Saturday Headlines

Global Economy Facing Its Biggest Challenge: Demographics
Economists have struggled to explain why economies across the developed world have only managed to produce anemic growth since the end of the recession global recession. The reasons they have cited are numerous, but Greg Ip of the Wall Street Journal contends the biggest impediment might well be the most difficult obstacle to overcome – demographics.

And it is only going to get more severe next year when the working-age population around the world begins to decline.

“For the first time since 1950, their combined working-age population will decline, according to United Nations projections, and by 2050 it will shrink 5%. The ranks of workers will also fall in key emerging markets, such as China and Russia. At the same time the share of these countries’ population over 65 will skyrocket,” notes Ip.

The acknowledgement of the negative impact of the coming demographic changes has compelled some governments to react, including China.

In October China scrapped its one-child policy and some countries like Singapore and Australia have offered cash grants to encourage bigger families and more generous child support for working mothers.

Unfortunately, those incentives have not been embraced in either country to date. Ip says that even with higher fertility, it would be decades before population trends changed meaningfully.

Facing Thirty Years War, America Lacking Leadership
Although acts of terror were committed prior to September 11, 2001, Alexander Gorlach, the founder of The European, maintains the single deadliest terrorist attack on the US marked a turning point and the start of a Thirty Years War. The conflict will decide whether the world remains a place of freedom, or if we are confined to the darkest side of humanity.

“Islamism is a malformed offspring of globalization: the fear of others who are coming ever closer to us through new means of transportation, the Internet, and real-time communication across the globe. Those who believe that the benefices and clerics hold exclusive knowledge in their hands must see now how their power is dwindling. Therefore violence breaks out everywhere in the world; there are desperate attempts to stop us from coming together. Because certain people have always had much to gain from discrimination,” he writes.

If the West is in a Thirty Years War, then the world may be in a heap of trouble unless someone chooses to fill the vacuum of American leadership that has existed for more than a decade.

“We haven’t seen many such leaders over the past fifteen years. The result has been strategic confusion in America—and a world that seems to be slipping into ever-greater chaos,” laments Robert W. Merry,  a contributing editor at The National Interest.

Merry finds fault with the actions taken by administrations of both parties, whom he says have led in terms of black and white and to the extremes.

The Birth Of ISIS’ Radical Leader
The American invasion of Iraq fed the fire, but the radicalization of ISIS’s leader began much earlier in life, writes William McCants of the Brookings Institution.

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