Calling elderly patients unable to feed themselves “tube people” and saying that “the problem won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die” is not only offensive and cruel, it misses an important point: Japan is getting older because the Japanese have stopped having children….
The average Japanese woman gives birth to one child at around thirty, and stops.
Japan’s fiscal-demographic trap is not the result of some law of nature — it’s the product of culture. For a host of reasons, the Japanese placed having and rearing children near the bottom of their “to do” list.
Japan is only leading the way in this regard. Nineteen countries, including Germany and South Korea, have lower fertility rates than Japan. Singapore’s rate is forty percent lower than Japan’s.
Here in the USA, our worker-to-retiree ratio is projected to be the same in 2050 as Japan’s is today.
The economic consequences of declining fertility rates are no secret. Yet, telling people they should have more children these days is only slightly less popular than urging the elderly to “hurry up and die.”
Oh, by the way, the U.S. fertility rate is now below replacement level. But of course that’s okay, because no government official here would ever say the elderly should hurry up and die. Right?
~ Eric Metaxas, commenting on Japanese finance minister Taro Aso’s suggestion that a fiscal crisis could be helped by allowing elderly invalids to die, Break Point, February 11
(Side note: Interestingly, Japan has been testing and selling Babyloid robots (which are meant to act like infants), for treating symptoms of depression in the elderly… in lieu of human infants.)
[Photo via headlineslibrary.wordpress.com]