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The political demography of the world system: the next half century

Paul Demeny, Population Council
Geoffrey McNicoll, Population Council

Two demographic spillover effects will have significant influences on the future geopolitical order. One is international migration from poor to rich countries, on a scale likely to exceed the levels assumed in the standard population projections. This will yield populations more varied by ethnic and cultural background and geographic origin than currently anticipated. Renewed interest in temporary "guest-worker" schemes is probable, as are pressures for internationalization of migration management. The second spillover derives from the vast global imbalances in population size, now that the liberal trading regime has expanded to encompass poor countries whose labor forces dwarf those of their rich trading partners. The accession such countries, notably China and India, to the international trading system is a wholly new phenomenon. In the rich countries, particularly in Europe, the resulting wage-pressures threaten to destroy the welfare-state model. Possibilities for populist reaction leading to regional autarky are examined.

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Presented in Session 94: Interpretations of population history