Youth is wasted on the young

More

I've been doing a lot of research on the problems of America's aging society, so it's funny for me to hear the development officials here stressing out because Cambodia's population is too young. A third of all Cambodians are under the age of fifteen. My first instinct, after agonizing about extended retirements, is to say "And this is a problem?" but demographic bulges can be difficult anywhere they come. No one here knows quite what they are going to do all these new people when they enter the workforce. The garment industry is the only significant industrial employer, and it only employs about 300,000 a year (though it probably supports 5-10 times that number). It cannot absorb this enormous demographic bulge by itself, but it's very unclear where else they can go--besides to other countries.

One odd side effect of the demographic bulge is that apparently, there is relatively little interest in the Khmer Rouge tribunal; as one source put it, "The OJ Simpson got more attention than this thing is attracting." Older people are intensely interested, not to say overjoyed. But most of the population is too young to remember the genocide, and apparently there is a tendency to deny that it can have been as bad as their parents say. That's a natural impulse, to be sure; did my mother really hike to school through snow drifts over her head? But in this case, it is eroding the public clamor for long-overdue justice.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Technicolor Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In