Swedish bells:
I am a sucker for drama, but usually I am fact hardy.  I used to say, “There are two kinds of problems: those that can be solved with money and those that can be solved by brute force; it’s just a matter of applying the right one in the right way.  If neither of those works, nothing will work so it’s not a problem.  It’s just the way things are.”  What I really meant was some things you can fix yourself while for some things you are going to need help. 

But I have looked at some facts, and this time they have given me nightmares.  Recall, if you would, that if you go to gapminder.org and find wealth and health of nations, you can set up a graph with births per woman on the bottom axis (it’s the first choice) and age at first marriage for women on the side axis (it’s the last choice of the “population” menu which is the next to last on the main menu.) You can watch fertility bounce around, and age at first marriage bounce around a lot less, until recent years when fertility for essentially all countries plunges and then for those that fall below replacement (except China) fertility stabilizes but age at first marriage starts to rise. 

Sweden is very much a middle class country, so wherever the middle class is going, Sweden will get there.  So here are ages at first marriage for Swedish women:

1963  25
1964  24
1965  24
1966  24
1967  24
1968  24
1969  24
1970  24
1971  24
1972  24
1973  24
1974  24
1975  24
1976  24
1977  25
1978  25
1979  25
1980  25
1981  25
1982  25
1983  26
1984  26
1985  27
1986  27
1987  27
1988  27
1989  27
1990  28
1991  28
1992  28
1993  29
1994  29
1995  29
1996  30
1997  30
1998  30
1999  31
2000  31
2001  31
2002  32
2003  32
2004  32
2005  32
Here’s a graph:

For about fifty years that age has been going up and more recently it has been going up at about one year per three calendar years.  In 2005 the age was 32.  24 years later it will be 40.  That will be in 2029.  At about that time the birth rate will fall to zero.  That’s only 14 years from now.  And I see no reason Sweden should be a lot different from anybody else with regards to their middle class.  Other countries tend to have a lot of poor people, who are doubtless on a different schedule.  One loves them, but the fact is that it’s the middle class that makes things work.  It has been the middle class that has made it possible to feed (however poorly in a lot of cases) 7 billion people.  In fact, seeing as how half of food is wasted, the total amount of food could feed the world adequately.  That’s as compared with enough food for 2 billion using traditional means.

You’d really prefer not to lose the middle class.  Feature what would happen were the world population to rise to 10 billion just as the middle class collapsed.  There would soon be enough food only for 2 billion, and it is hard to imagine that the food would be optimally produced or rationally distributed; we go back to 9 figure populations, which we probably should never have left, but we go back most unhappily. 

So when did the American era begin; when was our last regime change?  You might say 1771, the Boston Tea  Party, or 1781, the battle of Yorktown.  Using Newton’s numbers of 9 generations of 32 years each as the maximum duration of a regime, that’s 288 years.  So the next regime change should come between 2059 and 2069.  If the last middle class child is born in 2029, that child will be the youngest middle class adult of age 30 or 40 at the end. 

Is that right? Born 14 years from now (2015)? 

We have already been told that in some areas the population is so disaffected with the police that they cannot be recruited.  In Ferguson, the authorities purportedly said, “Yes, we are a white police force in a Black community.  We’d be delighted to have more Black police officers, but none wants the job.”  

What if you called the cops and nobody came because there simply was nobody available? 

Now when I go back and look at the last summary:
and check out the UN numbers (which also end at 2005 as chance would have it – which is ok by me since I am quite suspicious that more recent numbers have been tampered with) I ask: so when were we locked in?  Was it in 1989 when the youngest mother was born?  No, I think it had to be when her mother fell in love, which was probably about 15 years earlier.  Falls in love at 15, has daughter at 30) So the middle class was effectively toast as of 1974.  And what was our birth rate then?  It had just dropped below 2 per woman.  The middling income world is only about 10 years behind at that point.  So they have been locked in for many years, also.  The poor world is about 45 years behind us.  If we have been doomed since 1974, that’s 41 years.

You have five years in which to save Sub-Saharan Africa, Yemen and Afghanistan.  Everybody else is a write off.  You’ll find tiny pockets here and there, of course, but it’s hard to see where there could be the kind of numbers of capable people that could maintain a high end technological society.

Five years to assure ourselves of heirs.  But we won’t run out of babies for 14 years.  We won’t be ready to panic until it is ten years too late.

Did I mention this was giving me nightmares?

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