“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus
“No level of border security, no wall, doubling the size of the border patrol, all these things will not stop the illegal migration from countries as long as a 7-year-old is desperate enough to flee on her own and travel the entire length of Mexico because of the poverty and the violence in her country.” Jeh Johnson
“History in its broadest aspect is a record of man’s migrations from one environment to another.” Ellsworth Huntington
“Data is agnostic. It simply is what it is.” David Weston
“If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you and you have to battle with only one of them.” – Calvin Coolidge
As I write this week’s edition of “More than Meets the Eye,” I am sitting on a Kenya Airways flight from Juba, South Sudan to Nairobi, Kenya. So far, this journey has been very interesting, as I have interacted with many people in four different countries. It is fascinating to see how each country is handling the global Coronavirus pandemic. Some things are consistent: I have had at least five COVID-19 tests, and it is rare to enter into a public space without somebody checking my temperature.
This week I will finish the three-part series called, “The Tsilent Tsunami REDUX.”
In part one of this series, I dealt with the catastrophic global significance of large-scale human migrations. I discussed the global impact of demographics (human population growth) and its staggering implications for the near future. Last week in part 2, we took a look at: Labor Migration, Climate Change Migration, and War Refugee/Asylum Seeking, their increasing inevitability, and the changes in the global landscape that will take place as a result. I’ve tried to present the data as simply as possible and allow it to speak for itself.
Until now, most demographers have pointed to China and India as the serious progenitors of population over-growth. China has stalled after implementing its, sometimes machiavellian one-child policy. India is attempting to step into the 21st century with educational, technological, and industrial growth that is, for the moment, forestalling its own potential disasters. India will surpass China as the world’s most populous country in the next few years.
What most are not paying attention to is that within the next decade, or two at most, there will be an additional 300 million African young men and women, from a continent that is already experiencing low levels of development and unemployment, who will be looking for jobs and lives of peace and prosperity. This dilemma represents an existential threat to all of humanity’s existence. The sheer momentum and magnitude of it should be a subject of great concern, especially to Western nations as they will be the receptors and expected benefactors of this global dilemma.
It seems to me that there is a perfect storm brewing just over the horizon, of what will become modern history. There are three unfolding trends that will contribute to the chaos in the not too distant future. Looming closest, is the gathering in Marrakesh, in December 2017, which saw 188 nations signing an intergovernmental agreement called, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. In this document, most of the modern world agreed to essentially make the migrations of peoples a human right. I have been watching this with great care. Will it turn out to be an agreement, holding with it some real conviction, or will it be similar to the Paris Climate Accord, one that holds the better ideals of mankind out in front of us, but truly lacks any substantial actions that will make a difference. I say this because, even as the intergovernmental compact was being signed, Europe was convening to discern how to stem the flow of migrants into their territories.
Second, in the triad of storm warnings is the current, massive population growth in Africa. With a median age of 19 and a fertility rate of 4.43 this bodes well to see African populations grow by an anticipated 300 million souls over the next decade and a half. Don’t simply believe me on this. Run the numbers yourself or check out the sources I cite below. It is happening, and there is little that can be done about it. The data is agnostic. It simply is what it is.
Third, Western nation populations are shrinking at an alarming rate. The need for a blue-collar labor force continues to grow at a rather rapid rate. In 1995 only one country, Italy, had more people over the age of 65 than under 15; and by 2020 that number of countries hit 35. Demographers estimate that global population growth will end this century, in the West. The East is not faring much better as economists estimate that China’s elderly population increased 60% by 2020, even as the working-age population decreased by nearly 35%. A lowering number of workers in the country decreases the amount of tax money going towards retirement and healthcare services for older residents, who are growing in numbers. This is straining the retirement systems of many nations today, as there is a decreasing number of tax-payers working to pay for the increasing numbers of pensioners. An example would be that the massive numbers of “baby boomers” in the US are currently retiring. To pay for their pensions, millennials will be required to pay a higher social security tax rate, and perhaps work longer into their 70’s before they can retire.
In the coming decades, the countries that can maintain an, at least somewhat reasonable population growth-rate, will likely do best. To a large extent, it’s too late for that in much of Europe and East Asia. For countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia, with among the most liberal immigration policies and large landmasses, the prospects may be far better. However, we also need native-born youngsters to launch, get married, and start creating the next generation of Americans.
The demographic data reveals that there is a tectonic shift about to take place between the southern and northern hemispheres. With the political climate setting the stage for the free flow of human migration, the fast increasing birth-rate of the population of Africa, and the rapid declining workforce of Europe and the US, there is a distinct possibility of a significant flow of peoples (numbering in the hundreds of millions) from south to north in the next decade to two. This is not a distant matter for our grandchildren to deal with; it will be faced by millennials first. It will be a huge matter that will cause cultures to either, learn to co-exist or be involved with massive conflict of proportions not yet seen. What tools are being provided by the baby-boomer generation to deal with this?
If you have been following my train of thought over the past three or four weeks you will see why I am passionately presenting my analysis. It cannot be ignored. If you are reading “More than Meets the Eye,” it tells me that you are probably different than most people anyway. Please don’t simply take what I say as Gospel truth. Test it. Check out the resources that I have cited over the past few weeks. Come to your own conclusions.
The matter seems simple to me. The global community is taking down, for all practical purposes, the boundaries that have hindered the movements of peoples over the past century. It is not that immigration needs to be completely stopped. Many immigrants have goods reasons to migrate. What I am proposing is that it be more fully thought through. One concern no one is talking about is the “brain drain” that Africa is going through right now. Who immigrates to the West? Usually the best educated, talented and healthiest. This is depleting Africa of its most valuable resource, its best and brightest.
Populations, particularly in Africa, are growing at such a rapid rate that their local economies and ecosystems can barely sustain them at the current development levels. Lastly, the economies in the West are shrinking due to rapid demographic losses. This vacuum will open the doors to many, but not all of the needs for educated laborers. Simply put, the population growth in Africa will outpace the ability of Europe or the US to create labor opportunities if something significant is not done…and soon.
When this crisis reaches a tipping point, the possibilities for conflict will swell at the seams for all nations. It will allow for a climate of radicalization, nationalism, racism, and economic separatism; all seeds for human struggle.
It is important that global citizens respond now, particularly Christians. The future holds a lot of possible hurt, sorrow, loneliness, marginalization, hatred, anger, and violence in its hands. Christians need to be prepared to live in a world characterized by chaos. No one is better prepared than the Church to enter into this fray with love and peace. We cannot enter into it with our heads buried in the ground. We must realize that there is so much more than meets the eye and look deeper. This is the only way to be a part of the solution and not the problem.
To be certain, there is a lot of positive things happening in the world today. Life expectancy is at its all-time high. Believe it or not, war is at a historical low. Economies around the world are starting to boom again. There is much to celebrate in our lives. My warnings are given so that we will not neglect to prepare for the future, as there are trends that look disturbing on the horizon.
Putting up a defense is not the answer. Going on an offensive is the only solution. We need to lead with an offensive of love and grace to this hurting world. We need to focus on resources that will truly solve the problems and not simply chip away at them. We need to recalibrate our lives to serve, not only to be served. We need to help the Africans develop a sustainable ecosystem in Africa, an ecosystem created by and for the African peoples with the help of Western education, technology, and resources.