Ageing Giant

Publication date : June 2021
ISBN : 9781909930988
Pages : 320pp
Price : £15.99 hbk.

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Ageing Giant: China’s Looming Population Collapse

Timothy Beardson’s new book Ageing Giant: China’s Looming Population Collapse, reveals:

  • Before the end of the present century the population of China – currently around 1.4 billion – is forecast to drop to around half that level as a major and unprecedented demographic crisis begins to bite. Its working-age population has already stopped growing and is well into a process of contraction.
  • Increasing longevity means that by the 2050s there will be more than 400 million Chinese citizens over the age of 65 – with little provision for their care in a society where a single child is now the norm. Before long the government will have to decide whether they want to invest in aircraft carriers or old people’s homes. The ratio of the retired to those working is steadily rising, putting pressure on families and the public finances.
  • Years of preference for a male child has seen the creation of a skewed sex ratio at birth that already guarantees well over 50 million surplus unmarried adult males in the coming years. This is more than the entire male population of Germany.
  • The Chinese state has previously sought to impose its will on reproduction, but Chinese families experienced a sharply reduced birthrate even before the introduction of the notorious one-child policy. And despite the lifting of restrictions on the number of children allowed, births remain stubbornly low. As Timothy Beardson shows in this timely and fascinating new book, the Chinese people have largely ignored official policy, as trends in urbanization, employment and education alter traditional demographic patterns. China in fact reflects a clearly identifiable shift in the whole world of moving from high to low fertility.  
  • This book is the first to examine in detail China’s demographic history and the impending crisis that is likely to see more people in the United States by 2100 than in China. It explains how China’s ageing and shrinking population will affect such widely disparate areas as the ethics of business, artificial intelligence and the combat-worthiness of the military – not to mention China’s overall place in the modern world.