The media is continually talking about how crazy the world is going to be once we all start getting old and there are relatively less people in the workforce. This is only a slight problem now, but once the population plateaus in the mid-21st century at about 9 billion, this ‘problem’ is going to be huge as there will become similar numbers of those entering retirement as those in the workforce…. but I wonder if anyone remembers inheritance in all these calculations? Having unprecedented numbers of old people also means there is going to be unprecedented trillions of dollars of wealth transfer from old to young as these old-timers die off…. So what may seem like a drain on resources in the short-term (supporting the retired) may actually become a boon to future generations. As population growth slows, and the fertility rate drops below 2, there become, for the first time in history, less people to receive (or split up) the total value of inheritance than there are people to provide it (by kicking the bucket). Instead of splitting up your 2 parents excess life savings amongst 2+ children, at this future point it would be split up amongst less than 2 (it is actually a lot lower than this in the developed world… around 1.3 in Australia, 1.05 in Taiwan! Population growth is largely driven by immigration.) So…. as we go through the 21st century, there will come a point where inheritance gets divided up equally, where the total worth of two people get split up between 2 people (when the average birthrate is 2 kids per 2 adults) and past this point, the total worth of 2 people gets split up between less than two people. Assuming they are lucky enough to live in a country that has mandatory superannuation (which I think may possibly be every major nation bar the US), people in general will suddenly be copping windfalls as the rate of inheritance per person rises….. would this actually offset any downward turn due to supporting an old population? Would it usher in a golden age? Will it pay off my credit card debt? Will a stable population pay off our national debts?
I’d really like someone to model it for me. I would myself, but I gotta PhD to work on! Thats just a brainfart of an idea for the moment.
Who counted? Somewhere, at some level, someone is making some shit up. I’m convinced.
* The best computer is a quiet, invisible servant.
* The more you can do by intuition the smarter you are; the computer should extend your unconscious.
* Technology should create calm.” — Mark Weiser
Hmmmmm, I wonder what criteria would be used to decide between saving me and a bunch of other people. Yeah yeah yeah, we are all equal and all that (no we aren’t) but when you come down to the line and have to choose between Roger the dapper hairdresser from Western Sydney or Beatrice the pseudomasculine tailor from Outer Broadsmeadows, on what criteria would you judge? Of course discluding the obvious easy outs such as genetic relations, race and language…. if I studied which people a large enough population would decide to survive, would I find out something about our innate morals? I’m sure its not arbitrary! Hmmmmm…. I’m gonna have to scratch my chin on that one *scratches chin* Carry on.