Thomas Friedman Doesn't Read His Columns, Why Should You?

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Wednesday, 06 February 2013 05:08

On Sunday Thomas Friedman told us that one in three people in China is a blogger, today he tells us that the country has a:

"gigantic youth bulges under the age of 30, increasingly connected by technology but very unevenly educated."

This would be news to China. The country adopted its one child policy back in the 1970s leading to  sharp drop in birth rates. Since that was more than 30 years ago, it means that China actually has a relatively small share of its population under the age of 30. Friedman seems to show some recognition of this fact later in this column when he notes:

"'India today has 560 million young people under the age of 25 and 225 million between the ages of 10 and 19,' explained Shashi Tharoor, India’s minister of state for human resource development.  'So for the next 40 years we should have a youthful working-age population' at a time when China and the broad industrialized world is aging. According to Tharoor, the average age in China today is around 38, whereas in India it’s around 28. In 20 years, that gap will be much larger."

Of course if Friedman had thought about the implication of Tharoor's comment he would realize that it means that China doesn't have a youth bulge. But that would mean reading through his column and thinking about it for a few minutes. (Friedman's claim that India somehow benefits from its huge population growth is whacky -- at least if you care about the living standards of people in India.)