The Case for America’s Future
by Gary North
It is easy to make a case for east Asia’s economic success, but only over the next two decades. East Asia’s economies are growing because their economies are being freed by decisions by politicians to reduce government regulations. But they all have two major problems: (1) the extreme boy/girl birth ratio of at least 120 to 100; (2) the threat of a rapidly aging population after 2025 or 2030. Economist Nick Eberstadt has been writing about this for a decade.
Japan will hit the demographic brick wall first. It probably has already hit it. South Korea faces the threat, but it has a developed economy. The largest Asian nations – China, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan – are not yet first world nations. Even at high economic growth rates, they will have trouble becoming first world nations by the time their ageing populations force a social crisis: the care and feeding of oldsters, especially old men who never married and who have no sons to support them.
The United States does not face a demographic crisis anything like what Asia is facing. It is also not facing what Western Europe is facing: extremely low birth rates, well below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per family. The USA is at replacement rate. Part of this is because of net immigration.