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Simultaneous Elderly Overpopulation, Youth Depopulation & The Impact on Economic Growth

Simultaneous Elderly Overpopulation, Youth Depopulation & The Impact on Economic Growth

Strangely, the world is suffering from two seemingly opposite trends…overpopulation and depopulation in concert.  The overpopulation is due to the increased longevity of elderly lifespans vs. depopulation of young populations due to collapsing birthrates.  The depopulation is among most under 25yr old populations (except Africa) and among many under 45yr old populations.
So, the old are living decades longer than a generation ago but their adult children are having far fewer children.  The economics of this is a complete game changer and is unlike any time previously in the history of mankind.  None of the models ever accounted for a shrinking young population absent income, savings, or job opportunity vs. massive growth in the old with a vast majority reliant on government programs in their generally underfunded retirements (apart from a minority of retirees who are wildly “overfunded”).  There are literally hundreds of reasons for the longer lifespans and lower birthrates…but that’s for another day.  This is simply a look at what is and what is likely to be absent a goal-seeked happy ending.

In a short yet economically valid manner, every person is a unit of consumption.  The greater the number of people and the greater the purchasing power, the greater the growth in consumption.  So, if one wanted to gauge economic growth, (growth in consumption driving economic growth), multiply the annual change in population by purchasing power (wages, savings) per capita.  Regarding wage growth, I hold wages flat as from a consumption standpoint, wage growth is basically offset by inflation.  Of course, there is another lever beyond this which central banks are feverishly torqueing; substituting the lower interest rates of ZIRP and NIRP to boost consumption from a flagging base of population growth.

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