Demographic Burst, Population Ageing and Labor-saving Technologies: Interaction in the 21st Century


A. Akimov, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 12, Rozhdestvenka Str., Moscow, 107031, Russian Federation (


The ageing of population in the coming decades is becoming a constraint on economic growth in developed economies and countries of Eastern Asia, but labor-saving technologies including robotics and artificial intelligence may remove this limitation. At the same time, population growth in South Asia and Africa will face lower demand for cheap and low-qualified labor. Pairs of scenarios (success and failure) are proposed for principal regions and countries. For the West, a positive scenario is “the West closes”, which foresees high level of the industrial application of robots and no labor immigration. A negative one – “The West dissolves”, which means high immigration, but no jobs for immigrants, and immigrants’ straddle for domination in social life. The “robo China” foresees high level of robotics in China, high productivity and governmental planning of labor market. The “two Chinas” contemplates an urban high-tech China and a rural China which is not integrated into technological modernization. Central government hardly keeps social situation stable in this case. For India, the “partial participation in robotized economy” is a positive choice making India an element of the new global economy. India develops in the same vein as the West and China. “Out of the new economy” leaves India in the group of developing nations. For Africa, a positive scenario is “rental economy”. Human potential of Africa is not in demand as labor-saving technologies dominate in the global economy, but natural resources attract foreign investors. They pay rent, and it is distributed by governments among inhabitants. “Population growth burden” is a negative variant that foresees high unemployment and lack of financial resources. International assistance is the only way out in this case. Russia is buying labor-saving technologies abroad. The structure of Russian economy now enables to remove limitations resulting from the population ageing, but technological import makes Russia highly vulnerable. 


ageing of population, population growth, robotics, labor-saving technologies, scenario forecasts 

For citation:
Akimov A. Demographic Burst, Population Ageing and Labor-saving Technologies: Interaction in the 21st Century. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2016, vol. 60, No 5, pp. 50-60

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