What are the implications of the demographic changes in the world?

Most of the world press has pretty much ignored the annual Haj where some 3 million people gather in Mecca and celebrate the birth of their faith.  The only notice the press has taken has come indirectly through Syria and the Eid al-Adha cease fire.; Eid al-Adha is part of the ritual of the Haj.  At first the cease fire was seen as a possible vehicle for peace negotiations, but a car bomb scattered that suggestion and scattered five people’s lives and wounded another 30 people.  The events in Syria are important; they are important to the region and important to the world as they contain elements that could cause the Syrian civil war to spread to a much larger stage; it could under the right circumstance involve Russia, China and Iran in a face-off with the United States, United Kingdom and most of Europe – a scary thought at best.

The Haj however, is equally important to the region and even more to the rest of the world for all that it implies; in 1870 Muslims were estimated to be 15 percent of the population of the world or less that 20 million people; in 2030 it is being estimated that Muslims will be 34 percent of the population of the world or 3 billion people.  That is one out of every three people will believe in Islam by 2030 and it is already the largest of the world’s religions.  For Saudi Arabia, Mecca and the Haj that is good news – by implication in 2030 nearly 5 million people will be gathering in Mecca – traditionally, over the course of a year four or five times as many people visit Mecca on a lesser pilgrimage.

As I said about a casino in New York City, when you have a large enough customer base you are assured success.  Saudi Arabia and Mecca will continue to prosper as the home and center of Islam.  For most of this century, the west has been focused on Islamic extremism and terrorist, but without firing a single weapon or placing one bomb, Islam is going to become a very, very large factor in the political dialogue of the 21st century.  By the end of the century, Muslims could easily represent 50 percent of the world population.  That does not necessarily mean that sharia will be the law of the planet, but it does mean that Islam will influence politic thought in a much greater degree than it does today.

Fascinated as I am by the dynamics of large numbers and mathematical progressions, I offer one more example of how the 21st century is going to belong to peoples, religions and nations that were almost unnoticed in the 19th century and not terribly important in most of the 20th century.  James Packer is an Australian casino owner bent on expanding his empire both inside and outside of Australia.  He is proposing another casino in Sydney, hoping to catch a wave – the wave of Chinese tourism he believes is just off shore and ready to break on the beaches of Australia.  In a speech touting his project, Mr. Packer told the Australians that 10 million Chinese left China to visit the rest of the world in 2000; according to Mr. Packer, by 2010 that number was 50 million and by 2020 it should be 100 million – of course that implies that by the magic year of 2030, 200 million Chinese will be wandering around the planet.  And again to bring the numbers up to the Islamic forecasts, that number will be over a billion Chinese tourists by the end of the century.

There you have it, at the dawn of the 22nd century, a billion or two Chinese will be wandering around taking pictures and buying souvenirs from the 5 or 6 billion Muslims that will be living around the planet.  We who ruled the planet before need not necessarily fear either the Chinese or Muslims – but we do need to pay more attention to them and possibly give them more respect.  By 2100 they will be like the white, christian, European-descended men were in 1900, the rulers of the planet.  Of course, my demographic group will have lost more than our thrones – we will be under that surface of the earth, not walking around on the surface trying to control the world.

James Packer rues the fact he missed the resources boom, but while the fortunes of his mining buddies are on the wane, the casino mogul is betting billions on catching the next wave of the China boom – the spending power of its increasingly wealthy citizens. ”The biggest opportunity is China,” he told a business audience on Thursday night, just hours after clearing the first hurdle to building a $1 billion casino resort at Barangaroo. ”In 2000, China had about 10 million overseas trips a year. In 2010, that was up to 50 million overseas trips a year. And in 2020, it’s forecast to be 100 million overseas trips a year. And Chinese tourism is changing the world.” It already has changed Australia. Tourists from China’s main cities were Australia’s top spenders in 2010 despite being outnumbered by their US counterparts. By 2020, Chinese visitors to our shores are expected to spend more than $6 billion here, more than double that of Australia’s next most valuable market Britain. Colin Kruger, Sydney Morning Herald, 10-26-12


4 Responses to “What are the implications of the demographic changes in the world?”

  1. 1 rexdstock1 October 26, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    And the white folks who hold all the world’s wealth will be despised and deposed so forcefully that no tombstones will sprout from the graves of what will be known historically as the reign-of-evil…


  2. 2 Ken Adams October 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    It is those thoughts that might lead to real battles; already one of America’s political parties is preaching fear of China and both are identifying Islam as the enemy. That will become very bad long-term policy – Google Golden Dawn – no country and no political party has an exclusive on hate and fear – fear of the “other” – don’t waste your breathe and time demonizing people long dead, instead learn to help build bridges to those yet unborn.

  3. 3 Bill Hanigan October 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    The numbers of growth assume that birth rate will remain the same. The two largest Muslim countries, which are secular states are Indonesia and Turkey. Both countries are undergoing rapid economic expansion which will see their level of prosperity grow and the birthrate decline. I agree that we have to respect and understand better the emergence of China to avoid what we did to Japan in the 30’s. China does not have a history of expansion through territory acquisition. Tibet is a special case.
    James Packer has passed the first hurdle to a second Casino in Sydney and will almost certainly proceed the development on Sydney Harbour.
    I though Rex’s comments ill advised.

  4. 4 Ken Adams October 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Islam is growing because of the birth rate of Muslim countries, but it is also expanding through conversion. Any growth or expansion rate must at some point slow, however the growth rate in the non-Muslim world is slowing also. As to China’ s expansion, true they have never – well not since the wild hordes swept down on central Asia – been covetous of territory – but their population, even in its muted state (which is not likely to last much longer) – but as its economy grows, it will need new markets just as colonial Europe and 20th century America did.

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