“Population decline could end China’s civilization as we know it.” How such silly statements by Andy Xie and those that think like him are completely wrong.
First, I would like to acknowledge that this hyperbolic, unproductive and misguided title could very well be the product of an editor whose zeal for clickbait overwhelms his or her journalistic duty to convey facts. Unfortunately, this is hardly uncommon. Article titles are a fascinating thing. Since most of us triage many articles via their title, while only reading a subset of those we flip through, such titles have an almost subliminal influence on how we view the world. This title is not helping.
Still, when you read Andy Xie’s full article, it is hard to imagine that he would not approve of the title.
As a Shanghai-based independent economist specializing in China and Asia, Dr. Xie appears to be a fair representation of the dominant world view within the discipline and professional of economics. One would have hoped that spending 5 years at the World Bank would have balanced out his private sector experience with global economics, financial markets, and corporate finance. But, it seems that World Bank has been home to plenty of neoclassical economists who similarly cannot conceptually separate prosperity and growth in individual prosperity from the inexorable growth of global GDP.
To Xie and others like him, I will simply ask them to read the chapter in A Planet of 3 Billion entitled “Reimagining Economics for an Era of Degrowth”. The global population curve will bend at some point in the future. That is an inevitability. Whether it is at 9.7B in 2064 as the Lancet article (see blow) projected, or sometime sooner, or sometime later, it is time to think it all through and to be prepared.
This is particularly true since we long ago exceeded our planet’s carrying capacity, and should be thinking proactively about how much we can invest in the empowerment of women and girls, and accelerate this inevitability, since that could effectively reduce global Total Fertility Rate below replacement value (2.1), and save our planet from ecological destruction through degrowth.