Over the years, the Major has made fun of Malthus and the neo-Malthusians. He has happily pointed out to students that the world human population was less than a billion when Malthus thought we were all going to die soon, while the reality of today is that 7.4 billion people have too much food and obesity is our big worry! It is all a part of the 200-year transformation, the Major proudly enlightens them.
But, Major Buzzkill, who loves telling students "you're screwed!" does not tell students is that deep, deep, deep down there is always a worry about the future population numbers.
This worry deepens every time he visits India. Except between late night and early in the morning, it is crowded everywhere, and seems to get more crowded every year. In contrast, the Major is getting more and more used to the plenty of open space under the big sky here. It is a struggle within to reconcile the intellectual understanding of population growth and resources with his own personal preferences?
The intellectual Major Buzzkill gleefully points out the historic reversal that is unfolding across the world--the elderly in the country outnumbering the kids there. As the following chart shows, Italy led the way in 1995,, and now it is a growing list:
Imagine that: 56 countries having more older folks than kids!
The trend into the future tells quite a story:
Looks incredible, right? It is almost as if this is from Ripley's Believe it or not. The future will be the tyranny of the old. Instead of the parents changing the kids' diapers, it will be middle-aged women (almost always they are the caregivers) or perhaps robots changing the diapers of the elderly. What a transformation through the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries!
Major Buzzkill is no Malthusian. But, deep, deep, deep down he worries that a few countries, like his old country, might struggle to keep up with the total population and the elderly population.
Adding the population of the US to India in another three decades. Despite his best plans, largely because of his dull and boring highly regimented lifestyle, this might happen within Major Buzzkill's lifetime and he will get to witness it. I wonder what Major Buzzkill will have to say about this in 2040, if not in 2050.