China’s Unprecedented Demographic Crisis

Comments Off on China’s Unprecedented Demographic Crisis
China’s Unprecedented Demographic Crisis

China has made it clear that it seeks military and economic superiority vis a vis the United States and its allies.  Later, we will examine the emerging U.S.-led efforts to preempt China’s strategy for achieving leadership in a number of strategic technologies. 

One of the major drivers of China’s belligerence is the realization that it has mismanaged its demographic future.  That means it will not have the right balance of human capital to facilitate its continued rapid development.  At the same time, it has destroyed the resilient mechanisms embedded in the traditional Chinese family, which have historically minimized political dissent.  In short, decisions that the Chinese Communist Party (or CCP) has made, have put its continued viability in jeopardy.

Consider the facts.    

The family is the most basic building block of society.  It is the foundation upon which rests all the more complex arrangements humanity has managed to devise since the beginning of the historical era, including:

  • national economies,
  • kingdoms,
  • states,
  • empires,
  • and entire civilizations.

As acclaimed demographer Nicholas Eberstadt puts it, “The family, is the single human organization absolutely indispensable to the perpetuation of our species.  That’s the way it has been since the emergence of humanity, and absent some future dystopia beyond current imagining, it’s likely to maintain until our end.”

While the family is necessarily central to all the world’s great cultures, the institutions of family and kinship have enjoyed an especially prominent role in the Chinese way-of-life.  For millennia, Chinese philosophy and metaphysics have imparted a special place to the family in their thinking about the universals and eternity; indeed, the Confucian tradition directly links the family (and one’s family obligations to virtuous conduct therein) to celestial harmony.   In China, family, kin, and clan have been accorded a correspondingly impressive priority in the honored literature, history, and traditions of culture.

As such, China has long recognized the family as the key to survival in bad times and to prosperity in good times.  Therefore, the family—and one’s own membership in a family—has been a thing in China to be celebrated and revered.

Today, however, over 2,500 years of family tradition in China is on an unavoidable collision course with 21st-century China’s new demographic realities.  The initial impact has already taken place—and the reverberations promise to play out for generations to come, with oscillations of increasing magnitude...

To continue reading, become a paid subscriber for full access.
Already a Trends Magazine subscriber? Login for full access now.

Subscribe for as low as $195/year

  • Get 12 months of Trends that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Trends Research Library
  • Optional Trends monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • Receive our exclusive "Trends Investor Forecast 2015" as a free online gift
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% full refund