"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, June 03, 2019

Paul Morland on Population Has Shaped History

Paul Morland on Population Has Shaped History | History Extra Podcast - History Extra

"Britain could never have settled and created in its own image Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and attempted to do so in South Africa and failed for demographic reasons. So the world we know today, full of English speaking countries, is the product of that population explosion. Equally, America, we think back to 1800s, it was a new state, the 13 original states clinging on to the Atlantic. By the time that the Louisiana Purchase, which was a huge acquisition of territory by the United States from the French, the population of that area was a 100 times the French population in the Louisiana Purchase area, similar area.

The French really had no choice, they, the Anglos were going to drive across this continent one way or another. And the second great purchase of a great acquisition by the Americans of territory, which is the whole of the West, essentially, which sprang from the 1848 war against Mexico. Again, there were hardly any Mexicans or Spaniards there, very, very thinly populated. This rollercoaster of Anglo demography was going to roll past and roll on regardless. That's what the Americans called Manifest Destiny. They thought perhaps it was religious, but actually it was more demographic than religious...

It's certainly true that if Syria had the population the age of Switzerland, things would have turned out differently, and it's also very interesting - for all the tensions in Syria, we have not seen an outbreak of civil war in Lebanon. Now in Lebanon, we had civil war in the 1970s, when the median age was about 20. It's risen to about 30 in Lebanon now, it's still 20 in Syria. So you start to see the stabilizing effects of populations aging. So the bad news is that there are populations around the world that are young and are not integrated successfully in the world economy, and they're open to violence and fanaticism. The good news is generally, the world is aging, and more countries moving away from the Syrian situation towards the Swiss situation...

When you get to a certain age, you have interests. A 20 year old Syrian, male particularly because we're normally talking about males when we're talking about violence, is probably not yet married, probably doesn't have an economic stake, the median Lebanese is 30. Well, there's a big difference between 20 and 30. By the age of 30, in Lebanon, you're probably married, you probably have children. The other thing that some people say is important, and there seems to be some evidence of it is that is family sizes get smaller, parents value the children more, more intensely. And where you have one son, you are perhaps less willing to send them off to fight than where you have four sons...

I talk about hard demographic engineering and soft demographic engineering. So, hard demographic engineering is changing demography through the demography, if you like - the obvious ways. Some examples, Northern Ireland, the emigration of Catholics was very high in the 50s and 60s. And there's, there's real evidence to suggest that that was encouraged by the Protestant establishment. On the other hand, the Catholic birth rate was very high. And some research I've done suggests that was quite a positive strategy to strengthen their numbers.

Another example of hard demographic engineering would be the elevated fertility rates of both Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinians, for their high level of education, and socio economic development have or have had, until recently, a very high fertility rate compared with other Arabs or Muslims. Similarly, Jews in Israel have a much higher fertility rate than Jews outside Israel. And there's good evidence to suggest in both cases, that's driven to some extent, by a desire to strengthen their side… obviously, Jewish immigration has been encouraged to strengthen the Jewish community in the area of Israel and Palestine...

What I call soft demographic engineering is where you try and change the demography through non demographic means. So an example would be getting back to Northern Ireland, when the state was founded, there was a decision to take six rather than nine counties, and I've actually been and looked at the debate within the Unionist party as to what they were going to recommend to the cabinet and the cabinet papers. And in all cases, the sense was, if we are going to hold part of Ireland, we need to hold something that's demographically sustainable. Six counties is a two to one majority in favor of the Protestants. Nine counties, which would have incorporated Donegal, for example, would not have been a sustainable, barely a sustainable Protestant majority. It’s the births, it's not death. It's not moving anyone, but it's defining your state, or your territory in a way that favors one group demographically, rather than another...

In 1800… San Francisco didn't exist, Adelaide didn't exist, place Capetown. So the Anglo nature of the world is in many ways the product of the population explosion in England and America in the early 19th century, and the mass emigration… the British Isles really had very, very little immigration from the time of the Norman conquest. We're often told we're a country of immigrants. But in fact, the Hugenots, the early 20th century immigration of Jews, these were very small numbers, and their respective populations would never have made up more than 1% of the total population of the country.

By contrast, we've had immigrations of hundreds of thousands of people into the United Kingdom, within a single 12 month period, at some points in the early, the first years of the 21st century. And clearly for anyone living in the big cities in the US kingdom, you can see how this is massively changing the ethnic makeup of the country...

Outside Sub Saharan Africa, there's barely a country where people have more than four children now, per woman. Even Pakistan, Afghanistan, and East Timor were the three outliers and even they are coming down. So where women have a choice, where contraception is available, where there's education, where people are increasingly urbanized, they are choosing to have smaller families. That's a given. And we know that Sub Saharan Africa will get there. What's very important is the speed with which it gets there. And different countries are making progress at different rates...

Ethiopia is making rapid progress, Nigeria is making rather slow progress. The question then is, how many children do people choose to have when they’re sub four. And it's very interesting and very important that European women are choosing to have such small families. There's a, what I call the infertile Crescent, from Spain to Singapore. This is not only Europe, it's China, Singapore, it's Thailand, where we’re well sub replacement level, where women are having perhaps on average one and a half children. And this is going to have a huge impact on the world.

And then what's very interesting is where even though there's modernity women continue to have larger families, or actually - to get back to Israel is a very interesting case, Jewish women in Israel were having two and a half children in the 1990s. They're now having over three. And you have orthodox communities in New York, of Jews, and in London, where women have 6, 7, 8 children on average...

[In China] you have the one child policy. And I really believe very, very strongly if you look at the speed with which fertility was falling in China, before the one child policy, and if you look at the progress to lower fertility made by other countries in East Asia - by Korea, by Japan, by Taiwan, by Chinese people in Malaysia, so you're looking at people who... in terms of Chinese communities, are quite culturally similar, you realize that the one child policy was completely unnecessary, extremely cruelly applied, and it will have negative consequences."
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