By: Nguyen Ba Thanh
Publication Date: October 2021
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: January 24, 2022
We humans pride ourselves on our mental and physical improvements, comparing our modern, convenient life favorably to what came before. But will these advances be enough to keep humanity from extinction, considering that disappearance of species, even stars and galaxies, seems to be the logical order of our universe? These are questions that author Nguyen Ba Thanh explores in his lively look at our basic assumptions and their inherent flaws in his new book The Demogra-Fate Hypothesis.
The irony Thanh deftly postulates is that humanity is working diligently to seal its own doomsday fate. Modern trends include producing fewer young and keeping old people alive longer, along with constant improvement of technologies to sustain and essentially spoil us. We are moving - and not all that slowly - toward a time when most people will be old, and there will no longer be younger ones to work to keep them safe and sound. Citing a plethora of statistical data, observer Thanh demonstrates that developing countries have a decreasing birthrate: in the 100 most developed countries, “birth rates have fallen below 2.1 babies per female” – while the median age has risen to 60. An example is Japan, the third largest global economy, where population trends indicate that in a hundred years, it will lose half its current population and the median age will reach an unprecedented 62. We strive to make things easier for old people - who used to be cared for by their multiple children - to stay alive through machinery and computerization, while failing to produce the young minds needed to invent, monitor, and pay for these technological blessings. And that being the case, why would ETs want to visit here? And why would we, so cozy in our increasingly convenience-filled habits, want to go to other planets? Thanh envisions a planet filled with a few oldsters whose demise will spell the end of our species.
Thanh, a highly intelligent trend analyst who has peppered this short but stimulating treatise with hilarious cartoons and some hearty small talk, leaves the reader with some open questions to ponder. Rather like a Zen master, he creates room for contemplation: Will humans last forever? If not, why not? And if they fade like so many world wanderers before them, is that such a bad thing?
The author presents the impression that he finds our demise unpreventable given the lessons of planetary history, while leaving us to consider whether, as with plagues, wars, climate change and other phenomena that we have dealt with and continue to battle, we can prevent the loss of us.
Quill says: Thanh’s well-considered thesis will doubtless have readers wishing for more rich material from this unique thinker.
For more information on The Demogra-Fate Hypothesis: Is Demographic Aging, as seen on Earth, the Natural Death of all Intelligent Species in the Universe?, please visit the book's website: www.demographicfate.com