Thursday, August 20, 2015

Population Growth Will Never Be the Fix To What Ails The World

"High consumer nations*" represent about 3 billion of earths 7 billion total population.  However these 3 billion persons represent about 75% of global consumption despite representing only 2/5's of earths population.  They have higher incomes, savings, and ready access to credit relative to those nations of the developing world.  From this perspective, it takes about four "low consumer nation" new persons to equal every one "high consumer nation" population gain.

*High consumer nations consist of all 34 OECD members (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, S. Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, USA) + China, Russia, and Brazil.

The reason this differentiation of high and low consumer nations is important is that growth rates are significantly different.  In the current decade from 2015 through 2024, global population among the 0-64yr old population will grow an estimated 545 million.  This growth represents about a 144 million decrease from the previous decades growth but equally important is the high consumer nation growth goes to zero from nearly a +110 million previously (see chart below).

Given the complete collapse of high consumer population growth and slight slowdown of low consumer nation population gains...the current 10yr period we enter represents about a 45% decline in new consumption.  By the time we get to '25-'34 net new consumption drops by 90%+ due to significant declines among high consumer populations not adequately offset by low consumer growth.

I show this not to spread doom or gloom but to make clear the policies of growth and encouragement of more debt via low interest rates are clearly the wrong path.  We simply will not have the growth that ever makes massive debt more easily repaid.  New thinking and new leadership is critical to find solutions rather than serially lying and attempting to hide the problems.