Friday, April 17, 2009

Depopulation threatens Russia 10 Ways

The above article was written by Paul Goble and entitled “Depopulation Threatens Russia 10 Ways, Moscow Demographer Says.”

Goble tells us that a “leading Moscow demographer,” Olga Lebed of Moscow State University wrote an article entitled, “The Social Consequences of Russia.” In this article, Lebed tells us that “Russia’s population will continue to decline over the coming decades, threatening first some regions and then the country as a whole with depopulation, a trend whose consequences are both more immediate and more widespread than many now assume. . . the demographic situation which has arisen in Russia over the course of recent decades has achieved such a critical point that it is impossible not to pay attention to it’ ( )

“At present, even with immigration, the population of the Russian Federation is declining by almost a million people a year . . . [also] differences in birthrates and survival rates among the indigenous ethnic groups of the country and among immigrant populations mean that depopulation will be accompanied by “a change in the nationality composition of Russia,” with the [100% white Russians] forming an ever smaller share.”

“Second, depopulation will threaten the foundations of the preservation of “the self-consciousness” of the [100% white Russians] . . . and entail ‘the loss of national traditions,’ . . .”

“Third, she writes, depopulation will threaten the ability of the country to maintain its territorial integrity and the well-being of the population. Already Russia is one of the least densely populated countries on earth, and it will soon lack the numbers of people needed to hold its current borders if they are challenged within or without.

“Fourth, the country will face an increasing shortage of workers, a trend that will make it ever more difficult for the population to maintain its standard of living . . .”

“Fifth, depopulation will mean, assuming that it is combined with an aging population, that every remaining worker will have to carry a greater burden in order to support the non-working segment of the population. . . .”

“Sixth, the depopulation of Russia is likely to be accompanied by a further exacerbation of the gender imbalance within the population. . . .”

“Seventh, current depopulation trends increase the likelihood that ever more parents will outlive their children. . . .”

“Eighth, that in turn will lead, Lebed says, to “the replacement of family relations by social ones,” with the family becoming ever less important as a socializing factor and other groups and institutions rather more. . . .”

“Ninth . . . the problems of socialization brought on by depopulation will lead to more . . . mental illness, more anti-social behavior, and the need for more institutions to cope with societal breakdown. . . .”

“And tenth . . . the depopulation of Russia is likely to produce a variety of demands, not now in evidence, to engage in such population-boosting but at present “fantastic” measures as state-supported “incubator” children, “hybridization of embryos,” cloning, and greater efforts to exten[d] life spans and working lives. Not all experts would agree with Lebed on this list, but many do – she cites numerous authorities in her 3,000-word article – and consequently, her list is useful as a way of going beyond the crude numbers concerning the decline in the population of the Russian Federation which is happening now and will accelerate to the consequences of that decline for all concerned.”


What a contrast between what Lebed is telling us and what Putin and the Sovereign Democrats are pushing as a resurgence of the Russian Empire. Lebed worries about Russia’s ability to hang onto what it has, not push outward into the near abroad nations with costly expenditures of people, materials and finances. Perhaps a war with Georgia is more attention-getting, but in few years, if Lebed is right, Russia will have more important things to worry about, like the diminishing number of men available to join (or be drafted into) the Russian army.

In a sense, the depopulation of Russia at the rate of 1,000,000 a year is an environmentally friendly occurrence. That same sort of thing is occurring throughout Europe and the rest of the world. With fewer people in the world, we will be applying a smaller environmental footprint on the world’s resources. But can we as a species tolerate a dwindling population.

What, in Lebed’s ten threats is more than fundamentally, as regards the human species, unacceptable? Yes, the 100% white Russians will chafe at being replaced by non-100% White Russians, but the species at large won’t be affected.

The most significant worry is probably economic. Our welfare programs are basically Ponzi schemes dependent upon growing populations. If populations no longer grow, some people who counted on receiving benefits aren’t going to get them, but worse things have happened in the course of human history, and at some point we need to face the fact that no Ponzi scheme can go on indefinitely.

As to the provocative idea that Russia (and if Russia then surely other European nations) will begin an industry of cloning, I wonder if that will be cost effective. Won’t it be cheaper and less traumatic to let the old and retired to have fewer benefits.

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