I’ve been attending a State Department lunch for British prime minister David Cameron today and found myself thinking about some recent points Joel Kotkin and Shashi Parulekar have made about the prospects for the English speaking world.
China’s rapid growth over the last decade, coupled with the world financial crisis that has left Western states struggling to overcome political gridlock over mounting debt, has led many to forecast the end of Western global hegemony. Predictably, as the creators of the modern liberal world order, the Anglosphere states are the prime target of the declinists’ ire. Via Meadia has been closely following this issue for some time and believes that declinists’ claims are grossly overstated. Luckily we are not alone. In a recently published article in City Journal, Joel Kotkin and Shashi Parulekar take the naysayers to task over their predictions of doom and gloom for the Anglos.
Kotkin and Parulekar begin their case with economics. The authors set out to debunk the myth of the rapid success that pseudo-capitalist emerging economies like China have had recently by pointing out that the Anglosphere still “accounts for more than one-quarter of the world’s GDP—more than $18 trillion” and that “the vast majority of the world’s leading software, biotechnology, and aerospace firms are concentrated in English-speaking countries.” Where is the Apple of China, the Google of Russia, the Facebook of Brazil?
In addition to noting the economic and cultural advantages the Anglosphere still enjoys, perhaps the most interesting part of their article is their discussion on demographics. Much has been said about the huge population of China and how they will dwarf anything the Anglos can produce. But often overlooked is how rapidly China will age. “China now has a fertility rate of 1.6, even lower than that of Western Europe.” The graying of society will be a huge economic issue in the 21st century, and how countries deal with that will decide their success or failure. Bolstered by immigration, Anglo countries like the United States and Australia will be able to avoid the age-related issues that closed societies like China and Japan face.