U.S. is the island of tranquility in a turbulent demographic sea

The new PBS Nova Special: World in the Balance is a fascinating look at population trends and the underlying cultural issues causing them.
Some interesting gleanings:

“By 2035, the ratio will be roughly 2.5 to 1. The low ratio of taxpayers to retirees will have significant economic consequences. In the 1960s, when many entitlement programs were established, the ratio was closer to 7 to 1.”

“In his book Gray Dawn, Peterson calculates the payroll tax rate would need to be 31.9 percent to cover public pensions and health benefits—a crushing burden on future American workers. But it would be even more severe in Japan and Italy, where the tax rates would need to be 53.2 and 71.5 percent, respectively.”

“The locus of global growth and dynamism will shift to the emerging markets, countries like China and India. For the United States, this creates a series of huge challenges. How do we bring along these countries, which by necessity must be our principal allies as we go forward, to create world stability? How do we transform them from the defensive mindset of the Third World to a more expansive role of taking responsibility for global events? Because we’re certainly going to need them.”

Related and interesting links:
UN’s Millennium Goals
UN Population Database
AAAS Atlas of Population and Environment
Population Reference Bureau
World Watch Institute

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