Birth rates and the global balance of power

A forecast and not a fact

A forecast and a possibility but not a certainty


Also a possibility but not a certainty

It is a good thing, not a bad thing, that birth rates are falling worldwide.  If things continue as they are, world population growth will level off by the end of the century.

But the fact that they are not falling at the same rate in every country changes the world balance of power, as Indians outnumber Chinese and Africans outnumber Europeans.

Bertrand Russell once wrote that if there is to be peace in the world, nations will have to negotiate limits on their populations as well as limits on their armaments.

I don’t see how that would be feasible without nations also agreeing to totalitarian Chinese-style birth regulations.  The alternative is to wait for the “demographic transition” to click in.  Help people achieve a better life, provide women with reproductive rights and knowledge and wait for population to level off as it is doing in the developed world.


India set to become world’s most populous nation by 2022 – UN by Emma Batha for Reuters.


The top chart was published by the BBC; the second chart by The Economist.


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2 Responses to “Birth rates and the global balance of power”

  1. Sam Holmes Says:

    Great article Phil. Do you think that with water, food, oil and energy supplies all being pushed to their limits, that developing populations can continue to enlarge without major humanitarian and economic crises being triggered? #GlobeAnalysis


    • philebersole Says:

      I don’t have a good answer to your question.

      But, as a matter of logic, there are three things that affect water, food, oil and energy supplies.

      1. The number of human beings in the world.

      2. The efficiency with with human beings produce and extract these resources.

      3. The level of consumption per individual human being.

      I think the level of consumption by us rich Americans is a much greater drain on the world’s resources than the number of poor Africans, and it is also something we have greater power to do something about.

      Liked by 1 person

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