Recent BBC reports confirm we are heading for a global shortage of people. Yes, you heard me right…. people!
For the first time ever there are more 65-year-olds on the planet than there are five-year-olds, and as many people turning 80 as there are being born. Japan and Spain are among 23 nations who are predicted to halve their populations by 2100. In the 1950s, women had 4.7 children, that number was down to 2.4 by 2017. When we get to 2.1 children per woman, the population starts to decrease, and the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts that we’ll be at 1.7 by 2100.
Great thing for the planet right? Less people, less CO2 creation. Boom!
What’s going on?
Women globally are having more access to education, which has a direct and downward correlation with the amount of children they have.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2013, found “a nation’s competitiveness in the long term depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilizes its women and if they have the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities as men.“
We can get a beautiful and timely example of this with a quick look at the Covid results 'leaderboard’. Countries with the least deaths have all been led by women.
Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, of University College London, said: "If these predictions are even half accurate, migration will become a necessity for all nations and not an option.” Luckily, as our home heats up and sea levels rise, research conducted by Climate Central, says that by 2100 one-hundred and ninety million people will be displaced from their homes, so immigration we’ve seen in the past will be just a drop in the ocean. Pun intended.
Of course I don’t mean luckily.
The UK has regularly used immigration to help with its tax deficit, so aren’t we shooting ourselves in the foot by closing our Brexit barriers?
The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford says that "incoming migrants are more likely to be of working age than the population in general and therefore more likely to be working and contributing to public finances” and that “higher migration could be seen as delaying some of the fiscal challenges of an ageing population”
Life expectancy is going up, unless you’re in ‘The Land of the Free’, where they have been falling since 2014. Seventy-one percent of American adults are now overweight or obese, driving a higher risk of cancer, diabetes, heart problems and other chronic conditions.
But as we come out of a pandemic-enforcing lockdown only 9% of us want to return to the lives we once had, even if that means living a more modest lifestyle.
And, if people did want to fully re-embrace the rat race, artificial intelligence and automation would impact that, as it will mean 50% of jobs are automated by 2030. That, on top of the impact of Covid, where the number of people unemployed and claiming benefits is rising faster than at any point in our history.
So less people working, and more people to support.
There’s more money in the world than ever. Especially since governments have been printing it off to help with the pandemic efforts. So where is it going?
The Corporate Tax Haven Index 2019 finds that the top four countries in the world who allow multinationals to avoid paying billions in tax on their profits are all British overseas territories. It said “Britain has ‘single-handedly’ done more to break down the global corporate tax system which loses an estimated $500bn (£395bn) to avoidance”. This would pay for the annual costs of the NHS three times over, and is the equivalent to the entire GDP of Belgium.
Alex Cobham, chief executive at the Tax Justice Network, described the hypocrisy of rich nations which enable tax avoidance as “sickening”. “A handful of the richest countries have waged a world tax war so corrosive, they’ve broken down the global corporate tax system beyond repair,” Mr Cobham said. “The Axis of Avoidance – line their own pockets at the expense of a crucial funding stream for sustainable human progress. The ability of governments across the world to tax multinational corporations in order to pay teachers’ wages, build hospitals and ensure a level playing field for local businesses has been deliberately and ruthlessly undermined”.
Over the last 30 years the British media has continually scapegoated and blamed the least powerful members of our society for an underfunded NHS; immigrants, ‘chavs’ before them, and single mothers with 6 kids taking up two council flats. All good distractions, while Britain becomes a tax haven without anyone noticing.
I’m not an economist (clearly) or a rocket scientist but some things are glaringly obvious. Aren’t they?
Google, Starbucks, Amazon. Pay your damn tax.