Why is this recession different, and likely much worse, from all the recessions of the past? Imagine a Paleolithic village which has no children. When all the adults grow too old to work, everyone dies. Now imagine a country with a well-funded national pension system, also without children. Everyone retires on the same day, and the pension fund instantly goes bankrupt. These hypotheticals overstate the predicament of the industrial nations, who have too few children and too few old people, but it does not overstate it by much. The present economic crisis will not respond to the usual treatment because it arises from a deeper cause, namely the hollowing out of the population of the West. This is not a business cycle, but the grim harvest of a demographic winter.