Mark Steyn has an interesting take on demography. hattip tincanman at Go Forth And Multiply | Sir Humphrey's. Steyn takes a long time to make his points. Worth a read if you have the time but his conclusions ignore some big and important factors.
And yet the world is utterly altered. Just to recap those bald statistics: In 1970, the developed world had twice as big a share of the global population as the Muslim world: 30% to 15%. By 2000, they were the same: each had about 20%.
Steyns thesis is that Muslims will inexorably breed to be demograpically dominant in the world and that will lead to their political dominance. Alarmist rubbish.
What he neglects to note is that there are around 1.3bn Chinese and 1.1bn Indians who are steadily becoming more Westernised, in terms of becoming capitalist democracies. In different terms, at different speeds but clearly the progress is there for anyone with an open mind and a long term view. So we have the 20% already developed, along with 40% China and India. This is the worlds economic powerhouse and although their relative share of world GDP & population will change their aims and aspirations are merging.
Steyn takes legitimate potshots at the UN and their doomsayers.
In 1972, in their landmark study "The Limits to Growth," the Club of Rome announced that the world would run out of gold by 1981, of mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead and gas by 1993.
He then relates that to what the UN is saying now.
That's to say, in 2002, the United Nations Global Environmental Outlook predicted "the destruction of 70 percent of the natural world in thirty years, mass extinction of species. . . . More than half the world will be afflicted by water shortages, with 95 percent of people in the Middle East with severe problems . . . 25 percent of all species of mammals and 10 percent of birds will be extinct . . ." Etc., etc., for 450 pages. Or to cut to the chase, as the Guardian headlined it, "Unless We Change Our Ways, The World Faces Disaster."
Demonstrably alarmist and ill judged. I completely agree with Steyn that environmental disaster and running out of energy and water are just not realities. Technology and free markets will certainly overcome any shortages.
Steyns conclusion confirms that he has ignored the rest of the developing world. This means
If a population "at odds with the modern world" is the fastest-breeding group on the planet--if there are more Muslim nations, more fundamentalist Muslims within those nations, more and more Muslims within non-Muslim nations, and more and more Muslims represented in more and more transnational institutions--how safe a bet is the survival of the "modern world"?
The survival of the modern world is assured. Technological advance will trump Koran inspired backwardness anytime. My theory is that the modern democratic world will eventually subsume Islamists. Jihadists will eventually be relegated to a marginal nutty sect. For every British born Muslim who volunteers to take himself and his personal problems off to suicide & martyrdom there are thousands of others who work all hours to bring greater prosperity for their families, happy to be living in a strong capitalist democraty. The developed world have 40-50% of the world working very hard to catch up. Their world outlook is not at all dissimilar to that of the developed West. I certainly agree that France, Spain, Germany & Britain will face challenges as the proportion of Muslims in the population increases and native fertility rates prove inadequate. But there is a big difference between facing down challenges and being overcome. Not fashionably alarmist but certainly reassuring.