This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Demography and the Throne--the Wait is Getting Longer

The Economist had exactly the same thought that I did when George Alexander Louis, the Prince of Cambridge, was born a few days ago--he may be heir to the British throne, but it's going to be a long wait, barring some horrible tragedy. Life expectancy is decades longer than it used to be, and not even the infant's grandfather has yet to assume the crown, much less his father. His great-grandmother is a still spry 87 years old and has queen since 1952. Scarcely more than one in five Brits could possibly remember the United Kingdom with any other monarch. And she shows no signs either of dying or abdicating. It is the latter that the Economist thinks might be the way to go. If monarchs won't die, then maybe they should call it quits.
As is often the case, the solution to Britain’s royal problems lies in Europe. In the past, when Britain was short of royals, it used to import a continental prince. Now it has a surplus of them, it needs to import a continental practice. The Netherlands’ Queen Beatrix (aged 75) and Belgium’s King Albert (79) recently announced their abdications. Even Pope Benedict (85) quit. Britain’s monarchs need a way to start doing the same.
Might a sliding scale combine royal dignity with management theory? When the queen (61 years on the throne) is 90, she will have beaten the previous record-holder, Queen Victoria (63 years). At that point, she should bow out. Prince Charles should do so at 80, Prince William at 70. At some point the falling royal retirement age will meet the rising national pensionable age, monarch and subjects will be in synch and George Alexander Louis will claim his crown before his bus pass.
Granted that I am generally in favor of rising ages at retirement, I agree with the Economist that this might be the occupational exception to that rule.

1 comment:

  1. I thought you would find this to be of great interest. It is on the future demographics of Africa.