I attended the PMPA annual meeting last weekend and watched an inspiring talk by Herbert E. Meyer, Former Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council.
He gave a unique perspective on where the opportunity lies in the coming decades for U.S. manufacturers. India, the Middle East and Africa will be the leading consumers in the next few decades, while Europe and Japan will literally die. According to Meyer, the Western capitalist democracies in Europe and Asia simply don’t produce enough children to support their aging populations. A rate of 2.1 births is needed to sustain a population, and modern capitalist welfare economies need young people to pay taxes to care for the retired geezers. In addition to providing tax revenue, large families spend a lot more money to fuel economies than the AARP folks.
Throughout Europe the family birthrate averages 1.5 children per family. According to Meyer, if Europe were to somehow reverse its downward spiral in population growth, it would take two generations to get back to the required replacement birthrate. In Germany 40 percent of college educated women have no kids. One out of seven couples gets married in England. Spain and Italy have rates of 1.2 children per family. Japan averages 1.5 births per family, and by 2020 one out of five Japanese people will be over age 70.
Everyone worries about the threat of China’s booming economy, but the country’s workforce shrunk for the first time last month as a result of its 1.1 birthrate. Nature’s ratio of males to females is 103 to 100. In India and China there are 118 males to 100 girls. One hundred million men in those countries will never marry–can’t be great for morale. According to Meyer, the present level of political unrest in China is higher than that in the Soviet Union two years before its 1992 revolution.
Speaking of Russia–the life expectancy of a male in that country is 58. Demographers predict that by 2050, Russia’s population will be smaller than that of Yemen. Thankfully, Hispanic immigrants have enabled the United States birthrate to hover right around the 2.1 children per family replacement required to leave its economy well positioned in the coming years.
While Europe dies, huge opportunity awaits in India, the Middle East and Africa. India has a healthy 2.8 children per family birthrate and many countries in the Middle East and Africa have large young populations. Manufacturing plants are finally beginning to sprout up in Africa. The Arab Spring is spawning democratic governments all over the Middle East (different interpretations of democracy than ours) that will eventually pave the way for a larger global middle class. Meyer said that each year throughout the world 50 million to 100 million people emerge from poverty. The new prosperous populations will need to build infrastructure, grow more food, and produce more fuel. They will manufacture goods domestically and want to buy goods produced by American companies.
Keep having babies and develop a taste for Falafel and Tandoori Chicken.
Question: Are you scared by the possibility of an Arab dominated Europe?