The historical periods when we assisted to a socially relevant demographic development, had the capacity to show us a clear link between the forms of economic growth and democratic level within the system under observation.
A positive demographic growth normally goes together with a proportionate economic move. Demand grows, income too and with all of the above the need for more important trades with other economic (and political) systems too. Inevitably, with an increase in trade, the cultural exchange among the parties grows too.
The more we trade, the more our internal system mixes with the rest of the world, the less the internal social structure can survive on an artificially imposed stability. The new instability is the engine of modern society’s democracies.
Has it always been like this? Will it always be like this? Have we seen any symptoms of change?
The change above described is for sure requesting important adaptation capacities in the societies involved in the process. Without any doubt, history has shown and always confirmed the impact of these changes can be rough (think about the wars between Sparta and Athens, the collapse of the Roman Empire, the industrial revolution).
Where are we today? Are we living through a similar social phase? The answer seems to be yes. We are enjoying the effects of an enormous technological leap (internet and all what goes with it), the opening of many borders to trade, finance, people movement. We look at the fight between the democrats and the oligarchs in classic Athens. Today we see only one main difference: demographics.
Athens needed to expand because of the growth of its population, with it its demand for goods, trade and so on as described above.
Contemporary west enjoys the effects of globalization (our prevailing inflation rate, from which our real wealth, has undeniably been impacted by the easier trade conditions prevalent today in comparison even to only 30 or 40 years ago) simultaneous to the effects of a more diffuse adoption of the benefits created by the digital economy. We miss the demographic side of the equation; we do not miss the political reaction that Classical Greece has shown us some millennia ago.
One huge difference between our political and cultural environment today is due, again, to the combination of a technological and a social innovation that happened during the “short century” (1900): the contraceptive pill and the sexual revolution happened in the second half of the last century.
Even within the most developed parts of the world, those two innovations have not had the chance of getting simultaneously to the society (for many different reasons, logistical, cultural, religious, name them, they might be very minor ones, but their side effects have been huge).
When, within small corners of the western world you deliver sexual revolution before the technology that has gone with it normally everywhere else, then you support the environmental conditions that explain why today we still see around the Donalds, the Matteos, the Marines that would have been consistent in other ages, other social environments.
After the contraceptive pill, the abortion, digital economy, globalization, …, after shrinking the size of our planet, we can still say “the mother of the stupid is always pregnant”.