Demographics. This will get your attention.

I have written frequently concerning “demographics.” Demographics aren’t quite like the laws of physics, but, on the other hand, it is very difficult to stop a demographic snowball rolling downhill toward you. Here are some previous posts on demographics:

[Source: Europe’s Impossible Refugee Math: Brexit Was Mathematical Certainty Eventually, by Mike Shedlock]

A recent commentary by Jeremy Grantham (footnote) shows one why Brexit was an inevitability waiting to happen. Demographic changes happening in the world made it virtually mandatory. America is a land of immigrants, but despite my favored status for immigrants, I must admit that demographics have changed how advocates like myself must view immigration. These are some of Grantham’s observations (excerpted from the Shedlock article):

Europe’s Impossible Refugee Math:

  • Africa and parts of the Near East are beginning to fail as civilized states.
  • Populations have multiplied by 5 to 10 times over a few generations (a generation is roughly 30 years); climate for growing food is deteriorating; degraded soils; insufficient unpolluted water; bad governance; and lack of infrastructure. Country after country is tilting into rolling failure.
  • This is producing in these failing states increasing numbers of desperate people, mainly young men, willing to risk money and their lives to attempt an entry into the EU.
  • For the best example of the non-compute intractability of this problem, consider Nigeria. It had 21 million people when I (Grantham, now 77 years of age) was born and now has 187 million.
  • In a recent poll, 40% of Nigerians (75 million) said they would like to emigrate, mostly to the UK (population 64 million). Difficult. But the official UN estimate for Nigeria’s population in 2100 is over 800 million! (They still have a fertility rate of six children per woman.) If the demographics play out, the situation will be untenable.
  • Western Europe’s liberal traditions on immigration cannot sustain such a massive influx of immigrants. Could the United States sustain such an influx? Even if we only consider true “refugees” the situation will only get less tenable as hundreds of thousands of refugees become millions.

I posted this graph a little while back. While the slope of the graph of population growth in the under-developed world may change over time, the chance that it will do so at any time soon is nil.


My friends, the writing is on the wall. Immigration in the 20th century cannot be used as a template for immigration in the 21st century.

Roy Filly

Footnote: Robert Jeremy Goltho Grantham CBE is a British investor and co-founder and chief investment strategist of Grantham, Mayo, & van Otterloo, a Boston-based asset management firm.


About Roy Filly

Please read my first blog in which I describe myself and my goals.
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One Response to Demographics. This will get your attention.

  1. It might be in the best interests of the those third-world countries to request instructions to help them in agriculture and birth control, rather than emigration.

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