LTC Bullet: Book Review: The Graying of the Great Powers

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Binghamton, NY (LTC Tour Mile 16,000; State #25)--

LTC Comment: Aging demographics will impact more than Americans' retirement income and health care security. Get the bigger picture of the Age Wave's effect on national and global security from this eye-opening new book, after the ***news.***

*** WHICH WAY WEST? The National Long-Term Care Consciousness Tour faces a dilemma at the end of October. It'll be time to head West. But which route? We finish the Midwest at the end of October in MOKAN (Missouri, Kansas) with Center for Long-Term Care Reform Regional Representative Claude Thau who has already scheduled many media and speaking engagements. We have an event scheduled in Los Angeles, California for November 14. So I've got two weeks to get there. The question now is "Which Way West?" As always, you'll decide the itinerary. Where I'm invited to speak determines the LTC Tour's route. I could drop down through Oklahoma and proceed to north Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Or I can head directly west to Colorado, picking up Denver, and then on to Utah and Nevada. Are you on either route? Want the LTC Tour to come to your town? Then contact Damon now at 206-283-7036 or damon@centerltc.com to explore the possibilities. ***

*** FREE EVENTS FOR NAIFA, NAHU, FPA, AND EPC. Can you believe it? Steve Moses will do a two-hour mini-version of the Center's highly acclaimed LTC Graduate Seminar at no charge for state or local affiliates of these organizations--National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, National Association of Health Underwriters, Financial Planning Associations, and Estate Planning Councils. Maybe other organizations too. Just ask. That's a $5,000 savings to bring in a nationally recognized speaker on long-term care planning and public policy. All you have to do is schedule your event to fit into the LTC Tour's schedule and itinerary which you can find at http://www.centerltc.com/TourCalendar/General.htm#August. With the Midwest and West still left to cover, the possibilities are wide open. Find Steve's professional bio and credentials at http://www.centerltc.com/steves_bio.pdf. Find testimonials about the program at http://www.centerltc.com/Testimonials.htm. To inquire, contact Damon at 206-283-7036 or damon@centerltc.com. ***

 

LTC BULLET: BOOK REVIEW: THE GRAYING OF THE GREAT POWERS

LTC Comment: Rather than my summarizing this fine new book's subject matter, get it straight from the author's own mouth. Last June, I interviewed co-author Richard Jackson at his Washington, DC office in the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Check out the 2-minute interview at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keiY4wriYHM.

(For 32 more interviews and LTC-themed vignettes, go to the Center for Long-Term Care Reform's special LTC Tour channel on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/LTCconsciousnessTOUR. Subscribe there to get updates of each new addition.)

Now here are some quotes from The Graying of the Great Powers: Demography and Geopolitics in the 21st Century by Richard Jackson and Neil Howe, The Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC, 2008. (Order this book at http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_pubs/task,view/id,4453/type,2/.)

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This report investigates how "global aging" -- as the demographic transformation is often called -- will reshape the geopolitical landscape through the first half of the 21st century. From the perspective of today's developed nations, the report addresses questions like the following:

  • How will demographic change reshape the relative influence and power exercised by the world's nations and alliances?
  • How will it affect the performance of national economies, the mood of national electorates, and the effectiveness of national defense strategies?
  • Will rising retirement and health care costs crowd out spending on national defense and international affairs?
  • Will today's developed countries come to depend on the surplus savings of rising developing nations to keep them afloat financially -- and if so, how can we expect these new suppliers of capital to use their newly acquired leverage?
  • Will armed forces experience chronic manpower shortages as the number of youth declines and tight civilian labor markets make military careers less attractive?
  • Will the resources available to pursue geopolitical goals be further constrained by the changing temperament of risk-averse older voters?
  • Will demographically declining societies be less willing to risk scarce young people in war, and will this accelerate the substitution of military technology for manpower? (pps. 9-10)

Major Findings: The Demographic Transformation

  • The world is entering a demographic transformation of unprecedented dimensions. . . .
  • The coming transformation is both certain and lasting. There is almost no chance that it will not happen -- or that it will be reversed in our lifetime. . . .
  • The regions of the world will become more unalike before they become more alike. . . .
  • In the developed world, the transformation will have sweeping economic, social, and political consequences that could undermine the ability of the United States and its traditional allies to maintain security. . . .
  • In the developing world, the transformation will give rise to dangerous new security threats. . . .

Major Findings: The Geopolitical Implications

  • The population and GDP of the developed world will shrink steadily as a share of the world totals. In tandem, the global influence of the developed world will likely decline. . . .
  • The population and GDP of the United States, due to its relatively high fertility and immigration rates, will expand steadily as a share of the developed world totals. In tandem, the influence of the United States within the developed world will likely rise. . . .
  • Most nations in sub-Saharan Africa, and some nations in the Muslim world -- including Afghanistan, Iraq, the Palestinian Territories, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen -- will possess a large ongoing "youth bulges" that could render them chronically unstable until at least the 2030s. . . .
  • Many nations in North Africa, the Middle East, South and East Asia, and the former Soviet bloc -- including China, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia -- are now experiencing rapid or extreme demographic change that could either push them toward civil collapse or (in reaction) "neo-authoritarianism." . . .
  • The threat of ethnic and religious conflict will continue to be a growing security challenge in both the developing and developed worlds. . . .
  • Throughout the world, the 2020s will likely emerge as a decade of maximum geopolitical danger. . . .
  • The aging developed countries will face chronic shortages in young adult manpower -- posing challenges both for their economies and their security forces. . . .
  • An aging developed world may struggle to remain culturally attractive and politically relevant to younger societies. (pps. 1-4) . . .

A Framework for Policy Action

Demographic Policy

  • Help women balance jobs and children...
  • Reward families are having children...
  • Improve the economic prospects of young families...
  • Leverage immigration more effectively...

Economic Policy

  • Reduce the projected cost of old-age benefits...
  • Increase funded retirement savings...
  • Encourage longer work lives...
  • Enable more young people to work...
  • Maximize the advantages of trade...
  • Raise national savings...

Diplomacy and Strategic Alliances

  • Expand the developed-world club...
  • Prepare for a larger US role...
  • Invest in development assistance...
  • Remain vigilant to the threat of neo-authoritarianism...
  • Preserve and enhance soft power...

Defense Posture and Military Strategy

  • Prepare for growing casualty aversion...
  • Substitute military technology for manpower...
  • Substitute nonnative for native manpower...
  • Create "service alliances" with loyal developing countries...
  • Adapt weapons, training, and force structure... (pps. 197-201)

LTC Comment: Did these quotes pique your interest. Then get the book and fill in the blanks. Get it at http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_pubs/task,view/id,4453/type,2/ or on Amazon.com.