Where on Earth Will People Live in the Future? | Parag Khanna | TED

68,925 views

2022-07-29・ TED

Where on Earth Will People Live in the Future? | Parag Khanna | TED

68,925 views・2022-07-29

TED


Double-click on the English subtitles below to play the video.

00:03
From the standpoint of human geography,
00:06
why we live where we live in the world,
00:09
it's actually driven by a fairly categorically organized set of variables.
00:15
Those variables are colliding, but you can actually segment them.
00:19
Demographic imbalances: the gap between young and old.
00:22
Young people move to countries where wealthy aging populations need them.
00:26
That's been happening for generations.
00:28
Political upheaval: civil wars, international conflicts,
00:31
such as we're witnessing right now,
00:32
but of course, the 20th century had a lot of these as well.
00:35
So large refugee flows, for example.
00:38
Economic dislocation, like financial crises,
00:40
when we have those people move away from areas
00:43
that have become deindustrialized, for example,
00:46
like the Rust Belt of the United States or Southern Europe.
00:49
Technological disruption.
00:50
That can be AI and automation,
00:52
forcing you away from the place where you had a stable job.
00:55
But it could also mean Zoom.
00:57
You can live anywhere, do this call, do your job from anywhere.
01:00
So positive and negative.
01:01
And of course, climate change,
01:02
which is actually the original driver of where we live,
01:05
and it's coming back.
01:07
It was the driver of where humans have settled
01:09
for hundreds of thousands of years,
01:11
and now it's changing.
01:13
And if you take all of these together and multiply it by the connectivity,
01:17
all of the infrastructure that we have built to enable human mobility,
01:21
you get a world in which we’re going to use that capacity for mobility,
01:25
and we're going to have mass migrations
01:27
potentially on a scale we've never seen before.
01:29
And that's what I want to dive into a little bit right now.
01:33
So let's start with the climate angle.
01:35
This map actually shows you the present distribution of the world population.
01:38
This is it, all of us, you,
01:40
wherever you are, you are a pixel on this map.
01:43
There's eight billion pixels here.
01:45
Now, watch what happens, tragically,
01:48
as climate change advances
01:50
and as what is called the suitability of a geography changes,
01:55
in other words, the suitability for human habitation and survivability.
01:59
Now, what you just saw happen is an animation
02:02
that reflects what’s called the Suitability Index,
02:05
derived from measurements of temperature change.
02:08
There's obviously many other climate-related factors as well,
02:11
rising sea levels, among others.
02:13
But this is strictly based upon temperature.
02:15
And red doesn't mean you cannot live there,
02:17
but it means that it's becoming decreasingly suitable for human life,
02:22
whereas green means that relative to how it used to be,
02:24
it's becoming more suitable for human life.
02:27
Now, this is the greatest irony in the entire world today.
02:31
I can think of no more profound paradox that we've ever encountered than this.
02:37
Think about what I showed you before.
02:39
Most of the human population lives in places
02:42
that are basically turning red.
02:44
The places that are green right now on your map
02:46
are places that are depopulating.
02:49
Less and less people
02:51
as a result of old age and mortality and low fertility rates.
02:56
So the rich countries of the world, the United States, Canada,
02:59
Europe and so forth, Russia, Japan would actually be declining in population,
03:03
Russia most certainly is,
03:05
were it not for immigration.
03:07
This is what we have to solve.
03:09
This is the profound challenge.
03:11
In one picture that's worth millions of words,
03:14
this is the world that we seem to be headed towards.
03:17
We need to figure out how eight billion people reside on this landmass.
03:23
The territorial area on this map is 150 million square kilometers.
03:26
There are eight billion of us.
03:28
Where do we go to optimize our own survival as a species?
03:32
And because of the lines that are missing on this map, the borders,
03:36
this becomes a lot more difficult
03:38
than it would be if we could simply wander wherever we wanted to
03:41
the way we did when we were populating the continents
03:44
over the last 100,000 years.
03:47
Now, over the last 30 years,
03:48
this has been a stable migration arrangement in the world.
03:53
The largest number of people moving within and across regions
03:57
is documented for you here.
03:59
And it's people within the former Soviet republics,
04:01
so Ukrainians to Russia, Russians to Ukraine.
04:04
Now Ukrainians out of both Russia and Ukraine.
04:08
South Asians moving to the Persian Gulf countries.
04:11
Latin Americans moving north into Central and North America.
04:16
Europeans within Europe and so on.
04:18
This is what’s been steady flows, if you will, of people
04:22
over the last 30 years.
04:23
But the next 30 years won't be exactly the same.
04:26
And that we, again, don't have a map for,
04:28
there isn't even really a historical precedent
04:30
for that kind of movement across regions, across continents, as we might see.
04:36
Now, the second demographic factor here is
04:40
our overall world population.
04:41
All of this is happening at a time when,
04:44
instead of the world reaching 15 billion people,
04:47
as some predicted in the 1980s and 1990s,
04:51
instead it could well be that our world population
04:54
never even reaches 10 billion people.
04:55
So I call it peak humanity.
04:57
Fertility is declining.
04:59
Again, note the mismatch.
05:01
The wealthy countries of the north
05:02
are the ones that are shrinking in population,
05:05
whereas young countries of the South and the developing world
05:08
still have very large, young populations.
05:10
And we need to find ways to correct that mismatch
05:13
if we want to have a global population that is sort of, you know,
05:17
stable and willing to reproduce.
05:21
Not that we want to have a population surge,
05:24
but we don't want to crash either.
05:26
We need to think about how young people can cope with climate, with geopolitics,
05:31
with the economic pressure,
05:32
and live in places where they can still produce
05:35
a sizeable next generation of people.
05:37
What's happening right now
05:38
is that young people aren't having any children.
05:41
And that's going to actually lead
05:43
to a very steep population crash in many ways.
05:46
So this got me thinking about how young people think.
05:49
And this forms a big part of the argument of the "Move" book,
05:52
because when we, and I don't mean we as in every one of you,
05:55
but when people who are say, my age or older, Gen X or,
05:59
you know, baby boomers,
06:01
we speak very confidently in this sort of,
06:04
you know, plural pronoun,
06:06
you know, as if our views represent the views of people in the world.
06:09
Young people in cities who don’t have children who are struggling,
06:13
that’s the future of humanity.
06:15
It’s the present and the future of humanity.
06:18
And I'm interested in the things that we can do
06:20
to make life better for those people,
06:23
because they are the present and the future
06:26
of our species' population.
06:28
And they do think very differently from previous generations.
06:31
They're not loyal to nationality,
06:33
they're more interested in certain sets of values.
06:35
And those values, that have been very well documented,
06:38
are the right to connectivity,
06:40
a sustainable world and mobility, their own right to be mobile.
06:44
In fact, this is the most mobile generation in the history of the world,
06:47
because not only do we have the tools, the physical infrastructure to do it.
06:51
But again, the things that have pinned people down primarily
06:55
are home ownership and having children.
06:57
But if people don't own homes and don't have children,
07:00
then they are by definition quite mobile,
07:02
especially if they're not even loyal to their home country
07:05
for the sake of it.
07:07
And so where will young people go
07:09
is a very important question that I'm trying to answer.
07:11
What are they looking for?
07:13
Places that offer opportunity,
07:14
work, particularly professional opportunities,
07:17
educational opportunities, a decent quality of life,
07:20
political stability, climate stability,
07:22
the basic things that you would expect.
07:25
But we need to be clear that countries need to retrofit themselves,
07:28
retool themselves, to try and attract
07:30
and provide those kinds of environments for young people.
07:34
And that's where young people are going to want to go.
07:36
And countries, I believe, are going to be engaged in a war
07:39
for young talent,
07:41
to attract those young people as they are aging.
07:44
So there is a road map for us to untangle ourselves from this dilemma
07:48
of geopolitical fragmentation,
07:50
a climate-stressed world,
07:52
a declining population,
07:54
youth that are insecure.
07:56
What are we supposed to do?
07:57
Well, the thing is, you know, we can't predict the future,
08:00
but we can make scenarios.
08:02
So I've constructed these four scenarios along these axes
08:05
of more or less sustainability and more or less mobility.
08:10
And the truth is that all of these are visible today.
08:12
We are in a world where regions like Europe act like fortresses.
08:16
They're investing in their own sustainability,
08:18
but they try to ward off migration.
08:20
We live in a world that's medieval, a world that is conflictual,
08:24
in which people are thrust into survival mode
08:27
of hunter-gatherer lifestyles.
08:28
When there is a drought or when there's a flood
08:31
or they're fleeing civil war and conflict
08:33
and they're trying to cross borders like the US-Mexico border,
08:36
trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea,
08:37
where countries are engaged in land grabs and water wars to acquire resources.
08:42
But we also live in a world where there are countries like Canada,
08:45
which is opening itself up, that's bringing in hundreds of thousands,
08:49
about 400,000 new migrants every single year,
08:51
one percent of its population.
08:53
There are a couple of European countries
08:55
that are realizing that they need to do this as well,
08:57
and are kind of changing their tune around immigration.
09:00
And they're trying to do so in a sustainable way,
09:02
focusing on building affordable housing, decarbonizing their economies,
09:05
or at least reducing emissions and so forth.
09:07
The fact is that all of these scenarios are happening at the same time.
09:11
It's incumbent on us to shape the direction that the world goes in
09:15
or that the regions that we live in go in, in the future.
09:19
Geography is what we make of it.
09:21
You know, we have the tools at our disposal
09:23
to build a different model of civilization.
09:27
And for me, that rests on two principles or two things that you can do.
09:31
You are either moving people to places where there are resources
09:35
that are abundant so they can survive,
09:37
or you're moving technologies to people,
09:39
to the places where they need them.
09:40
You're doing one of those two things.
09:42
If you're not doing one of those two things,
09:44
you should think about how much you're helping the future, if you will,
09:48
and the people of the present and the future.
09:50
The second is, I obviously advocate for mobility as a human right.
09:53
That doesn't mean that we tear down all borders.
09:55
It means that we create systems
09:57
where the mismatches between old and young,
09:59
labor shortages and labor supply,
10:01
sustainable and unsustainable locations is corrected.
10:04
And we can do that, but we don't.
10:07
We obviously have to think beyond sovereignty,
10:09
therefore to stewardship of the global commons.
10:11
We have to pre-design these habitats of the future,
10:15
which is to say, thinking about allowing people to be perpetually mobile
10:19
as they need to be in response to geopolitics,
10:21
in response to climate change,
10:23
but do so in a way that doesn't trample upon the environment.
10:27
Whitney Pennington Rodgers: TED Member Kim has a question.
10:29
Kim asks, "Immigration to the US seems impossible.
10:33
How do we shift the attitude towards welcoming immigrants here in the US?"
10:37
And their question is US-focused, but I think this can apply anywhere.
10:41
How do we shift the attitude everywhere to welcoming people into borders?
10:46
PK: It is a universally relevant question, especially again, in the developed,
10:50
mature Western economies and societies
10:53
that have had a lot of friction and a lot of backlash
10:56
and caution about large-scale immigration,
10:59
at least in the last, say, 10, 15 years.
11:03
And that's the US, Canada, you know, Western European countries, Japan,
11:07
all of them are changing to some degree.
11:10
The question is how rapidly?
11:11
You know, Canada really stands out as a country that's welcoming in,
11:15
as I mentioned before, you know, 400,000 people a year,
11:17
one percent of its population, as a target growth.
11:20
But the US, you know, as bureaucratic as it is,
11:23
as contentious as it is,
11:25
and the fact that during the Trump years,
11:29
immigration began to decline and then because of COVID, you know,
11:32
became even harder.
11:33
But let me tell you something very special about America.
11:36
This year, according to a congressional delegation I just hosted in Singapore,
11:40
the US will probably have one million new migrants this year.
11:44
One million.
11:46
I want to be absolutely clear.
11:47
No country on Earth goes from 200,000 to one million overnight by design.
11:54
And that's America, right?
11:56
So everything that's not gone well in immigration can be fixed
12:00
and positively overcompensated by the kinds of reforms
12:04
that are underway today: H-1B reforms, refugee reforms,
12:08
skilled migration reforms, digitizing immigration,
12:11
carrying over a certain,
12:13
you know, frozen quotas from the past.
12:15
All of these things are actually happening.
12:17
Should it have happened years ago? Yes.
12:19
Should it be happening faster? Yes.
12:21
Should immigration policy be done in a way in which we focus
12:24
on the shortages in our labor force, which are so many?
12:28
We're hurting our own economy by having such a slow immigration process.
12:32
We should have done all of this a lot earlier and to a larger degree,
12:36
and this would have depoliticized immigration.
12:39
So it's been to our own detriment.
12:41
But can America actually fix these things faster than than we, you know,
12:46
very rightly, cynically,
12:47
especially if you've been on the wrong side of the immigration story
12:50
and you've failed to cross a T on a form and it sets you back like, two years,
12:55
you know, you're rightly angry and cynical about it.
12:57
I mean, I'm an immigrant myself, I didn't move to America till I was six.
13:01
I remember becoming a citizen, I know my parents sweated that paperwork,
13:04
I watched them do it.
13:06
But these things can be fixed
13:09
and no one can fix it like America can, that's for sure.
13:11
So there's a lot of hope in that.
13:13
And again, European countries are changing.
13:15
Germany brought in, you know, more than a million,
13:17
again, not by design, not intentionally, but think about the Syrian refugee crisis.
13:22
More than a million people arrived in Germany.
13:24
A lot of them have stayed.
13:26
More are coming now from Ukraine.
13:28
And they've managed their politics
13:32
to fend off, you know, right-wing populist parties.
13:35
They have a center-left coalition right now.
13:37
So Canada, the US, Germany, the UK, despite Brexit,
13:41
it's easier to move to the UK today than during Brexit.
13:43
I’m not sure people realize this.
13:45
Because they again have had massive shortages in nursing and truck drivers,
13:49
you name it.
13:50
So there's just two kinds of countries in the world,
13:53
those that have realized they need more migrants
13:55
and those that haven't, right?
13:57
And those in the former category are the smarter ones.
13:59
And they're going to come out ahead in the war for young talent.
14:02
WPR: TED member Heidi has a question,
14:05
"We've seen that governments and countries veer nationalistic and xenophobic
14:10
when there are a flood of immigrants.
14:12
How can we future-proof our democratic systems against this reactionary outcome?"
14:16
PK: For one thing, you know, I don't posit that immigration itself,
14:20
as in "let the people in," is some kind of panacea.
14:23
I am a strong believer in assimilation.
14:26
And one of the key things around future proofing
14:28
is maintaining your kind of, national ethos,
14:31
national identity, national culture.
14:33
But culture doesn't mean the way things were for the last 400 years,
14:38
and it's never allowed to change from that, right?
14:41
That's a very archaic, you know,
14:44
ethnically and sort of, chauvinistic approach to the issue.
14:47
Culture is valuable.
14:49
Culture evolves, culture changes.
14:51
If you look at a country like Canada,
14:53
again, multiculturalism is the identity of the country.
14:56
The UK is changing its rules to make it easier to come in.
14:59
That's a fact.
15:01
It's a legal fact that you can now come into the UK without a job offer,
15:05
without paying a security bond.
15:07
We've got these massive immigration reforms.
15:09
So, Japan, there have never been as many foreigners in Japan
15:12
as there are today.
15:13
So even in a place that we think of as very culturally insular, right,
15:18
even there, you've got a large-scale migration.
15:20
So there is zero, zero truth to the statement
15:25
that the world is governed by right wing,
15:27
xenophobic populists that are anti-immigrant.
15:30
It is precisely the exact factual opposite of that, right?
15:33
The important countries of the world
15:35
are governed by pragmatic leaders
15:38
that are recognizing the importance of large-scale immigration
15:41
as part of their economic health and their social dynamism.
15:44
That is how the important countries in the world are run today.
15:47
That's the way they have been run for 75 years.
15:50
If that weren't true, we wouldn't be having this conversation
15:53
because, you know, all of us who are migrants wouldn't have migrated.
15:56
We never would have been let in.
15:58
WPR: There are some people who may push back on that, right,
16:01
and say that, well, we still see struggles with inequality
16:04
and that, you know, things are not fair and great
16:06
for people who do come to those countries.
16:09
And I wonder if there are specific things that you think could be done better
16:13
even in those spaces,
16:14
but that are really success stories
16:17
that I think nations that are looking to invite people in
16:21
can really take on to ensure that everyone does feel
16:24
like they have a good life.
16:27
PK: There are really good lessons learned,
16:29
and this is not pie-in-the-sky thinking.
16:31
This is one of the major areas of political social research,
16:36
which is to say, what can we do?
16:38
So if you look at smaller European countries like,
16:41
let's say the Netherlands, right,
16:42
they have a really strong language adoption policy.
16:45
There is no way you'll get Dutch citizenship unless you've learned Dutch,
16:49
for example.
16:51
And Germany is making this clear as well in a much larger country,
16:54
which is, you know, you definitely have to learn German.
16:57
And I think that's actually pretty important.
16:59
I don't seek to suppress people's original, you know,
17:03
identities and their languages.
17:05
But it is a fact that if you actually want to not be a burden
17:10
on your host society,
17:11
but actually be a contributor and be welcomed by, liked by,
17:14
respected by all segments of the society that is your new home,
17:18
you will do a much better job of it if you learn the language.
17:21
And this is like, you know, the kind of thing we’d say, OK, well,
17:25
can't we spend a few bucks on that?
17:26
You know, how about we allocate some money to do some language training,
17:30
and that would actually go a really long way.
17:32
So jobs, skills, education, language, public housing.
17:37
So, this is something that’s done in Singapore, where I live right now.
17:41
You know, you've got universal public housing.
17:44
And if we did more around affordable housing,
17:46
that would diminish the inequality,
17:49
and inequality obviously skews in many countries,
17:52
in immigrant societies,
17:53
towards the newly-arrived people who don't have the economic means.
17:57
So well, we can fix that, right?
17:59
I mean, there's a physical solution to inadequate public housing.
18:02
It's called building more housing, right?
18:04
And you know, if you look at places again, like Canada,
18:08
the Netherlands, France, this is happening in Finland.
18:12
Lots of countries are building lots more affordable housing
18:15
and it's actually helping to change some of the local tensions.
18:19
So these answers emerge not from pie-in-the-sky thinking,
18:22
but from the real experience of real countries.
18:25
And there are real policymakers and journalists
18:28
and civil servants who have done these things.
18:31
It's good news that there's really a pretty clear road map
18:34
on how to do this and how to make people feel welcome
18:37
and how to have everyone again, be better off.
18:40
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18:43
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