Darrell Bricker is a leading international social researcher and, along with journalist John Ibbitson, he made the provocative argument that the global population will soon begin to decline, dramatically reshaping the social, political and economic landscape.
For half a century, statisticians, pundits and politicians have warned that a burgeoning population will soon overwhelm the earth’s resources. But a growing number of experts are sounding a different alarm. Rather than continuing to increase exponentially, they argue, the global population is headed for a steep decline—and in many countries such as Japan and Italy, that decline has already begun.
Bricker contends that a smaller global population will bring with it real benefits: fewer workers will command higher wages; the environment will improve; the risk of famine will wane; falling birthrates in the developing world will bring greater affluence and autonomy for women.
But enormous disruptions cannot be dismissed. Aging populations and worker shortages weaken the economy and impose crippling demands on healthcare and social security. The United States and Canada are well-positioned to successfully navigate these coming demographic shifts–that is, unless growing isolationism leads us to close ourselves off just as openness becomes more critical to our survival than ever.
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