For the last few days mariner has been poking about in information about global population. As a general introduction to the subject, below is a clip from the New Statesman, a British web magazine:

“Japan’s prime minister Kishida Fumio warned last week that the country’s demographic crisis was approaching a tipping point. “Our nation is on the cusp of whether it can maintain its societal functions,” Kishida told the Japanese parliament on 23 January. “It is now or never when it comes to policies regarding births and child-rearing – it is an issue that simply cannot wait any longer.”

This is not an overstatement. Japan already has one of the world’s oldest populations (second only to the city-state of Monaco), and it is ageing rapidly. In 2022, the number of births fell below 800,000 for the first time since records began (in 1899), eight years earlier than the government had predicted. This compares to more than 2 million births per year during the baby boom of the 1970s. Life expectancy has also increased. This means that almost a third of the population – 30 per cent – is now aged 65 or above according to the World Bank, raising the cost of social security programmes, such as pensions and medical care, while the proportion of The working-age people who pay into these programmes is shrinking.”

This perspective pretty much describes the situation for virtually every developed nation. In the United States, the U.S. Census Bureau released estimates showing the nation’s 65-and-older population has grown rapidly since 2010, driven by the aging of Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964. The 65-and-older population has increased by over a third during the last decade.

Couple that with Japan’s other concern about fewer workers to support discretionary funding for things like retirement, Social Security and health care, and the U.S. clearly is on the same path as Japan.

Mariner’s interest in global population began as just a curiosity but the elephant in the room forces a serious fear about the United States comparable even to the devastation of global warming.

The elephant is the ultra-conservative movement in the U.S. Their focus is to reduce taxes, attack Social Security and stop immigration – the big three associated with the subject of population. Does the electorate prefer stupid, self-centered legislators? Consider George Santos, Marjorie Taylor Greene et al. Is the atmosphere in legislative chambers filled with debilitating drugs?

One day, Alfie, the government will represent the best interests of the nation, but not soon.

Ancient Mariner

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