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Got this one from a friend who posted it on their Facebook board.

Foreign Affairs The Future of American Power

Summary:  Despite some eerie parallels between the position of the United States today and that of the British Empire a century ago, there are key differences. Britain's decline was driven by bad economics. The United States, in contrast, has the strength and dynamism to continue shaping the world -- but only if it can overcome its political dysfunction and reorient U.S. policy for a world defined by the rise of other powers.

Mandatory Europe is Doomed Conclusion

But Europe has one crucial disadvantage. Or, to put it more accurately, the United States has one crucial advantage over Europe and most of the developed world. The United States is demographically vibrant. Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, estimates that the U.S. population will increase by 65 million by 2030, whereas Europe's population will remain "virtually stagnant." Europe, Eberstadt notes, "will by that time have more than twice as many seniors older than 65 than children under 15, with drastic implications for future aging. (Fewer children now means fewer workers later.) In the United States, by contrast, children will continue to outnumber the elderly. The United Nations Population Division estimates that the ratio of working-age people to senior citizens in western Europe will drop from 3.8:1 today to just 2.4:1 in 2030. In the U.S., the figure will fall from 5.4:1 to 3.1:1."

The only real way to avert this demographic decline is for Europe to take in more immigrants. Native Europeans actually stopped replacing themselves as early as 2007, and so even maintaining the current population will require modest immigration. Growth will require much more. But European societies do not seem able to take in and assimilate people from strange and unfamiliar cultures, especially from rural and backward regions in the world of Islam. The question of who is at fault here -- the immigrant or the society -- is irrelevant. The reality is that Europe is moving toward taking in fewer immigrants at a time when its economic future rides on its ability to take in many more. The United States, on the other hand, is creating the first universal nation, made up of all colors, races, and creeds, living and working together in considerable harmony. Consider the current presidential election, in which the contestants have included a black man, a woman, a Mormon, a Hispanic, and an Italian American.

I have a real feeling that our man Fareed has concluded that "Europe" has stopped replacing itself bcause the 2007 reflect the acession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU, dragging down the mean. Of course according to Zakaria's read of this we can conclude that those cheese eating surrender monkeys in France will soon be but a shadow of their former number.  After all its not like the French population is growing.....

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Jun 26th, 2008 at 04:24:00 AM EST
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Could we rather please conclude that the proper challenge for Europe is how to build a society that adapts to stagnant or slightly declining populations? If we are to begin to get a crack on worldwide overpopulation issues, I don't see how the richer nations can argue that there is a need for more children. Indefinite growth in a finite world is not possible. Concluding that each generation needs to be larger than the previous one to maintain the current economic system is indicative of a problem with that system, not of a need for higher birthrates.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Jun 26th, 2008 at 04:35:40 AM EST
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Of course you're right about finite resources, and the need to limit growth.

But the thing that shocks me is how Zakaria flippantly ignores that he paints the problem as own of a lack of vitality due to poor economic ideas, yet many of the countries I assume he would attack for their economics are the same ones that are experiencing population growth.

Consider also that GDP does not account for leisure time.  So that all other things being equal, a nation in which the workweek is 45 hours will have a GDP a full third more than one in which the workweek is 35 hours.

(Neo)Liberal economics is not the answer. There are limits to growth, not the least of which are allowing workers a life outside the workplace and the devastation that unending growth has on the environment.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Jun 26th, 2008 at 04:50:55 AM EST
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Some more reflections in:Socratic Economics XI: Demographics
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Jun 26th, 2008 at 11:08:46 AM EST
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Two fun graphs from this INED note (pdf):

A New Kind of Empire seems to work out fine for Europe...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 26th, 2008 at 07:23:38 AM EST
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So the US will surpass the EU15 around 2045? [Europe.Is.Doomed™ Alert]

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 26th, 2008 at 07:33:20 AM EST
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