Civilization Bets Considered
By Bryan Caplan
All reasonable, even though I see low birth rates as a bad thing. Per-capita GDP will keep rising. The Total Fertility Rate will decline in the Third World and remain below replacement in the First World. Polity Scores will rise. I’ll bet on any or all of these for the next fifty years.
“Western” is indeed the rub. I see religiosity, monogamy, and high fertility as three ways that the pre-20th-century West resembled other pre-modern societies. Not only are these traits not distinctively Western; they’re now distinctively non-Western.
Since the non-Islamic population of Western countries is shrinking, I’d lose the first bet unless there’s a high threshold for “observant.” The chauvinist/nationalist party bet is interesting, but too vague to bet. Is the U.S. Republican Party already “native nationalist”?
Aside: A culture that makes converts doesn’t need biological population replacement to survive.
Peter H writes:
I’ll bet on this over the medium-term (10 or more years), even though there are signs of a cyclical reversal right now.
Daniel Fountain writes:
If they move to Western countries, does this show Westernization or the opposite?
Bottom line: If I said a metric is good, I’m ready to bet on it at even odds once the metrics and stakes have been clearly specified. For the rest, I’m open to revisions.