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Post The Aging of China, Russia: George Will in "Washington Post"
Created by John Eipper on 11/08/19 3:48 AM

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The Aging of China, Russia: George Will in "Washington Post" (Richard Hancock, USA, 11/08/19 3:48 am)

"A Precarious Future for China," by George Will, published by the Washington Post, is based on an article written on demography by Nicholas Eberstadt, in which he states that both China and Russia face serious declines in working-age populations (15-64). By 2040, China's median age will increase from 15 to 48. He adds that the one-child-per-family law has led to the abortion of female fetuses, thus further decreasing population growth. Eberstadt says, "No country has ever gone gray at a faster pace."

Eberstadt also states that Russia is also experiencing "an all but irremediable decline." He adds that in 2016, 15-year-old Russian males had a life expectancy only slightly better than those in the least developed countries. He adds, "Vladimir Putin is a strongman ruling a shriveling country."

Eberstadt states that America is the only rich nation with a replacement fertility rate (2.1 children per woman). In 2015, America had almost twice as many working-age people with graduate or undergraduate degrees as did China. From 1950-2015, America acquired 50 million immigrants--nearly half the developed world's net immigration.

The author concludes with: "China's Leninist state will continue the corrupt or otherwise inefficient allocation of resources, making robust economic growth even more elusive than it already is." He warns US corporations about an unrealistic participation in the Chinese economy, saying that a diminishing participation might bend China toward decency.

Our neighbor has a daughter who is an architect specializing in extraordinary barns and facilities for horses. She has a contract with wealthy people in Hong Kong to design horse facilities and visits Hong Kong and China frequently. She always brings us copies of the Hong Kong newspaper, The South China Morning Post. It covers the world better than any other newspaper that I have seen. It doesn't do this antagonistically with China but simply reports the facts, one of which states that 44% of Hong Kong citizens are considering migrating to other countries. I feel that one of the greatest mistakes that a strongman-ruled country can make is to cause their most competent people to emigrate to another country. This has certainly happened in Cuba and Venezuela and may be happening.

JE comments:  Fascinating.  China analysis tends to oscillate between the "nimble and booming" interpretation and this one, the "corrupt train-wreck-in-the-making" view.  A huge and little-understood country provides plenty of evidence to support both interpretations.

China lifted the one-child policy in 2013, which should have some impact on the median age.

Should we turn our attention to the unrest in Hong Kong?  Can anyone in WAISworld get the ball rolling?

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