Which part of the world is in trouble?

Slowest Growing Populations (%, 2000-10)

1 Moldova -13%

2 Georgia -8%

3 #Ukraine-7%

4 Bulg -6%

5 Latvia -6%

6 Lithuania -5%

7 Belarus -5%

That is from here, the most rapidly growing populations are given here, some Gulf states and Africa, both are tweets from Ian Bremmer.


Is a slow growing population always a sign of trouble?

In the West, whenever a species is found with the population numbers of Bulgaria, civil rights are suspended in order to protect the endangered species. Yet, when humans are dying off, the lunatics start cheering. When it is those awful white humans, it is pop the champagne corks time.

It's no so much dying off as leaving and not having enough babies.

That's a distinction without a difference. Across Western Civilization young people are deciding it would have been better to have never been born and thus choosing not to reproduce. And the lunatics cheer it.

My God! This is the first I've heard about the impending Human Shortage! I'll sail forthwith to the Galápagos and tell Mr. Darwin to stop mucking about with his sparrows and get on solving the Human Crisis. Her Majesty's Royal Navy thanks you ZMAN!

You talk a lot about lunatics.

Pow! ZMan is taking it on the chin today!

Across Western Civilization young people are deciding it would have been better to have never been born and thus choosing not to reproduce. And the lunatics cheer it.

Me: If your mother had aborted you, would you be alive?
Liberal: I wouldn't know she did it, so it doesn't matter.
Me: You don't care if you were never born?
Liberal: Why should I?

I've had a variant of this conversation with pro-abortion people several times, and I still don't understand these people.

nihilism is the antithesis to civilization

@ Todd:

Good one, but y'all realize the Earth really will reach 'peak human' around the year 2070 when the global population will level off around 10-11 billion and then start slowly declining, right?

I've always wondered how global capitalism will work then. We'll need to focus on other things besides 'growth'.

i knew Bulgarians were strange people, but are they strange enough to be called a species in themselves?

That’s a distinction without a difference.

Well the Russians say, "If you see a Bulgarian, beat him. He will know why." Maybe there's something to it.

We don't want that ZMan, we're running out of Bulgarians why are you encouragining this!?!

When Bulgarians are dying (truly in this case), the lunatics start cheering?

Hoisted by your own petard ZMan!

Bulgaria hasn't been right since the Kuman eradicated the Pechenegs at the Battle of Levounion. Of course the Greeks goaded them, but ever has it been.

A decline in the supply of labor, assuming stable demand, increases the price of labor. It makes sense that laborers would cheer population declines.

The problem is increasing the price of labour hurts competitivness in a globalized economy. For long run growth we need to massively increase labour supply and drive down unit price.

Open the borders?

Latin America needs to share their competitiveness with us!

That's certainly an excellent solution. Productivity would skyrocket. GMU Economist Bryan Caplan has calculated a policy of open borders would be worth trillions of extra GDP.

Why would you assume stable demand since obviously that is incorrect?

Only a problem if your economic theory is based on Ponzi principles.

That's not true if the people we are talking about are doing something useful, and in particular if their productivity is worth their cost, both measured as broadly as possible. There's no Ponzi scheme in that. More people like that is a good thing, and fewer people like that is a bad thing.

The Ponzi scheme only needs to come into play when people cannot pay their own way, so we design schemes to spread the costs out over a larger number of people coming behind them. The problem is when people cannot pay their own way and are promised more benefits than they can possibly pay for. Making those infeasible promises makes those people bad to have around because they each imply a debt on future people. But it's the false promise that's the real problem.

Put more simply, don't blame population when you really mean we've designed a government that makes 90% of us a net loss. Most of those people would be net gains, if we weren't paying for a government appropriate to a much richer nation than the one we actually have.

Excellent point, the masses are net liabilities now. Never a good position to be in. Like P. Schaeffer's statistic of for each hour worked in the USA, $12 is spent on healthcare. Just in healthcare costs alone, this makes a large swath of the population a net loss. This is insane and untenable.

"don’t blame population when you really mean we’ve designed a government that makes 90% of us a net loss. - "

Wow. I think that about caps it.

The main concern here is that these countries will start heavy recruitment of immigrants from the fast growing regions (Gulf States, Sierra Leone, etc.) to supplement their populations. These are immigrants who could otherwise come to the US (if the US immigration policy weren't so insane). Immigrants are the new resource of the 21st Century we have to get them all.

They are countries with poorly-performing economies, and are generally not welcoming of foreigners, particularly dark-skinned ones. No sensible Iraqi will migrate to Moldova when he/she could go to France or Britain instead.

Well we don't want Britain or France to get them either. When it comes to immigration US policy ought to be: Collect 'em All.

Your first comment sounds so ridiculous, given that we are talking about Albania, Georgia and Ukraine...are you trolling or you really think these are serious competitors for US?

You might have a point but I don't think we have the luxury to be complacent in this new super competitive world.

One would expect 'Bulg' to be bulging.

And #Ukraine is definitely an up and comer in the # world, even if #Ukraine-7% might be a bit too obscure for mass taste.

religion always result in over population.

Not really such a thing as overpopulation. More people is always better for growth.

What kind of growth. If you double the population but only increase wealth by 50% your people have actually gotten poorer.

Some could get wealthier, for example a member of the oligarch banking system such as Goldman Sachs or the swindling political class could make more money from the 50% increase in wealth being moved through the banking and tax system but the average person will have less wealth.

The fruist of production going to the productive. I am not sure what the problem is there

What does Goldman Sachs or swindling politicians produce? Can I go to the store and buy 2 pounds of Goldman Sachs and Swindling Politicians and if I do what will I do with it?

How would they be earning all this wealth without production? We live in a market economy. The people who have wealth are by defenition productive otherwise they would lose their wealth.

Goldman Sachs makes money by being given loans from the government at 0 percent interest. Without those loans it would have been bankrupt in 2008. They were not market rate loans, if they had been they would have been much higher interest rates to cover the risk.

Swindling Politicians make money by swindling, often hand in hand with banks like Goldman Sachs

This is all just mood affiliation and sour grapes. Invesment Banking is no cake walk, only the best and the brightest are surviving in that business. You make it sound like Goldman Sachs consist of a bunch of trained monkeys on the government gravy train but nothing could be further from the truth.

Oh, no, Goldman Sachs are smart people, they are smart at bribing, scheming, conniving, etc,, its just that they produce nothing that is of any use to me and they stayed in business by taking taxpayer money because of their close political connections with the swindling politicians

Also Goldman Sachs is no longer an Investment Bank, it magically converted overnight to a Commercial Bank in 2008 when it needed to be bailed out.

I love it when people take Just Another MR Commentor seriously. The longer the debate goes, the more he sounds like Tabarrok.

A lot of what you say just doesn't make sense in the context of our market economy. It's true we have many distortions that allow entrentched interests to reap undeserved profits - for example forcing carpenters, electricians or nurses to have government certifications and credentials. This allows these groups to greatly profit at the expensive of ordinary people. In the case of banks, financial institutions provide needed liquidity and financing for the entire economy. Their work is important it is really not clear that anyone is being swindled. This is just an old fashion view - stemming largely from medival anti-semitism when only Jewish people were allowed to be money lenders.

Non-stop satirical ideological Turing test. Looks like the ole boy has regained his stride- even the Commodore has been spotted amidships.

Except that JAMRC was trounced when his opponent pointed out that the existence of much unequal wealth is actually due to collusion with the very solution preferred by all MR detractors: government market intervention.

This is dangerous advice. People are mostly helpless and bring nothing to the table. Without the tireless work of economists and other geniuses to guide the political economy with their firm touch, we all would all have starved already. These economists are amazing, but I'm afraid you're asking too much of them.

"Not really such a thing as overpopulation. More people is always better for growth." ---> Ponzi scheme. Also there a limit about what can the planet support. If you look at the countries with fastest growing populations, you will verify that they are paradise on earth (Sierra Leone, All Muslim countries, etc.)

Actually GMU economist Bryan Caplan has argued that more population means more of a chance for geniuses and other smart, talented people to arise. So we'll solve our problems as fast as they are created. They are strong arguements to have more children and let in more immigrants.

Yeah, but the counterargument is ancient Tasmania, where the population shrank dramatically but the people flourished (very strong labor market!) and there was zero loss of cultural capital.

Tasmania a flourishing land? That's not the image that I was presented last time I went to drop off some convicts down there.

Can I just say bravo to both of you? This is choice trolling and counter-trolling.

This is choice trolling and counter-trolling.

Well of course my old boy what do you think they teach us at Eton and Sandhurst?

"Well of course my old boy what do you think they teach us at Eton and Sandhurst?"
There is no great stagnation.

I said ANCIENT Tasmania, old man! I think your monocle slipped.

There must be a limit to any finite system (see Planck Length), but for all the Malthusean Environmentalists, it seems the concept of increasing productivity within finite systems is lost.

Georgia is currently experiencing a strong religious revival.

With open borders, there is no problem. Moldova, like Albania, has heavy emigration hence the shrinking population.

Right. For example, when Europe and Britain got too crowded, they just crossed the borders of the Americas and the Southern Hemisphere, which has resulted in no problems whatsoever. Just like Jewish migration to the Middle East, and Muslim Arab immigration into Israel. Chechnyans, Libyans, Peninsular Arabs are all bringing their unique vibrancy to Syria and Iraq. The whole place is just trillion dollar bills lying on the sidewalk thanks to free movement of people across borders. Spanish migration to the Phillipines was a roaring success, as you know personally.

So, essentially the world would have been a better place had we still been respecting the original Roman empire boundaries? Or should we go further back in history? Static demographics pinned to a specific lat / long?

Not at all, he's saying allowing barbarians into your society will destroy your society. Interesting that you bring up Rome though.

German Jews moving to the Middle East were barbarians compared to the extant Arab villages?

European whites migrating to America were barbarians? American India tribes the epitome of civilization?

The broadest definition of barbarian is "foreigner"

Especially in the ancient sense

Yes, the etiology of word "barbarian" is from ancient Greek, meaning (even today) "one who goes 'bar-bar'", which imitates phonetically a foreigner speaking nonsense to the Greek ear. It's funny how fancy, intimidating English words with Greek origins are in fact, to my ear, very pedestrian.

The premise is that open borders solve problems of too much and too little population. That's demonstrably incorrect; you just get a whole other set of problems.

India is still crowded, corrupt and filthy despite the free exodus of many of the brightest Indians--what problem was that supposed to sovle? France will eventually have to deal with the problem of civil conflict between its Jewish and Arab populations.

France is a nation with relatively strong institutions. Western civilization is amazing resiliant so the Arab population in France will fairly quickly adopt western norms through the strong institutions - as GMU Economist Bryan Caplan has argued. As for the poor in India - well the talented tenth got its chance to maximize their income potential by moving to regions where income is highest- That's the real benefit, open borders is about utility maximization and justice it does not claim to be a policy for implementing false equailities.

Plus you are completely ignoring the effects of strong institutions. Strong, good instutions in places like the US or Europe can mold behaviour. Your examples are all from pre-modern, pre-institutiona times. Talk about weak sauce.

They don''t have strong institutions anymore, they have multiculturalism

Of course they do, these are all nations with strong and enduring institutions and low corruption rankings. The institutions endure no matter who comes into the country. Why does everyone believe Western Civilization is so fragile.

I'm genuinely curious what makes you feel institutions shape the culture of a population, instead of the other way around.

The evidence that we have shows that western civilization is very resilient I would suggest reading this http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2014/05/meant_for_each.html

Western cultural has dominated the global cultural marketplace since the end of the Cold War and even earlier, there is no danger in immigrants changing our culture.

@JAMRC, counterexample: 15th century China. The pinnacle of human civilization. They closed themselves off to the outside world, and rocketed ahead over the next 600 years, during which time they have enjoyed worldwide pre-eminence down unto this very day!

The legacy of socialism - ain't it fine? I'd suggest that socialists reflect on it, except that socialists wouldn't be socialists if they had much reflective power.

But is it really any better of us to shut these people out of our lands where they could achieve prospierity ?

Heh, population growth is a problem to do with ending socialism. In Soviet times their populations grew just fine, thank you.

You want the command economies back?

Did they? The Russian population was decreasing.

Right you are, Jan. And just think how much faster they would have grown without Stalin's terror famine's starving 10 or 20 million people to death!

Not among the Russians or Balts. Lots of growth in central Asia though: maybe there still is.

On confirming dearieme's point.

Really? I think the Russian population was growing.


It's population hit an historic peak in 1991. So, basically, you're all wrong.

1 and 2 have regions under Russian occupation.

So does (3). Have you been living under a rock?

Well this data IS from 2000-2010 so I wouldn't expect the Ukranian situation to have any bearing here. Furthermore Russia is not currently occupying the Ukraine, it may be supporting rebel groups but that is not the same as outright occupation.

"Furthermore Russia is not currently occupying the Ukraine, it may be supporting rebel groups but that is not the same as outright occupation."

I see you have taken it upon yourself to recognise Russia's annexation of Crimea, contrary to international law, the UN, and all but 5 other countries in the world. Good for you. But for the rest of us, Russia is quite clearly engaged in the outright occupation of a large chunk of Ukrainian territory.

Quite right old chap I say we go back in there like we did in '53! I'd lead the blockade of the Bosphorous myself but there's an impending Human shortage, haven't you heard the Z Man?

LOL at "international law."

And the UN. There's no laughing at the nuclear club, but everybody's pretty much agreed they don't go to war with each other.

Probably, the most effective way for the US to make Russia play nice would be to leave Europe and Okinawa and tell the Germans and Japanese they can arm themselves to the upper teeth if they want.

It seems like people forget about plutonium and steel in their economic rationality calculations. The dollar is backed up by bombs and bullets as much as it is banks.

I think many people agree that Crimea is culturally and historically Russian and Tatar, has been politically Russian for three centuries, was never Ukrainian prior to 1954, and that a symbolic gesture made by a Soviet dictatorship should not have been enforced when the USSR broke up. I actually sympathize with Ukrainian nationalists on most points, but I find it hard to sympathize with them on their obstinance on the Crimea issue. There are parts of Eastern Slovakia that are more historically and culturally "Ukrainian" than Crimea is. Let sleeping dogs lie.

Unless you own a Moldovan newspaper or a Bulgarian bus company why would you care?

Moldova is the post-Soviet country with the most disastrous economic situation (but committed to remaining sovereign in lieu of merging with Roumania, which is in better shape). Georgia and the Ukraine have had similar problems. Re Latvia, they had a large population of ethnic Russians who have departed; some of that community have a long history in Latvia, but a big chunk were Soviet-era colonists. Pretty much all these loci have wretched fertility rates.

Cause or effect?

Except for Moldova, they've all had a modest recovery in fertility the last dozen years or so, but none are at replacement levels yet. The current range runs from a total fertility rate of 1.44 (Latvia) to one of 1.82 (Georgia).

It seems people react to incentives, they leave.

The fastest growing nations, are they organic growth or guest worker / immigrants?

e.g. Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait

Likely mostly guest worker, though the indigene population in those places has a history of high natural increase.

All the seven fastest growing population nations are Islam dominated.

Most of the seven slowest, not only are Christian but seem predominantly Orthodox Christian denominations. Is that a geographical fluke or a deeper trend.

More important than looking for the cause is looking after the effects. Can a welfare state be built under a diminishing population? What are real achievable development objectives under these conditions?

I remember reading blog posts when the Euro was supposed to fail praising Latvia. What can really be achieved in Latvia and what is just a discourse to win elections?

You need to be careful about the effects of immigration, to and from.

As a nation does it matter if new entrants came via an obstetrician or an airplane?

Or whether they leave by railway or graveyard?

Not to spoil your poetics but I would guess that it would matter if the nation wanted to solve the problem, differentiating causes might be important. If half your population suddenly vanshied because a giant super volcano suddenly appeared and ripped a firy chasm through half your country - well the issue there might be a bit different from lack of job opportunities encouraging emmigration.

Did you ever get a job? Serious question, not meant to be mean.

Always work for a deckhand in the Fleet!

Only if you think the last 50,000 years of human history count for anything. But, some of you guys are convinced reality is infinitely negotiable so you're going to believe what you want to believe, regardless of the mountains of evidence to the contrary.

My deepest apologies sir but I've been trying to sail from Portsmouth to get a handle on this vanishing Humanity problem but there's unbelievable traffic in the Channel this afternoon - just too many people out there. In addition I've just recieved word from the Admiralty that I must set sail for Tangiers instead to sort out some sort of diplomatic kurfuffel down there. I'm just going to have to give up the search for all these dissapearing humans.

Umm...yes, the Europeans moving into North & South America made it worse off in balance. And Singapore & Hong Kong should have been restricted only to the natives.

South Africa is the cesspit of the continent because the Dutch & Britis moved there. And UAE & Quatar should have let only the nomadic Arabs run their malls, airports & refineries. Everyone besides the Maori are a drag on New Zealand.

Hell, you sent the dregs of British society to a the Australian continent & look at what you ended up with.

More hateful bigotry--as if Bedouins aren't perfectly capable of designing, building and running malls, airports & refineries. And the Dutch and Brits, well, don't even get me started on those evil white supremacists who among other crimes deprived the Zulu nation of nuclear armaments. I'm pretty sure you're breaking about a dozen human rights laws on this single comment thread.

You're making an argument in favor of genocide and you don't even know it.

Of course it does. Why do you think Israel builds border fences?

Do you really regard the populations of, say, Port-au-Prince and San Francisco as interchangeable?

So the obstetrician always delivers the geniuses & immigration the morons? Who's to say that what Ukraine might gain via immigration may not be better than their existing stock?

Immigration does not have to be non-selective. Fences are good but fences can have gates.

I imagine Ukrainians prefer to live in their ancestral homeland with other Ukrainians but you'd have to ask them. They do get a say, don't they?

Also, I find your insinuation of Port-au-Prince as filled with morons to be bigoted and hateful. I'm calling Homeland Security.


Apparently Ukranians don't like living with other Ukranians (as much as say fast cars or money) looking at the rate at which they are leaving their ancestral homeland?

If old Pop would like his son to live in the ancestral homeland but Junior wants to make four times as much money welding steel in Germany who gets the say?

Stanching the exodus is not really a realistic option. The only question is whether you live with the hole or fill it up best you can.

I don't really like living with other Americans at this point, but too bad for me, other nations actually have an immigration policy.

Every country on the list except Bulgaria was a former member of the USSR. And Bulgaria was a colony of the USSR.

The legacy of Communism is social suicide via low fertility. I have to wonder if life was so awful that people did not want to reproduce, and utter collapse in 1991 just demoralized them even more.

Same thing happened in Germany and Italy:


The decline in the East more because of emigration.

No doubt true, and remember these take into account emigration.

Ian Bremmer though is a creepy Putin fanboy. His point was probably that Ukraine has been badly run so well run (cough) Russia should invade it.

So according to this logic, the part of the world that's rapidly producing the most Africans is in least trouble?

Or is it that all these newly produced Africans will move to the part of the world with the slowest growing population, and this part of the world will ultimately end up with more Africans than Africa, and thus end up in the most trouble?

Which one is it, Tyler?

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