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    Middle East
     Nov 27, '13


The dead's envy for the living
By Spengler

Many commentators, most eloquently Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal, draw a parallel between the appeasement of Hitler at Munich in 1938 and the appeasement of Iran at Geneva. There is another, more chilling parallel: Iran's motive for proposing to annihilate the Jewish State is the same as Hitler's, and the world's indifference to the prospect of another Holocaust is no different today than it was in 1938. It is the dead's envy for the living.

Dying civilizations are the most dangerous, and Iran is dying. Its total fertility rate probably stands at just 1.6 children per female, the same level as Western Europe, a catastrophic decline from seven children per female in the early 1980s. Iran's present youth bulge will turn into an elderly dependent problem worse than



Europe's in the next generation and the country will collapse. That is why war is likely, if not entirely inevitable.

Iran's Elderly Dependent Ratio
Year Ratio
2010 7.4
2015 8.8
2020 10.5
2025 12.8
2030 15.7
2035 18.8
2040 22.7
2045 28.4
2050 34
2055 37.5
2060 39.2

Source: UN "Low Variant"

The table above is drawn from United Nations projections. It probably underestimates Iran's predicament: the UN's "low variant" puts the country's total fertility rate at 1.9 children as of 2015, but it already has fallen to just 1.6. This means in simple arithmetic that a generation hence, there will be two elderly dependents for every three workers, compared to seven elderly dependents for every 93 workers today. That is a death sentence for a poor country, and at this point it is virtually irreversible.

As the United States Institute of Peace wrote in its April 2013 "Iran Primer":
Iran's low fertility rate has produced a rapidly aging population, according to a new UN report. The rate has declined from 2.2 births per woman in 2000 to 1.6 in 2012. This has pushed the median age of Iranians to 27.1 years in 2010, up from 20.8 years in 2000. The median age could reach 40 years by 2030, according to the U.N. Population Division. An elderly and dependent population may heavily tax Iran's public health infrastructure and social security network.
In 2005 and 2006, I was the first Western analyst to draw strategic conclusions from this trend, the steepest decline in fertility in the history of the world. Iran must break out and establish a Shi'ite zone of power, or it will break down.

Iran's theocracy displays the same apocalyptic panic about its demographic future that Hitler expressed about the supposed decline of the so-called Aryan race. Unlike Hitler, whose racial paranoia ran wild, Iran's presentiment of national death is well founded on the facts.

That is not to understate Iran's paranoia. In 2013 Iran's vice president alleged that Jews ran the international drug trade. In a June 2013 Facebook post earlier this year, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei wrote, "US President is being elected [sic] only from two parties while Zionist regime is controlling everything from behind the scenes." That captions a cartoon showing fat men with moneybags for heads under a Star of David. Iranian officials routinely threaten to "annihilate the Zionist regime".

Spengler is channeled by David P Goldman. He is Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. His book How Civilizations Die (and why Islam is Dying, Too) was published by Regnery Press in September 2011. A volume of his essays on culture, religion and economics, It's Not the End of the World - It's Just the End of You, also appeared that fall, from Van Praag Press.

(Copyright 2013 David P Goldman)





 

 

 
 



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