Monday, November 28, 2005

The countries of Europe are witnessing an unprecedented decline in birthrates

David R. Sands:

In the cradle of Western civilization, the cradles are empty. From the Atlantic to the Urals, in good and bad economies, in Protestant and Catholic societies, the countries of Europe are witnessing an unprecedented decline in birthrates.

This "baby bust," analysts warn, will affect economic growth, social-welfare programs, patterns of immigration and Europe's ability to pull its weight diplomatically, culturally and militarily in the 21st century.

In 1900, according to U.N. estimates, one out of four human beings on the planet -- 24.7 percent -- lived in Europe.

Today, the European population share is a little more than 10 percent. By 2025 -- with the average woman in the European Union bearing just 1.48 children in her lifetime -- the ratio of Europeans to everyone else is projected to be less than one in 14 -- 7 percent.

The dearth of babies, coupled with longer life spans for today's elderly, "have major implications for our prosperity, living standards and relations between the generations," according to a "green paper" on demographic change issued by the European Commission earlier this year.

With fewer younger workers in Europe supporting more older pensioners, the immediate worry has been the fate of generous welfare and social protection systems across the continent.

But "the issues are much broader than older workers and pension reform," said Vladimir Spidla, EU social affairs commissioner.

"This development will affect almost every aspect of our lives, for example the way businesses operate and work is being organized, our urban planning, the design of [apartments], public transport, voting behavior and the infrastructure of shopping possibilities in our cities.

"All age groups will be affected as people live longer and enjoy better health, the birthrate falls and our work force shrinks. It is time to act now," he said.

The way to deal with the problem of declining birthrates in Europe is for Europeans to abandon the socialist idea that the government has a responsibility to take care of them in their old age. People traditionally had large families so that their children could take care of them when they got old. Once the government took on the role of providing for the elderly, people felt that they no longer needed to have large families. If the various European governments anounced that they would no longer be taking care of elderly Europeans, you would see a dramatic rise in European birthrates as people realized that they would now be dependent on their children in their old age.


At 7:48 AM, Blogger hoss_tagge said...

We might also add that the hysteria--driven by a corporate-owned and poorly educated mainstream media--directed at lower fertility rates is mainly a bunch of hot air and not based on demographic and social reality.

For example, look at Japan. The fertility of Japanese women, like most European women, has been declining for decades. What does this mean for Japan? More open space, less traffic, less pollution, and a reduced need to build more schools, water treatment plants, roads, and so on. The Japanese are smart and secure enough to not buy in to the loony notion that you must import unproductive third worlders if your birth rate is declining. Japan is going to be a more livable country with a smaller population and they will surely continue to be highly productive and economically competitive.

At some point, populations will have to stabilize, either by famine or other limiting factors. Nations cannot grow forever. But big business and the corporate-owned western media will never accept this; they want more and more customers and more and more profits. Western nations would do well by looking at the example set by Japan. The strategy of importing unproductive, highly fertile third worlders into western nations, in the false hope of somehow "saving social security" or other such fantasies, is an unmitigated disaster. Europe and the U.S. should be aiming toward more environmentally sustainable, stable or declining populations. I remember the day when environmentalists actually promoted this type of progressive and science-based thinking. Sigh....

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Adam Lawson said...

A few months back Steve Sailer wrote an article pointing out that labor shortages can by useful for spurring technological innovations.


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