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The Single Greatest Fact Influencing Future Direction

What is the key factor influencing the direction of America? The world?

In The Next 100 Years, George Friedman writes that the single greatest factor influencing the world is population decline.  Progressively, families around the world have grown increasingly smaller.  It’s a simple fact:  less kids means less workers. Less kids means less people for armies.  Less kids means less people to man factories.  Less kids means less people to pay social security.  The list can go on and on.

The idea of less kids is not just a temporary reality, Friedman argues.  Why?  Historically, children used to be part of the social and economic life of a family.  Having kids was a sign of wealth.  Particularly in an agrarian society, kids were necessary to work the land.

But in modern industrial societies, kids are viewed as economic liabilities.  They consume resources.  In order to make them productive members of society, they need to go to college.  And college costs money, to say the least.

As the population declines, there will be far less worry about whether we’ll have room for all the  people on the planet—as the prevailing view used to be—and far more concern about where the next generation of workers, innovators and caretakers will come from.

What’s your view?

About Bill High

Bill High is an author of several books and co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously: You can find him at and sign up for his blogs there.

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