The Impact of Global Demographic Changes on the International Security Environment


HKUST IEMS Academic Seminar
Jack A. Goldstone
Monday 6 October 2014 at 12:00 - 1:00 pm (Hong Kong time, GMT +8)
IAS2042, 2/F, Lo Ka Chung Building, Lee Shau Kee Campus, HKUST

The world population is forming different prospects of future development in different regions. Global population growth is slowing down, but with strikingly uneven growth rates at regional levels. Jack Goldstone, Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University, talked about the relationship between global demographic changes and international security in the HKUST IEMS Academic Seminar titled “10 Billion: the impact of global demographic changes on the international security environment”.

Facing the situation of rapid growth of population in unstable regions, Prof. Goldstone called for a viable international framework that is capable of managing the security risks. Renewed efforts should be made to create international institutions that can help strengthen fragile states and respond to crises in them. Besides, considering the vital importance of economic growth and formal sector employment for generating stability, it is crucial to give encouragement and reward to entrepreneurs in fragile countries—social as well as economic entrepreneurs, so as to contribute to a securer society.


Demographic changes will pose new challenges to the international order in the first half of the twentieth centuries. While the traditional great powers cope with shrinking and aging labor forces, large middle-income countries such as Turkey, China, Brazil, and Indonesia will emerge as major new players to be integrated into global security institutions. At the same time, across an arc sweeping from Central America across tropical Africa through the Middle East and into parts of central and south Asia, very rapid population growth and youth surges in relatively weak states will pose challenges to political stability. Indeed, perhaps the most striking risk is that virtually all global population growth up to 2050 will occur in countries that today are rated as having high to extreme state fragility, and thus face difficulties in providing their surging young populations with the education, capital, and social order needed to assume productive roles in the world economy.

About the Speaker

Jack A. Goldstone (PhD, Harvard University) is the Hazel Professor of Public Policy and a Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, and a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. He has won major prizes from the American Sociological Association, the International Studies Association and the Historical Society for his research on revolutions and social change, and has won grants from the MacArthur Foundation, JS Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the National Science Foundation. He led a National Academy of Sciences study of USAID democracy assistance, and has worked with USAID, DIFD, and the US State and Defense Departments on developing their operations in fragile states. Goldstone’s current research focuses on conditions for building democracy and stability in developing nations, the impact of population change on the global economy and international security, and the cultural origins of modern economic growth. Goldstone has authored or edited ten books and published over one hundred articles in books and scholarly journals. His recent essay in, “The Rise of the TIMBIs” presents a new view of the world economy. His latest books include Why Europe? The Rise of the West 1500-1850 (McGraw-Hill, 2008; Chinese Translation 2010), and Revolutions: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford 2014). Goldstone’s blog on current events can be found at

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