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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Europe is Popular, Nobody Is There Anymore

One of the great indicators for America's economy thriving well into the 22nd Century, absent our adoption of Democratic economic policy, is demographics. The United States has reached a 2.1 fertility rate that ensures our population maintaining while the rest of the world, developed and Third World, are declining. Not only does this mean we will increase our potential for innovation by creative minds, born and in the womb, but we can produce with enough younger workers to do the hard labor and develop up the ladder to success.

In Claremont Review, Mark Krikorian, provides fascinating data in his review of two books on birthrates. From The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What to Do About It by Phillip Longman and Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future by Ben J. Wattenberg, Krikorian writes:

Although the birthrate decline has begun to have significant effects in the U.S., it is in Europe and East Asia that the consequences will be most dramatic. In demographic terms, a "total fertility rate" (TFR) of 2.1 is necessary to keep a population from declining—the average woman needs to have two children (plus the 0.1 for girls who die before reaching reproductive age) to replace herself and the father. The TFR in the U.S. is just a hair below that benchmark, having bounced back from its nadir in the 1970s. But in every other developed nation it is lower, and falling: Ireland, 1.9; Australia, 1.7; Canada, 1.5; Germany, 1.35; Japan, 1.32; Italy, 1.23; Spain, 1.15. Birthrates this low are unprecedented in peacetime societies. As Wattenberg writes, "never have birth and fertility rates fallen so far, so fast, so low, for so long, in so many places, so surprisingly."

Longman seeks government solutions to the problem of lower birth rates. He proposes not only abolition of anti-child taxes on child-bearing but proposes exempting parents from Social Security until a child reaches 18-years of age due to their costly contribution to the future of society. Can us parents all say "Yay"?

However, Longman also fears the trend of Christians and traditional religionists bearing more children than secularists. Longman writes:

On our current course, more and more of the world's population will be produced by people who believe they are (or who in fact are) commanded by a higher power to procreate, or who just lack the foresight to avoid the social and economic cost of creating large families…. [S]uch a trend, if sustained, would drive human culture off its current market-driven, individualistic, modernist course, and gradually create an antimarket culture dominated by fundamentalist values.

And what a terrible world that would be with more people believing in the 10 Commandments who do not steal or murder, people who focus on their family's interests, who avoid public vulgarity and all the other negatives a religious focus in life can bring. Meanwhile, back in secular Europe, with a declining and aging population (same with Japan), the likelihood of it becoming a vibrant and productive world competitor is doubtful. Their talented workers migrate here to earn money and raise children.

And socialism has worked where again?


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