Risks and Opportunities for the World Economy
Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy
American Enterprise Institute
Lecture for the Economic Conference on Demography, Growth and Wellbeing
The Progress Foundation
30 November 2006
[In German: Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted once again to visit your beautiful city, and it gives me great pleasure to be able to deliver my lecture for the Progress Foundation before such a distinguished audience. Although my name is ‘Eberstadt’, German is not my mother tongue, as you perhaps have already suspected. Therefore, with your indulgence, I will now make, so to speak a little ‘linguistic adjustment’.]
Ladies and Gentleman: The 20th century saw an absolutely unprecedented historical event in demographic terms. Between 1900 and 2000, the human population almost quadrupled, under the sway of the so-called world population explosion. In absolute and in relative terms, nothing so rapid or dramatic had ever happened before in human history. This population explosion was driven entirely by a reduction in mortality.