Friday, February 10, 2006

The Demographic Element: An Introduction

Six Elements of Power: Demographic
Winding down here to the last two elements, and (wringing my hands) I'm saving the Cultural Element for last. Use of the phrase "Demographics is Destiny" has become somewhat of a cliché, but it is no less true because of it. The Demographics of a Nation- State have a great influence on its well-being and continued success. I could wax ad infinitum about how important Demographics are, or link to an almost inexhaustible pile of resources that do the same thing (Just see how long the list is when one Googles 'demographics is destiny' or 'demographics are destiny'), but this one example that follows should more than make it clear how important Demographics are to National Power.

A Case Study in Demographics as Weakness: Saudi Arabia

With 26 million people living in Saudi Arabia, 1 in 5 are foreign ‘guest workers’. Services essential to maintaining the current civil structure of the Kingdom are performed by these foreign workers: most working under deplorable conditions that persist only because of people fleeing desperate situations elsewhere are duped and then trapped. If the pipeline of ‘guest workers’ performing the dirty work should dry up from the word getting out in the right places, or the higher-paid technical talent get tired of dealing with the Kingdom and its ways, the Saudi economy would be crippled. Saudi Arabia’s already thin social fabric would likely disintegrate (with the most virulent wahabists on top no doubt) as 99.9 % of the remaining native population asserted their dissatisfaction with the top 1/10th of 1 percent that makes up the House of Saud ...and especially the 1/10th of 1 percent of the House of Saud that wield any real power.

Saudi Arabia is an excellent example of multiple forms of Demographic weakness: overdependence on foreign labor for even the most mundane tasks, insufficient number of native workers with technical skills, and poor distribution of talent and skills in the general population. And we won’t even delve into the existence of insufficient (by design) educational, social , and business systems that forever prevent the full development of a full half of their potential talent pool (women) But perhaps the House of Saud doesn’t worry about these things at all….as long as the oil and money keeps flowing.

Of course, we shouldn’t think this kind of thing is unique to Saudi Arabia. What about the willingness of many in the United States to turn a blind eye to the problem of the uncontrolled influx of illegal aliens? (Yes, if someone is here illegally they are still an alien - they did NOT ‘immigrate’, and I refuse to surrender this point to the PC language police) What is the true cost/benefit of ‘illegals’ to not only the economy but to the American society? As a Nation, I believe we are only beginning to understand the nature and scope of the problem.

And then there is Western Europe. Among other things, like the murder of Theo Van Gogh and last year’s rash of violence that spread across France, I would also wonder if they perhaps are reconsidering their historically laissez-faire approach to immigration and assimilation?