Population bust, and our badly managed, poorly understood immigration challenge. A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
I recently heard Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders say something that was …..well, lacking. He said:
"The planet cannot sustain this (human population) growth. I realize this is a poisonous topic for politicians, but it's crucial to face,"
A more accurate answer is that just the opposite is happening. And the challenge isn't necessarily about the number of people we have. It's about how we've organized things.
There is a population bust happening in the world that’s gaining speed. Most if not all Western states, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and now in many parts of Asia, are no longer having enough children to replace the number of people dying. This is called a population bust. On the surface, this would seem like a good thing to those folks who believed our world was on the brink of disaster due to overpopulation. But that's not the case. Fewer people being born means fewer people to help fund a society’s tax base.
The world is aging rapidly. There are fewer young workers in the world to support a society, particularly in the West. That's being quickened with the rise of automation and the need for fewer workers. A diminishing tax base means fewer people to help support rapidly aging communities. The growth of the elderly with a shrinking tax base could lead to a collapse of how a society works, as it is organized right now.
The economic strain on caregivers for the elderly. With fewer services, more of the economic burden of caring for the elderly will fall on the shoulders of caregivers, namely, the children of the elderly. With ongoing economic inequity, that strain will only increase over the years.
Immigration can help provide economic stability to a country following the path of population bust…., Leaders that demonize "cultural others" for the sake of gaining political advantage are basically taking their country on a path to ruin. A more sophisticated approach to immigration is not that hard. In fact, it will be needed in the face of migrating populations seeking to escape the devastations caused by climate crisis. The US will experience it this year as Bahamians seek refuge from the crisis of hurricane Dorian and Central Americans seek to escape the hardships of drought caused by climate crisis. This is just the begining. A grown up, robust immigration approach that addresses the bust and deals with climate change migration is needed from visionary and empowered leadership. Unfortunately, no one seems to be in a hurry to develop that kind of leadership yet. Watch South Korea. They will become the poster child for what to do or what not to do when it comes to immigration reform.
And for those of you still deeply married to the idea that too many people are causing climate crisis.....
Climate crisis isn't about too many people. It's about how we've organized resources. We grow enough food right now to feed everyone 10 times over. The real challenge is how we've organized resources. We could have a fourth of the people we have in the world right now and still be in climate crisis because of how we exploit land, minerals, the environment in general as well as other people. Comprehensive immigration reform can be the lead in for re-thinking how things work.
Creative thought, new values, advanced technology and an entirely new way of looking at immigration could set us up for a more efficient and effective way to manage societies and expectations. Watching from the sidelines using a 20th century lens for viewing is not a recipe for success. Let's do better!
Chet W. Sisk is an author and one of the world's leading Social Futurists. He is also expert on the current world paradigm shift. Find out more about him and the LEAD Global Team at www.leadtheshift.com or you can write him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org