Friday, January 22, 2010

A new proposal for worldwide population demographics: retirees: move to developing areas

Jack A. Goldstone has an important piece on p 31 of the January/February 2010 Foreign Affairs (a pricey periodical at Barnes & Noble stores) , “The New Population Bomb: The Four Megatrends that Will Change the World”, link here.

This is pretty much a secular presentation of the “demographic winter” problem: families in poor countries, especially some Muslim countries, have more children than they do in the West. Population replacement is a real problem in Russia and western Europe (and Japan and South Korea, even Singapore), but not so in the United States because of immigration. Still, pro-birth policies will be needed in some advanced nations, which could lead to moral debates on “childlessness”.

But the most startling proposal of Goldstone’s is that aging populations in developed countries consider retiring in the developing world, such as much of Africa, because eldercare is labor intensive and will provide employment and revenue to poorer countries. To some extent market forces are already encouraging people to retire in Panama and other areas of Latin America, where housing and health care costs are sometimes much lower than in the United States, while still offering a warm climate and amenities.

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