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Population Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics Hardcover – December 1, 2011
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About the Author
Douglas A. Sylva is a senior fellow at the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. He has also served on various Holy See delegations at the United Nations. He is a widely published writer whose articles have appeared in such publications as the New York Times, the Washington Times, the Weekly Standard, and National Review. He holds a PhD in political science from Columbia University and lives in Summit, New Jersey.
Top Customer Reviews
For half a century or more, the belief has been that fertility decline will result in, as Cincotta argued, "'a more peaceful and secure world'" (p 109). Fewer children would mean greater resources for everyone and lead to prosperity. Which is why the EC spent "650 million Euros on sexual and reproductive health" (p 110) to produce fewer children in poor countries.
This book challenges the assumption that population decline will lead to peace and prosperity. In many ways, it overturns it utterly. The authors of these essays conclude the world may well be "headed for a period of instability among the great powers on account of population decline" (p 202).
Europe itself is undergoing a drop in population so dramatic there will likely be "88 million fewer Europeans by the end of the century" (p 34). Will these developed nations be able to continue their social programs when the ratio of retired senior citizen to worker shrinks to almost one to one? Under such circumstances, can Europe afford a military? Or expect to have any influence in the world?
Certainly it is possible that many of the developed countries in the world will see their influence dim as their manpower and military might lessens. One possible outcome of having nations overburdened by large numbers of the elderly is that they prefer peace to almost anything.
But, as one essay points out, they might also end up "trapped between a policy of appeasement...and a strategy of massive nuclear retaliation" (p 144), a worrisome prospect.Read more ›
This book is worth the investment. I wish political leaders on both sides of the aisle in the US were reading it, too.