Before we start, here’s a headline for the reader:

122 candidates running for election in November believe the 2020 election was stolen. Yes, Virginia, democracy is in great danger.

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֎ Mariner’s wife came across unusually good coverage of a looming issue that gets little press. Published by Forbes, the article[1] discusses the related issue of shrinking population versus today’s attitude toward older people.

It is true that most wealthy nations have shrinking populations. Population size is measured by the fertility rate (the total number of children that would be born to each human female if she lived to the end of her child-bearing years). For a population to sustain its numbers, the fertility rate must be 2.1 children per female. China has a fertility rate of 1.15, Australia and the United States have rates of 1.6 and Japan has a rate of 1.3.

As the average age of the population grows older, there are fewer women of child-bearing age. The average age of a US citizen has risen from 29.5 in 1960 to 38.6 today. It is frustrating to some that the very antidote for falling population is immigration – both mathematically and economically. Racial prejudice is a damaging phenomenon.

Associated with the shift in average age is the impact it has on the workforce. The UN suggests there will be around 30 million fewer people of working age in the world’s five largest economies. Changing the general attitude toward older people being inept and brain-dead will be difficult. Research has shown retired folks to be quite capable although some jobs involving strength or dexterity may have to be modified. Further, as the tech industry already has learned, older folks aren’t as interested in new technologies –they are rife with Luddites like mariner.

This issue will grow slowly, like a 1950 Ford reaching 90 miles per hour. It is growing slowly now but will become a serious, rapidly interfering issue in a few years.

Ancient Mariner


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