The new world skeleton crew

skeleton crew 1.jpgThe New York Times on June 29 featured an 8,000 word expose on the world's underpopulation crisis. I've trimmed it to 2,500:

... In the 1990s, European demographers began noticing a downward trend in population across the Continent and behind it a sharply falling birthrate. Non-number-crunchers largely ignored the information until a 2002 study... gave policy makers across the European Union something to ponder.

skeleton crew 3.jpg

The figure of 2.1 is widely considered to be the "replacement rate" - the average number of births per woman that will maintain a country's current population level. At various times in modern history - during war or famine - birthrates have fallen below the replacement rate, to "low" or "very low" levels.

But... [f]or the first time on record, birthrates in southern and Eastern Europe had dropped below 1.3. For the demographers, this number had a special mathematical portent. At that rate, a country's population would be cut in half in 45 years, creating a falling-off-a-cliff effect from which it would be nearly impossible to recover. Kohler and his colleagues invented an ominous new term for the phenomenon: "lowest-low fertility."...

Continue reading article on page 2.

[HT: reader Patricia; all graphics courtesy of NYT]

To the uninitiated, "lowest low" seems a strange thing to worry about. A few decades ago we were getting "the population explosion" drilled into us. The invader species homo sapiens, we learned, was eating through the planet's resources and irretrievably fouling and wrecking its fragile systems. Has the situation changed for the better since Paul Ehrlich set off the alarm in 1968 with his best seller The Population Bomb? Do current headlines - global food shortages, climate change - not indicate continuing signs of calamity?

They do, as far as some are concerned, but things have changed somewhat. For one thing, around the world, even in developing countries, birthrates have plummeted - from 6.0 globally in 1972 to 2.9 today....

Meanwhile, in recent years another chorus of voices has sounded. Yes, we're straining resources, they say, and it's undeniable that some parts of the globe are overrun with humanity. But other regions now confront a very different fate....

Putting the numbers in a broader world-historical context stirred a debate about Europe's future. Around the time that President Kennedy went to Germany and gave his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, Europe represented 12.5% of the world's population. Today it is 7.2%, and if current trends continue, by 2050 only 5% of the world will be European.

To many, "lowest low" is hard evidence of imminent disaster of unprecedented proportions.... Letizia Mencarini, a professor of demography at the University of Turin, told me... "But if you would read the documents of demographers 20 years ago, you would see that nobody foresaw that the fertility rate would go so low. In the 1960s, the overall fertility rate in Italy was around two children per couple. Now it is about 1.3, and for some towns in Italy it is less than 1. This is considered pathological."

There is no shortage of popular explanations to account for the drop in fertility.... [S]ocial conservatives tie the low birthrate to secularism. After arguing for decades that the West had divorced itself from God and church and embraced a self-interested and ultimately self-destructive lifestyle, abetted above all by modern birth control, they feel statistically vindicated. "Europe is infected by a strange lack of desire for the future," Pope Benedict proclaimed in 2006. "Children, our future, are perceived as a threat to the present."


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In Germany, where... [there is] now... an annual population loss of roughly 100,000, Ursula von der Leyen, Chancellor Angela Merkel's family minister (and a mother of 7), declared two years ago that if her country didn't reverse its plummeting birthrate, "We will have to turn out the light."

... Mark Steyn, author of the 2006 best seller America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, has warned his fellow North Americans, whose birthrates are relatively high, that, regarding their European allies, "These countries are going out of business," and that while at the end of the 21st century there may "still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands," these will "merely be designations for real estate."

... Policy makers fear that... these trends forecast a perfect demographic storm. According to a paper by Jonathan Grant and Stijn Hoorens of the Rand Europe research group: "Demographers and economists foresee that 30 million Europeans of working age will 'disappear' by 2050. At the same time, retirement will be lasting decades as the number of people in their 80s and 90s increases dramatically." The crisis, they argue, will come from a "triple whammy of increasing demand on the welfare state and health-care systems, with a decline in tax contributions from an ever-smaller work force." That is to say, there won't be enough workers to pay for the pensions of all those long-living retirees. What's more, there will be a smaller working-age population compared with other parts of the world....

Europe is entering "an uncharted territory in demographic history."

The issue of immigration is related to "lowest low" as well. The fears on the right are of a continent-wide takeover by third-world hordes - mostly Muslim - who have yet to be infected by the modern malady called family planning and who threaten to transform, if not completely delete, the storied, cherished cultures of Western Europe. And to venture into even-deeper waters, no one knows how Europe's birthrate might play out globally: whether it will contribute to the diminishing of Western influence and Western values; whether, as Steyn's book title suggests, America will have to go it alone in this regard....

Venice has lost more than half its population since 1950; its residents believe their city is destined to become a Venice-themed attraction. Is the same going to happen to Europe as a whole? Might the United States see its closest ally decay into a real-life Euro Disney?...

Bulgaria's birthrate is 1.37, and life expectancy for males is 7 years less than in Belgium or Germany; the E.U. estimates that Bulgaria's population will drop from 8 million today to 5 million in 2050.

Since 1989, Latvia's population has dropped 13%; its fertility rate is one of the lowest in the world, and its divorce rate is among the highest in Europe....

A 2002 study found that 27.8% of German women born in 1960 were childless, a rate far higher than in any other European country.... The main reason seems to be a basic change in attitudes on the part of some women as to their "natural" role.... [M]any observers have been surprised to find that in recent years "childlessness emerges as an ideal lifestyle."...

[A]n author of the 2002 study... [said]... "Italy has two records that are maybe world records.... One, young people in Italy stay with their parents longer than maybe anywhere else. No. 2 is the percentage of children born after the parents turn 40. These factors are related, because if you have a late start, you tend not to have a second child, and especially not a third."...

British politician David Willetts has noted, "Living at home with your parents is a very powerful contraception."...

[Also] women who do more than 75% of the housework and child care are less likely to want to have another child than women whose husbands or partners share the load.,,,

Aassve says, "the age gap between generations is widening, and in many cases grandparents, who would be the ones relied upon for child care, themselves become the ones in need of care."...

This spring, the Japanese government released figures showing that the country's under-14 population was the lowest since 1908.

The head of Thailand's department of health announced in May that his country's birthrate now stands at 1.5, far below the replacement level.

"The world record for lowest-low fertility right now is South Korea, at 1.1," Francesco Billari told me....

Which brings us to a sparkling exception. Last year the fertility rate in the U.S. hit 2.1, the highest it has been since the 1960s and higher than almost anywhere in the developed world. Factor in immigration and you have a nation that is far more than holding its own in terms of population. In 1984 the U.S. Census Bureau projected that in the year 2050 the U.S. population would be 309 million. In 2008 it's already 304 million, and the new projection for 2050 is 420 million.,,,

Some commentators explain its healthy birthrate in terms of the relatively conservative and religiously oriented nature of American society, which both encourages larger families. It's also true that mores have evolved in the U.S. to the point where not only is it socially acceptable for fathers to be active participants in raising children, but it's also often socially unacceptable for them to do otherwise....

[D]emographers have been surprised to find rapid fertility changes in the third world, as more and more women work and modern birth-control methods become standard options.... According to the UN, the birthrate in 25 developing countries - including Cuba, Costa Rica, Iran, Sri Lanka and China -- now stands at or below the replacement level....

Appeals to patriotism are one means of encouragement. Money is another.... (While not a direct cash payment, the U.S. has a per-child tax credit of $1,000 a year.)

[F]ew advocate a return to stay-at-home motherhood. Indeed, as David Willetts declared in a 2003 speech on Europe's shrinking and aging population, "Feminism is the new natalism." That is, even conservatives like Willetts acknowledge that societies that support working couples have higher birthrates than those in which mothers are housewives....

Most studies show an uptick in the birthrate in countries that implement some pro-child program, but a very small one...

Besides natalist strategies, there is another obvious approach to increasing the population. If you can't breed them, lure them. The population flow largely went the other way during the first half of the 20th century, but immigration is quickly transforming European societies. Some are looking to Canada or Australia as models: there, the focus is on selective immigration - opening the door for those who have knowledge and training that will benefit the economy....

[B]ut it doesn't mean that immigration is the answer to low birthrates. The actual numbers, according to several authorities, are discouraging over the long run. By one analysis of UN figures, Britain would need more than 60 million new immigrants by 2050 - more than doubling the size of the country - to keep its current ratio of workers to pensioners, and Germany would need a staggering 188 million immigrants in the same time period....

Immigration already touches all sorts of raw nerves, forcing debates about cultural identity, citizenship tests, national canons, terrorism and tolerance, religious versus secular values.

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Meanwhile... Is it even possible to increase the population significantly? Is it even necessary? There are those who think that "lowest low" is not in itself a looming disaster but more of a challenge, even an opportunity. The change that's required, they say, is not in breeding habits but thinking habits....

"Shrinkage is a completely new phenomenon," Akbar told me. "We have to look for new ways to deal with it." According to some, a declining population presents certain opportunities: to increase efficiency and livability, to change lifestyle and environment for the better. The plan that Akbar's team came up with was for 18 cities... to find a way... to shrink constructively....

The plan, therefore, calls for demolishing underused sections of the city and weaving the nature on the periphery into the center: to create "urban islands set in a landscaped zone," as Sonja Beeck, a Bauhaus planner, told me. "That will make the remaining urban areas denser and more alive." The city has lost 25 percent of its population in recent years. "That means it is 25 percent too big," Gröger said. "So far we have erased 2,500 flats from the map, and we have 8,000 more to go." Beeck and Gröger walked with me through an area where a whole street had been turned into a grassy sward...

Eisleben, another of the cities in the consortium, has a picture-perfect 16th-century downtown but is losing people fast, and many of its historic buildings have been long unused and uninhabitable. Eisleben's shrinkage strategy centers on history: it happens to be the birthplace of Martin Luther. The city is laying out a tourist route - from the house in which Luther was born to his first church to the church in which he gave the last sermon before he died - that shows off its old center and turns its many derelict buildings and empty lots into art installations related to the father of Protestantism....

This notion - embrace shrinkage in order to revitalize your economy, rather than trying to coax women to have more babies - is, according to more than a few observers of the European scene, the right tack. Or better said, it is one part of the best overall strategy -- one that embraces population decline.

For there are those who argue that low birthrate in itself is not a problem at all. Paul Ehrlich, the Stanford scientist who warned us about the "population bomb" in the 1960s, is more certain than ever that the human race is catastrophically straining the planet. "It's insane to consider low birthrate as a crisis," he told me. "Basically every person I know in my section of the National Academy of Sciences thinks it's wonderful that rich countries are starting to shrink their populations to sustainable levels. We have to do that because we're wrecking our life-support systems."

Low birthrates and an aging population, according to Vladimir Spidla, director of employment, social affairs and equal opportunities for the European Commission, "is the inevitable consequence of developments that are fundamentally positive, in particular increased life expectancy and more choice over whether and when to have children."

I put this to Carl Haub of the Population Reference Bureau, who monitors global fertility on a daily basis from his perch in Washington. Is it possible that these are basically "good problems," that Europeans, having trimmed their birthrates, are actually on the right path? That all they have to do is adjust their economies, find creative ways to shrink their cities, get more young and old people into jobs, so that they can keep their pension and health-care systems functioning?

Haub wasn't buying it. "Maybe tinkering with the retirement age and making other economic adjustments is good," he said. "But you can't go on forever with a total fertility rate of 1.2. If you compare the size of the 0-to-4 and 29-to-34 age groups in Spain and Italy right now, you see the younger is almost half the size of the older. You can't keep going with a completely upside-down age distribution, with the pyramid standing on its point. You can't have a country where everybody lives in a nursing home."


Comments:

AKA demographic winter.

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at July 11, 2008 7:26 AM


Yes, a diminishing population can cause demographic problems, but that's nothing to the evironmental problems that an excess of humans can cause.

This article is eager to blame birth control, but what does birth control really do? It allows people who don't want children or don't want children right then to not have them right then.

I was reading an article yesterday that ties into this:

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/CollegeAndFamily/MoneyInYour20s/Your7BiggestFinancialDecisions.aspx?page=2

Check out number six.

Modern society has huge financial disincentives regarding children. Why don't first-world couples want lots of kids? Because they can't afford them.

It would be a big job, but perhaps that's what we need to change.

Posted by: DRF at July 11, 2008 7:36 AM


Here's a section from the article that seems to concur.

Yes, were straining resources, they say, and its undeniable that some parts of the globe are overrun with humanity. But other regions now confront a very different fate. In Europe, lowest low isnt just a phenomenon of rural areas like Laviano. Cities like Milan and Bologna have recorded some of the lowest birthrates anywhere, in part because the high cost of living forces couples either to move or to have fewer children.

I encourage everyone with an opinion on the matter to read the uncut version or at least a couple of pages. The article itself and Ms. Stanek's summary have different tones.

Posted by: DRF at July 11, 2008 7:45 AM


Yes, a diminishing population can cause demographic problems, but that's nothing to the evironmental problems that an excess of humans can cause.

First of all this statement is total nonsense and in no way has EVER been proven. It is a myth started in the 1950's and perpetrated by population control people to promote birth control. Secondly, it is a complete understatement to state that "diminishing population can cause demographic problems"! A country with a birth rate of 1.3 cannot recover. There are now vast areas of Europe open, with empty decaying towns etc. You cannot have a country with only old people. And of course the statement that "nature abhors a vaccum" comes to mind. If Europe is empty, it won't stay that way for long.

We have the technology to drastically limit our impact on the environment. The problem is what it has always been, men's greed for profits.

This article is eager to blame birth control, but what does birth control really do? It allows people who don't want children or don't want children right then to not have them right then.

It is the precisely the BC mentality that IS to blame. Women don't want children at all now. It's not that they want one child or two, many women today do not want any children. They don't want to open their lives to children, they don't want the responsiblity, they don't want the sacrifice that children require.
I read somewhere (and I will try to find where) that one of the side effects of taking the pill is that women no longer desire pregnancy - that in fact they are repulsed by the idea. This is considered a pathological condition for a female.


Modern society has huge financial disincentives regarding children. Why don't first-world couples want lots of kids? Because they can't afford them.

It would be a big job, but perhaps that's what we need to change.

Posted by: DRF at July 11, 2008 7:36 AM

Financial incentives have not been proven effective. It's attitudes and expectations that need to change ALONG with financial considerations.
For example, many young men and women now graduate with significant debt due to the high cost of education. However, some of this debt CAN be avoided by making better choices - living at home to go to school and not necessarily attending university but considering other career options (trades etc.)
Secondly, the paying of a family wage so that ONE person can stay at home with children. It's pretty much impossible to have 4 kids if both parents are working. You need someone at home with 2 or more children.

Posted by: Patricia at July 11, 2008 8:07 AM


It's not that they want one child or two, many women today do not want any children. They don't want to open their lives to children, they don't want the responsiblity, they don't want the sacrifice that children require.
I read somewhere (and I will try to find where) that one of the side effects of taking the pill is that women no longer desire pregnancy - that in fact they are repulsed by the idea. This is considered a pathological condition for a female.

Now who's quoting myths? I have heard that some forms of the pill can diminish a woman's sex drive, though.

Financial incentives have not been proven effective.

I wasn't talking about financial incentives. I was talking about a major change in the way our culture deals with children. No, I don't have a blueprint for a solution, and yes, it would be a major, major thing, but that is what I see as the real problem here. Children as a financial DISincentive instead of a financial advantage is a side effect of the industrial revolution.

waves of Muslim immigrants who couldnt care less about the Acropolis as a majestic representation of Western culture

Okay, now this article is grossly underestimating Muslims. If they didn't care about Greek culture, then how come they're the ones who copied all those texts into Arabic? We are acquainted with some Greek philosophers solely because their Muslim contemporaries made copies of their works that were later translated back into further-Western languages.

Posted by: DRF at July 11, 2008 8:14 AM


Here is a section that was not in Ms. Stanek's summary, Patricia. In the NYTimes, it is on section three.

Women were asked how many children they would like to have; the average result was 2.36 well above the replacement level and far above the rate anywhere in Europe. If women are having significantly fewer children than they want, there must be other forces at work.

According to this article, it is not that women want no children.

Posted by: DRF at July 11, 2008 8:15 AM


Wow! That was really interesting. I remember when I was pregnant with my third and a guy I worked with said I was being "irresponsible" to have anymore children than would replace my husband and I. Whatever. If he knew I had six he'd probably recommend the firing squad.

And DRF, what do you mean couples don't want lots of kids because they can't afford them? I'm basically a secretary and my husband is a teacher. We have six and afford them just fine. It's all about the choices you make. Do we take the kids to the water park or on a cruise? Buy the Lexus or the Chevy van?

More than anything parents today aren't willing to give up their Starbucks to have another child. Those values are passed down to their one or two children who then have fewer children and you have the world today.

For instance my husband and I live in a 2200 Sq. Ft. home. I have several neighbors with one or two children that live in 4000 Sq. Ft. homes. They buy their children every gadget on the market, Xbox, Xbox 360, Play station, IPod, IPhone, Computers, etc.

Who is the bigger "drain" on the environment? The 24 cans a week they recycle, does that make up for the energy used to heat and cool their house, and the resources used to build it? Does it make up for the emissions from their Nissan Armada? (That can hold 9 people but rarely holds more than 3.)

You can argue that these families have more money to spend and stimulate the economy more but I'd argue that what they are buying is waste. The Starbucks cups, the dinner out, nothing that lasts. The economy was growing years ago when people were having more children but what was bought was just different. More necessities were bought than frivolities. Now we have a society bent on owning frivolities rather than having children.

Posted by: Kristen at July 11, 2008 8:22 AM


Throughout most of Eastern Europe you see the same dark elixir of forces at play, which commentators attribute to Westernization, though its difficult to fix causes precisely. We can see that birthrate declines date to the fall of the Soviet Union, Murray said, but is that due to the switch to a market economy or something else?

The article still looks like it supports the idea that economic factors are as or more important than birth control.

When European women age 18 to 34 were asked in another study to state their ideal number of children, 16.6 percent of those in Germany and 12.6 percent in Austria answered none. (In Italy, by comparison, this figure was 3.8 percent.) The main reason seems to be a basic change in attitudes on the part of some women as to their natural role.

This part agrees with Patricia, though...

But then why do Greece and Italy have the lower actual birth rates?

Italy, for example, pays the lowest starting wages of any country in the E.U.

But the deeper problem may lie precisely in the family-friendly ethos of these countries. This part of the self-definition of southern European culture the My Big Fat Greek Wedding ideal has a flip side. In all of these countries, Billari said, its very difficult to combine work and family. And that is partly because, within couples, we have evidence that in these countries the gender relationships are very asymmetric.

So it looks like the article's really saying that balanced gender roles might skew what people say they WANT toward lower birth rates, but it is imbalanced ones that acutally CAUSE lower birth rates.

There's probably more. I'm going to keep reading.

Posted by: DRF at July 11, 2008 8:22 AM


Sooooo I read the whole article, and as usual, Jill has completely twisted the point of the article to suit herself.

The tone of the article as a whole, and actually the exact quotes DRF has already posted, suggest that more families WISH they could have more children, but with the costs of living and education, simply cannot afford to do so.

My family is a perfect example - my Mom REALLY wanted another baby, but they were already struggling with the three of us, and it ended up working out for the better, because they also ended up needing to take care of my grandmother (at a few grand a month) when she was sick with Alzheimers and needed to be in adult day care. They already had to re-mortgage the house just to put us all through college - if they'd had another, they'd have had to sell the house when my grandmother got sick and moved in to an apartment. As it was, they came close to considering it. I can't imagine what it would be like for people with even less money.

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 8:23 AM


The accepted demographic wisdom had been that as women enter the job market, a societys fertility rate drops. That has been broadly true in the developed world, but more recently, and especially in Europe, the numbers dont bear it out. In fact, something like the opposite has been the case.

high fertility was associated with high female labor-force participation . . . and the lowest fertility levels in Europe since the mid-1990s are often found in countries with the lowest female labor-force participation. In other words, working mothers are having more babies than stay-at-home moms.

I have come to the conclusion that Ms. Stanek's summary has been cherry-picked to the point at which it becomes deceptive.

Posted by: DRF at July 11, 2008 8:25 AM


high fertility was associated with high female labor-force participation . . . and the lowest fertility levels in Europe since the mid-1990s are often found in countries with the lowest female labor-force participation. In other words, working mothers are having more babies than stay-at-home moms.

Yo! And what enables working women? Can I get a "control of their own fertility"?

Posted by: Anonymous at July 11, 2008 8:28 AM


Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 8:23 AM

Amanda, I agree there are cases like your family and infertility factors for others, but by and large most parents want fewer children today and that's the point the article was trying to make.

Posted by: Kristen at July 11, 2008 8:28 AM


That "Can I get a control of their own fertility?" anonymous post was me. Hit the enter key too soon.

Accompanying the spectacular transformation of modern society since the 1960s notably the changing role of women, with greater opportunities for education and employment, the advent of modern birth control and a new ability to tailor a lifestyle has been a tension between forces that, in many places, have not been reconciled. That tension is perfectly apparent, of course. Ask any working mother. But some societies have done a better job than others of reconciling the conflicting forces. In Europe, many countries with greater gender equality have a greater social commitment to day care and other institutional support for working women, which gives those women the possibility of having second or third children.

And it looks like I can get one!

Posted by: DRF at July 11, 2008 8:30 AM


That's just it, Kristen, Ms. Stanek's summary makes the point that people today want too few children, but that is NOT what the article itself says. She left out too much information.

Unless you meant "fewer" as in "fewer than before the industrial revolution," then you should read the article uncut before you draw conclusions about it.

Posted by: DRF at July 11, 2008 8:32 AM


"Amanda, I agree there are cases like your family and infertility factors for others, but by and large most parents want fewer children today and that's the point the article was trying to make"


No Kristen, that ISN'T the point the article makes at all actually...it's what the bits and pieces Jill picked out to post are paraphrased in to.

Its like me posting a comment saying "I really hate when people are mean to you" and cutting out words so it says "I really hate you".

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 8:41 AM


Here is a section that was not in Ms. Stanek's summary, Patricia. In the NYTimes, it is on section three.

Women were asked how many children they would like to have; the average result was 2.36 well above the replacement level and far above the rate anywhere in Europe. If women are having significantly fewer children than they want, there must be other forces at work.

According to this article, it is not that women want no children.

Posted by: DRF at July 11, 2008 8:15 AM

DRF I read the entire article a week ago. It's been on the internet for some time now. The passage you quote does not fit with current attitudes towards children, shown by other studies. More and more women are opting to have NO children. It is increasingly becoming a lifestyle choice. I had never met anyone in my 46 years who didn't want children until I re-enter university at that age. I met several (young) women within months who emphatically stated they were NEVER having children. It was an attitude very foreign to me.

high fertility was associated with high female labor-force participation . . . and the lowest fertility levels in Europe since the mid-1990s are often found in countries with the lowest female labor-force participation. In other words, working mothers are having more babies than stay-at-home moms.

This is not the case in NA however. Every working mom I know has much fewer children (2 or less) than the stay at home moms I know. In fact the stay at home moms have well over 5 children. They are at home because their husbands are paid a "family wage". They also do without many things that most families take for granted today. None of my friends go to Cuba (popular destination for Canadians) on the holidays, own expensive cars, or two or more cars, redecorate their homes, or even own a typical large home. Everything is purchased second hand, at garage sale etc. The kids are not necessarily going to university - some will go to college or into trades. They will be chefs, police, ems, firefighters, wildlife officers etc.
It really depends upon what your expectations are and what your view of life is.

Posted by: Patricia at July 11, 2008 8:43 AM


"Daniela, who is 31, and her 36-year-old husband, Gerardo Grande, have two children: Pasquale, 10, and Gaia, who is 5 and was one of the first baby bonus babies. Daniela and Grande say they are committed to being a traditional family, but it isnt easy. Grande works for a development company and manages a bar in the evenings so that his wife can devote herself to the home. Their apartment, though cheery (with lots of enlarged photos of the kids), is cramped. The baby bonus helped us, Grande told me. He added, gesturing toward Falivena, We think this man is a great mayor.

Sooo... having a little money to get by makes families want to have more kids!! I know you read that part Jill, its on the first page. Clearly its a LOT more complex than just people wanting fewer kids. And how many of you are against welfare or at least look down at people who use it?

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 8:57 AM


"WHICH BRINGS US TO A sparkling exception. Last year the fertility rate in the United States hit 2.1, the highest it has been since the 1960s and higher than almost anywhere in the developed world. Factor in immigration and you have a nation that is far more than holding its own in terms of population. In 1984 the U.S. Census Bureau projected that in the year 2050 the U.S. population would be 309 million. In 2008 its already 304 million, and the new projection for 2050 is 420 million. "

...ohh but I thought since 1973 we were killing ourselves off? Those silly pesky facts!!

"
According to Haub and others, there is no single explanation for the relatively high U.S. fertility rate. The old conservative argument that a traditional, working-husband-and-stay-at-home-wife family structure produces a healthy, growing population doesnt apply, either in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world today. Indeed, the societies most wedded to maintaining that traditional family structure seem to be those with the lowest birthrates. "

Hmmm... so TEH GAYZZZ aren't leading to the destruction of our population either!! Who knew!!

"FOR $100 OR SO YOU CAN buy online a Third Reich Mothers Cross (officially, a Cross of Honor of the German Mother). The medals were struck, beginning in 1938, in bronze for women who had four children, in silver for mothers of six and in gold for women who gave birth to eight. They were given out annually on Hitlers mothers birthday to heroines of the cause of fertility"

Ahhh Good 'ol Adolph. Those were the good 'ol days, right?

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 9:11 AM


Ms. Stanek's summary does include part of this part:

The old conservative argument that a traditional, working-husband-and-stay-at-home-wife family structure produces a healthy, growing population doesnt apply, either in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world today. Indeed, the societies most wedded to maintaining that traditional family structure seem to be those with the lowest birthrates. The antidote, in Western Europe, has been the welfare-state model, in which the state provides comprehensive support to couples that want to have children. But the U.S. runs counter to this. Some commentators explain its healthy birthrate in terms of the relatively conservative and religiously oriented nature of American society, which both encourages larger families.

But what about this?

Theres much less flexibility in the European system, Haub says. In Europe, both the society and the job market are more rigid. There may be little state subsidy for child care in the U.S., and there is certainly nothing like the warm governmental nest that Norway feathers for fledgling families, but the American system seems to make up for it in other ways. As Hans-Peter Kohler of the University of Pennsylvania writes: In general, women are deterred from having children when the economic cost in the form of lower lifetime wages is too high. Compared to other high-income countries, this cost is diminished by an American labor market that allows more flexible work hours and makes it easier to leave and then re-enter the labor force. An American woman might choose to suspend her career for three or five years to raise a family, expecting to be able to resume working; that happens far less easily in Europe.

So there would seem to be two models for achieving higher fertility: the neosocialist Scandinavian system and the laissez-faire American one. Aassve put it to me this way: You might say that in order to promote fertility, your society needs to be generous or flexible. The U.S. isnt very generous, but it is flexible. Italy is not generous in terms of social services and its not flexible. There is also a social stigma in countries like Italy, where it is seen as less socially accepted for women with children to work. In the U.S., that is very accepted.


So ...communism AND capitalism work?

Posted by: DRF at July 11, 2008 9:13 AM


IMO, this article was proposing that women aren't having children in Europe because the society is neither not flexible nor generous enough. The article proposes either the "laissez-faire American" (flexible workforce) or the "neosocialist Scandinavian" (generous social benefits) system are what's needed. However, this is a broad generalization.

For example, I don't believe that the American system is entirely what contributes to the country having a replacement birthrate. There is a significant religious factor at work in America which is lacking in Canada, Europe and Scandinavia. These are men and women who believe that children are a gift from God and who are open to having alot of children in a heroic way. There is a segment of the population in Canada that operates this way, but it is too small to make a difference to our birthrate.(example: a friend of mine went on a family retreat last week with 5 families and 41 children!)

The article also suggests that there are people in Europe who are quite happy the way things are shaping up and are only too happy to see 1000's of flats demolished.

The bottom line:

I put this to Carl Haub of the Population Reference Bureau, who monitors global fertility on a daily basis from his perch in Washington. Is it possible that these are basically "good problems," that Europeans, having trimmed their birthrates, are actually on the right path? That all they have to do is adjust their economies, find creative ways to shrink their cities, get more young and old people into jobs, so that they can keep their pension and health-care systems functioning?

Haub wasn't buying it. "Maybe tinkering with the retirement age and making other economic adjustments is good," he said. "But you can't go on forever with a total fertility rate of 1.2. If you compare the size of the 0-to-4 and 29-to-34 age groups in Spain and Italy right now, you see the younger is almost half the size of the older. You can't keep going with a completely upside-down age distribution, with the pyramid standing on its point. You can't have a country where everybody lives in a nursing home."

Posted by: Patricia at July 11, 2008 9:15 AM


Amanda and DRF, contrary to your conspiracy theory, I did not cut the article to suit my agenda. In fact it was written from an anti-Christian point of view, dismissing our understanding of why there has been a population demise in favor of more fully explored theories. Of course I'm going to pull what we think. This is a Christian conservative, pro-population site, after all.

But that was not to try to hide what the other side thinks. Sheesh. Otherwise I wouldn't have included a link. I cut the article down by 2/3 for heaven sakes. I mostly pulled actual demographics, which are what they are, no matter how you think they happened. And they're shocking.

I included both points of view: the view that says we need to continue cutting the population and the one saying no.

I'm not even sure of your point. Are you trying to say the wildly incorrect and self-serving overpopulation mantra along with liberal feminism had nothing to do the world culture having fewer children?

Posted by: Jill Stanek at July 11, 2008 9:43 AM


"[F]ew advocate a return to stay-at-home motherhood. Indeed, as David Willetts declared in a 2003 speech on Europe's shrinking and aging population, "Feminism is the new natalism." That is, even conservatives like Willetts acknowledge that societies that support working couples have higher birthrates than those in which mothers are housewives...."

This was included in Jill cut article.

Posted by: Lauren at July 11, 2008 9:47 AM


"Of course I'm going to pull what we think. This is a Christian conservative, pro-population site, after all."

Of course. Its not really a conspiracy theory if you ADMIT you pulled the parts that suited you.

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 9:55 AM


Amanda, answer my question: Are you dismissing the anti-population agenda and liberal feminism as having nothing to do with the under-population crisis? Furthermore, do you deny we're in crisis?

Posted by: Jill Stanek at July 11, 2008 10:09 AM


Ohhh - SOMG, I have to give you this one... that article you posted yesterday about McCain that I said was too biased to take seriously?

Well... I might need to re-read it. Check this out:

July 11, 2008
McCain misfires on Obama attack
Posted: 08:38 AM ET

In a statement criticizing Obama's positions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the organization claiming credit for the missile launches, McCain wrote, "This is the same organization that I voted to condemn as a terrorist organization when an amendment was on the floor of the United States Senate. Senator Obama refused to vote."

The problem with the critique? McCain also missed that vote on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment on September 26, 2007. Records show that Obama was in New Hampshire and McCain was in New York instead of being in the Senate chamber for the vote in question.
**************************

This is the second time he's done this that I can think of off the top of my head. The other was the "FISA Bill" that McCain claimed Obama "flip flopped" on - meanwhile, McCain didn't even vote on it.

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 10:16 AM


I have come to the conclusion that Ms. Stanek's summary has been cherry-picked to the point at which it becomes deceptive.

Of course. That's why she linked to the whole article, so you could read it for yourself. Cause people who are deceptive always like to let people see what they're hiding. @@

Posted by: Bethany at July 11, 2008 10:21 AM


My point, Ms. Stanek, is that your condensed version of the article is deceptive in that it makes it look as though the authors of the article agree with you, and they don't.

Yes, you provided a link, but that doesn't mean that you aren't leading people to the wrong conclusion.

Posted by: DRF at July 11, 2008 10:21 AM


Bethany -- People are only going to click on the link if they suspect that Ms. Stanek may not have been entirely faithful to the full article. Plenty of the people on this board will take her at her word. In this case, that will lead them to the wrong conclusion regarding what the article is really about and what its authors really believe. It mitigated deceit, but still deceit.

Posted by: DRF at July 11, 2008 10:23 AM


DRF, will you be kind enough to answer Jill's question? I curious as to your answer.

"Are you trying to say the wildly incorrect and self-serving overpopulation mantra along with liberal feminism had nothing to do the world culture having fewer children?"

Posted by: Bethany at July 11, 2008 10:24 AM


Amanda, what Jill did was to report the facts, without the liberal bias attached.

Posted by: Bethany at July 11, 2008 10:25 AM


Bethany -- People are only going to click on the link if they suspect that Ms. Stanek may not have been entirely faithful to the full article. Plenty of the people on this board will take her at her word. In this case, that will lead them to the wrong conclusion regarding what the article is really about and what its authors really believe. It mitigated deceit, but still deceit.

Take her at her word? What did she say that was deceptive? She announced at the top of the page that it was an 8000 word article which she had reduced to 2500! Most people, including myself, will click the link to view the rest of the article, if this topic is of interest to them.

Posted by: Bethany at July 11, 2008 10:28 AM


In this case, that will lead them to the wrong conclusion regarding what the article is really about and what its authors really believe.

DRF, most people are aware that the New York Times is not a conservative newspaper. In the least. The point was NOT about what the authors believe, but the facts about the underpopulation crisis.

Posted by: Bethany at July 11, 2008 10:30 AM


Amanda, "conspiracy" means secret or subservive, as if you'd be so shocked you'd fall on the floor to find that pro-lifers were using this site to subliminally spread our agenda.

You're paranoid your side will be blamed for the underpopulation crisis, as well you should be.

Posted by: Jill Stanek at July 11, 2008 10:34 AM


"Are you dismissing the anti-population agenda and liberal feminism as having nothing to do with the under-population crisis? Furthermore, do you deny we're in crisis?"

It's pretty clear from the whole theme of that piece that this has nothing to do with liberalism or feminism - its stated several times that its the working women who are having MORE kids than the stay at home moms in Europe. And the "government generousity" - which is a very liberal notion - is credited as a factor IMPROVING birth rates. Those not wanting kids at all is a miniscule portion of the liberal and feminist population.

And no, I don't think we're in a "crisis" - look at the stats on the U.S. and India. It's a location-specific crisis, and its been much worse before, and yet things all worked out in the end. The Black Death wiped out 1/3 to 1/2 of the entire continent of Europe within a span of a few years- killing mostly children and the elderly. Back then, people predicted the end of days and the extinction of man too. It simply didn't happen. There's a dip, and history has shown that population wise, a dip is always followed by a boom.

Also, having spent 2 weeks in Southern Spain, I can tell you that the Muslim settlers have done nothing but honor the old architecture and history of the area. In fact, the great Mosque of Sevilla was originally a Roman basillica, then a Cathedral, then a Mosque - and its been completely preserved. All over Andalucian Spain, you see the old Roman influence, combined with the Muslim Moorish influence. You see Roman Catholic Churches across the street from Mosques. You see a group of old Spanish nuns walking past a group of young Muslim girls and gypsies. It's fascinating - and also peaceful and beautiful.

But of course I don't expect Islamaphobes to accept that, or certainly not to travel to a Muslim area and see it for themselves.

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 10:36 AM


"You're paranoid your side will be blamed for the underpopulation crisis, as well you should be."

Hahahaha, you've got to be kidding.

Jill - read it and weep - America, with one of the highest abortion rates and most liberal abortion laws - is the "SHINING EXCEPTION" in the population crisis. I know you're going to twist that in to me saying the high abortion rates are a good thing, which I'm not. I'm saying in the grand scheme of things, abortion is not, in ANY way, contributing to an "under population crisis" in this country, because THERE ISN'T ONE.

We are exceeding, by SEVERAL MILLION, the population estimates predicted BEFORE Roe V. Wade.

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 10:40 AM


Amanda said: "It's pretty clear from the whole theme of that piece that this has nothing to do with liberalism or feminism...."

Amanda, are you parsing? Are you omitting "overpopulation mantra" from your disclaimer? Who pushed that, conservatives? And liberal feminists do not promote abortion, a word I don't recall reading in the entire 8k word piece but accounts, according to Guttmacher, for the demise of almost 1 billion people in the last 2 decades?

Posted by: Jill Stanek at July 11, 2008 10:43 AM


I'll repost, just in case you missed it:

"Which brings us to a sparkling exception. Last year the fertility rate in the United States hit 2.1, the highest it has been since the 1960s and higher than almost anywhere in the developed world."

"The U.S. Census Bureau projected that in the year 2050 the U.S. population would be 309 million. In 2008 its already 304 million, and the new projection for 2050 is 420 million. "


So.... I should be paranoid about...what exactly?

That we are exceeding the replacement values, having the highest fertility rates since the 60's, and exceeding population estimates by over 100 million? Yeah... boy... what a crisis!!!

LOL

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 10:45 AM


The answer is so obvious- keep women barefoot and pregnant.

And blame "liberal feminists" for the "crisis".

There, doesn't everyone feel better?

Posted by: LTL at July 11, 2008 10:46 AM


Amanda, just because the US is back to maintaining replacement levels - not exceeding them as you stated - is no cause for excitement. At 1.2-1.6 million abortions annually in the US, the blame for our own apparently 40 year old underpopulation crisis - completely buried by liberals and MSM to tout abortion and fewer children - lies in largepart with abortion.

Posted by: Jill Stanek at July 11, 2008 11:01 AM


LOL - Jill - okay, whatever you say. ITS A SUPER CRISIS!! EVERYONE PANIC AND MAKE BABIES YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO FEED!! Then, when you need to go on welfare, we'll call you a loser and a leech and blame you for higher taxes!!

LTL - apparently that's been going on since the 1300's. Always blame those darn women (oh and Jews) but somehow, humanity has survived their worst attempts to kills us all off:

The coming of the Black Death, when in just two years one third to perhaps one half of Europe's population was destroyed, marks a watershed in Medieval and Renaissance European History. Bubonic plague (Yersinia pestis) had been absent from Western Europe for nearly a millenium when it appeared in 1348. The reaction was immediate and devastating. Up to two thirds of the population of many of the major European cities succumbed to the plague in the first two years. Government, trade and commerce virtually came to a halt. Even more devastating to Europeans, there was hardly a generation which did not experience a local, regional or pan-European epidemic for the next two hundred years. There was virtually no aspect of European society that was not affected by the coming of plague and by its duration. At the most basic level, recurrent plague tended to skim off significant portions of the children born between infestations of plague, dampening economic and demographic growth in most parts of Europe until the late seventeenth century. The responses of Europeans are often treated as irrational or superstitious. Yet medical tracts, moral treatises and papal proclamations make clear that for most Europeans there were, within the medieval world view, rational explanations for what was happening. Plague stimulated chroniclers, poets and authors, and physicians to write about what might have caused the plague and how the plague affected the population at large the framing story of Boccaccio's Decameron is merely the most famous of the writings. Nonetheless, in the wake of the first infestations there were attacks on women, lepers, and Jews who were thought either to have deliberately spread the plague or, because of their innate dishonor, to have polluted society and brought on God's vengeance.

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 11:10 AM


My mom used to say, "a baby always comes with a lof of bread." She should know, she had 8 of those little food consuming, air breathing, carbon footprint producing, Al Gore despised, resource sucking, once insentient, non-viable globs of tissues and cells, punishmnents from God who ended up having 45 of their own.

And my dad supported us all on a meager wage of a mason, never once collecting welfare or unemployemnt. When he was alive my Dad was an avid Democrat until his death in 1980 at which time, he left my mom very well off.

Today, the Democratic Party is a Party he would have never supportted becuase of their retreat from moral values and the proof is this: Every single one of his kids, their offspring, their mates and their children are Republicans. That's about 200 people. My Dad's legacy was one of hard work, moral values, love of God and country, respect for others, and respect for marriage and support of the military.

So, what my mom meant in her holy way was that God supplies all we ever need to live and fulfill the intent of His will, and not to look to the government to replace God. It's not God's problem if, via selfishness, poor management and stewardship, and ungodly Liberal thinking, we screw things up.

You see, all we really need in life is to trust and obey, not to follow some egghead whackjob from Harvard who published a put-your-wet-finger-in-the-air thesis paper that got the attention of the MSM.

In short, what is the Liberal solution to over population: "kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out", the fraudulent idea of global warming, and now a left wing nutcase presidential candidate with a smiley face. It's pathetic.

Do not be deceived by this wolf in sheep's clothing. Barack Obama will do more to damage this country than we can imgaine.

It is my prayer, the despite poll predictions, that Republicans sweep this country. With Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in leadership and Congressional approval numbers at 9%, the lowest in history, there's a chance.

Posted by: HisMan at July 11, 2008 11:24 AM


Amanda:

You don't think abortion is a plague?

It has killed One Billion human beings in just 35 years.

And what about AIDS?

These disasters are directly attributable to the politics of Liberals, not God's vengeance, not Jews, not women, not whites, not blacks, just Liberals.

Posted by: HisMan at July 11, 2008 11:33 AM


Amanda @ 10:36 AM

So what do you think about burqa fashions? ;-)

Bend, Bow to Mecca or Beheaded - Islam only has 3 options.

I made the comment last year on a blog that the upper echelons of English society were aborting themselves and many people took great offense at that statement. (It was made based on an abortion study to that effect, which I can't put my hands on immediately). Anyhow, with shariah law being introduced in England, I'm confident that unless the British cherish their genetic heritage, they'll cease to be a particular cultural force within another fifty years.

Your observations are correct - and to some extent I agree, it's not a matter of whether humans will survive, but it certainly is a harbinger for specific people and their cultures. Rapid declines in population create vacuums which are then filled by other people groups, and cultures.

As for the shrill sarcasm, I thought you were going to take the high road, and before you returned I actually praised you for taking that tact. Are you giving me reason to rethink that?

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at July 11, 2008 11:55 AM


I think HisMan's rants should always be accompanied by the Willie Nelson classic, as performed by the incomparable Patsy Cline...

"Crazy, I'm crazy for feeling so lonely.
Crazy, I'm crazy for feeling so blue..."

Posted by: LTL at July 11, 2008 11:58 AM


Wow, just read today is World Population Day. I could have looked very smart tying this piece into that had I known... :)

http://www.unfpa.org/wpd/

Posted by: Jill Stanek at July 11, 2008 12:15 PM


http://www.newsmax.com/health/seniors_70s_more_sex/2008/07/10/111604.html

(interesting read)

"So what do you think about burqa fashions? ;-)
Bend, Bow to Mecca or Beheaded - Islam only has 3 options."

You overlook my sarcasm, I'll overlook your Islamaphobia. Cool?

Being Muslim in faith does not mean you want to live in a country with Islamic Law. Just like most Christians don't want to live under Christian Theocratic Law either (Remember the whole executing gays post? And isn't that the ROOT of America?)

An even better example are nations which a Muslim majority, but a modern government. Morocco is a great example. And the burqa reference is just silly, and you know it. That is a form of extremism, and generalizing all Muslims by those who wear burqas is just as ridiculous as someone judging all Baptists by the Westboro Baptist Church.

I've been to Morocco, Southern Spain, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and UAE, and my dad spent over a month in Qatar and Kuwait. The only place either of us ever saw a woman in a burqa was when my dad was at the airport in Afghanistan in 2002.

The vast VAST majority of Muslim women wear traditional garb - faces unobstructed, and many more (like the majority I saw in Morocco) wear western clothing or colorfol gowns with a head scarf - and guess what - the men wear pretty much the same thing:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30256420&l=3bc82&id=195101317

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30256410&l=3b0ba&id=195101317

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30256435&l=436aa&id=195101317

Now tell me thats really more scary, oppressive and disrespectful to women than greasing girls up, putting them in thong bikinis, and plastering them on billboards and magazine covers.

PS - all the girls on that cart? Yeah - on their way to SCHOOL - with boys. Not every Muslim nation is Afghanistan. But I guess that doesn't fit in to the fear pandering, so we'll just ignore it.

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 1:29 PM


LTL:

Careful now, you're insulting me and I don't want to get scolded by Liz.

She's watching my back and I am tempted to zing your Liberal arse.

Keep posting, feed the fire, go ahead.

RE: Your lonely comment - see following post.

Also, that shrink you're seeing, stop it, it's not helping. The schizophrenis is back. You sure that someone did't switch the pills, maybe it was your cat playing tricks on you or your cleaning lady for not paying her enough?

Further, I'm into Rock 'n Roll not Country Western. And you must know Willie, I mea he's aa Liberal who doesn't pay his taxes but wants to raise everyone else's.

Posted by: HisMan at July 11, 2008 1:36 PM


I like how you said you were tempted to "zing her arse" as though you weren't going to, and then did it anyway.

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 1:41 PM


Hey Amanda:

I actually said, Liberal arse.

I couldn't resist.

It was such a big target.

Posted by: HisMan at July 11, 2008 2:18 PM


HisMan. Wit and class, always.

Posted by: LTL at July 11, 2008 2:26 PM


And, by the way, why are the "Rules of Discussion" on this site NEVER applied to HisMan, whose every posting violates most of them?

Posted by: LTL at July 11, 2008 2:30 PM


I can't remember where I saw it above but I thought someone referenced how difficult it was in Europe regarding finances and child care. I'm not necessarily disputing that but most countries in Europe (and I understand in Canada) provide VERY generous paternity/maternity leave.

For instance Bulgaria provides 1 1/2 months leave BEFORE birth and 2 YEARS PAID leave after birth with an additional year unpaid if opted. The employer is required to give the mother back her former position.

If I had that kind of leave you'd bet I'd have at least 6 more kids! I'm not discounting the fact that children cost money but it's not the "burden" some make it out to be.

Posted by: Kristen at July 11, 2008 2:41 PM


Amanda @ 1:29 PM

Maybe with all these phobias flying 'round you'll catch some - Amanda - why you're, you're Christophobic! Yes - that's it!!!! Are we done with the stereotyping games yet?

What no trip to Mecca? Ah - that's right dhimmis only need bow, they're not required to go to Mecca. So you bow. Did you wear a headscarf during your travels? What about Saudi Arabia? Try going there Amanda and spouting your homosexual ideology.

And the burqa reference is just silly, and you know it.
I have friends where you wouldn't venture to go without one for fear of your life.

You so easily confuse freedom of religion with faith, and having grown up in a place of great freedom take all your freedoms for granted.

You're sidestepping the degeneration of the West and my point that when a culture does not focus on life, it dies and is replaced by another culture. You fail to address that point. England is in the midst of great change, and France is as well.

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at July 11, 2008 2:44 PM


Liberals generally dislike all religons, except Islam (post 9/11).

Posted by: Jasper at July 11, 2008 2:45 PM


I am Christian, so I wouldn't go to Mecca except as a tourist, but I would love to go someday.

"Did you wear a headscarf during your travels?"

Nope, no need to wear a headscarf in any of the places I've been, in case you didn't notice in the pictures, plenty of women get along just fine without them. But again, ignoring that makes it easier to justify your irrational fear.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30256421&l=0d953&id=195101317

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30256431&l=a33f8&id=195101317

"What about Saudi Arabia? Try going there Amanda and spouting your homosexual ideology. "

Well I only speak a few words of Arabic. But my dad was there in '90 with American flight attendants in knee length skirts and short sleeved bluses. They were asked to wear ankle length skirts or pants - thats it. No burqas, no head scarves, etc.

"I have friends where you wouldn't venture to go without one for fear of your life."

Where would that be?

"You so easily confuse freedom of religion with faith, and having grown up in a place of great freedom take all your freedoms for granted. "

I LOVE being told what I do and don't do in my life by people who've never met me.

"You're sidestepping the degeneration of the West and my point that when a culture does not focus on life, it dies and is replaced by another culture. "

Name one living thing, plant, animal, person, culture...etc... that doesn't die. Its the circle of life, and if that wasn't the case, or if everyone insisted on resisting it, this country would still be populated by Cherokee and Lakota and the hundreds of other tribes wiped out by western expansion and you probably wouldn't exist. Is that something to celebrate? Certainly not. But does it mean doom, gloom, and crisis for all of humanity? Nope. Its just the way life works. Are we still weeping over the fall of the Roman Empire? The Moors? Are most Americans living in fear of their children marrying people from other nationalities and slowly dilluting a lot of the culture associated with specific ethnicities? (OHNOEZZ my children will be MUTTS!! OHHH THE HORROR!)

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 3:04 PM


Anyhow, with shariah law being introduced in England, I'm confident that unless the British cherish their genetic heritage, they'll cease to be a particular cultural force within another fifty years.

When was shariah law introduced in England? Are English women now required to wear burqas?

Posted by: Alexandra at July 11, 2008 3:10 PM


Amanda:

I pity the cynicsm of pro-aborts. Everything dies so let's just give innocent children in the womb a head start? Absolutely mind numbing.

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse:

Romans 8:19-22 For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

Posted by: HisMan at July 11, 2008 3:32 PM


HisMan - what ARE you smoking today my friend?

What I wrote above had absolutely nothing to do with abortion, but rather the NATURAL cycle of decline/death and growth/birth.

In fact its funny you think of all people, its ME being cynical when the opposite is true. Jill is calling it a crisis, Chris is predicting the doom and gloom of the repopulalation of Muslims... me, on the other hand, think its all part of a cycle, where basically things manage to work themselves out just fine.

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 4:38 PM


Sorry I just can't share in all of your misery about Muslim people...


this was my FAVORITE shot from Zanzibar, a little Muslim girl walking back towards the tiny little Mosque at the end of the street in a spice plantation. On the other end of the street was a small Methodist church - you could see in the windows of one from the steps of the other.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30098954&l=772a9&id=195101317

And here I am (in a tank top - or maybe I'm confused and thats actually a burqa) with the three young Muslim men who took our group through the village - showing us around and translating for us. Afterwards the man you see with his arm around me invited us to his home because he wanted us to meet his 4 sons and 3 daughters and try some traditional food. Gee, wouldn't it just be horrible if there were more people like him around...

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30098960&l=46dd2&id=195101317

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 4:50 PM


Amanda, good to have you back, your postings are always illuminating and thoughtful.

However, as a parent of a young woman about your age, I must express concern about your posting information that would allow you to be identifed and found. There are some very strange people who visit this site. Be safe.

Posted by: LTL at July 11, 2008 5:31 PM


And no, I don't think we're in a "crisis" - look at the stats on the U.S. and India. It's a location-specific crisis, and its been much worse before, and yet things all worked out in the end. The Black Death wiped out 1/3 to 1/2 of the entire continent of Europe within a span of a few years- killing mostly children and the elderly. Back then, people predicted the end of days and the extinction of man too. It simply didn't happen. There's a dip, and history has shown that population wise, a dip is always followed by a boom.

In fact, it's interesting that you brought up the Black Death - because the kind of emptying the we are seeing in Europe over the next 50 years will make the Black Death look like a picnic. There was considerable social and economic fallout from the Black Death pandemic. It took centuries for Europe to recover.

The only reason the US has a barely replacement level population is due to immigration and certain subsections of the population have a large number of children. If you were't losing 1.5 million children per year + all the children lost through contraception, America would be a thriving nation.
BTW India with it's high percentage of young people is rapidly becoming an economic powerhouse. For example Spain will have very few adults in a few years while India will have millions. These millions of young adults can work, innovate and push their country ahead of a "dying" nation like Spain who will have little to offer the world except it's aging workforce.
Yeah, you're right, Amanda. No crisis!

Posted by: Patricia at July 11, 2008 5:45 PM


Chris, 2:44 PM, excellent points.

Posted by: Bethany at July 11, 2008 5:51 PM


Well I only speak a few words of Arabic. But my dad was there in '90 with American flight attendants in knee length skirts and short sleeved bluses. They were asked to wear ankle length skirts or pants - thats it. No burqas, no head scarves, etc.

Saudi Arabia has changed alot since the 1990's. They treat Western women quite differently than they treat their own women. You should try reading a few biographies of women from Muslim countries just to see what life is really like under sharia law and within their culture. As a visitor you don't really experience their culture they way a woman native to it would.Women have no rights as adults but all of the responsibilities.

Posted by: Patricia at July 11, 2008 5:53 PM


Very interesting, Patricia.

Posted by: Bethany at July 11, 2008 5:55 PM


You're sidestepping the degeneration of the West and my point that when a culture does not focus on life, it dies and is replaced by another culture. You fail to address that point. England is in the midst of great change, and France is as well.


Posted by: Chris Arsenault at July 11, 2008 2:44 PM

I believe this point was made in the article that these "other" cultures will simply move in. In fact, maybe they won't even have to purchase the land, because there will be no one there to buy if from! Wouldn't that just be special!

Posted by: Patricia at July 11, 2008 5:56 PM


As Amanda put it:

But again, ignoring that makes it easier to justify your irrational fear.

Ignorance and irrational fear? I could easily say such a statement applies to you, by your reactions. I have no reason to fear - my salvation is in Christ alone.

A more comprehensive understanding of Islam acknowledges that their "Holy Quran" condones the use of violence, and this is practiced by some. Not all Muslims are violent - I never stated they were. Islamic countries do not allow freedom of religion nor freedom of speech on par with the United States, that's not incredibly difficult to grasp either. The numerous dead of 9/11 and the Afghan and Iraqi wars testify to fatal fanaticism that is silently condoned.

As you discovered, the people of the Islamic lands are wonderful, genuinely beautiful people; it's why my friends are there, among them. They are missionaries and they are deeply involved in the various countries where freely expressing your faith on the streets will get you killed. No, I cannot reveal where they are for their safety, but I have no reason to lie to you about this. Let's just say they are at the extremes of the 10/40 window. You have only looked at a small portion.

These brave women wear burqas in public all the time. They have had friends who have died because they dared to share the gospel of Christ. Their faith is unquestionable.

I find it interesting that you jumped so strongly on my statement regarding the burqa when I was clearly jesting with you.

The statement regarding dhimmitude, acceptance or beheading is quite real. Your ignorance of this issue doesn't change that and your efforts are unconvincing.

My statements regarding England's turn toward Islam are not made up either, nor are they entirely my own - they come from a trusted source who is eminently knowledgeable about these matters, and he shared them personally with me.

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at July 11, 2008 6:47 PM


"Amanda, good to have you back, your postings are always illuminating and thoughtful.

However, as a parent of a young woman about your age, I must express concern about your posting information that would allow you to be identified and found. There are some very strange people who visit this site. Be safe."

LTL,
although many here have disagreements with Amanda, she is considered a friend and we care about her.

Your comment is insulting...inferring that we are nuts.

Posted by: Jasper at July 11, 2008 7:27 PM


Jasper: I agree. I was offended by this post of LTL. Once again it is an attempt to paint prolifers as violent people.

If Amanda feels so unsafe she should leave this blog. And so should LTL.

Posted by: Patricia at July 11, 2008 8:00 PM


LTL,
although many here have disagreements with Amanda, she is considered a friend and we care about her.

Amen, Jasper. As aggravated as I get with Amanda's posts sometimes, I never have stopped thinking of her as a friend.

Posted by: Bethany at July 11, 2008 8:23 PM


Amanda, I find it amazing that consistently, you accuse us of stereotyping, or labeling your ideas ( you wrote "I LOVE being told what I do and don't do in my life by people who've never met me.")

But then, in the same breath, you are doing the same thing you accuse us of doing. Stereotyping, building strawmen, misrepresenting our beliefs, etc. I just wonder why you feel it is okay for you, but not for others?

"Hmmm... so TEH GAYZZZ aren't leading to the destruction of our population either!! Who knew!!"

"But of course I don't expect Islamaphobes to accept that.."

"ITS A SUPER CRISIS!! EVERYONE PANIC AND MAKE BABIES YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO FEED!! Then, when you need to go on welfare, we'll call you a loser and a leech and blame you for higher taxes!!"

"Not every Muslim nation is Afghanistan. But I guess that doesn't fit in to the fear pandering, so we'll just ignore it. "

Posted by: Bethany at July 11, 2008 8:33 PM


The problem with the shrinking population is not that it is shrinking but that at well below replacement rates we will be losing workers in a drastic contraction.

It is the rate that is alarming.

Only the least progressive groups are growing.

The US is partially insulated in the short term because so many people keep coming here and most of those folks tend to have more kids, at least the first generation. We also don't suffer such culture shock because we are genuinely more open to people who are different and because those who are most similar in culture comprise the largest cultural groups. That is most of the immigrants are coming from south of our border. Those who are coming from very different cultures are also the most educated and don't congregate in ethnically similar neighborhoods because they don't need to. They can live in nice American neighborhoods because they make good money.

Truth is America is not facing the same situation as Europe in the short term. Our population will peak after Europe's does and may not fall precipitously like Europe's native population will. It will be interesting to see what emerges from Europe's demographic shift.

Will a muslim majority in the European Union choose different policies? Will Europe change them before they do? Will a strong leader emerge and unify all of Europe as allies against Israel? Stay tuned.


Posted by: hippie at July 11, 2008 9:44 PM


LTL: "Amanda, good to have you back, your postings are always illuminating and thoughtful.

However, as a parent of a young woman about your age, I must express concern about your posting information that would allow you to be identified and found. There are some very strange people who visit this site. Be safe."

Jasper" 7:27: LTL, although many here have disagreements with Amanda, she is considered a friend and we care about her.

Your comment is insulting...inferring that we are nuts.

She can correct me if I'm wrong, but I understood LTL to be talking about all visitors, not just the commenters. I appreciated her advice to Amanda, and I think we should all be careful to limit personal information on the internet. That said, maybe there are some nuts here. I'll never tell. Lol!

Posted by: Janet at July 11, 2008 10:00 PM



And here I am (in a tank top - or maybe I'm confused and thats actually a burqa) with the three young Muslim men who took our group through the village - showing us around and translating for us. Afterwards the man you see with his arm around me invited us to his home because he wanted us to meet his 4 sons and 3 daughters and try some traditional food. Gee, wouldn't it just be horrible if there were more people like him around...

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30098960&l=46dd2&id=195101317

Posted by: Amanda at July 11, 2008 4:50 PM

Do you think he is saying to himself, Gee wouldn't it be horrible if there were fewer people like you around?

I doubt it because I don't think people think of stuff like that. However from the demograpics cited it appears that there will be fewer people like you. Please don't read this as a value judgement, I am just talking about statistics. I am simply saying that if progressives have far fewer children then potentially their children will be assimilating into his culture, rather than the other way around, not that I have a problem with that. If your daughter marries his little Ahmed and is loved and accepted by his culture, that is just fine. I am not being snyde. I really think that is okay. Cultures have been rising and falling since time began and the people and the world adapt. I don't fear it.

Posted by: hippie at July 11, 2008 10:02 PM



The accepted demographic wisdom had been that as women enter the job market, a societys fertility rate drops. That has been broadly true in the developed world, but more recently, and especially in Europe, the numbers dont bear it out. In fact, something like the opposite has been the case.

high fertility was associated with high female labor-force participation . . . and the lowest fertility levels in Europe since the mid-1990s are often found in countries with the lowest female labor-force participation. In other words, working mothers are having more babies than stay-at-home moms.

I have come to the conclusion that Ms. Stanek's summary has been cherry-picked to the point at which it becomes deceptive.

Posted by: DRF at July 11, 2008 8:25 AM

I think most people want to be valued. Men want to valued, and women want to be valued. Getting a paycheck does give a person some sense of worth and achievement. Women who stay home and don't feel valued may in turn place less value on what they are doing. If her husband helps with children and stuff at home, it automatically sends the message that these tasks are worth his time. Also, working women may feel their income makes a larger family possible and since she gets her sense of worth filled by her job and societies affirmation because she is working and not sitting at home doing nothing with her kids.

My main beef with this is that women should be valued whether they are at home or at work outside the home. I think some over value women who work and under value those at home.

However, many overlook the fact that women have driven American prosperity as they increased the labor force by over 50% without increasing the population accordingly. The great prosperity of the past 50 years is due largely to the contributions of women. It sure would be nice for women to be recognized for that. I won't hold my breath while I wait.

Posted by: hippie at July 11, 2008 10:23 PM



Just thought I'd share- that I hate you all.

The end.

Posted by: Amaranth at July 11, 2008 10:12 PM

Is that hate spech?

Can someone clarify whether commenters on this board qualify as a protected group?

Posted by: hippie at July 11, 2008 10:25 PM


Amaranth, well, I don't know who you are, but that was just silly.

Posted by: Bethany at July 11, 2008 11:04 PM


We still love you, Amaranth ("never -fading flower").

Posted by: Janet at July 11, 2008 11:20 PM


Europe is infected by a strange lack of desire for the future," Pope Benedict proclaimed in 2006. "Children, our future, are perceived as a threat to the present."

People like Paul Ehrlich are perfect examples of this thinking.

Posted by: Janet at July 11, 2008 11:43 PM


Just to be sure though, folks- I don't just hate the pro-lifers, the pro-choicers here are also heartily included.

Posted by: Amaranth at July 12, 2008 12:37 AM


Amaranth,

Did you have an abortion?

Posted by: Carla at July 12, 2008 7:17 AM


Amaranth, hey, are you having a bad day?

Posted by: Janet at July 12, 2008 7:19 AM


Amaranth, why?

Posted by: Bethany at July 12, 2008 7:22 AM


Amanda: I'm going to shut your mouth once and for all...

I posted this: "My mom used to say, "a baby always comes with a lof of bread." She should know, she had 8 of those little food consuming, air breathing, carbon footprint producing, Al Gore despised, resource sucking, once insentient, non-viable globs of tissues and cells, punishmnents from God who ended up having 45 of their own.

And my dad supported us all on a meager wage of a mason, never once collecting welfare or unemployemnt. When he was alive my Dad was an avid Democrat until his death in 1980 at which time, he left my mom very well off.

Today, the Democratic Party is a Party he would have never supportted becuase of their retreat from moral values and the proof is this: Every single one of his kids, their offspring, their mates and their children are Republicans. That's about 200 people. My Dad's legacy was one of hard work, moral values, love of God and country, respect for others, and respect for marriage and support of the military.

So, what my mom meant in her holy way was that God supplies all we ever need to live and fulfill the intent of His will, and not to look to the government to replace God. It's not God's problem if, via selfishness, poor management and stewardship, and ungodly Liberal thinking, we screw things up.

You see, all we really need in life is to trust and obey, not to follow some egghead whackjob from Harvard who published a put-your-wet-finger-in-the-air thesis paper that got the attention of the MSM.

In short, what is the Liberal solution to over population: "kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out", the fraudulent idea of global warming, and now a left wing nutcase presidential candidate with a smiley face. It's pathetic.

Do not be deceived by this wolf in sheep's clothing. Barack Obama will do more to damage this country than we can imgaine.

It is my prayer, the despite poll predictions, that Republicans sweep this country. With Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in leadership and Congressional approval numbers at 9%, the lowest in history, there's a chance.

Posted by: HisMan at July 11, 2008 11:24 AM"

LTL then posted this insult when I never personally addressed anyone: "I think HisMan's rants should always be accompanied by the Willie Nelson classic, as performed by the incomparable Patsy Cline...

"Crazy, I'm crazy for feeling so lonely.
Crazy, I'm crazy for feeling so blue..."

Posted by: LTL at July 11, 2008 11:58 AM"

LTL called me crazy. I'm accused of ranting, etc., etc., etc. Follow the thread. It was uncalled for just like it always is.

You think I'm going to LTL get away with that like pro-aborts get away with crushing the skulls of unborn and born children? Take a hike.

Posted by: HisMan at July 12, 2008 7:46 AM


although many here have disagreements with Amanda, she is considered a friend and we care about her.

Your comment is insulting...inferring that we are nuts.

Jasper, Bethany, etc -- I don't think LTL was implying that you guys are nuts. Just that there could be some strange people who visit this site, just like there are strange people who visit every site. The 'strange' ones are rarely the ones who are actively conversing, being part of the community -- who knows how many people silently click through and read everything that gets posted on this site? Are you vouching for their trustworthiness in addition to your own?

I don't necessarily think that having your full name and picture on a website is dangerous. But I don't think that LTL was implying anything negative about any of the commenters here by suggesting that it might be.

Posted by: Alexandra at July 12, 2008 8:03 AM


Just a quick question for all the anti-choicer/conservative camps. So why aren't you all criticizing Laura Bush? I'm betting Laura, with only 2 kids and that a "one-timer pregnancy" as they're twins wasn't exactly using NFP (and even if she was, the Bushes could certainly have afforded more kids) and Condi Rice is that shining example of black Republican womanhood - a woman who has dedicated herself to her career and eschewed marriage and children, thus taking her uterus out of production.

Where's the cry of "bad role model Laura, bad role model Condi?"

Posted by: phylosopher at July 12, 2008 8:05 AM


Alexandra,

I see your point and agree. Considering that Amanda has given more than just her name and picture on this blog, well, to each her own, but I would have been more private.

I still like you, Amanda!

Posted by: carder at July 12, 2008 10:54 AM


Janet, Alexandra,

I agree with you that one has to be careful, but I think LTL was directing to the people that normally comment here.

Posted by: Jasper at July 12, 2008 12:10 PM


Alexandra at July 11, 2008 3:10 PM

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1031611/Sharia-law-SHOULD-used-Britain-says-UKs-judge.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1032080/Former-chair-Bar-Council-calls-sharia-rules-English-law.html

Google the rest.

Oh - the problem? When it comes to a decision, which method of law takes precedent? Is it electable?

These are called cracks in the foundation. It's not Islamophobic to point out realities of governance, and the implications.

As in the case of chimera embryonic research - if enough pressure is applied, the British government caves.

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at July 12, 2008 12:13 PM


Aramanth,
I am guessing now that you are a post-abortive woman and my comments about the sterilization of repet aborter struck a nerve. I am truly sorry if they did. Don't look to any man for comfort. Place your pain and hurt on the shoulders of Jesus Christ and you will find comfort.
"Because with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption" Psalm 130:7

May you find peace in your soul through the word of God", and forgivenes for for me cause I did not intend to add to any injury you have.

"The Lord is close to the broken-hearted, those whose spirit is crushed he will save" Psalm 34:18

Posted by: truthseeker at July 12, 2008 1:26 PM


Just a quick question for all the anti-choicer/conservative camps. So why aren't you all criticizing Laura Bush? I'm betting Laura, with only 2 kids and that a "one-timer pregnancy" as they're twins wasn't exactly using NFP (and even if she was, the Bushes could certainly have afforded more kids) and Condi Rice is that shining example of black Republican womanhood - a woman who has dedicated herself to her career and eschewed marriage and children, thus taking her uterus out of production.

Where's the cry of "bad role model Laura, bad role model Condi?"

Posted by: phylosopher at July 12, 2008 8:05 AM

Phylosophically speaking, I can't speak for the anti-choicers. But to pro-lifers like myself the number of children you decide to have is completely a private decision. It is stopping the killing of children that is most important to pro-lifers. Show me when Laura Bush or Condi Rice supported women killing their children and I will be right there with you railing against them.

Posted by: truthseeker at July 13, 2008 1:22 AM


Phylosopher,
Look at the stark contrast between Cindi McCain and Michelle Obama. Cindi McCain adopted a third world baby and Michelle Obama holds fund-raisers to support partial birth abortion. One has a phylosophy of helping the underpriviledged and the other has a phylosophy of exterminating the underpriviledged.

Posted by: truthseeker at July 13, 2008 1:27 AM


DRF: Modern society has huge financial disincentives regarding children. Why don't first-world couples want lots of kids? Because they can't afford them.

Right, this is an economic phenomenon.

As for world population, last I saw the US Census Bureau was forecasting around 9 billion people by 2050, so a vast increase in population is said to be in the works, from today's roughly 6.7 billion. That's almost a 50% increase in what is basically two generations.

There is no way to "turn back the clock" and have the "first world" or the "developed world" have all the manufacturing and wealth-creating advantages they formerly did. They are unwilling to go back, in fact - it would require giving up the much, much higher standard of living they now have come to expect.

Posted by: Doug at July 13, 2008 9:53 AM


Jill, a most excellent topic. Thank you!

I think a lot of us get online and argue our heads off and variously have a great time, a pretty good time, etc., while forgetting that it's your place and that we have you to thank for it.

Doug

Posted by: Doug at July 13, 2008 9:56 AM


"You can't keep going with a completely upside-down age distribution, with the pyramid standing on its point. You can't have a country where everybody lives in a nursing home."

Big whoop. This neglects to factor in immigration. HELLO...

Posted by: Doug at July 13, 2008 6:08 PM


Patricia: Financial incentives have not been proven effective. It's attitudes and expectations that need to change ALONG with financial considerations.

They are already suredly changing, but not in ways that please you.
.....


For example, many young men and women now graduate with significant debt due to the high cost of education. However, some of this debt CAN be avoided by making better choices - living at home to go to school and not necessarily attending university but considering other career options (trades etc.) Secondly, the paying of a family wage so that ONE person can stay at home with children. It's pretty much impossible to have 4 kids if both parents are working. You need someone at home with 2 or more children.

There are plenty of people who make enough to have 20 kids if they want. For them, and for everybody else, that fundamental economic law still applies - "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."

In North America, we've lived way "beyond our means" for a long time. Now, the Piper has to be paid, and no matter what happens, it's not going to be pleasant for most people, i.e. they will have a declining standard of living.

There was a "micro" economic version of it back in the 1930's - we did see birthrates really decline, though I think it was primarily for only one year. Since the "Baby Boom" ended, we've been in a similar deal, much longer-term situation, perhaps not so sudden but ultimately much greater and undeniable.

This is not a "people should do this" or "people should not do this" thing - it's just the way it is, and the way it will be for some years now, I'm guessing 15 years or so.

Posted by: Doug at July 13, 2008 6:16 PM


Kristen: what do you mean couples don't want lots of kids because they can't afford them? I'm basically a secretary and my husband is a teacher. We have six and afford them just fine. It's all about the choices you make. Do we take the kids to the water park or on a cruise? Buy the Lexus or the Chevy van?

And that's just fine, Kristen, and for many people the "affording just fine" is getting farther and farther away, whether they have zero kids or 15.
.....


More than anything parents today aren't willing to give up their Starbucks to have another child. Those values are passed down to their one or two children who then have fewer children and you have the world today.

We have the world today, no matter what. Why should somebody give up a Starbucks to have more kids? You certainly don't have any real need for them to do so.
.....


For instance my husband and I live in a 2200 Sq. Ft. home. I have several neighbors with one or two children that live in 4000 Sq. Ft. homes. They buy their children every gadget on the market, Xbox, Xbox 360, Play station, IPod, IPhone, Computers, etc.

Heh - so, you putting yourselves up for sainthood? Just kidding, but whether you rate as a 99.9% consuming family, relative to all families on earth, as I'm figuring they do, or whether it's a 99.5% as I figure your family does, is that really a big deal? No. You still live in "extreme, scandalous luxury" compared to most people on earth. The gap between the average American family and the average Chinese, Indian, Brazilian, etc., family is getting smaller, though, and part and parcel of that is that more and more people in the "developed world" are wanting to have less kids.
.....


Who is the bigger "drain" on the environment? The 24 cans a week they recycle, does that make up for the energy used to heat and cool their house, and the resources used to build it? Does it make up for the emissions from their Nissan Armada? (That can hold 9 people but rarely holds more than 3.)

I hear you, but on a scale from 0 to 50, they might be a 49, but you're a 47.
......


You can argue that these families have more money to spend and stimulate the economy more but I'd argue that what they are buying is waste. The Starbucks cups, the dinner out, nothing that lasts. The economy was growing years ago when people were having more children but what was bought was just different. More necessities were bought than frivolities. Now we have a society bent on owning frivolities rather than having children.

The thing that helps the economy is not consumption, per se. Good grief, we're hurting because of massive debt levels, corporate, governmental and private, and what does the gov't come up with - going into debt a little more to give us $600 or $1200 in "stimulus checks" and then urge us to SPEND it?

Sheesh. The thing that helps economies is for people to save money. Then it's available as capital to start businesses that employ people and create wealth, whether the individual saver attempts it, or just deposits the money in a financial institution that then can lend it for that purpose.

Posted by: Doug at July 13, 2008 6:34 PM


"WHICH BRINGS US TO A sparkling exception. Last year the fertility rate in the United States hit 2.1, the highest it has been since the 1960s and higher than almost anywhere in the developed world. Factor in immigration and you have a nation that is far more than holding its own in terms of population. In 1984 the U.S. Census Bureau projected that in the year 2050 the U.S. population would be 309 million. In 2008 its already 304 million, and the new projection for 2050 is 420 million."

...ohh but I thought since 1973 we were killing ourselves off? Those silly pesky facts!!

Amanda, have to laugh - what I see for the "middle" projection from the Census Bureau (there are also "low" and "high" projections) is 392 million for the US in 2050, 40% higher than what it was for the 2000 census.

Despite all the talk about the black birthrate, the middle Census Bureau projection has the black population of the US doubling by 2050.

Posted by: Doug at July 13, 2008 7:04 PM


DRF: So ...communism AND capitalism work?

DRF, heh - you can find almost anything you want, there, depending on where and when you specify.

Tell you what, one generalization that can be made is that capitalist systems in general result in much greater wealth creation. The "sticking point" for most people is that capital tends to accumulate in the hands of the few, rather than of the many, so you get a relatively few extremely wealthy people/families under pure capitalism.

This eventually leads to me more and more "reforms" that tend toward socialism/communism until the collective pain (from the reduced overall production) gets enough that the pendulum of public opinion swings back the other way.

Whether this is just "reforming" back the other way, toward freer markets, etc., or a wholesale chucking of the system and revolution or what have you, things do cycle back and forth this way.

Marx was right in his description of things - the old "Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis" progression.

The desire for larger and smaller families cycles in and out, both dependent on the above and independently as well - there is also social stigma, if any, on having more or less kids at a given time.

Posted by: Doug at July 13, 2008 7:15 PM


There are plenty of people who make enough to have 20 kids if they want. For them, and for everybody else, that fundamental economic law still applies - "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."


I think it depends upon where you live and your wage.
For example, in Canada there are a lot of very well off people who do make enough to have 20 kids and put them all through medical school twice over.
But the gap between the very well off and the working poor is growing along with the diminishing of the middle class.
For example, it's very hard to find full time employment with benefits. Most work is pt because it cuts the cost to the employer. In fact in Canada there is now some discussion about making it mandatory to hire someone permanently after 2 years employment. You know what i think? I think unless some sort of provision is built into legislation, people will just get let go at 20 months.

Consider my daughter's best friend; her mother works pt, no benefits as a pharmacy assistant while her father works pt, no benefits as a greenhouse operator. (By benefits I mean, no holidays, no pension plan, no sick days, etc) They own a modest home, but they have no sick benefits. He had a benign brain tumour last year and was off work for 5 months. His wife got THREE days off to be with her husband for his surgery. The oldest girl (my daughter's best friend) spent days at home, missing high school to take care of her dad because her mother could not take the time off work. The surgery was paid for by OHIP (our provincial medical benefits) as were most of his drugs. They have 3 kids. They probably could afford maybe one more child, but maybe not. Both are in their mid forties.


As for living beyond our means - one needs to look at all the electronic gadgets (Do you have a flat-screen TV Doug?), cars, jewelry, vacations, homes etc that people have today. It is rampant materialism.

Posted by: Patricia at July 13, 2008 9:39 PM


God will always provide. My children may whine that they don't have this or that but we do have everything we NEED(clothes, food, shelter, toys, cars) maybe not everything we WANT. Who can have everything they want??!!

I think every student in America ought to go on a little trip before graduation. They need to see a family of 10 living in a shack with dirt floors and cooking outside. We are rich indeed!!

Posted by: Carla at July 14, 2008 6:55 AM


Carla and Patricia, amen, amen, amen!

Posted by: Bethany at July 14, 2008 7:06 AM


Patricia: As for living beyond our means - one needs to look at all the electronic gadgets (Do you have a flat-screen TV Doug?), cars, jewelry, vacations, homes etc that people have today. It is rampant materialism.

Yeah, P, got one but it's only a 37" model.

My wife and I really do live within our means. I once told her, "Want what we have," and I think that's a decent approach, often. "Do I/we really need all this extra BS...?"

Posted by: Doug at July 16, 2008 5:43 PM