on ‘Lousy demographics’. Political Observer comments.

On the question of China’s demographics, here is a link to a 2013 essay in the The Journal of Asian Studies of 2013 by Karen Eggleston, Jean C. Oi, Scott Rozelle. Ang Sun , Andrew Walder and Xueguang Zhou, titled ‘Will Demographic Change Slow China’s Rise? Even just the abstract, available through the link, offers valuable information.

The link to Nicholas Eberstadt’s 2019 essay is behind a paywall ,as is my link, though my link offers that informative abstract. Note also that Mr. Eberstadt is a ‘is Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute.’ The New Cold War being waged by allies Rachman and Eberstadt ? Aided by a link to a Financial Times report about the decline of China’s population.

What follow this is the usual self-serving History made to measure of the Financial Times writers, with the addition of Demographic speculation, that considers the Future. Its almost resembles the Clairvoyant acts that held sway in Popular Entertainment: Orson Welles’ ‘Black Magic’ of 1949 the very pinnacle of a Movie sub-genre.

Mr. Rachman lacks Welles’ flair for inhabiting the persona’s of melodrama, held together by his charisma, so the readers are left with this preantepenultimate demographic speculation.

Demography will continue to shape world politics, as it always has. But the historic connection between a growing and youthful population and increasing national power is giving way to something more complex. The most significant division may now be between rich and middle-income countries — where populations are static or falling — and poorer countries, where populations are expanding fast.

Political Observer


Reply May 6, 2021

Thank you for your comment Generic @FT Reader. the quotation ‘‘demography is destiny’ is ascribed to French sociologist and philosopher Auguste Comte. Thus begins this collection of readymades, cliches, catch phrases, that are cobbled together, in the Financial Times’ History Made to Measure.the reliable practice of its pundits.

The link to Nicholas Eberstadt’s Foreign Policy essay. is inconveniently behind a paywall. Mr. Eberstadt’s AEI page is available without charge:

Nicholas Eberstadt

AEI was Irving Kristol’s final political association before his death.

Not to forget that AEI has the annual Irving Kristol Award. Should that leave any doubt as to the political territory, the reader confronts? ‘Lousy demographics’ is then explained, by Mr. Rachman, as not a key issue. Yet the why of his essay, Mr. Eberstadt’s Foreign Policy essay, remains out of reach of most his readers. But Mr. Eberstadt’s bio page helps clarify:

Nicholas Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he researches and writes extensively on demographics and economic development generally, and more specifically on international security in the Korean peninsula and Asia. Domestically, he focuses on poverty and social well-being. Dr. Eberstadt is also a senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR).

His many books and monographs include “Poverty in China” (IDI, 1979); “The Tyranny of Numbers” (AEI Press, 1995); “The End of North Korea” (AEI Press, 1999); “The Poverty of the Poverty Rate” (AEI Press, 2008); and “Russia’s Peacetime Demographic Crisis” (NBR, 2010). His latest book is “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis” (Templeton Press, 2016).

He has offered invited testimony before Congress on numerous occasions and has served as consultant or adviser for a variety of units within the US government. His appearances on radio and television range from NPR to CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

Mr. Eberstadt has a PhD in political economy and government, an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government, and an AB from Harvard University. In addition, he holds a master of science from the London School of Economics.

In 2012, Mr. Eberstadt was awarded the prestigious Bradley Prize.

Nicholas Eberstadt

Mr. Rachman then makes this set of observations, using the standards he has set for himself, I’ll quote it .

But a shrinking and ageing population may not have the same gloomy implications in the 21st century. The great-power struggles of the future are unlikely to be decided by vast land battles. In the recent war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, unmanned drones played the critical role on the battlefield. Britain’s recent strategic review cut the army, while investing heavily in technology.

What Mr. Rachman is trying to sell the reader on his expertise, he a Policy Technocrat writing regularly writing a column of opinion. So Mr. Eberstadt’s essay provides a point of departure for Mr. Rachman to demonstrate his superior knowledge on questions of moment.

The question the critical reader might raise, in this context, is who recalls the political opinions/prognostications of Walter Lippmann, Joe Alsop, Drew Pearson? Or even the actual ‘Policy Experts’ McGeorge and William Bundy?



About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.