Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Death of Germany

This past March, BBC.com had a front page article, Dwindling Germans Review Policies, which is about the population implosion facing Germany and what the government is to do about it.

"A German woman has on average 1.37 children during her lifetime, well
below the replacement level of 2.1 births per woman. . . . For years,
demographers and politicians have warned about the dangers of a declining birth
rate and ageing population. But the recent statistics make uncomfortable
reading, and it's prompted a passionate debate in the German media."

Not suprisingly, the article focuses on working moms and how difficult it is for a woman to have a career and to raise a family. Suzanne Venker has already tackled the problem of the "working mom" in her book, 7 Myths of Working Mothers: Why Children and (Most) Careers Just Don't Mix. Regardless of the conflict between modern society and traditional family roles, one woman in the article says,

"More employers have understood that if they don't want to do without a
qualified female workforce, then they have to create the options for women to
work part-time. But this doesn't necessarily mean that you can count on a lot of
sympathy as a working mum."

She concedes that while the government does offer financial incentives for women to have children, she questions whether they are the right ones.

But more importantly, should the government really be paying parents 67% of their income for 10 months in a state-funded welfare scheme so that parents can "afford" to raise their kids? In general, the cost of raising a child is directly related to the parents' choices (e.g. breastmilk vs. formula or all-new clothes vs. used clothing). Other countries, such as Italy and Japan, are tackling the population crisis by paying couples per child as an incentive to have families. But there are other problems, such as in Italy, where people are paid to retire early. A demographics professor from Florence admits:

"We have the best pension system in Europe and the worst system for family
support. Rich old people supported by the labor of poor young people. No wonder
nobody wants to have a family."

It seems that even with government incentives people are choosing to not have families whether or not they are in Germany.

From the above discussion it may be easy to assume that Germany's abortion rate is quite high, however, that is not the case. Germany has a low rate of abortion, but a high rate of contraceptive useage. In another BBC article, UK sterilisation 'double average' the figures cite 16.2% of German women are sterilized and 82% use contraceptives while the abortion rate is 9%. In 1972, the abortion rate was 33%.

Men and women are not unequal, but they do possess different abilities and traits for the proper balance in society; a balance that's perfected through the family, which is why state-funded schemes cannot be the only recipe for sucess. The family is a microcosm of society and when the family is dysfunctional, so will be the state. So, in this case, when society freely and openly accepts mulitiple means of halting procreation then families will adopt these ideas and will cease to reproduce at a rate beneficial for the state.

Germany is just another example of a society contracepting and aborting itself to death in the name of gender equality and sexual freedom. This is not new information. Countries around the world have already started worrying about the future of their growing numbers of geriatrics who produced too few children to support the economic dynamics and natural-law-driven base a thriving state requires. But a solution cannot be found solely in monetary incentives; a change in mindset regarding the value of reproductive capabilities must occur, too.