Demographic dividend, or demographic disaster?
As India is about to overtake China as the world’s most populous country, it’s worth considering if holding that title is still the win it once was.
Not so long ago, more people meant more growth, more productivity, more progress. Hence the term: demographic dividend. If your working age population grew, your economy grew. More was more!
But in these dark “degrowth” days of climate catastrophe, where “growth” is questionable, and made-of-18.5%-carbon people are definitely part of the problem.
“More people” is no longer synonymous with the greater good. Nor, indeed, is population growth even synonymous with growth, assuming, of course (and it is a risky assumption) that we even want growth (ending the capitalist growth at all costs economy is, after all, growing in popularity among assorted interest groups).
To put it bluntly : as ideas like UBI and technologies GPT and AI take hold, more and more people will find themselves shifted (like it or not) from the asset register to the liability column of their national registers (at least in an accounting sense, which, in a world economy run by bean counters and bureaucrats is a rather important sense indeed) .
I am not at all sure we are ready for what this shift from nominal asset (human resource) to nominal liability (human expense) means, or why it matters.
I have a few ideas though…