The Bill Gates Foundation has funded a study according to which people in the 21st century will begin to die out. Reality may be even sadder

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The Bill Gates Foundation has funded a study according to which people in the 21st century will begin to die out. Reality may be even sadder
The Bill Gates Foundation has funded a study according to which people in the 21st century will begin to die out. Reality may be even sadder
Anonim

From 2064, the number of people will begin to decline - and this process may be irreversible. One of the authors of the corresponding scientific work directly points out: if nothing changes, in a few centuries humanity will die out. However, there are worse things than extinction. A different scenario is much more likely: the world will be populated by those who can reproduce in new cultural conditions. Unfortunately, a significant part of modern Europeans, Americans and, possibly, other peoples will be ousted from the first pages of history. In addition, we, the current population of the Earth, may strongly dislike those who win this difficult struggle. Let's try to figure out why.

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded a scientific work published in the journal with a very significant name Lancet. Her findings sound alarming: the current decline in fertility around the world will continue, and as early as 2064, the number of people will begin to decline sharply.

By 2100, the population of 23 countries will fall by half or more - in Japan, for example, to 53 million people. Moreover, a similar situation awaits the countries of Black Africa - just their fertility will fall below the reproduction threshold a little later. The authors of the work themselves do not hesitate to sound the alarm:

“The bulk of the world is moving towards population decline … We will have to reorganize society. If we cannot [find a solution to the problem], then eventually our species will disappear - however, this point in time is several centuries away from us."

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At first glance, it may seem that this is good: after all, a reduction in the number of people - and even more so their hypothetical extinction - will reduce the burden on the environment, which will make it easier for it. Unfortunately, the reality will be somewhat different.

Why nature won't get better from a decrease in the number of people

From childhood, we hear: "For modern civilization there is no problem of extinction, there is a problem of an overabundance of population, they have been writing about this for more than a century … And this problem is that there is nothing for growing populations to eat."

Few things could be further from the truth than this point of view. Yes, they say a lot about this - from Malthus himself. But much less after these words are called numbers. For example, about the fact that during all this time, hunger on the planet began to affect an ever smaller part of people. That food security per capita is today the highest in the history of mankind. That it is produced so much and so cheaply that our species has noticeably reduced the area occupied by agriculture over the past thirty years.

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And those 75 thousand people a year who still die from hunger (three times less than from sweetened drinks) do so in countries where there is no surplus of population or lack of land for agriculture. As there were none in the USSR during the period of mass famine. But in these countries there are definitely political and military factors (as in the famine episodes in our country) that make farming difficult, regardless of the population size or the availability of free land.

Well, there is no threat of hunger, and it is not so strong that people use less land for agriculture than in the last century.So, logic tells us, the load on nature has become less? And if there are also fewer people on the planet, deforestation will decrease, and the crowded animals and plants will return to where we humans drove them from?

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Alas, this scheme does not work. Let's take a look at today's reality: we free the land from cultivation, but nature is not getting better.

Take the United States. Since the middle of the last century, about a quarter of agricultural land has been abandoned there, about a million square kilometers. Along the way, the US population has doubled, and prices for agricultural products have decreased by 3-5 times. It would seem that the overgrowing of fields and pastures is a blessing - from them biodiversity should increase. But no: actual biodiversity in the United States has rather declined during this time. Local environmentalists call it The U.S. Biodiversity Crisis. There seems to be no noticeable extinction of species, but the number of individuals of about a third of the species has noticeably decreased.

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Exactly the same story in Australia: in 1976, agriculture there used 4, 9 million square kilometers, and in 2016 - already 3, 7 million square kilometers. By the way, the population during this time has grown by 1, 7 times, its food security has improved, and food prices, as the reader already understood, fell. It turns out that almost 1.2 million square kilometers were returned to nature. To understand the enormity of this figure, let us recall: all used agricultural lands in Russia occupy only 1.4 million square kilometers.

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What happened to the Australian native species? If you believe the ecologists, they've gotten noticeably worse. And this is not about population growth: just like in the United States, settlements and roads occupy incomparably less land than agriculture, so population growth itself could not cause what is happening. The reasons are deeper.

As we wrote in one of the past issues of the magazine, the stability of many ecosystems depends on key species. Large herbivores (weighing noticeably more than 50 kilograms) are the main ones. After all, it is they who eat the vegetation in places where the soil is rich in phosphorus, and then transfer it - with manure - to where the soil is extremely poor in phosphorus. That is, in places where there are no outcrops of minerals containing this element on the surface. Without phosphorus, a normal ecosystem will collapse.

This is exactly what happened in Australia after the arrival of the Aborigines. They destroyed large herbivores, and there was no one to carry phosphorus across Australia for tens of thousands of years in a row. Now it has the poorest soil in the world, and the normal plants on this continent often either fail to grow at all or grow ugly. Therefore, local agriculture is unthinkable without artificial phosphorus fertilizers.

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It would seem that it is difficult to take and return large herbivores here, starting with those that live, for example, in deserts, where local kangaroos do not go? Alas, this is absolutely impossible. Modern conservationists believe that the introduction of new species into isolated ecosystems is unacceptable. Camels who fled to the deserts and savannahs, who began to multiply on the continent due to human neglect, in this country ruthlessly shoot back from the air in large numbers - although, it would seem, why?

A similar attitude towards nature (if it does not bother us, we will assign a protected status, and if it hinders, we will kill) in Australia, not only at the level of environmental departments and public nature defenders, but also among ordinary citizens:

“My neighbor has a commercial farm that grows cabbage, pumpkins, all kinds of greens … Every evening, before going to bed, he shoots dozens of kangaroos so they don't eat the harvest … These kangaroos just lie there and rot, and many die in agony, because he shoots them small 10 cents per shot (saves so that, again, cabbage with greens for vegans is not very expensive) … He could build a fence from a kangaroo, but the right fence costs 10 kilobucks per kilometer … He still has a small farm.Large, commercial ones, those are generally allowed to use poison 1080, animals die in agony …"

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How many kangaroos in Australia are killed annually is not really known, but according to official quotas, 1.5 million of them were destroyed only in 2015. Moreover, from year to year, these figures are rather growing.

What kind of return of large herbivores destroyed by the aborigines in Australia can be said when local residents massively and inhumanely kill even those herbivores that were able to survive the arrival of the aborigines - they kill simply because they feel sorry for the money for the fence?

In a sense, the situation in the United States is not so neglected: bison were exterminated in the wild only in the 19th century, and not forty thousand years ago, like the Australian megafauna. So the land in America did not have time to turn into phosphorus-deficient.

But the processes there are the same as in Australia and in any country with modern agriculture: there is more and more abandoned agricultural land for the simple reason that there is already so much food produced that prices for it have dropped too much. Why not release the same buffaloes to the liberated lands?

Well, such a question was raised, but was released on the brakes. Causes? Indignation of local residents by this idea. The bison - like any large herbivore - is a serious animal that tends to walk through hedges. If he meets someone, he will try to knock her down with a running start. He will not knock down only metal, from thick rods and with a foundation that goes into the ground deeper than a meter. None of the local residents are ready for such expenses - and they do not want to allow running bison where their children grow up, even more so.

Although the local residents stopped everything with the bison, if the project were launched, sooner or later the ecologists would be greatly alarmed. And that's why. There is no "return of species": any reintroduction is, in fact, the introduction of a new species. Nature is very flexible and often, within a few years after a key species leaves the ecosystem, everything in it changes.

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As soon as the bison stop trampling the grass, the species that are more resistant to trampling are replaced by those who were "in the shade" with the bison. As a result, other pollinating insects, and other rodents feeding on plants, and other predators feeding on rodents, and so on, come to the fore. Almost everything changes often, and in a moderate amount of time.

In addition, not only the local ecosystem is changing, but the world as a whole. If we bring the buffalo back to America today, it won't have the same prairie as Fenimore Cooper. Over the past century and a half, there has been almost one and a half times more CO2 in the air - trees grow much better than before, and plant species focused on C3 photosynthesis will now grow better than then.

That is, the release of former herbivores will not return the old ecosystem in any way: it will create a new one, which did not exist in the 19th century and does not exist now. Plus, America is much more vegetated than it was then: global overgrowth goes hand in hand with global warming. This means that sooner or later bison will go where there was a desert in the era of their extermination - and where their appearance will inevitably cause strong shifts in the ecosystem.

In addition, one must understand that returning one key species without another is a thankless task. After the bison, you need to return the wolf, otherwise the bison will multiply too much. But the return of the wolf is a possible attack on livestock, which in the US agricultural states often grazes without noticeable protection, behind an ordinary hedge. But wolves can overcome it with greater chances than the same cattle. The locals will again be unhappy.

Well, and, frankly, environmentalists, over time: after all, wolves will also hunt rodents, upsetting the balance that has developed today. Moreover, when reintroduced, the species often begins to interact differently with local herbivores. After all, they have lost the habit of defending themselves against this particular predator.The skills of reaction to him are no longer transmitted by imitation from parents to offspring, and wolves can simply destroy a population that is not ready for them.

The situation is similar in many places in the world. In France and Germany, up to several hundred thousand wild boars are killed a year for exactly the same reason: the unwillingness to let nature determine the size of populations of wild animals and their habitats. These massacres are committed without the slightest practical purpose - even the meat of killed animals is often not collected here, it just rots in the forests.

Conclusion: a modern man, even abandoning farmland, will not return control over them to nature. He - and his environmentalists - love not nature, but their ideas about it. In these abstract representations, nature cannot change - as it actually does always, even when a person is not even close. This means that any reintroduction of species will ultimately contradict the ideas of ecologists about the "benefits for nature."

Why is the population decline bad?

So, we figured out why a decrease in population does not lead to an increase in biodiversity. But what is so bad about the fact that the number of people is decreasing? Are there so few of us Homo Sapiens on the planet?

The problem here is not only that “many” and “few” are rather abstract concepts in relation to the number of people. More importantly, human civilization is not adapted to the shortage of people of working age. Let's leave aside the fact that the fallen birth rate will sharply reduce the number of workers in the economy - which means that it will become much more difficult to feed pensioners and the standard of living will suffer from this. Let's just forget about this minor detail.

Let's turn to more important things - for example, the Tasmanian history of loss of technology. Eight thousand years ago, the aborigines of Tasmania made fairly complex tools from bone, including those that allowed them to fish. They, as archaeological finds show, had tools with handles (stone axes, etc.), nets, harpoons. Presumably, they had both spear throwers and boomerangs, which all Australian aborigines of the continent now have.

But in the next thousand years, all this was lost by them. When the Europeans came there, the Tasmanians did not use any of the above. Bone tools may be more difficult to make than stone ones, but they are often more effective - and is it really so difficult if, as we know, they were made by homo erectus, 1, 4 million years ago?

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Researchers directly write: the Tasmanians, whose most complicated weapon was a spear without a tip, became the most underdeveloped of all groups known to science in relation to modern people.

The clothing situation is even more mysterious. The Tasmanians were on the island during the last ice maximum, when there was, in fact, Siberia - and could not have survived without clothes. Yes, it is difficult to verify this, because it is poorly preserved, but the frost cannot be fooled - they should have had warm clothes. But the Europeans found only small wallaby capes that did not cover most of the body. And this is despite the fact that in Tasmania even today it occasionally reaches -13 ° C.

Moreover, the locals did not fish, although both rivers and the coastal sea swarmed with it. Even the very idea that fish can be eaten was completely alien to them - unlike other Australian aborigines, they are very fish-eating. Until 3800 years ago, archaeologists record fish bones in Tasmania and often in large quantities (according to some estimates, fish made up 20% of the local diet). After - not a single one.

Conclusion: in Tasmania, an entire technological order was scrapped, a huge layer of knowledge vital for survival was lost. This may be one of the reasons that the number of local Aborigines was very low before the arrival of Europeans - a few thousand on an island the size of Ireland, but with a better climate.

What's the matter? According to a number of researchers - in demography.At some point after the island's isolation (due to rising sea levels), the number of Tasmanians turned out to be so small that there were very few craftsmen among them who were good at making complex tools, fishing, and so on.

The fewer masters, the fewer opportunities for young people to learn from them. The less trained young people are, the less effective their tools and their fishing will be - and so on until the next generation simply gives up these ineffective pursuits.

A distant analogy can be drawn with modernity - for example, with the US space program. As the Americans themselves note, they came to the moon thanks to the genius of von Braun (and his 120 German colleagues exported to the United States from Europe, we add).

After his departure, the US created shuttles - but they turned out to be much more expensive than von Braun's Apollo, could not fly to the moon, and even killed more people than any other means of delivering people into space, which is why they had to be abandoned. For nearly a decade, the technology of space travel for the United States was lost.

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What would happen if the States did not have access to demographic resources of German or South African origin? What would be their technological capabilities in space then? Who would be the first to land on the moon? Would they be the leading space power today?

Our civilization is much more complex than the Tasmanian one. It is designed to support a huge number of narrow specialists at once, often useless in other areas of life. But any of them may turn out to be critical at some point. And the probability of having the right specialist is ultimately directly (albeit nonlinear) proportional to the total number of humanity.

What if we suddenly halve the number of coronavirus vaccine developers? Will they meet the deadline? What if, in 2120, a new viral epidemic has plague deaths, and the number of vaccine developers - due to the decline in the number of people - is insufficient?

Finally, we may also face a technological de-evolution of the Tasmanian type. Fortunately, our technologies are much more difficult than fishing or making bone tools.

Forward to the victory of the theocracy?

Another important disadvantage of the impending demographic recession should be called the fact that, most likely, it will not happen - at least it will not be long. The reason is in the very nature of evolution: it displaces individuals with low Darwinian fitness (leaving few offspring) and spreads individuals with high Darwinian fitness (those who leave many offspring).

Yes, today fertility rates are falling all over the world, including Black Africa - and falling rapidly. However, it is already clear today that this does not apply to ultra-religious groups of the population in different countries. Let's take a typical example of this kind: Israel.

In Israel, the total fertility rate - the number of children per average woman - for “secular” Jewish women is 2, 1. This level is only the minimum sufficient for reproduction, the very threshold of non-extinction. Thus, the secular part of the population of this country is not dying out, but it is not increasing either.

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Among the "religious" Israeli women, the birth rate is 3, 0. Among the "orthodox" - 4, 2, and among the ultra-Orthodox (haredi) - 7, 1 (higher than in any country in Africa). In 1991, there were 275,000 haredim in Israel, and today there are much more than a million. If they could continue to multiply at the same rate, that in a hundred years there would be about a hundred million of them, and in two hundred - many billions.

Although half a century ago, haredim in Israel were extremely rare, today there are already 12% of the population (almost the same number are “religious” and “orthodox”). According to local demographers, in 2030 there will be 16%, and by 2065 - a third. Until the end of the century, the haredim will become the majority of the country's population. And since Israel is a democracy, they will automatically gain power over it.

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It may seem that there is nothing special about this.Biologically, it is absolutely logical when those who do not want to reproduce are crowded out by those who want to reproduce - this is, in fact, the whole content of evolution. Who are we to go against this?

And yet, there is something unpleasant here. As the ultra-Orthodox themselves rightly point out:

“Blacks are hated more in Israel than anywhere else. It's not about skin color, but about black hats, lapserdaks, dressing gowns and side-locks. They themselves define themselves as haredim - "God-fearing".

Haredim men rarely work - according to the latest data, only 51% are employed (before 2005, however, it was 10%). And among the employed there are many who work part-time. But on average, 87% of men work in Israel.

How do ultra-Orthodox families live? Until 2005, they were sponsored by the local government, but then subsidies were cut. As a result, it was mainly their women who went to work: 76% of women among Haredim work, and among Israeli women in general, this figure is 83%. As the Israelis themselves state:

"For haredi households, the main source of income in general is the wife's salary, because many men there attend koleli (centers for advanced Jewish religious education)."

At the same time, one must understand: many Haredi jobs are not available. Only 8% of their men and 12% of women go to higher education (and for men they are often non-secular). In addition, their motivation to work may also be lower: the income of a Haredim family is 1.5 times lower than an ordinary Jewish family in Israel - with a much larger number of children. According to statistics, 53% of their families have incomes below the poverty line, while among secular Jews this figure is only 9%. Haredi per capita expenses are 48% less than that of secular Jews.

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But this does not bother them so much: the haredi lifestyle is not very modern, which means that they, in comparison with an ordinary citizen, do not have to spend money so often. In the survey, 71% of them expressed satisfaction with their financial situation - and only 65% ​​of secular Jews.

And this is not just a sense of self: only 5% of haredim in Israel pay debts with the involvement of bailiffs (that is, they cannot pay them normally), but among secular Jews this figure is 15%. 75% of all haredim donate more than 500 shekels a year to charity, but only 25% of secular Jews do the same.

Of course, the Israeli public is sounding the alarm about the ongoing demographic conquest of their state by the "blacks". It is not even embarrassing that Israel, minus the Negev desert (occupies the bulk of the country), is already inhabited with a density of more than a thousand people per square kilometer. Although, admittedly, this is a lot - like in Bangladesh and almost like in a typical Russian urban development. But Israeli agriculture is one of the most efficient in the world, and on the whole, no one doubts that it can cope well with feeding the increased population.

The secular public is more concerned about something else. There it is quite sensible to note that when the haredim begin to dominate among the Jews, the economy can be severely damaged. It can be even worse with the army: the haredim are not particularly eager to join it.

"Under the arms of the pacey parasites!" - it sounds like that regularly."

Grigory Kogan, one of the haredim.

When they come to the recruiting office, they are often written "the call is not expedient yet." And although the IDF has parts "for the haredim", in fact, young apostates of these communities often serve in them (and the number of apostates is small). Experiments are underway to form full-fledged parts on their basis. But, in fact, their internal routine (under the pretext of the same requirements for kosher and Shabbat) is determined by the norms of the “blacks”, not the secular state.

By the way, the same small number of apostates excludes the option “haredim will become ordinary people by themselves”. They will not: according to statistics, their birth rate exceeds many times the losses from apostasy.

And this is not surprising: all studies indicate that ultra-Orthodox are noticeably happier than the average Jew in Israel.98% of them expressed satisfaction with life. Such numbers simply do not exist in any non-religious population, either in Israel or anywhere else in the world. It is highly doubtful that people with such life satisfaction will be inclined to massively change their views in order to become those with less life satisfaction.

Perhaps the ultra-Orthodox have simply conspired and lie about being happy and content with life? This is doubtful: objective indicators indicate that their life expectancy is much higher than the local norm. Men live three years longer than non-ultra-Orthodox men from the same settlements, and women - despite seven children and the role of the main breadwinner of the family - are 1.5 years longer than secular representatives of their sex.

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At the same time, haredim, due to their remoteness from modern secular culture, very rarely go in for sports. Recall: Israel and on average has a record high life expectancy of citizens, up to 83 years, 2, 7 years longer than in the United States or nine years more than in Russia. That is, the haredim live on average many years longer than the average American and more than a dozen years longer than the Russian.

If someone spends half as much money on themselves as a neighbor, but lives longer, it is extremely likely that he is experiencing less stress. Otherwise, it simply will not work to explain its longevity in the general case.

As we noted, lower levels of stress and life satisfaction reduce not only the likelihood of dying from cardiovascular disease, but, judging by the scientific work of recent years, the chances of getting cancer.

If the haredim come to power (inevitable at their current rate of reproduction) through parliamentary mechanisms, Israel can easily and simply become a theocracy - as it was in the first millennium BC. True, the new theocracy will turn out to be the owner of nuclear weapons and a fairly well-developed military-industrial complex. But on the other hand, Israel's neighbors are no strangers.

Ultra-Orthodox have a very peculiar concept of observance of kashrut and Shabbat - for example, many of them protest against the fact that the electricity grid is working on Saturday, or even blocking traffic that tries to enter their areas on Saturdays. It is easy to imagine how they will accordingly begin to regulate the life of the entire Israeli society.

Actually, the process has already begun: under their pressure, local airlines canceled flights on Saturdays. And this is just the beginning: we are haredi and opposed to “immodestly dressed” tourists entering their neighborhoods. What happens when most of Israel's neighborhoods go black? By the way, in Jerusalem already 35% of the population is just like that.

The fate of Israel may be the earliest example of the fate of the rest of the world. The ultra-religious segment of the population is extremely weakly affected by the fertility crisis - and most likely, judging by the huge fertility of the Haredi and Amish, is not affected at all. And this is despite the fact that the same Amish (USA) can actually use contraception - and even sometimes do it. But not to reduce the total number of children, but only to create gaps between births that are safe for the mother's health.

Other countries of the world are noticeably larger than Israel, and the process of turning whites in the United States into the same Amish will clearly not end in this century. But if current demographic trends continue, the end will be the same. Regardless of whether the States retain their name or be renamed the United Theocratic Communities of America.

Why do they multiply, while the rest are heading towards extinction?

It is impossible to restrict the reproduction of the Haredi or Amish: their religious principles require respect for the relevant scriptures. The Abrahamic religions have a clear cultural mandate: "And God said to them: be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." As long as these groups exist, they will follow this mandate.At the same time, not everyone will obviously want to live in a theocracy. Is there a way out of a future conflict of interest?

In theory, nothing prevents other population groups from maintaining the reproduction rate at least not lower than the reproduction threshold (the non-extinction threshold is 2, 1 child per woman). Of course, the threat of turning ultra-religious minorities into a majority will not disappear from this. But it will at least move centuries ahead. Is it possible to achieve non-extinction of the non-religious part of the population?

Alas, in practice this is very unlikely. First of all, one should understand: why is the birth rate falling today?

At first glance, the question seems simple. For the main part of human history, the population of large cities did not reproduce itself - the birth rate was lower than in villages, and if it were not for the constant influx of people from there, there would not have been any large cities before the New Age.

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Intuitively, it seems to a resident of a metropolis that there are too many people around. Maybe that's the point? As is known from the Universe-25 experiment, if there are too many mice in a confined space, then even with enough nutrition, their mothers begin to abandon their children. And over time, both they and the males generally lose interest in mating, and spend all the time licking their fur (for which the researchers called them "handsome") and trying to avoid conflicts and stress. In general, it all reminds something, isn't it?

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For all the simplicity and attractiveness of such a purely biologic approach to solving the problem, it is clearly wrong. England was urbanized in the 19th century, but had a total fertility rate above the replacement threshold until the 1970s. Meanwhile, the objective parameters of the pressure on the population of Britain half a century ago were much higher than today: the temperature in local houses in winter was +12 (and not +18, as today), they worked more hours, social security was weaker, incomes were lower.

Thanks to denser buildings and ubiquitous coal heating (which led to mass deaths of citizens), the level of objective stress parameters in urban settings was also significantly higher than today. Now, it would seem, the living conditions of the English city dweller are incomparably better - but he can no longer reproduce.

Another popular answer to the question about the reason for the fall in fertility is the spread of higher education among women. Alas, in the same United States, the growth in the proportion of women with higher education follows a completely different trajectory than the decline in their fertility. Moreover, two-thirds of women do not have it even today - that is, it is impossible to attribute all the problems to higher education.

Perhaps the fact is that until the 1970s, most women in the Western world did not work and could devote more time to children? And this is doubtful. In Italy, most women do not work today, but the birth rate there is extremely low, even by Western standards. Finally, it is clear that Haredi women work no less than their contemporaries, but at the same time give birth more often than in the most fiercely breeding countries of Black Africa.

To understand the situation clearly enough, it is worth turning to the American experience - the history of the only large developed country, which in the second half of the 20th century managed to stay above the reproductive threshold of 2.1 children per woman for a long time.

But since 2007, this situation has become history here as well. The reason is often attributed to the fact that 80% of the poorest people in the United States have not increased their income for decades. They say that millennials in the States simply cannot leave their parents for lack of money (and it is not a fact that they can at all). And the average American is not used to multiplying, living with mom and dad - since this was a rarity before.

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But a careful analysis of American statistics reveals the situation is more complex: marital status played a larger role in the decline in fertility than the aforementioned rise in income inequality.A woman who is married for the bulk of her fertile age has significantly more children than one who has been married for a few years or has escaped it altogether.

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As you know, all over the world and, first of all, in Western countries, the number of years that a woman spends in marriage is falling - and falling throughout the second half of the last century. In the same USA, a woman of 35 years of fertile age spends only 12 to 20 years in marriage - and this share continues to decline.

Is Israel today - the whole world tomorrow?

The conclusion looks quite simple: attempts to stimulate the birth rate of the non-religious part of the population by themselves can only be moderately successful. It is difficult to find a program of this kind that would try to influence how many years a woman has been married - or whether she is in it at all.

In other words, even very generous material incentives for childbirth - as, for example, in Singapore or the Scandinavian countries - will help little where a woman will go through childbirth and raising children alone.

In addition, it is rather doubtful that such a program can be invented at all. The reasons for the decline in the stability of marriage in modern society lie so deep that, while remaining within its framework, it is hardly possible to turn this river back.

Thus, it is likely that non-religious parts of the population will not be able to sustainably reproduce (that is, have a total fertility rate above 2.1) in the foreseeable future. The most likely outcome of current demographic processes may be the growing predominance of ultra-religious minorities - who will become the majority - in the coming century.

In this case, the collapse of the dominant - that is, secular - cultural models of our time cannot be avoided. It may turn out that the current topics of feminism, #metoo, black rights and the like, a hundred years from now, will look as outdated as the 19th century controversy about whether to wash your hands. In ultra-religious societies, there is simply no room for much of today's cultural baggage.

A possible victory for ultra-religious minorities on a global scale is a rather unpleasant prospect. But, looking from today, it is difficult to make a different forecast.

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