The forthcoming decades will see a decline in the population in Europe, North America and some developed countries due to their tough policies against immigration and immigration and the aging of their citizens, according to an article in Foreign Affairs magazine.
Opposition to immigration is on the rise, and politicians in Europe and the United States are closing their borders to refugees, according to the article by Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development.
He cited anti-immigration in those countries by tweeting US President Donald Trump in a Twitter account in April: "Our country is full!"
But "misplaced" concerns about security, the slow integration of immigrants into their new communities, and "good" jobs have diverted attention from the real demographic crisis that is engulfing Europe and North America.
Lack of population
Paradoxically, the population crisis is not due to the large number of immigrants, but fewer, according to Charles Kenny, who predicts a decline in population in Europe and North America and their aging in the coming decades, at a time when childbearing is declining.
The writer believes that this trend would harm economic growth and the vitality of the state, and lead to a decrease in the number of workers in return for an increase in the number of retirees.
Neither robot nor artificial intelligence will save rich countries from the economic consequences of shrinking populations, nor will the flow of labor from other regions benefit them if they do not radically revise their current policies on immigrants.
The author suggests that if rich countries are to avoid stagnation and deterioration, they should compete to attract immigrants rather than repel them.
Supporting his ideas in the Foreign Affairs Journal, Charles Kenny said that the average number of children in Europe today is 1.6, while that of North America is less than 1.9, which is less than what is needed to maintain a stable population.
The population of 10 European countries - along with Japan - is projected to shrink by 15% or more by 2050. There is speculation that the working-age population of all EU countries will fall by 44.5 million over the next 65 years.
Decrease and aging
Low population numbers are associated with their aging. In Europe, a quarter of the population is already over 60, and by 2050 that proportion will rise to more than a third. In 2080, more retirees will join the EU, an estimated 53.3 million more than today.
The situation in the United States appears to be relatively better than the EU, with 80% of US provinces reporting a decline in the number of working-age people between 2007 and 2017.
According to the article, the aging population will strain the welfare systems in their countries, putting them on the brink of collapse. Spain, for example, will have to increase its spending on health care and care for the elderly and increase pension allocations by 10% of GDP between 2004 and 2050.
The aging population has a negative impact on the vitality of the economy in their countries as well, if retirees in a country constitute between 10 and 20% of the population, the average growth rate per capita population will be 2%.
According to economists at the RAND Corporation, the aging population will deduct 1.2 percentage points from annual US GDP growth this decade and another 0.6 percentage points in the next decade.
Governments have been trying to raise birth rates among their citizens to slow the decline in population, so Charles Kenny asks: If governments cannot increase their citizens' fertility rates, and state economies need a new generation of labor, can robots fill the gap?
In answering the question, the author argues that the experiences of countries such as Germany, which have high automation capabilities and the highest employment rates, show that robots do not indispensable to the human factor.
The production process - including machine-based ones - requires to increase its levels of human labor force participation. Automation creates more demand for labor, not vice versa. This suggests one solution to the population crisis: rich countries must open their borders to immigrants.
Bringing foreign workers quickly will improve the ratio of workers to non-workers. Immigration also helps to raise fertility rates. Children born to a foreign mother or father make up about 13 percent of the US population, but have 23 percent of the country's children.
Without taking into account the immigration and birth rates of foreign parents, the US Census Bureau predicts that the US population will decline by about six million between 2014 and 2060.
From the author's point of view, high immigration rates are the most important reasons for the US population overtaking Europe.
Among the benefits to countries from immigration, immigrants help residents of the communities they come to, and the claim that immigrants will invade the residential sector or control government social services programs is unconvincing. The local population is declining, and the United States employs immigrants to provide those. The services themselves.
The United States has consistently done well in attracting skilled labor. About 57% of US immigrants with patents have moved to the United States.
The writer then goes on to ask: what can Western countries do to avoid a demographic catastrophe? Japan has shown how best to move forward to avoid such a disaster, a country with more than a quarter of its 65-year-old population.
Foreign Affairs advises Western countries to look at the Middle East, with an average of 20% of the population of the six GCC countries being born in foreign countries, which is higher than in France and the United States, where it is 13%.
Recruitment of labor
Most residents of some Gulf countries are immigrants. The article notes that companies and governments in the Gulf are using recruitment agencies to provide them with their foreign labor needs.
But the author warns the United States and Europe against cloning the entire Gulf system, claiming that many immigrants in that region are paid less and working in worse conditions than promised by foreign recruitment agencies.
Charles Kenny attributes this to the fact that workers can only work for the company that sponsors them, and they are often unable to express their grievances or quit their jobs.
Moreover, migrants to the Gulf do not stay long in the region, which means, according to Kenny, they do not benefit the receiving countries more than those who move to them for permanent residence.
Because cultural linkages and social networks are crucial to promoting migration, Europe and the United States must create them when the opportunity comes.
Such an opportunity may come when conflicts elsewhere cause waves of refugees who may form the nucleus of a new immigrant community.
An American chord
Charles Kenny touched on the Diversity Immigration or Random Immigration Visa (US Lottery) program, an annual draw for a permanent resident permit in the United States.
Kennedy says the random immigration program offers opportunities to come to the United States for citizens of countries with fewer than 50,000 people who have emigrated to it in the past five years, and stressed that Washington should expand the program.
The population problem goes beyond the borders of Western countries, and is expected to hit China hard. By 2040, 22 percent of China's population will be over 65 years of age, he says.
China lags behind countries that are looking to attract immigrants, with foreign births in that country accounting for less than 0.5 percent of the total population, and the West, unlike China, seems fortunate to have a large segment of its immigrant population.
But that luck, according to Charles Kenny's article, will not last long unless governments open their borders to immigration. Rather than being succumbed to a policy of favoring the interests of its aging populations over the interests of immigrants, politicians in Europe and North America should seriously consider how to preserve the West's economic vitality, which means looking for more immigrants to attract them.
Foreign Affairs concludes Charles Kenny's article that in the era of "international terrorism", the national intelligence community attaches great importance to the cross-border mass of people. But the writer believes that the governments of those countries will find other reasons to fear drought more than the flood, in a symbolic reference to the preference of the large number of immigrants over them.