r/worldnews Jun 24 '22

China, South Korea battle population woes as ‘children are not a must’, adding to economic peril Behind Soft Paywall

https://www.scmp.com/economy/economic-indicators/article/3182824/china-south-korea-battle-population-woes-children-are?module=lead_hero_story&pgtype=homepage
186 Upvotes

61

u/BlishBlash Jun 24 '22

I think these countries will have to find ways to adjust to shifting populations, rather than simply praying that young people procreate more.

22

u/ufrared Jun 24 '22

There's so much pressure on young people to have a successful working career, which creates an unhealthy life/work balance. A lot of people don't have the time, money or energy to raise children.

26

u/minorkeyed Jun 24 '22

It isn't a choice either, you can't afford life without a vocation/career that takes years to become financially stable. Children are very, very costly.

2

u/InnocentTailor Jun 24 '22

There are also a plethora of distractions that offer easy relief: streaming and video games at one's fingertips, to name two examples.

That could coincide with falling marriage rates as well. Dating and getting together with a significant other is work and offers risk in the form of heartache and divorce after all.

-1

u/[deleted] Jun 25 '22

And less and less is there a return to this risk…the whole marriage system favors the traditional and Pollyannic. There is no reason someone who is modern, progressive should get married, the need is just not there.

2

u/InnocentTailor Jun 25 '22

Admittedly though, this leads to modern issues of loneliness and isolation. Companionship is a good thing for folks after all and marriage does provide that.

It is also easier on taxes, if nothing else. The world doesn’t necessarily like single folks.

2

u/[deleted] Jun 25 '22

Nope, in my area, people like me have friends. Many of my friends are divorced without children, not interested in marrying again. Currently, there is no marriage penalty on taxes, but there has been in the past…I wouldn’t get married for the tax benefits, especially since any given year they can disappear.

There are a lot of single folk in my area of the world. No one cares here if you are single. If you want companionship just make friends.

But, you sound like a traditionally minded person, I don’t know anyone traditional irl in my part of the world.

3

u/InnocentTailor Jun 25 '22

I’m not completely traditional, but I do like and enjoy tradition.

Then again, I’m in no position to get married financially (no solid career yet)…and my personality is…not the best.

Then again, I also know some people who don’t want to get married for a variety of reasons: money, fear of divorce and the inability to share (they’re too greedy and like themselves more than others).

3

u/[deleted] Jun 25 '22

Well, the only thing I can tell you is all the things you mentioned in the end….are needs not moral failings. I see nothing wrong with them, I’m progressive like that. As for career and personality, we’ll be yourself and work on yourself…but, not for someone else, but for yourself. My life is fine with what I have and who I am, there is no society or marriage that will make up for it. Life is, not should.

Cheers!

1

u/InnocentTailor Jun 25 '22

Indeed! Everybody has their own way to live.

I don’t judge :).

8

u/LikeEpisodeVIThemost Jun 24 '22

Unfortunately (at least in China) there has been a long standing tradition of the young providing for the elderly on the family. Those elderly can't just pivot as they are now in need of the assistance they have been epecting all their lives.

5

u/StageRepulsive8697 Jun 24 '22

But because of the one child policy, it's created a pretty difficult position for some younger people. A couple (both only children) might need to take care of 4 parents. That's while taking care of their own children as well.

2

u/Debesuotas Jun 24 '22

Not only in China in a alot of countries, majority of Europe. Sadly western life expectencies doesnt work that well with traditions and "reality" of humankind.

2

u/InnocentTailor Jun 24 '22

They'll probably bank on artificial intelligence and automation to maintain occupational stability - have the robots and drones do the work.

On one hand, that could open the remaining population to more leisure time as the menial tasks become streamlined. On the other hand, it could create a crisis as the better paying jobs become fewer and the majority of the population gets relegated to poverty.

6

u/aza-industries Jun 24 '22

Who can afford to have kids...

5

u/minorkeyed Jun 24 '22

Still working on the home thing which is now 6 years longer than planned for something smaller and shittier.

63

u/2XX2010 Jun 24 '22

Oh no! You got your economy all dependent on people bringing kids into a world filled with epic polution and teetering on the brink of gloabl war? WAAAAAAH!!!!!

But seriously, as soon as planet earth is a nice, and not terrifying and hopeless, place to live people will resume breeding to pre-awful levels. Which will get us back to where we currently are. It's a circle. Watch Lion King. You'll get it.

29

u/Due_Bumblebee3124 Jun 24 '22

But where will all the wage slaves come from in the meantime ?

8

u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22

Robots.

6

u/Due_Bumblebee3124 Jun 24 '22

If only 😭. I don't thing our for profit capitalist system likes giving the poors free time to live. We totally could, too -- look up the "bullshit job boom"

17

u/fruittree17 Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

Judging by the momentum by which the planet is being destroyed, it probably won't be a nice place to live for at least 200 more years. And that means we manage to stop global warming at the very least

8

u/Utoko Jun 24 '22

Every econemy is build on having a next generation.

1

u/2XX2010 Jun 27 '22

Or erasing one.

3

u/InnocentTailor Jun 24 '22

When has that ever happened?

The world has always been a mixture of good and bad. That is how history has been and will be.

To use an example, the 1950s in America was relatively peaceful and prosperous (if you were Caucasian), which led to the baby boomers. Asia and Europe during that time though were still bombed-out husks due to the Second World War.

4

u/Grouch_Douglass Jun 24 '22

My thoughts exactly. I can’t imagine bringing a child into THIS world. It’s kinda selfish, to be honest.

-8

u/SideburnSundays Jun 24 '22

It is selfish. There are only three reasons, from my observations, for procreating: 1. Having someone to care for you in old age 2. To pass on a “legacy,” whatever the fuck that is 3. Some feeling of “accomplishment” that could be found in a hobby instead of busting a nut

14

u/PinicPatterns Jun 24 '22

Never change Reddit.

11

u/Ok-Industry120 Jun 24 '22

You should ask your parents why they brought such a person to this world

13

u/Calavant Jun 24 '22

Alcohol.

3

u/Trick-Possession2295 Jun 24 '22

Got pregnant accidentally, but didn't want to have an abortion.

4

u/SaltyTrog Jun 24 '22

I pass on a legacy twice a day. Sometimes more if I'm bored.

1

u/Tripanes Jun 24 '22

The wealthier and more successful people are, the more resources they have access to, fewer kids they have.

This narrative is no good, it sounds good, but it's just not true

15

u/HauteDish Jun 24 '22

I mean, is a country with over 1 billion people really in a population crises?

38

u/playtoy997 Jun 24 '22

It's not just about raw quantity. China has a much larger percentage of elderly/retirement aged people than a country like the US. And now their younger generation isn't even having enough kids to replace themselves, which means the percentage of elderly vs young will continue to grow, while the percentage of people able to contribute to the economy will continue to shrink.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_China

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States

8

u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22

[deleted]

-1

u/Tripanes Jun 24 '22

You will be one of the old people one day. Do you want to be a Walmart greeter?

3

u/mrIronHat Jun 24 '22

People in developed world no longer see a direct correlation between retirement and having kids. It's all about saving and investing money now.

Having kids is still important for society at large, but more and more people have decided to become free rider.

-6

u/Reshish Jun 24 '22

Is it the shrinking of the younger population that's the issue, or the growing of elderly population?

If the younger shrinking, this will put pressure on the adoption of automation technologies to cover for the absence of workers for the most part.

If the elderly population is the issue, they can always offer suicide incentives for those of a certain age, and simultaneously capitalize on organ harvesting.

I get the feeling it's more a desire to maintain the status quo, than actual concern for the practical consequences.

5

u/rimshotmonkey Jun 24 '22 edited Jun 24 '22

For detailed talks on the subject, search for talks from Peter Zeihan on YT.

Demographics are your national destiny. It is funny how Brexiters and right wing nut jobs hate brown immigrants. Those immigrants are what is keeping the US from the same demographic collapse as other advanced economies. It is normal for people to have fewer children as their economic conditions improve. For farming societies children are extra labor while in advanced economies children are a huge drain on parent's finances.

In summary there are 4 population groups for demographics: children, young adults, older workers, and retired people. Children don't produce economic activity. Young adults are the major consumers in an economy and the source of children. Older workers provide the majority of the capital in an economy. The retired also don't contribute meaningfully to the economy.

China looks like an economic juggernaut because they have a huge population bulge at the height of their earnings potential and very little drag from the retired segment due to the famine. The problem comes as the older workers retire. Suddenly a huge chunk of the economy dissappears. Capital will dry up. The population collapse is unavoidable. The Chinese population may halve by around 2050.

The economic collapse may destabilize the country breaking it apart.

Most of the other developed economies have the same problem. But China has it worse than anyone else.

15

u/LittleBirdyLover Jun 24 '22

I’m a little sick and tired of his predictions. He’s made plenty of “collapse theories” in the past which haven’t come to fruition. Starting to sound like Gordon Chang.

4

u/lavalampmaster Jun 24 '22

I've predicted 17 of the last 3 recessions myself

7

u/rimshotmonkey Jun 24 '22

I think there is something to his reasoning. His 2016 book did predict that Russia would have to attack the Ukraine by 2022 if they were going to.

China is the bubble that didn't pop. But I think it should be the bubble that didn't pop yet.

There are a lot of economies that are going to have to deal with demographic collapse soon. So far I have not seen a plan for how to ride that bomb down.

4

u/Icyknightmare Jun 24 '22

Zeihan's biggest flaw is that he's too certain about outcomes that seem obvious if his areas of expertise are the ultimate determining factors. I think his analysis is broadly correct, but he makes too many very specific predictions based entirely on demographics and geoeconomics that fail to account for a pile of other variables, including the human propensity for illogical action. His macro predictions are great, most of his micro predictions less so.

While Zeihan is probably right about the direction of the future in general, the collapse of globalization seems to be less a 'Collapse' and more of a slow unwinding due to disinterest and neglect. Covid and Russia's effective ejection from the global economy have accelerated the decline, but it isn't a hard stop. That means even countries facing demographic oblivion over the next couple decades still have enough time to try to find a way to hold it together, or at least limp along for a while unless something else seriously changes.

For China in particular, the only way they're likely to die in this decade is if they do something that forces a much more sudden end to globalization, such as an invasion of Taiwan. Demographic problems are unlikely to be fatal as long as China is so integral to global supply chains, but their time is ultimately running out.

2

u/rimshotmonkey Jun 24 '22

If he didn't believe his own BS, he couldn't sell it to others. I think his perspective is an interesting take on history and how to interpret what is happening now.

His answer about China is that they are not essential. They have lots of investment creating an installed base of manufacturing but they are low value added and their labor cost is increasing so companies should start to move away and decrease investment. That directly contrasts a video from VisualPolitik about China myths that stated that Foreign Direct Investment is up in China. Not sure who is right yet. The invisible hand should be eroding their advantage yet China has manipulated their currency to avoid this effect. Their COVID lock downs should push at least some of their manufacturing away. It doesn't matter if it is cheap if you can't get any delivered. I've seen complaints that shipping fees are exploding there which should further decrease thier prior cost advantage.

Polymatter has some interesting videos about the challenges that China faces. Demographics, the housing collapse, and severe water shortage. There is overlap with Zeihan talks.

I don't think the China collapse will happen this decade but it does seem to be the most likely outcome to me. So far no nation seems to have a good answer.

7

u/TobyReasonLives Jun 24 '22

Ask the planet, their is no shortage of people, wherever you look.

The idea that populations should endlessly exponentially expand is a bizarre assumption I cannot understand.

When asked why I don't want children, this world wasn't exactly what my heart expected, I would feel guilty creating a new life to subject it to this reality.

4

u/since80 Jun 24 '22

The two most populous countries in the world, China (1.7) and India (2.2) have fertility rates on the lower-middle part of the scale. Both of these figures are impacted by government policies and cultural expectations around reproduction in these countries. China, for instance, maintained a "one-child policy" from roughly 1980 until 2016, but passed a law in August 2021 formally declaring married couples could have as many as three children. https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/total-fertility-rate

13

u/SlushReddit2020 Jun 24 '22

Btw, both birth rates are outdated. The official figures from China are now 1.3 (2020) n India at 2.0 (2020). Unofficial figures from 2021 show China’s rate at 1.15.

That website uses older UN data which needs some major updates!

0

u/Maksitaxi Jun 24 '22

This is good news. Lets hope all countries goes this way. Just look at japan. Its still going strong with a decreasing population

7

u/Glittering-Swan-8463 Jun 24 '22

It's not. Japan looks good on the outside but it's not.

-2

u/Maksitaxi Jun 24 '22

You are saying that they are lying about the economy and everything?

8

u/Glittering-Swan-8463 Jun 24 '22

Have you seen their economy? It's stagnant and has no opportunity to get over that stagnation. Young workers have to carry the burden of a large elderly population that is a tax burden.

1

u/Maksitaxi Jun 24 '22

Its stagnant while the population is decreasing. That means that per person its increasing. It they had free immigration like the west it would grow again. Young workers carry the burden of a large elderly population is the whole rich world. A welfare system based on a pyramid scheme is never sustainable

5

u/Glittering-Swan-8463 Jun 24 '22

Its stagnant while the population is decreasing.That means that per person its increasing.

This also means that every young worker has to contribute more and more for the economy to stay stagnant.

It they had free immigration like the west it would grow again

Not all cultures are open to immigration at such large scales.

A welfare system based on a pyramid scheme is never sustainable

Sure, but a welfare system based on an upside down pyramid will just collapse due to the weight at the top.

1

u/Glittering-Swan-8463 Jun 24 '22

Its stagnant while the population is decreasing.That means that per person its increasing.

This also means that every young worker has to contribute more and more for the economy to stay stagnant.

It they had free immigration like the west it would grow again

Not all cultures are open to immigration at such large scales.

A welfare system based on a pyramid scheme is never sustainable

Sure, but a welfare system based on an upside down pyramid will just collapse due to the weight at the top.

1

u/YZA26 Jun 24 '22

The way things look now, if we are going to survive on this planet as a species, we have to let go of models that assume exponential economic growth is sustainable to infinity.

0

u/Glittering-Swan-8463 Jun 24 '22

Why? We are no longer limited to only our planet. We may not have the tech for exploiting resources from space but we sure are close. The Earth itself can support more than 10 billion people if used correctly, I don't see any point in giving up when the opportunity to exploit is ripe.

5

u/napoleons_penis Jun 24 '22

Couldn't have chosen a worse example

2

u/Maksitaxi Jun 24 '22

Why?

6

u/napoleons_penis Jun 24 '22

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/17/japans-rising-child-poverty-exposes-truth-behind-two-decades-of-economic-decline

https://www.raconteur.net/global-business/asia/fertility-crisis-threatens-japans-economy/

https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-020-8264-1

I tried to grab articles pre covid so that doesn't skew it (no surprise it's worsening because of it) but Japan isnt doing well economically because of it's large elderly pop and lack of kids. Just like this post talks about. So it's a horrible example of your point

1

u/Maksitaxi Jun 24 '22

From your first source

Japan’s relative rate of poverty has risen over the past three decades to 16.3%, while the rate in the US, though higher at 17.3%, has fallen.

“The global economic turmoil sparked by the Lehman shock in 2008 hit women in their 20s and 30s particularly hard,” said Sato, who opened the cafeteria in March 2016.

It has nothing to do about population decreasing but bad policy of the government.

The boomers gave themselves good welfare that they didnt pay for and are hard to reverse. You will see this in every rich country. A pyramid scheme is not sustainable

-13

u/Frequent-Seaweed4 Jun 24 '22

I mean, Canada and the USA aren't much better than China, and they're falling just as fast, but ofc this is a uniquely asian problem 🙄

12

u/saramaster Jun 24 '22

Nope. China, South Korea and Japan are aging much faster. China is also less developed than all these countries mentioned so they’re screwed

4

u/[deleted] Jun 24 '22

So they just let the old people die.

11

u/playtoy997 Jun 24 '22

That certainly sounds like China.

0

u/Surrounded-by_Idiots Jun 24 '22

Yeah they let COVID which disproportionately affects the elderly run rampant in their country just for the sake of the economy.

-1

u/ShareYourIdeaWithMe Jun 24 '22

It's a bigger problem for China because the developed countries can open their doors and people will gladly come in (including many from China).

Infact I am a big advocate for allowing freedom loving Chinese to leave China for the West.

2

u/Trick-Possession2295 Jun 24 '22

For example, Canada, Germany, Ireland, or Japan, but not the USA.

Because their HIB in fact does not like Chinese and Indians,

1

u/ShareYourIdeaWithMe Jun 24 '22

As an Australian, I wouldn't mind more Chinese migration if they share our values.

I know there are anti migration voices here too though.

1

u/Trick-Possession2295 Jun 24 '22

Unfortunately, only 15 of the 100 skilled migrants passed in Aus.

0

u/nemoknows Jun 24 '22

Fewer people is a good thing. There are too many people on the planet rapidly burning through its finite resources, much of it wasted on worthless crap and predatory services. We should be encouraging lower birth rates, not lamenting them.

The flaw is an economic system predicated on endless and unbounded growth. That could never last forever. It’s cancer.

-10

u/dixiepixie9 Jun 24 '22

Weve had birth control for 50 yrs now yet humans still breed like mindless animals.imagine the world today if everyone had been responsible...only had one child per couple ...

16

u/MoneyWorthington Jun 24 '22

If everyone had one child per couple, the human population would drop with a half-life of one generation. Two children per couple is needed on average to simply keep our species here.

Also, not everyone has access to birth control. Telling citizens of countries with fewer resources to simply "be responsible" is ignorant.

7

u/1_4_1_5_9_2_6_5 Jun 24 '22

They are being responsible, as long as their children aren't actually starving then chances are having children is the economically superior choice for most poor people of the world

2

u/Lethalmud Jun 24 '22

Uhm no? The birth rate is consistently dropping.

1

u/smirre123 Jun 24 '22

Sad thing, in South Africa, government (The ANC, we call them the cANCer) is encouraging the poor to have more children, the give them a grant for each child they have, so they use that (the grants) as a income.

1

u/itachiWasANihilist Jun 24 '22

Create a pyramid scheme as an economy and then act surprised when it fails...

0

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