Holes in the Demographic Transition Model?
by Andrew Hamilton
THE DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION MODEL is an academic theory about population development. It was initially formulated to describe what had already taken place in developed (at the time, White) European countries. It has since entered into common usage much as the term “Industrial Revolution” has. It is universally accepted, or nearly so, but the closer you look into it the squishier it gets. In particular, there is widespread recognition that the predicted third stage, sustainable population stasis, no longer applies. Consequently, additional stages such as “four,” “five,” and “six” have been proposed, although agreement here breaks down.
The theory is based upon an interpretation developed in 1929 of sharp changes in historical birth and death rates in industrial countries over the previous 200 years by American demographer Warren Thompson (1887–1973). It was subsequently elaborated by demographer Frank W. Notestein (1902–1983) and others. Notestein coined the term “demographic transition,” and in 1945 outlined the original three-stage model to illustrate the supposed dynamics of population growth as societies modernized. Despite Notestein’s surname and cosmopolitan-elitist occupational profile — Princeton University professor, president of the Rockefellers’ Population Council, first director of the Population Division of the United Nations — he does not appear to have been Jewish.
Briefly, the theory holds that in pre-modern societies births and deaths are both high, with little or no population growth. In stage two living standards increase and health care conditions improve, causing death rates to fall rapidly. With birth rates still high, population growth accelerates, typically reaching 3 percent a year. While this may not sound like much, population growth of 3 percent a year results in nearly a twentyfold increase per century. As living standards continue to improve, the birth rate begins to decline. Eventually the birth rate drops to the level of the death rate. This is stage three, where advanced populations are again stable.
This final stage corresponds to replacement fertility (just over 2 children on average), zero population growth, and life expectancies higher than 70 years of age. Households would converge toward the nuclear and conjugal types, composed of married couples and their offspring.
The most important point to understand about the demographic transition model, framed in this manner, is that it is a theory. Initially devised to describe what had already occurred in white, European populations, it has subsequently been extended to the entire world. It also moved beyond description, to predict the future and prescribepolicy. It is important to keep this threefold nature of the theory in mind.
Although it is difficult to find straightforward criticisms of the model—much harder than one would expect—hints of underlying tentativeness among experts are common.
Italian demographer Massimo Livi-Bacci writes, “The great transformation of the long nineteenth century presents a series of interpretive problems which multiply in number as we move away from broad generalizations.” (The Population of Europe: A History, 2000, p. 137) His reference is specifically to the model — and to its historical, descriptive portion at that.
Dutch researcher Dirk van de Kaa, emeritus professor of demography at the University of Amsterdam, notes:
Many hundreds of articles and books have been published on the topic of the demographic transition since that particular process of demographic change was first recognized early in the 19th century. The phenomenon has been studied from a great variety of angles and in a wide range of countries. Even so, it is still poorly understood. . . . [N]early all statements of a general kind about the classical . . . demographic transition can be easily contradicted.
Nevertheless, he adds: “There appear to be no counter-examples to the rule that the transition is a universal phenomenon that affects all countries in the course of their development from a preindustrial to a more modern society.”
Below, I suggest Rhodesia and South Africa as probable counter-examples. For that matter, former First World nations are looking more and more backward every day.
A rare critic of the theory is retired professor Virginia Abernethy of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, who — unaccountably for an academic — is pro-White. For her criticisms see, e.g., Population Politics: The Choices That Shape Our Future (New York: Basic Books, 1993); “The Demographic Transition Model: A Ghost Story” (editorial) (1995); and “The Demographic Transition Revisited: Lessons for Foreign Aid and US Immigration Policy” (1999).
A fundamental problem with the predictive and prescriptive features of the theory is that, in addition to questionable assumptions, they conceal hidden agendas relating to highly-charged issues and planned social change that would be unacceptable if openly proposed within a genuine (not faux) democratic framework.
Demographic transition theory is expressed in terms of economism and materialism. “Modernization” and “development” are said to drive demographic change. This is well-illustrated by a statement by Virginia Abernethy:
The demographic transition model postulates a number of conditions which lead to lower fertility. . . . The predictions are:
- modernization lowers fertility
- urbanization lowers fertility
- prosperity lowers fertility
- education lowers fertility
- declining infant mortality lowers fertility.
This is indeed the way the theory is framed. The transition happens free of human agency: no central planning, no ideology, no external skullduggery, no compulsory policies or concerted elite attacks on values are involved.
The demographic transition model is also seen as a universal phenomenon. All countries on earth are bound to pass through it once they attain the requisite level of economic and social development. In other words, race does not matter. All races are equally capable of development, and will react identically in terms of population size and reproductive behavior when it occurs. This is a postulate of the theory. If the assumption is wrong, things can go haywire.
Take as examples Rhodesia and South Africa, former First World outposts. I don’t know what effect the overthrow of White societies has had on the near-term rate of population growth, but long-term economic (“developmental”) effects will surely be negative. In the absence of massive external aid, both countries will slide into chaos, reversing any previous developmental “transition.”
Worse, these countries serve as models for the treatment of Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Whites in the latter regions are to be economically dispossessed and genetically destroyed as well. Consequently, a similar arrow of development pointing backward has been set for these geographically crucial areas. What will this entail for fertility in the long run, given the postulates of the model?
Furthermore, the portion of the planet now dependent upon First World largesse for elevated economic status, whether managerial (e.g., factory locations) or aid (public and private wealth transfers) will have to find another source of economic support and charity as the White population subsides and ultimately vanishes.
The only conceivable substitute will be East Asia, but those countries are experiencing fertility declines as well, and at any rate are already becoming targets of subdued, grumbling envy and resentment that will ultimately mutate into hatred.
The Jews, for all the vaunted “talents” and “virtues” outsiders attribute to them, can’t possibly be of service. Not only are they the beating heart of the problem, they are a very large net drain on resources, not a producer of them. (Even Jews refer to the nations within which they reside as “hosts.”) They should be called Stumpy. They resemble a one-legged man who hates and continually destroys the only prop that enables him to stand upright in the first place. Blacks, unaided, may live lives that appear to us to be nasty, brutish, and short, but, collectively, they manage to survive and reproduce. In Darwinian terms they currently make a mockery of the White man. And unlike Jews they do not require dupes to exploit in order to live.
Human quality also decisively affects longevity, another key component of the theory. The demographic transition is characterized by much longer life spans due to better food and shelter, improvements in medicine and public health, and so forth, all of which are assumed to be permanent.
To illustrate, the beginning and end dates for the demographic transition in Italy were roughly 1881 and 1981. In 1981, 98% of each generation arrived at reproductive age (15 years) and 48% lived to age 80. (Of course, that means that even under the best of circumstances fully 52% died before 80. We must be realistic about the actual duration of life.) In 1881 the figures were 58% and 6% respectively. Livi-Bacci, the source of these statistics, writes that “With certain adaptations the Italian case is typical of Europe as a whole.” (Massimo Livi-Bacci, A Concise History of World Population, 4th ed., 2007, p. 122)
Are these comparatively recent patterns sustainable, or will life spans in fact shorten? Formerly White countries are increasingly composed of populations that are lopsidedly non-White on the youthful end and White on the older end. Even in rural areas there are now many colored physicians who grew up and were educated, or partially educated, in the Third World, including places like Pakistan and Africa. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities everywhere have staffs composed of colored, including Black and Mestizo, caregivers who directly assist, and occasionally abuse, residents.
Long ago Wilmot Robertson predicted that a future Jewish and non-White society would refuse to pay for the care and upkeep of a large number of elderly White dependents. What does your intuition and knowledge of contemporary racism suggest to you about the accuracy of his prediction? The widespread medical maltreatment or non-treatment (which often amounts to the same thing) of elderly political prisoners under state control (Ernst Zündel, John Demjanjuk, David Irving, attorney Edgar Steele) is not reassuring.
If critical care is more and more silently or even explicitly withheld in subtle bureaucratic ways, what check will there be on it? The media? Government? The “law”? “Humanitarianism?” Hardly.
The failure to deal realistically with race leaves the demographic transition model dangerously prone to failure in terms of prediction and prescription. Yet, ideologically, racial modifications to the theory are impossible to make.
The theory is conceptually and rhetorically determinist. Human agency is not a factor. Everything flows from economic advancement and “progressive” (Left-wing) social policy.
Communist theory was strikingly determinist also. I always wondered why, if Communism (or “socialism”) was the historically inevitable end-stage of history as Communist theoreticians maintained, the movement’s ideologues were invariably so full of rage and hatred, hyperkinetically active, ceaselessly organizing strikes and demonstrations, infiltrating governments and other organizations, churning out propaganda, jailing dissidents, purging badthinkers, engaging in industrial and weapons-of-mass-destruction espionage, promoting terrorism, assassinating foes, and the rest. Why not kick back and wait for the transition to occur? It’s not as if you could hurry the process along. Why the glaring contradiction between words and actions?
In a similar way, development and aid professionals and other globalists really don’t practice what they preach. A great deal of the fertility decline in those areas of the Third World where it has occurred is likely due to the destruction of longstanding family structures, alteration of sexual and gender roles and relationships, homosexuality and transgenderism, feminism (much development literature focuses on “education” and the “rights” of women), contraception and abortion, the denigration and devaluation of men, religion, marriage, family, and children as core social values, widespread cohabitation in lieu of marriage, and pornography and the mass media.
If you aren’t going to murder people outright, or permit them to die off in spectacularly visible ways, the only method left to cause population decline is to deliberately target sex and reproduction, either directly or via the social pathways through which they would otherwise naturally occur.
Blind Eye To Immigration
Finally, the demographic transition model overlooks completely the effects of migration on both sending and receiving countries, even though the relationship between migration, fertility, population growth, and economic development cannot possibly be excluded from any meaningful demographic inquiry.
How significant is this oversight? In 1994, Italian-born population geneticist L. L. Cavalli-Sforza and co-authors wrote:
We are presently in a critical period in which most populations living on Earth have very recently decreased their mortality rates, but only those that did so earlier [Whites and East Asians] have learned to decrease their fertility rates. As a result, there is rapid exponential growth in many developing countries, leading the world toward demographic bankruptcy unless growth can be effectively curbed. . . . When technical, economic, or social innovations permit rapid growth and local overcrowding is determined, two responses are possible: decrease of birth rates, and emigration. . . . When reasonable opportunities for migration are available, it is obviously the immediately available solution. Reproductive customs are deeply rooted and, although their long-term regulation is poorly understood, historical experience in certain parts of Europe and the present experience in the Third World indicate that there is a considerable lag before birth rates decrease effectively. When overpopulation can be cured by emigration, there is little incentive to stopping local growth. Until regions of emigration [sic; presumably the authors mean immigration—receiving countries] are saturated, population growth will continue in the area of origin and those of arrival. . . . A built-in mechanism favors the continuation of the expansion until total saturation is reached. (The History and Geography of Human Genes, abr. pbk. ed., Princeton University Press, 1994, p. 106)
Nor, of course, does the model have anything to say about replacement migration as a program to destroy indigenous First World populations and cultures. Issues of racism and genocide raised by current policies are completely ignored.
After all, the theory was formulated by Left-wing academics for the use of globalist planners.
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Source: Author and Counter-Currents