Managed decline

The biggest issue on Earth right now is demographics. Everything else is a sideshow.

We are living at a world-historical moment. Have a look:

Over the 20th century, we went through a phase of massive population growth enabled by the Green Revolution, improved hygiene, nutrition and development in general.

Since 1945, famines have only occurred alongside war or other political problems. The massive plagues of the past also appear to be over. Compare Sweden’s historic death rate spikes compared to the piddly, modern Covid bump:

They don’t make ’em like they used to.

According to Wikipoo, around 20,000 people died in Sweden of Covid.

In comparison, cholera outbreaks in the 1800s killed around 37,000. The 1770s famine killed around 100,000. The Black Death of 1350 killed as many as half a million.

All these amongst a much, much smaller and younger population.

The world-historical change taking place now is that declining birthrates are finally beginning to catch up with and overtake declining death rates. After the present demographic momentum runs out, the global population will likely begin to decrease. This is already happening in some countries, most notably Japan, Portugal, Italy and much of Eastern Europe:

Source

Western Europe and North Asia will soon follow. North America and Australasia are still growing due to extremely high immigration levels and would be gradually declining otherwise.

Remember that the magic cut-off number is 2.1 births per woman. That is the break-even rate without immigration or emigration. A lot of countries are no longer so fertile as people think. Here are some of the most populous countries in the world:

Country Fertility rate
Pakistan 3.3
Philippines 2.4
Indonesia 2.2
Saudi Arabia 2.2
Iran 2.1
India 2.1
Vietnam 2.0
Turkey 2.0
Mexico 2.0
Bangladesh 1.9
Brazil 1.7
Colombia 1.7
Thailand 1.5

Source

The only countries where fertility rates are still very high are in Africa, plus Afghanistan. The death rates in those countries have also declined so their populations are predicted to continue rising even while others fall:

What was the point again?

There’s a lot of talk about how the West is in decline, including here at the People’s Blog. A while ago I pondered what country is doing well and found no obvious candidates. The suggested future Masters of the Universe – China, Russia and Japan – all have fertility rates in the toilet. The Arab world isn’t much better. The only countries likely to have large, young populations in the future are in Africa, which lacks the human capital to make much of the opportunity. The most accomplished Africans of this century will probably reside outside the continent. Even South Asia will have an aging population within a few decades.

But then I thought: this is the world now. Whoever can cope with this situation the best will win the 21st century.

‘Win’ probably won’t mean ‘lift fertility rates back up to 3.0 again.’ That is very unlikely to happen because the main force pushing them down is that kids are now a liability instead of an asset, speaking in purely financial terms. Contraception, feminism, soyboys and obesity aside, we no longer need sons to work on the farm.

Many people will still have kids because they want them, but one or two will scratch the itch. Six or seven are not required.

What’s the problem?

The problem is not that humanity is disappearing or that we desperately need to maintain high populations. The most fecund groups will keep breeding and at some point in the distant future, I suspect the global population will steady. That’s very hard to tell though because it’s ridiculously far out. We might be half-robot by then. In any case, we should not assume that like the mouse utopia experiment we’ll get down to zero. The Mennonites will still be around.

It is somewhat important to maintain a reasonably high population for economic and security reasons. A nation with few workers will struggle to pay for its defence. However, a gradual decline is probably manageable, especially if potential adversaries are also shrinking.

Just a century ago, the world had a much lower population and it didn’t cause any obvious problems.

So long as we were smart (ha) we could probably flourish with either 500 million people, which we had in the 1600s, or with 10 billion people as projected for 2100.

What’s the problem with population decline, then?

Population imbalance

A traditional population pyramid looks like an actual pyramid. Because of high birth and death rates, it slopes steeply inwards like this:

With increased development, the population pyramid starts getting thicker at the top, but with vertical sides it still looks fairly stable.

And then things can go a bit too far.

Japan shows the path ahead:

A nation tends to be most productive when it has a large bulge in the 30-50 age bracket. This was true of much of the West as the Baby Boomers passed through and will be faintly echoed in the case of American Millennials.

However, this can only be temporary because that bulge of young people must eventually grow old and retire, as we see here with Japan.

This is a problem whichever way you look at it. With a national pension system, too few workers must support too many elderly. With families caring for their own, there are too few children in each family to share the load. There is also the issue of who will do all the work once there’s a labour crunch.

Almost every country outside Sub-Saharan Africa is heading towards this situation, some sooner, some later. Those that cope best will be the winners of the coming decades.

How can they do that?

1. Stabilize birth rates

As stated, fertility rates probably can’t be stabilized at 2.1 any time soon for the economic reasons discussed. However, holding them steady at 1.9 or so would prevent the population imbalance from becoming too extreme and keep the sides of the pyramid a bit closer to vertical.

While we can’t retvrn to the land and use hand tools to grow turnips anymore, there are other social changes that might help to stabilize birth rates. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Incidentally, lockdowns and mask mandates are not helping. Young people need to be able to meet each other and share a smile. I am not exaggerating when I say this is a matter of national survival. Masks are now so prevalent in Asia that many (most?) people of baby-making age are semi shut-ins, peering at the world from behind their comfort barrier and barely interacting at all. Marriage and birth rates, already extremely low, have plummeted.

Facemasks need to be banned at least in public, outdoor settings, perhaps for ‘security’ reasons. Nothing less will work.

2. Manage immigration

Moderate immigration can prop up the sides of the pyramid for a few decades while this demographic trend flows through. Few countries are managing the process well.

Japan shows what happens when you hide your head in the sand and ignore the issue. The screws are tightening on taxes and pensions. National debt is at 266% of GDP. Wages and conditions for the small number foreign workers are reaching Third World levels in some fields, which will eventually diminish demand. No one really knows how this will go, but we watch with interest.

Western Europe and the United States have deliberately lost control of their borders. That means future immigrants will self-select rather than being chosen by those nations themselves. Given the demographic trends illustrated above, countries will do best that can both attract the migrants they need while keeping out those they don’t need.

Canada, Australia and New Zealand’s selective immigration policies would be close to sensible if (a) the numbers were much smaller and (b) they ironed out some of the scams. Mostly (a). As of the last census, about half of Australians had at least one parent born overseas. Does that have any parallel in history? To state it like that gives the impression that there are lots of grouse Aussie halfies running around, but in reality some immigrant groups are becoming more insular than they ever were before because their sheer numbers makes that possible. If you’re the only Greek kid in the class then you have to learn how to play Aussie Rules football. If most of your classmates are fellow Chinese, you barely need to speak English.

Still, a moderate level of skilled migrants alongside a somewhat higher birth rate would make managing the population imbalance easier because it would increase the tax and labour base for the next step.

Easing the path for foreign spouses to enter would also help with the fertility rate. At the moment, a lot of countries make it ridiculously difficult.

3. Sort out the pension

This could mean finding the tax revenues to pay for a state pension as a last resort, setting up a self-funded retirement system, or some combination of the two. I don’t wish to get into an ideological debate here. The point is, every country is going to have to have a plan.

Australia has done better than most on this because they started a self-funded superannuation system back in the 1990s. A lot of Boomers are now retiring with a fair bit of their own money, which reduces the strain on the public purse.

There are many, many problems with Australian superannuation. Serious problems. However, it is still considered one of the best retirement systems in the world. Yes, most countries are doing even worse. What that tells you is that the world in general is not on top of the current demographic crunch.

The United States is middling. It has good, tax-effective retirement savings vehicles which you can mix and match, but not everyone is enrolled in them. There is half-decent social security but it is creaking.

So far as developed countries go, Japan appears to be the worst. Once again, the government has put its head in the sand and allowed the situation to become catastrophic. The national pension system is now dreadfully underfunded and no one wants to pay into it because they doubt they’ll get much back as the pool of future payers diminishes. Added to this, the elderly are now so numerous that they have massive electoral power, thus limiting possibilities for reform.

Little known fact: Japan actually has had an Australian-style, self-funded superannuation system for about twenty years but very few Japanese know that it exists, let alone pay into it. Instead the broke and hopeless National Pension service now sends guys around to your house if you get behind.

Most developing countries are heading in the same direction. If China is to deal with its aging population, it will need to develop a retirement system right now. Ten years ago would have been better. This is very tricky in a nation which is not yet wealthy and where low social trust makes investment fraught.

Robots?

I suppose robots may help with labour and productivity.

However, they are not consumers. Humans aged 30-50 are better for that.

Robots will probably help preserve national security in an environment of labour scarcity.

Developing industrial robots might not be essential. If someone else develops them, other countries could simply import them.

In any case, there will still be many jobs that require human hands for the next few critical decades. Robots can soften the edges at best.

What do others think about this? I’m not an expert on any of this and its probably all wrong, but robots in particular are something I know little about.

Conclusion

The countries that manage to build a gentle staircase down the demographic cliff through increased birth rates, skilled migration and retirement schemes will best manage the transition away from constant population growth.

It is not clear to me what economic impact this new paradigm will have. With the measures outlined plus technological innovation, perhaps not so much as the doomsayers predict. We’ll see. The example of Japan is not a fair comparison for the reasons described.

Previous cases of successful, powerful nations – the Ottomans of the 1600s, Britain of the 1800s, America of the 1900s – no longer form useful examples of how to get there. Having a young, growing, ambitious and capable population is not practicable anymore.

Instead, future world powers will be those that can ease the burden on a proportionally smaller working-age population and give them enough breathing space to do their thing.

If the tax burden is too great, they’ll be unable to form households and families at a rate high enough to be sustainable and the situation will spiral downwards.

If the measures above help the young to keep the fertility rate at around 1.8 or 1.9, that should be enough to keep the nation chugging along until the end of this demographic phase, whenever that is.

I have no idea who will best meet this challenge and come out the winner except that it won’t be Japan.


How is your own retirement plan going? This will help:

27 comments

  1. Zorost · July 26

    You have some interesting data about demographics, but it seems you are looking at them through the lens of neo-liberalism. You are viewing countries as if the country and it’s role in international trade is the only important thing, the people nothing but units of production and consumption.

    The only thing that makes for a great nation is a cohesive, high-trust population. Japan has a shit-hole of an island, yet they became a major player on the world stage by having such a society. They likely will rise again for that same reason. The nations that will rise up in the 21st century are the ones that remain or become an ethnically and culturally cohesive whole.*

    Too many old people will not bankrupt a society, since society will find ways around that.** On the contrary, seeing old people struggle because they did not have enough kids to take care of them will motivate younger people to have more of their own kids to protect against that, as in the past. The key is, and always has been, sustaining the core population group that makes up a society, while keeping out others.

    Another thing you overlook is the concept of ‘holding capacity.’ Japan has a population of ~126 million on a mountainous island the size of Montana. Their population is plummeting the same way and for similar reasons that 126 million buffalo crammed into Yellowstone would. Ditto for many other nations; they had massive population explosions when they were already at the local holding capacity, and that capacity was only increased artificially by import of massive amounts of food. When we started prioritizing corn for ethanol, we increased the rate of starvation around the world.*** As US food production declines, we are likely to see more starvation around the world.

    This obviously isn’t because they need more population or because their population is declining. Rather, it is because their population had already expanded beyond their habitat’s ability to support, and now they are going to die back closer to that level. The key to keeping us from getting into a similar situation isn’t to bring in the shitty people who couldn’t maintain their own nation, but to strengthen our own people.

    This happens with all animal and plant species. Bacteria too, for that matter. The solution to population slowing because the population is reaching holding capacity, isn’t to add more population as that only exacerbates the problem. The solution is to make better use of what we already have, and to keep out others who reached their holding capacity so they don’t further overtax our own.

    Again: populations decreasing isn’t a bad thing, it is a normal thing under certain conditions. The important thing is prioritizing our own people and their productivity so we don’t come under those conditions.

    * Social trust is the best predictor of societal success:
    https://www.bi.team/blogs/social-trust-is-one-of-the-most-important-measures-that-most-people-have-never-heard-of-and-its-moving/

    Ethnic diversity decreases social cohesion:
    http://archive.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/08/05/the_downside_of_diversity/

    http://americandigest.org/wp/diversity-proximity-war-the-reference-list/

    ** https://www.governing.com/work/labor-shortages-and-high-inflation-drive-retirees-back-to-work

    *** https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2430252/

    Liked by 2 people

    • ramman3000 · July 26

      “Japan has a population of ~126 million on a mountainous island the size of Montana. Their population is plummeting the same way and for similar reasons that 126 million buffalo crammed into Yellowstone would.”

      This is self-refuting. If society can thrive in tiny crammed spaces (and it does), then we are not at capacity in places with much, much lower population density than Japan. And yet, virtually everywhere (excluding Africa) is experiencing low fertility, including places with low population density. So when you say…

      “it is because their population had already expanded beyond their habitat’s ability to support, and now they are going to die back closer to that level.

      …this is obviously not the case in most places. In the Mouse Utopia experiment, available resources were never exhausted. Similarly, low fertility in human populations is positively correlated with wealth, not its lack.

      “As US food production declines, we are likely to see more starvation around the world.”

      As with population density, food production is not correlated with fertility rates. We are not at physical capacity for food production, rather we are (and have been for some time) voluntarily sabotaging it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zorost · July 29

        It’s not self-refuting, as extreme high pop is having a large effect on their population growth. People living in coffins or at home because they can’t afford a house and kids is exactly what I’m talking about. You are conflating success and population growth, which I deal with separately since they are separate topics. I never said the US had this issue on the whole, only Japan and some 3rd world nations, although those in US cities might be affected. Living in unsafe areas does tend to lead to lowered birth rates, at least amongst White people. White birth rates in the country are higher than those in the cities, with the Amish being an extreme example; their population is estimated to double about every 20 years.

        There are many issues that relate to how and why population grows, as well as it’s relation to the economy; my post wasn’t intended to be a primer on the subject. The main idea of my post is that maximizing GDP shouldn’t be the end goal of a society, instead the creation of conditions for a high-trust ethnically cohesive society should be.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Derek Ramsey · July 30

          “…because they can’t afford a house and kids…”

          Let me stop you right there. This is simply false. Fertility is inversely proportional to socioeconomic status.

          It is a modern secular/atheistic concept that one must be “financially secure” to raise a child, a bar which seems to grow ever higher as income increases. It is a lie, best typified in the (inverted) maxim “it is selfish to have children in this horrible economic environment.” The reality is that electing to not get married and have children is among the most selfish thing a human can do—right up there with no-fault divorce.

          “seeing old people struggle because they did not have enough kids to take care of them will motivate younger people to have more of their own kids to protect against that, as in the past.”

          It will not do so. The hostility towards family is an all-encompassing social phenomenon, and the statistics covering it show accelerating decline. Altering this would require a major worldwide pro-family cultural revolution. I don’t know a single person predicting that this will happen in the next two decades. Far more likely is that people will demand a government bailout (e.g. guaranteed basic income) long before they start marrying and making babies.

          China structured its entire society to such an extent that if you want to, for example, rent a hotel room with more than four people (two children and two parents), it is difficult due to the way the rooms are built for maximum occupancy of four. This doesn’t just get overhauled simply because China decided its two-child-per-family policy was a bad one.

          Like

    • Kentucky Gent · July 27

      Great comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · July 27

      the people nothing but units of production and consumption

      The article is about how to cope economically with an aging population so we must consider them as such for our present purposes. Of course people are more than that, which is why we need to take a hard-nosed look at how to allow them to prosper under changing conditions.

      Japan has a shit-hole of an island

      Japan has very rich soil from volcanic activity and copious amounts of fresh water from its mountainous terrain, which is why it has always had a comparatively dense population. It struggled to feed its growing population in the early 20th century much more than it does today, which was one factor leading to the Pacific War. An even bigger factor was the dearth of raw materials for its industry. In any case, fifty million people then were harder to feed than today’s 127 million due to a lack of development and trade networks.

      Too many old people will not bankrupt a society, since society will find ways around that.

      This is an unprecedented situation so we are flying blind. This post suggests some ways around it.

      seeing old people struggle because they did not have enough kids to take care of them will motivate younger people to have more of their own kids to protect against that, as in the past

      Again, this is unprecedented in scale. Some elderly are beginning to struggle in Japan, i.e. dying alone and being found months later, but this is yet to motivate the young to have children. They still can’t afford to or can’t find a partner.

      As for ‘holding capacity,’ it seems arbitrary to focus on food imports. Australia produces enough food for many multiples of its population but would soon starve if it stopped importing oil for transport, plus it requires European and Japanese farm machinery for its highly efficient grain production.

      The only developed country that would come near to high standards of living without global trade is the United States. Most countries need minerals, fertilizer, microchips, medicines and many other things. There’s nothing magical about food. Trade has always increased the holding capacity of a nation, making it stronger, more prosperous and better able to survive. That is the importance of trade, not some vague neoliberal principle. Any country that attempted not to trade would soon lose its sovereignty to a more pragmatic rival.

      it is because their population had already expanded beyond their habitat’s ability to support, and now they are going to die back closer to that level

      Death rates are falling everywhere. See link to my other article on the topic. Declining populations are caused by lower fertility rates. As I said, there have been no natural famines since WWII. We could actually produce more food than we currently do. Some American farmers are paid not to produce in order to control prices.

      Again: populations decreasing isn’t a bad thing, it is a normal thing under certain conditions. The important thing is prioritizing our own people and their productivity so we don’t come under those conditions.

      That’s close to what my article is saying. Population decline is okay but we need to prepare for an aging population. Running out of food is not the issue.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Zorost · July 29

        The difference seems to be that you are focusing on it from a largely economic view, such as bringing in immigrants that will be a problem in the long run so as to shore up GDP in the short run. Birth rates are fairly easy to manipulate, as they respond to economic as well as social pressure. White, black, and hispanic birth rates all had a steep drop off during the 2008 financial meltdown, for example.

        Perhaps a better way of making my point is that there is no economic problem, only demographic problems which can either be solved by encouraging births amongst real Americans, or exacerbated by bringing in more third worlders who will work cheap until we replace them with robots in a few years. At which point they become nothing but drains on society even worse than the elderly, since the elderly generally don’t knife people for pocket change.

        Like

  2. ramman3000 · July 26

    “I have no idea who will best meet this challenge and come out the winner”

    I don’t think it will be anyone. Calling it “managed decline” is perhaps a tad crude description, but accurate. Bruce Charlton has been warning (for years) that the decline is mundane, boring, bland, ugly, and stupid. It won’t be flashy, but it will just be an ever growing list of bad changes that are merely accepted as normal and not even identified as evil. It won’t even occur to the vast majority of people that there is anything too wrong. To channel Orwell, it will be as if it was always this way.

    The way people do not reproduce is just one facet of this. Something is deeply broken such that the majority of society thinks it is normal and good to not have children. Getting people to acknowledge that this is actually evil is impossible. Nobody notices how bad it is. Sure, we can see population pyramids if we want, but few do and those that do have mostly have lost the ability to sense the evil behind it. It’s just academic.

    Part of this is the bureaucratic capture of all institutions by evil. It has already occurred and everyone by-and-large just goes along with it:

    “…the ultimate evil motivation of bureaucracy is evident in the fact of its parasitic, malignant nature – that it will grow until it kills its host…And its evil is evident in that the bureaucratic leadership class – the leaders of major government, institutions and corporations; are advancing in corruption into more purely negative evil of the spitefully-destructive.”

    Absent a mass movement embracing Jesus, things are going to get more authoritarian and more brazenly so, not less. Just yesterday the NZ prime minister gave a press conference stating that if information comes from her government, it is true. If it comes from anyone else, it is a lie. She is the sole source of truth. You can’t make this stuff up.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Stefan · July 26

    I think this is a reversible trend, but it needs major policy changes. I’ll get straight to conclusions (too lazy to write 10,000 words essay, but it’s a large topic in reality):

    – Money printing is the biggest baby killer. Most of the bond market (80%) is backed by residential real estate, all the banks/ governments/ large infrastructure firms (read corruption enables) are behind it. Printing money transfers wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy, who own shares, bonds, and property, but they are also few in numbers. The rest of the population is screwed and it’s harder for them to have a family with several kids.

    – Cheap labor culture is the second biggest baby killer. In Eastern Europe, fertility increased from about 1.2-1.3 to 1.6-1.7 in a decade, because there are no immigrants there (with some exceptions). The standard of living is rapidly increasing because salaries are growing by double digits every year and people are having more kids. In the west – the opposite, they’re importing lots of warm bodies. In Oz where I live now, both leading parties are doing their best to import cheap labor (like not agreeing to certain salary requirements for “skilled” labor), which will of course worsen the problem – fertility here is falling fast, no surprise.

    – Women in workforce – essentially another push for cheap labor. When I was a kid in communist Eastern Europe they were preaching this schit about equality and women workers in the factories. Guess what – fertility fell from the cliff. Eastern Europe was in a dire situation demographically decades ago. Now Marxist academics in bed with big business in the West embraced this commie idea and the result is obvious, woke culture.

    None of the above will change easily – politicians are not some saints or aliens from another planet, they are people like me, you, and your slacking co-workers – they will hardly make any serious efforts if they can get away with imitating work. Things will get worse before they get better.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kentucky Gent · July 27

      Women in the workforce is just one aspect of feminism. Harsh truth is that feminism is a fertility killer. “Smash the Patriarchy” is just another way of saying “Depopulate society”.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Zorost · July 27

      100% agree about it being reversible. The problem is that it was done intentionally. To this day there are billboards touting child-free lifestyles, as well as major magazines pushing it. The political system we have today will never push pro-natalist policies until it is in their best interest to do so; that is to say, when we are a multi-cult hellscape with no hope of internally uniting to throw the bums out precisely because it is a multi-cult hellscape.

      Like

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  5. overgrownhobbit · July 26

    As ever, the numbers on population sizes from countries in Africa, have to be suspect.

    Mr. Vlad., you’ve lived in one long enough to provide insight: How trustworthy were statistics gathered and reported by the locals in your field?

    I suspect fertility is declining there as well.

    Like

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · July 27

      The population estimate is 2-6 million, last census was in 1991. However, intelligence agencies have other methods for estimating population which I’m not supposed to know about. Tip for spooks: your girlfriends are blabbermouths, tell them nothing no matter how cool it is.
      As for fertility rates, all I can say is definitely higher than elsewhere.

      Like

  6. jewamongyou · July 26

    “So long as we were smart (ha) we could probably flourish with either 500,000 people, which we had in the 1600s, or with 10 billion people as projected for 2100.”

    I think you meant 500,000,000 people in the 1600s.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Gunner Q · July 27

    The microdemographic perspective is that several young fathers have told me that more than three kids is a serious jump in effort & resources, at least in the “I want kids” sense. It’s not a linear increase. This is consistent with a stable population hovering around a fertility rate of 2-3.

    More kids is only desirable when the economics line up, which in turn is when there’s a large labor shortage. Which modern, partly automated societies don’t usually have.

    What’s most unprecedented, however, is the massive pension system. Time was, the elderly were cared for by their kids, but that arrangement has been completely financialized in the West. Pensions are cruel. A huge chunk of my tax money is used to make payments agreed upon between by now-pensioners and then-government officials… I was not a party to that, I did not even exist to object to these debts being created in my name.

    The problem is not an elderly population per se… it’s an elderly population that consumes the resources of the economically productive. That way lies poverty.

    I understand pensions for work that is exceptionally dangerous such as military service, but a stable society is one in which the different generations cooperate instead of empowering the old to loot the young.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kentucky Gent · July 31

      Gunner,

      Are you going to, or have you, resumed blogging?

      Like

    • Derek Ramsey · July 31

      “The microdemographic perspective is that several young fathers have told me that more than three kids is a serious jump in effort & resources, at least in the “I want kids” sense.”

      Do you know anyone with more than 3 children?

      Three kids is the hardest. It doesn’t get harder once you go further than that. Indeed, if you let the multitude of kids entertain themselves rather than fully embrace the modern notion that parents have to constantly entertain their children, 4, 5, or 6 may be actually easier than 3. Just start having kids when you are young, as is traditional.

      Like

  8. lemmiwinks · July 27

    To dip a toe in the waters of your point #3, like many Australians my age, I’ve got a few hundred K tied up in super (helped in no small part by some very generous employer contributions, plus IIRC 6% compulsory contributions from me). I’m skeptical as to whether this will be around when my time to draw on it comes though – unfunded liabilities, the government straight up steals it, whatever. Hence I’m jamming as much as possible into my investments. Of course the same things and worse could happen to that but you gotta do something.

    As for the population ponzi so popular with our government down here, it’s certainly allowed them to cook the books for decades now. “Increasing” GDP while per capita GDP craters along with living standards. They also neatly ignored the fact that immigrants age.

    More recently and sadly for regional hermits like myself, the coof totalitarianism has driven many city denizens out “bush”. A form of the tragedy of the commons, where by escaping they create the very environment they sought to escape (and don’t half fairly root it up for us what was already here).

    Like

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · July 27

      Australia’s pension and super will probably be okay. However, the insane advantages will be scaled back once the Boomers and their massive voting power pass on (and Gen X starts retiring). The family home will be included in means test for pension, etc.
      The biggest problem with super is that all the tax dodges it provides make it more expensive for general revenue than the pension alone was, which defeats the purpose. Still a good deal if you can get into a decent, low cost fund that does indexing.

      Like

      • lemmiwinks · July 27

        “The family home will be included in means test for pension, etc.”

        Indeed, especially after years of promoting it to “mum and dad” investors via the ludicrous negative gearing system. Plus commies hate them some kulaks.

        Like

        • Nikolai Vladivostok · July 27

          I actually don’t mind the change. Retirees shouldn’t be allowed to live in $2 million dollar homes and pull a government pension.

          Like

          • lemmiwinks · July 27

            Couldn’t agree more. However it’s a problem the government created and has steadfastly refused to address since removing negative gearing is electoral suicide because every man and their dog is hooked on the tax shelter.

            Liked by 1 person

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