The rest of history Print
By David P. Goldman   
Thursday, 19 April 2012

[O]ne of the few important developments in the world on which liberal and conservative scholars agree. . . . People of faith have many children, and secular people have few or none. Liberal observers are terrified that “the religious will inherit the earth,” as the liberal sociologist Eric Kaufmann put it. America is the last big industrial country with a religious majority, and the only one with a birthrate above replacement. But that’s mainly due to evangelicals and Hispanic Catholics. Mainline Protestants, loosely-affiliated Catholics and secular Jews breed like Europeans. And people of faith in Europe behave like religious Americans. There just aren’t too many of them.

For the Europeans, this means eventual economic collapse. Take Italy, which dominates our financial headlines at the moment. By 2050, three-fifths of Italians will be elderly dependents. We are struggling to reduce future entitlement spending in the US, where the workforce is still growing. Add a zero to our problems to get an idea of the size of Italy’s. It also means that it’s nonsense to talk about American decline. By mid-century Japan’s workforce will fall by a third and Europe’s by a quarter. We’re the only industrial country that will turn up for the rest of history.