Birth rate Ironies
We haven’t touched much in this blog on the causes and consequences of a falling birth rate in the industrial world, but today’s New York Times, with two major stories on the issue, reminds us that the issue will shape the rest of our adult lifetimes and beyond. There’s no shortage of ironies connected to this complex issue. Here’s two.
1. A generation after Paul Ehrlich et al. made fortunes and more appearing on Johnny Carson to promote the coming “population bomb” the fears in the developed world are exactly the opposite. (And here we should include China, where an aging population now terrifies government officials hoping to sustain that country’s extraodinary economic boom.) 2. It’s clear that the emergence of market capitalism in eastern Europe, and the shearing away of large state-subsidized apartments for families, has affected the birth rate. Poland’s birth rate, for example, is now almost the lowest in Europe even as it is probably the most “Catholic” country, certainly in terms of practice, on the continent.