  • How do they reproduce?
  • Where is their population headed?
If you scanned Earth now, you would see that humans control the planet; they reproduce sexually, and there are about 8 billion of them. If you looked closer, however, you would see these creatures are in deep trouble. While humans continue to reproduce, they are doing it haphazardly, and they are failing their children in significant ways.

Among other things, they are not producing enough offspring to maintain their civilization. The humans that remain are getting statistically older, and there are fewer young people to support them. With fewer people working and paying taxes, heavily indebted governments will go even deeper into hock until widespread default is inevitable.

And those are only the short term effects. In the long term, there are serious problems with the distribution of talent on Planet Earth and the quality of human reproduction. These are complicated issues, which is why I need to write a book and assemble a multi-page website. My conclusion: Thanks to demographic imbalances, civilization is due for collapse.

Our demographic crisis will become acute within the next decade with a massive economic crisis I call the Great Reversal. The world must readjust itself from population-fueled growth to permanent contraction. Unable to support any additional debt, big governments like the United States will collapse. It may not mean the end of our species, but we will be forced to dramatically restructure ourselves. Power will shift to local fiefdoms, like Europe after the Fall of Rome.

Skeptical? Let me try to convince you. To learn more about our Demographic Doom, read the draft manuscript (under construction) or browse the links below.



Explore This Website

Sample Chapters (below) - The first two chapters of the book
Full Manuscript (pdf) - The full uncompleted manuscript following the latest revisions
(See below for more info and Revision History for latest changes.)
Structured References - Selected news articles and other references on demography and economic collapse, arranged by subject.
Newsfeed (via Twitter) - Relevant news articles and references as I find them, updated almost every day.
Instagram - Video excerpts, graphs and other visual support materials.
Facebook Page - Mirror of posts on Instagram.
Prehistoric Essays & Videos - Earlier essays and videos on demographic issues, not necessarily consistent with my current views.
Glenn Campbell's Main Website - Links to all of his works and data.
Revision Log - Timeline of changes to the manuscript and this website.


The Manuscript


Introduction

Bad times are coming to Planet Earth, and there is little we can do to stop them. You may already be worried about climate change, drug-resistant disease, nuclear proliferation, killer asteroids and the decline of global democracy, but they are not the worst news right now. The really bad stuff is demographic, meaning it involves human populations and how they evolve over time.

The 1960s gave us the population explosion, the idea that the growing number of humans on Earth is far outstripping our natural resources. It was a simple concept everyone could believe in, but it was obsolete from the time it was conceived. Apart from a few isolated Third World countries, the overpopulation threat has passed thanks to two other products of the 60s: birth control and womenís liberation. Today, most countries are closer to a population implosion, where births are insufficient to replace deaths. While reducing births was relatively easy, encouraging people to have more children seems nearly impossible, at least within current social and governmental structures.

Our demographic problems today are not simply a matter of explosion or implosion. Simultaneously, we are suffering from too many children, not enough of them and not the right kind. When the children grow up, they are not staying where they were born but are migrating to places where they can get the best deal, depleting the talent of their home communities. Meanwhile, poorly equipped parents are producing the most offspring, while the better educated and most materially successful are sitting on the sidelines. Over time, this leads to a change in the quality of the population.

All of these processes, taken together, are propelling us into a set of economic and political disasters I call Demographic Doom. Thanks to population changes over the past half century, everything is falling apart simultaneously: economics, politics, infrastructure and human capital. It is like Earth being hit by an asteroid, except this crisis is entirely internal, caused solely by births, deaths and migration.

Our impending storm is largely the product of two innovations in the 20th Century that seemed good at the time but that have turned out to be highly disruptive. One was the development of modern medicine and sanitation, which began to seriously save lives only after World War I. The resulting reduction in child mortality had the unfortunate effect of triggering a global population explosion. The other innovation was the legalization of the birth control pill in the 1960s. This set us up for a population implosion. It also changed the profile of who was having children, as career-minded women put off childbearing.

Only a handful of Third World countries, mainly in Africa, are still experiencing a population explosion, with 5 or more babies born to an average woman. Most other countries have begun a slow collapse, where not enough children are being produced to sustain the local workforce. This happens when the number of babies produced by an average woman falls below replacement fertility, defined in most countries as 2.1 live births per female. If fertility in your country lingers below 2.1 and you donít make up the difference through immigration, eventually your population will shrink.

So whatís the big deal? It is hard to deny that the planet as a whole is overpopulated. Earthís population has soared from 1.5 billion in 1900 to roughly 8 billion today. Homo sapiens are cutting down rainforests, polluting oceans and spewing out carbon emissions. Who could object to bringing down their numbers?

Thatís where things get complicated. While we can rationally argue that the planet would be better off with, say, 5 billion people instead of 8, there is no painless way to get there. Our current world economy is built on the assumption of unlimited population growth. If growth slows and reverses, suddenly we have a growing number of old people and shrinking pool of active workers to support them. If the workforce shrinks, tax revenues will, too, and many nations will be unable to pay the interest on their preexisting debt. The can only result in default by the most indebted governments, including the United States. This, in turn, assures an epic economic crash like the world has never seen.

Demographic Doom means the collapse of big governments and the economic institutions we have built our lives on. Chaos will rule our society, much like a state of war, until we build new institutions to replace the ones that failed.

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