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Re: Who’s Afraid of the Chinese?


Jonah: I agree that “if China keeps getting richer, I think it will become more democratic,” but that’s actually a big “if.” As Nick Eberstadt and others have documented extensively, China’s in a serious demographic bind, rapidly growing old before it grows rich. It’s soon (like 20 years) going to have a huge population of old people it can’t take care of and a growing sex imbalance limiting the marriage opportunities of young men. And ending the one-child policy is no panacea, in part because the egg is already scrambled and also because only some of the collapse in Chinese fertility and the selection of boy babies is due to government policy in the first place. What we really need to worry about is not whether China will allow us admission to its co-prosperity sphere but rather how to avoid the fallout (I hope that’s figurative) of the convulsions that China is going to experience over the next generation.


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