Sunday, April 1, 2012

Is population aging really so bad?

I have a chapter in the excellent new edited book, Political Demography: Identity, Institutions, and Conflict. In it I argue that the absence of a theoretical framework within which to structure discussion of population aging has led scholars to underestimate the role of the state in mediating the effects of population. There are plentiful descriptions of military and fiscal constraints aging will bring, but little consideration of how policies are made, how states affect the global political environment, and how the geopolitical environment affects states. Power transition theory--which looks at multiple elements of population, plus productivity and political capacity--can help identify several points of leverage states can use to play the demographic cards they’ve been dealt.