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Global Demographic Change and Its Implications for Military Power

Global Demographic Change and Its Implications for Military Power

Martin C. Libicki
Howard J. Shatz
Julie E. Taylor
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 170
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  • Book Info
    Global Demographic Change and Its Implications for Military Power
    Book Description:

    What is the impact of demographics on the prospective production of military power and the causes of war? This monograph analyzes this issue by projecting working-age populations through 2050; assessing the influence of demographics on manpower, national income and expenditures, and human capital; and examining how changes in these factors may affect the ability of states to carry out military missions.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-5247-6
    Subjects: Population Studies, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xxiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    It is far easier to notice change marked by singular events—the falling of the Berlin Wall, the attack on the World Trade Center—than change that takes place over time. The latter may initially be hard to detect, but such change can profoundly transform societies, influencing a host of social, economic, and political issues. Global warming, industrialization, and the rise of the automobile and the information society have all produced monumental changes, but they did not have memorable before and after dates; their passage is not sharply delineated. While protracted changes are significant in and of themselves, for military...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Numbers
    (pp. 7-46)

    Demographics is a numbers game, and the numbers that matter are births, deaths, and migration. Together, they tell what a nation’s population will be—not only in terms of raw numbers, but also with respect to age, sex, and national/ethnic origin. They can also be used to forecast the size of groups (e.g., religions) if trends on affiliation and disaffiliation are taken into account. As will be shown in later chapters, this knowledge can help planners with long-range force planning, force basing, and alliance policies.

    Those who forecast demographic trends generally stand on firmer ground than other forecasters do. For...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Long-Term Trends in National GDP
    (pp. 47-58)

    The resources from which a state can create military power include more than demographics. Key among them is national income, the wherewithal for military expenditure. According to neoclassical economics, national income is almost a direct function of (working-age) population—“almost” because the influence of numbers and growth rates on productivity is complicated and controversial.¹

    In this chapter, we use historical information to characterize the economic growth of large countries and thereby establish some bounds for predicting economic growth over the next 20 to 40 years. Our goal, however, is not to forecast such growth on a nation-by-nation basis. This would...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR The Economic Burden of Aging Populations
    (pp. 59-82)

    Chapter Three discussed economic growth trends with respect to a country’s income, but the financial resources that a country can commit toward enhancing its power projection also depend on the size and allocation of its expenditures. There are many expenses—such as debt payments, infrastructure costs, and government operating expenditures—that come out of the same pot of money that funds the military. This monograph cannot hope to explore all of these competing financial priorities, but it can provide insights into those expenditures most determined by demographic trends: social security and medical expenses. Even though this exploration is limited, it...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE The Influence of Demographics on the Causes of War
    (pp. 83-88)

    The academic literature has mooted several types of relationships between overall demographic growth and the tendency of nations to go to war;¹ three perspectives have received a good hearing.²

    One is that population growth leads to environmental degradation, which in turn is a source of conflict.³ This relationship has been on display in Africa’s Great Lakes region, where ethnic strife in Rwanda managed, after several iterations, to create a maelstrom on the eastern Congo, leading, directly or indirectly, to several million dead. Outside those areas, examples are harder to come by (e.g., the north Bangladesh-Assam area has seen tensions but...

  14. CHAPTER SIX The Impact of Demographic Trends on Military Power Projection
    (pp. 89-110)

    Inexorable demographic changes create problems and opportunities for the nations that experience them. This chapter assesses the potential influence of such changes on the ability of one or another country to undertake various military missions vis-à-vis other countries. As noted, although the monograph’s many implications for the military context are relevant to the USAF, their scope is broader than that of the Air Force alone.

    To presage the conclusion, numbers matter—having more people is generally better for national power than having fewer—but how much better will vary depending on what militaries are asked to do. Demographics matter more...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN Implications
    (pp. 111-120)

    Demographics are not destiny, but they are the next best thing. The accumulation of slow changes inexorably alters nations, especially visà-vis one another—and in ways that are not easy to reverse. Let us therefore review the key findings, draw some important implications for international security, and then examine the lessons that can be drawn for the USAF and, by extension, the U.S. military as a whole.

    The world can be divided into the United States plus three broad demographic categories:

    The United States is unique by virtue of its size, affluence, high immigration levels, and a birthrate that...

  16. APPENDIX A Delayed Maternity and Fertility Rates
    (pp. 121-124)
  17. APPENDIX B Trade-Offs Between Fertility Rates and Migration Rates
    (pp. 125-130)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 131-142)