If demography is destiny, democracy is toast-at least those democracies where citizens can vote themselves a living at someone else's expense. It doesn't take a mathematical genius to see that governments' addiction to intergenerational income redistribution is not sustainable unless someone keeps supplying babies at an accelerating pace.
The root cause of the economic disaster that lies ahead is the kamikaze drive of democratic governments to displace the functions of the family, including the care of relatives in their old age. Since time immemorial, in every human society that ever was, and buttressed by social mores central to every religion ever practiced, children, grandchildren, and kin did what governments the world over now promise to do.
The burdens of providing for the aged used to begin when people could no longer care for themselves. The liabilities were dispersed, unenumerated, and owned by small groups of closely related individuals. These individuals owed their very existence to the elderly dependents who brought them into the world and nurtured them through childhood. The glue of duty, love, and reverence bound families together. Yes, families occasionally broke down, which threw unfortunates onto the mercy of charity. But isolated family failures never threatened to destabilize global economies.
Democracy changed all that. The burdens of providing for the aged are larger than ever thanks to the greater longevity that modernity accords. But the necessity and personal pride that drove the elderly to provide for themselves for as long as they could has been replaced by the invention of a universal "right of retirement" irrespective of an individual's means.
This "right" to stop working for the last 10, 20, or even 30 years of our lives is secured and supported through an electoral system under which politicians promise old-age entitlements in return for votes. The system subsists on coercive taxation, money printing, and borrowing from the future. Ballooning centrally owned liabilities are perched atop a demographic pyramid with a base that must continue growing to avoid Ponzian collapse.
The aggregate U.S. federal and state unfunded liabilities required to pay for all the entitlements promised by politicians past-namely Social Security, Medicare, and defined-benefit pensions for public employees-now exceed $100 trillion. Tomorrow's workers, including those yet unborn, have no particular kinship to the people who will be feasting on their paychecks.
Read the whole thing, as they say.