Global Population Ageing, The Sixth Kondratieff Wave, And The Global Financial System

Abstract
Concerns about population ageing apply to both developed and many developing countries and it has turned into a global issue. In the forthcoming decades the population ageing is likely to become one of the most important processes determining the future society characteristics and the direction of technological development. The present paper analyzes some aspects of the population ageing and its important consequences for particular societies and the whole world. Basing on this analysis, we can draw a conclusion that the future technological breakthrough is likely to take place in the 2030s (which we define as the final phase of the Cybernetic Revolution). In the 2020s – 2030s we will expect the upswing of the forthcoming sixth Kondratieff wave, which will introduce the sixth technological paradigm (system). All those revolutionary technological changes will be connected, first of all, with breakthroughs in medicine and related technologies. We also present our ideas about the financial instruments that can help to solve the problem of pension provision for an increasing elderly population in the developed countries. We think that a more purposeful use of pension funds’ assets together with an allocation (with necessary guarantees) of the latter into education and upgrading skills of young people in developing countries, perhaps, can partially solve the indicated problem in the developed states.
Keywords: the sixth Kondratieff wave, the sixth technological paradigm, Cybernetic Revolution, population ageing, world finance, pension funds, human capital, developed countries, developing countries.

Human capital is one of the most important drivers of economic development whose contribution to the growth of production and innovations is constantly
increasing. According to the OECD definition, human capital is ‘the knowledge, skills, competencies and attributes embodied in individuals that facilitate the creation of personal, social and economic well-being’ (OECD 2001: 18; see also Kapelyushnikov 2012: 6–7). Human capital is central to debates about welfare, education, health care, and retirement. However, we think that the latter (i.e., retirement) is less frequently debated than it should be. Meanwhile, in the West the rapid population ageing actually devaluates the national human capital in every developed country. There are certain grounds to expect that if the ageing generation is not substituted by a more numerous generation of young specialists, the share of the elderly population will increase and the human capital is likely to decline.

Thus, while the human capital as well as its contribution to the economic development is significantly larger in the developed countries than in the developing ones, the situation with demographic structure of human capital is different. The developing countries’ situation is significantly better at this point, and this can increasingly contribute to the economic competition between the First and Third worlds. We should also take into consideration the fact that the generation of highly educated pensioners in the developed states has increased the demands on society and they play a more active political role than the generation of uneducated ‘old men’ in the developing countries. While the West has apparently depleted its demographic dividend, many developing countries, in fact, are only in the process of its accumulation. And consequently, in this context they can get the most important advantage in the coming decades (see Fig. 1).

This also confirms the idea of growing convergence between the developed and developing countries that we adhere to, as the current differences in the
demographic structure and potentialities of the demographic dividend will contribute to the fact that at least in the next two decades the developing countries’ growth rates will be on average higher than those of the developed countries, although this process can proceed with certain interruptions (see Grinin 2013а, 2013b, 2013c, 2014, 2015; Korotayev and Khaltourina 2009; Khaltourina and Korotayev 2010; Korotayev, Khaltourina, Malkov et al. 2010; Korotayev and Bozhevol’nov 2010; Korotayev, Malkov et al. 2010; Malkov, Korotayev and Bozhevol’nov 2010; Malkov et al. 2010; Korotayev, Zinkina et al. 2011a; 2011b, 2012; Korotayev and de Munck 2013, 2014; Zinkina et al. 2014; Korotayev and Zinkina 2014; Korotayev, Goldstone, and Zinkina 2015; Grinin and Korotayev 2014a, 2014b, 2015а).
Read more

Bookmark and Share

Is Another World Really Possible? The Slogans Of The French Revolution Reconsidered

The famous slogan of the French Revolution was “liberty, equality, fraternity“. In the succeeding two centuries the world has demonstrated both the contradictions of this slogan and the very limited degree to which in fact any of its three elements have been realized anywhere in the modern world-system.

Today, the question is whether, in a future world-system, there are ways of making this trio more compatible each with the other. We are dealing here not with this trinity but rather with the relation between inequality, pluralism, and the environment. It is hard to say what the French revolutionaries would make of this discussion. Pluralism was exactly the opposite of their aspirations, since they wished to eliminate all intermediaries between the individual and the state of all the citizens. The environment was entirely outside their topic. And inequality was assumed to be inevitable on tis way out, precisely because of their victorious revolution.
But these questions about both trinities are very much unresolved today. The next several decades will be a period of collective world decision about precisely these issues, about whether anoth­er world is real­­ly possible in a foreseeable future. I shall start by dis­cuss­ing the least discussed, indeed the long almost-forgotten, member of the French Revolution’s trinity, fra­ternity. It is only in rec­ent decades that fraternity has re­turned to the forefront of our collective concerns, but it has indeed re­turned, and with a vengeance”.
Read more

Bookmark and Share

Why Do So Few Christian Syrian Refugees Register With The United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees?

Photo: UNHCR

The Syrian refugee crisis is one of the worst humanitarian disasters since World War II. It is estimated that more than 11 million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011. More than six million are internally displaced, while approximately 4.6 million have taken refuge in Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt, and another one million have sought refuge in Europe. Against that background, it is striking that the United States has accepted only 10,000 Syrian refugees. In contrast, Canada, with a population barely one-tenth the size of that of the United States, has accepted three times more Syrian refugees.

There is considerable interest and concern in the United States as to why so few Syrian Christians are registered as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and why so few Syrian Christian refugees eventually resettle in the United States.

While religion should not be an issue when it comes to the treatment of refugees, the numbers need to be analyzed to determine what they really mean and how they can be explained. Although Christians are generally represented to be as much 10 percent of Syria’s prewar population, the total percentage of Syrian Christian refugees who registered with the UNHCR is only 1.2 percent [i].

Recent news reports state that only 56 of the 10,000 Syrians refugees who resettled in the United States in 2016 are Christian.[ii] These numbers have led to criticism that the systems in place discriminate against Christians, making it difficult for them to register.

This report, which relies mostly on information gleaned from interviews conducted with people and organizations in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan in June and July 2016, provides contextual explanations of why Syrian Christians are not registering as refugees with the UNHCR.
This report also contains the findings of interviews conducted in the United States with individuals associated with U.S.-based organizations and Syrian religious and activist groups. The broader topic of discrimination and the horrors of the Syrian civil war, including its effects on the Syrian Christian community, should be examined more fully, but are not covered by this report. It should be noted that much of the report contains anecdotal information. Very few organizations or individuals—especially individual refugees—were willing to be quoted on the record, but informal conversations with a number of organizations and individuals made this report possible.

One notable finding is that there are sharply different perceptions in the United States, on one hand, and in Lebanon and Jordan, on the other, about treatment of Syrian Christian refugees: U.S. suppositions of anti-Christian discrimination and systemic difficulties as the possible reasons for the small numbers of this group being registered and resettled as refugees contrasts with the perception, especially in Lebanon and Jordan, that Syrian Christians receive preferential treatment and are resettled at a higher rate than other refugees.

Syria has always been a diverse state with numerous minority and religious groups. The Kurds (in the northeast portion of the country) are the largest national minority group. Next are the Palestinians, who fled to Syria following the 1948 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars, mostly living in refugee camps administered by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Armenians are also a prominent religious and national minority group, living primarily in Aleppo and estimated to number from 70,000 to 100,000 at the beginning of the current civil war. There are also smaller numbers of Turkmen and Yazidis. Most Syrians are Sunni Muslims, but other Muslim sects include Alawites, Shiites, and Druze.

Christian minority groups are estimated to represent seven to 10 percent of the pre-conflict population. Included are Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholics, Syriac Orthodox, Maronites, and other smaller sects. Most of the Christians are Orthodox, with the largest group centered on the Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Eastern Catholic (or Melkite) Church. Other Christian sects include Armenians, Syriac Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, other Orthodox churches, and a small Protestant community.

The Syrian civil conflict and outflow of refugees
The Syrian civil conflict that began in March 2011 has become one of the greatest human tragedies since World War II. Upward of 400,000 people have been killed, and over five million have been displaced and sought refuge outside of Syria. This does not include millions of Syrians who are internally displaced. The refugee crisis has had substantial impact not only on neighboring countries, but also on the world in general. Most of those displaced have sought refuge in Turkey (upward of two million), Jordan (1.5 million to two million), and Lebanon (one million to 1.5 million). Although Turkey and Jordan have created refugee camps, most refugees—perhaps as many as 85 percent—do not stay in the camps, preferring to reside in urban areas (see Appendix 1). Turkey’s government runs the camps in its country, while the UNHCR administers those in Jordan. Lebanon, which still hosts a significant number of Palestinian refugee camps from the 1948 and 1967 wars, has decided not to create any new official camps. This has the unintended consequence of generating more than the one million refugees, who have subsequently dispersed and settled in communities throughout the country.
Read more

Bookmark and Share

Challenges For Education In An International Setting

Third Level Education is in many respects increasingly changing in the light of two general developments: internationalisation and globalisation on the one hand, marketisation and commodification on the other hand. Whereas the first is apparently taking up on an intrinsic value of education (‘universality of knowledge’), the second can be seen as opposing its values (‘knowledge cannot be bought and sold as any other good’). However, the discussion of this contribution shows that in reality we find that on the side of implementation big business has a standing that finds its way much easier to the stage of implementation.

Keywords: third level education, globalisation, internationalisation, marketisation, educational values, legitimation.
This article goes back to the work of the authors in Connection with a Presentation to Conference in Shanghai, October 2016. The conference theme was about higher education in an international setting in which presentation included a wide range of progresses made and challenges met within the joint-venture programmes between western universities and their Chinese counterparts.
See: https://youtu.be/6FJxTwHuotI

Third Level Education is increasingly concerned with distinct, though mutually influencing aspects – they can be aligned along two dimensions: the first spans between development of personality and defining ones’ place in professional terms; the other is about growing up in a new global scientific community. What had been for centuries a very privileged area for a few outstanding and lucky scholars, is becoming a field that is increasingly open for many, ready to engage at different levels, beginning with the bachelors degrees. Let us take Bangor College China as an example.

Bangor College China is a joint venture between Bangor University in the UK and the Central University of Forestry and Technology (CSUFT) in China. It was established with the approval of the Chinese Education Ministry in 2014 as an advanced model to facilitate the internationalization of Chinese higher education. A dedicated Bangor College China offers full degrees in China which is the first for a British university. It offers four programmes including BSc in Banking and Finance; BSc in Accounting and Finance; BSc in Electronic Engineering; and BSc in Forestry and Environment Management with more than 600 students in their first and second year studies. A team of dedicated and experienced staff of teaching and administration from both Bangor University and CSUFT were in interaction. Over the last two years Bangor University has invested heavily on Bangor College China. It is responsible for the quality of the programmes and ensures that the teaching standards, assessments and student experience are equivalent to those at the Bangor home campus.

– Although the running of the joint school in general goes smoothly with good intention from both universities in the UK and China, some major challenges lie ahead in the areas of the merger of different administrative cultures; the search for professional standards; the work towards a common professional understanding, making reference to wealth of different traditions; and the development of new ways learning.

– Remarkable new opportunities go hand in hand with grave challenges: as much as we find the strive for excellence as major field of competitive concern, at the very same time we find the incredible opportunities for smaller projects, such as Bangor College China, is an example that locates the challenge of development of personality and defining ones’ place in professional terms in the context of a collaborative setting globally.

Defining the Field
International education – as matter of ranking and also cooperation and as matter of the excitement to explore new shores – experiences a kind of hype, easily overlooking the inherent contradiction. But can we really speak of an inherent contradiction? If we take things at the level of appearance, we find, of course, – and very valid – the feature of cutthroat competition – the winner gets all, at least the cherries of qualified staff and students and also the relevant resources.[i]

Although this is undeniably a strong force, we can take as well a more optimistic view – optimistic for those that are not in any relevant top-league, and – importantly – who are actually not seriously striving to gain entrance. Though it is often said that we do stand on the shoulders of giants, we also – and increasingly – are part of an overall team game – not least looking at the ancient Western cultures, claimed to be the crèche of today’s enlightened cultures in the east and west, we know that the understanding was very much one of discourse – a discourse between ‘experts’ and between ‘experts’ and ‘pupils’. The term ‘scholar’, referring to the learned person and the student alike, may give a hint, as does the term ‘scientific community’ – and it is worthwhile to mention in parenthesis that these terms are paradoxically loosing meaning at a time when scientific work can only be imagined as part of an undertaking that is social in terms of time and content – without denying the greatness, for instance of Isaac Newton. It did not require much more than a well-studied individual mind and the observation of an apple falling from the tree to find out about the law of gravity. However, using this law as crucial basic knowledge to the undertaking of flying to the moon or exploring other planets, requires the genius of many people collaborating, as also the academic labour is divided and a huge amount of resources. And let us be honest, and a bit German, by referring to the poet Goethe who states in his masterpiece:

Two souls alas! are dwelling in my breast;
And each is fain to leave its brother.
The one, fast clinging, to the world adheres
With clutching organs, in love’s sturdy lust;
The other strongly lifts itself from dust
To yonder high, ancestral spheres

(von Goethe 1808).
Read more

Bookmark and Share

Digital Engagement In A Post-Factual World: Silos, Echo-Chambers And Lies

What is communication?
What constitutes communication has always been historically contingent. It is never easy to pin down and designate ‘what is communication is’ and ‘what it is not’. But it is obvious that communication has taken many forms and evolved: from cave art to town criers, from street theatre to newspapers and television, and finally to digital engagement. One may argue that none of the aforementioned has influenced the world as much as digital engagement, making information available at your fingertips, changing the power dynamics for communicators, and transforming the way people can be influenced and their attitudes shaped. Here we try to explore issues of how digital engagement will thrive in a cynical, nationalist, populist world and raise the pertinent question: Does digital engagement encourage better decision-making, or merely reinforce prejudice?

The impact of Brexit and the USA presidential election
Two major events that gave “post truth” a linguistic footing were Brexit and the election of USA President Donald Trump. They showed that the world has indeed changed, and exposed the fact that people are making decisions based on emotions and beliefs. So, in the new world we live in, is evidence less important than beliefs? In the UK referendum on the EU, the #leave campaign claimed falsely that leaving the EU would mean that £350 million could be given to the National Health Service (NHS). After Brexit, thousands of people signed online petitions to have the result of the referendum reviewed. Gillian Tett, author of ‘The Silo Effect’ wrote, “The Brexit vote was decided on the basis of emotion – and the Remain camp failed to give voters a really positive vision of Europe.”

The impact of digital engagement on decision-making
Digital engagement was meant to make information more accessible to more people. But it has also made it possible for anyone to publish anything they want without having to provide evidence. As a result people find it hard to tell the difference between truth and lies. Fake news propagated on Facebook about the Pope supporting Trump and Trump’s tweets changing the direction of media coverage, makes one wonder whether digital engagement is encouraging propaganda and disinformation? Or whether people are making decisions based on emotions and do not care much about the facts?

In an interview with the Financial Times in June 2016 Adair Turner former Head of the Financial Services Agency (FSA) said, “I was once a confident optimist and rationalist. I also used to believe that everybody could be persuaded by rational argument. I’ve increasingly realised that people need mythologies, people need nationalisms and people need religions.”

Power to the powerless?
Digital engagement was thought to level the playing field and give power to the powerless (as in Arab Spring). It was believed to be a way to re-engage voters, in particular young people, with politics, giving a voice to the voiceless. Instead, it has given the powerful another weapon to acquire even more power. It favours those who shout loudest, responsible for the growth of ‘populism’ and government by Twitter. Today, anyone with a smartphone can voice an opinion, create an opinion train and broadcast beliefs. Communication becomes a political process when this happens, as opinion formation and counter-commonsensical visions gain popularity and contribute to undermining democracy. Perhaps this may have inspired the OECD, which has recently called on schools to teach young people how to identify fake news. Read more

Bookmark and Share

Harrie Timmerman ~ (Nog steeds) Tegendraads

Aangezien de eerste druk van mijn boek Tegendraads (Rozenberg Publishers, 2007, 978 90 5170 853 0) is uitverkocht, heb ik dankbaar gebruik gemaakt van de mogelijkheid om dit boek als e-book te herdrukken. De reden daarvoor is dat politie en justitie, hoewel er de laatste jaren meerdere gerechtelijke dwalingen aan het licht zijn gekomen, niet willen toegeven dat zij fouten maken. Laat staan dat zij daarvan willen leren teneinde nieuwe blunders te voorkomen. Waardoor ze nog steeds levens van onschuldige mensen ruïneren.

Aangezien er in de afgelopen tien jaar in de beschreven zaken wel nieuwe ontwikkelingen zijn geweest, zal aan de desbetreffende hoofdstukken nieuwe tekst worden toegevoegd. In de oorspronkelijke tekst zijn ook type- en taalfouten verbeterd.

Het eerste hoofdstuk, getiteld Over de auteur, is geschreven door mede-auteur Willem de Haan. Vandaar dat hierin over mij in de derde persoon wordt geschreven en citaten van mij worden aangehaald.

Zowel in de nieuwe als oude tekst heeft Bart FM Droog bij de e-bookversie de rol vervuld van redacteur. Dankzij hem is de tekst (nog) duidelijker geworden, waarvoor mijn hartelijke dank.

Lees hier  (Nog steeds) tegendraads van Harrie Timmerman, het ruim 300 pagina’s tellende boek van Harrie Timmerman, in de Verplichte kost-reeks van de NPE, als gratis downloadbaar pdf-document.

Er is inmiddels ook een webversie-verschenen, waarin enkele tv-documentaires en radio- en tv-interviews met Timmerman zijn opgenomen. Zie:

Bookmark and Share

  • About

    Rozenberg Quarterly aims to be a platform for academics, scientists, journalists, authors and artists, in order to offer background information and scholarly reflections that contribute to mutual understanding and dialogue in a seemingly divided world. By offering this platform, the Quarterly wants to be part of the public debate because we believe mutual understanding and the acceptance of diversity are vital conditions for universal progress. Read more...
  • Support

    Rozenberg Quarterly does not receive subsidies or grants of any kind, which is why your financial support in maintaining, expanding and keeping the site running is always welcome. You may donate any amount you wish and all donations go toward maintaining and expanding this website.

    10 euro donation:

    20 euro donation:

    Or donate any amount you like:

    Or:
    ABN AMRO Bank
    Rozenberg Publishers
    IBAN NL65 ABNA 0566 4783 23
    BIC ABNANL2A
    reference: Rozenberg Quarterly

    If you have any questions or would like more information, please see our About page or contact us: info@rozenbergquarterly.com
  • Like us on Facebook

  • Follow us on Twitter

  • Archives