(Oxford Today) James Martin on the 21st Century–Fasten your seatbelts, there’s turbulence ahead

If we continue as now seems likely, a crunch is coming ”“ in fact three crunches ”“ our global footprint greatly exceeding what the Earth can support, climate destabilisation becoming severe, and fresh water becoming insufficient to feed the Earth’s large population. These crunches will not, by themselves, destroy humanity but they will cause a Darwinian situation; when the going gets tough there will be survival of the fittest. By mid-century, the Earth could be like a lifeboat that’s too small to save everyone.

To be politically correct, organisations don’t use the term ”˜Darwinian’ or talk about ”˜survival of the fittest’, but I am increasingly finding that at elite dinner parties there is already discussion of who the survivors will be. China has enormous fighting spirit and will soon be the world’s largest economy. In 2030 it will have 1.4 billion people. The average footprint of a Chinese person is a small fraction of an average American. The Chinese government does more detailed future planning than perhaps any other government and is determined that China will be one of the survivors. China has been buying the steel and resources it will need in the future. To the largest extent possible it has already cornered the market in rare Earth metals needed for high technology.

The USA combined with Canada will be a survivor, because it is economically powerful and resourceful, and with Canada it has a large amount of land, much of which will benefit from global warming ”“ the breadbasket of the future. Europe, in my mind, is a question mark. Japan will struggle….

Read it all.


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5 comments on “(Oxford Today) James Martin on the 21st Century–Fasten your seatbelts, there’s turbulence ahead

  1. Old Guy says:

    I remember the late 1970’s. Still under the gloom of Watergate and Vietnam. Russians in Afghanistan, Cubans in Africa. U.S. seemed in permanent decline. Inflation running close to 20%, and no relief in sight. Oil and energy a disaster. Growing unemployment. Economy seemingly headed towards eternal second place to the Japanese. An unchecked government. Jimmy Carter’s “malaise” speech.

    And then Ronald Reason was elected President. And the nation found its heart and its strength.

    Maybe we just need good leadership. I did not realize he would make such a difference until he became President. I can remember one of his last public speeches at the Citadel in the 1990’s, after his retirement. Still remember he could bring a tear to my eye and make me feel an urge to heroic action, at the same time.

    May the Lord forgive us our many sins and grant us renewal.

  2. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Leadership is key. Magnanimous leadership is the pivitol key. Reagan had it as did Thatcher. George Washington started it all for America with his magnanimous leadership.

    In America, couple a magnanimous leader with American rugged individualism [those who hate rugged individualism; there is a bone, go for it], and the sky is the limit. We have the potentiality to lift the whole world up with us; did that after WWII and the end of the Cold War.

  3. sandlapper says:

    It is hard to predict the future, unless one is a prophet of God, which is why secular humanist prophesies have often failed to materialize.
    For example, the hype of world overpopulation has begun to lose some of its credibility. In the 1970s, we thought population growth was unstoppable. In the 1990s, demographers began saying that current birthrate trends would result in a peak of 10 billion, followed by a gradual decline. Now they are saying that it will top out at 9 billion. I would not be surprised if estimate drops to 8 billion. China’s supposedly wise policy of one child per couple will, if continued much longer, result in there being fewer Chinese than Americans by the end of the century. We need leaders with the wisdom to know they are not smarter than God, and that his Word is relevant.

  4. wildfire says:

    This “futurist” must be using a rear view mirror as his crystal ball. He is gazing boldly at the 1970s.

    A more persuasive [url=http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/reagan-v-freud-science-v-religion-population-and-islam]analysis[/url] comes from the head of the Vatican Bank, one of Italy’s top economists:

    [blockquote]In a nutshell, Gotti Tedeschi predicts a bleak economic future for the West, especially Europe, because of its low fertility rate and rapidly aging population. In that demographic context, he says, debt rises, the working age population contracts, productive activity is shifted elsewhere, and taxes go up. (In Italy, where the birth rate remains well below replacement level, taxes have shot up from 25 to 50 percent of GDP in the last thirty years.)

    Gotti Tedeschi actually asserts that low fertility is behind the global fiscal meltdown that began in 2008: “The real cause of the current economic crisis does not stem from the greed of the banking system nor corrupt governments,” he says, “but from the demographic collapse that has struck progressive countries since the 1970s.”

    Meanwhile, Gotti Tedeschi says, nations with large populations are posting robust economic gains, with China and India being the most obvious examples. A vast pool of savings in China, created by a massive working age population, has allowed it to underwrite the public debt of the United States, while at the same time creating a quasi-colonial footprint in regions of the world with valuable raw materials. (Of course, these days China’s one-child policy is creating its own demographic headaches; rapid aging has led some wonks to suggest that China may be the first nation in history to get old before it gets rich.)….

    With the emergence of the “new demography” in the last twenty years — projecting short-term growth but long-term contraction in the global population, coupled with turbulence in the West caused by an exploding elderly population without a commensurate number of young workers — the picture has changed. There’s a growing sense among pro-life leaders that demographic trends offer empirical confirmation of their position.

    In that light, it’s interesting that the Vatican’s main commentary on the UN population report so far has come not from a moralist, but a banker. Perhaps it’s a harbinger of things to come: In the future, the most effective pro-life spokespersons won’t be theologians or preachers, but economists, finance gurus, and pension fund managers.[/blockquote]

  5. TomRightmyer says:

    This reads like English agnostic intellectual pridefulness. No reference to God’s will for the world he created that “groans” awaiting the redemption.