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Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Edward Hugh

"But considerable diversity in population size and growth lies behind the numbers."

Yep I think this is the message. It is far from all being bad news. Some countries are obviously 'growing up' and this can be seen in their economic performance - the China, India, Thailand, Brazil, Turkey battalion, but there are and will be more. Fertility rates in general are coming down from the highs.

I don't quite think it is right to say that demographic ageing in the OECD is 'bad news', we do, after all, get to live longer. The difficult part is the transition dynamics from high growth, credit driven dynamics, to whatever will be the new steady state. The thing is also complicated by the existence of inter-generational liabilities in the form of things like Paygo pensions. But at the end of the day, while it might be a bumpy ride, the final product shouldn't be that bad.

The real bad news are the 18 countries - largely in Africa and the former USSR - where mortality rates are actually rising. Now that is bad news. This all came up in the UN human development report (which wasn't all about Ireland :)) , and I will probably post something on this on Afoe tomorrow.

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