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War 2

(September 06, 2006)  This is the second article in a series that begins with War 1.

Pakistan is one of the "less developed countries"*. For illumination, we're going to take a quick look at Pakistan's future. The data comes from United Nations, World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision. Today's age distribution is in dark blue. The 2050 Distribution is in light blue.

Figure1. Pakistan's Age Distribution Now and 2050

Pakistan is in the process of becoming a more developed country. Over the next 40 years, age distributions will shift from the pyramid/hierarchical model to the more modern phone pole. In 2050, leaders of Pakistan's organizations will be facing a similar set of demographic dynamics to those we in the western world are now facing:

  • The ratio of young to old will decrease (approaching 1 to 1 from the current 4 to 1)
  • The average age of the population will constantly increase.
  • Workplaces will increasingly be age-diverse.
  • Managers who use pyramidal techniques will be increasingly ineffective.
  • Organizations will seem to flatten on their own.
  • Systems that depend on a pyramid structure will begin to breakdown.
  • Lifelong learning will become a virtue.
  • Age based entitlements (retirement, pensions, respect) will decline.
  • The cost of health care will balloon.
  • Immigration becomes necessary to maintain the status quo.

They will probably behave like we are. This movement from the age old pyramid structure to a new flatter alignment produces a number of predictable behaviors:

  • Because we are used to having young people as "cannon fodder", we think that something is wrong when there are fewer of them (as a percentage of the overall population)
  • Having to rethink the utility of different kinds of people (differing ages and ethnicity) is hard. Ancient stereotypes resist change.
  • As we learn to utilize different kinds of people, our levels of tolerance for difference are tested and engaged. Diversity is an adaptive approach.
  • Seniority decreases in importance. Older people don't always understand why and often feel cheated of their entitlements.
  • There will be a temptation to blame immigrants for the problems.
  • Other scapegoats will be found and blamed.

They may even decide that a "War for Talent" is necessary even though the population is growing (just as we have done in the United States).

*India and China are the largest of the "less developed countries".

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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