Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Yes, it is a mixed bag of feelings, because on one hand kids are the future, on the other their future will be better if they are fewer. Because that overpopulation thing is no joke (and no elite conspiracy either as far as I can tell, and I know some people who do this research). Yes, we could house a lot of people on this planet if everybody shrinks their ecological footprint, but right now our total ecological footprint is bigger then the planet can provide. And then we might want to leave some room for other animals then our domesticated ones.

It is not at all sure that we have entered a permanent decline. The tendency to draw every curve in the direction of its current tangent untill it reaches zero or infinity is what leed people to believe - just a few decades ago - that the population was in permanent exponential growth. And it was not.

What we in Europe (and Japan) is experiencing now is stage four in the demographic transition. What will happen next is anybodys guess as this whole demographic transition theory is a generalisation on the rich countries experiences. So we are in the frontline, were we can guess how other populations will develop but are a bit blind when it comes to our own future.

But taking a stab in the dark, I think (barring global collapse of the ecosystems we depend upon) that the following will happen in stage five:

  1. Populations will stabilise on a lower level, that is every women will have about 2.1 children or just above.

  2. As this is mainly dependent on womens situation one of the two following will happen:

2a. The negatives of childbirth are externalised. That is society in large pays for the costs of raising children, free healthcare for mother and children, free or very subsidised childcare (Sweden did a lot of this in the 30ies, it was very succesfull in keeping the birthrate up (and then people with unwanted characteristicas was sterialized at the same time, giving you a better picture of the goal of the policy)). The societal negatives are abandoned when giving birth to and taking care of children are seen as a positive experience and not as loss of valuable time to gain other experiences.

2b. Patriarchy reaffirms itself and takes back the power over womens reproductive systems. As knowledge is power sexual education is banned or at least abandoned. Abortion is banned (except if you were raped, by your father and the moon was full), preventiv measures are limited (no day-after pill). Women are in practice hindered to get a well paid job, making them dependent on a man. And so on and so forth.

But I would bet on global collapse of the ecosystems we depend upon, which probably will make birthrates go up as soon as we are poor and sick enough.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Nov 10th, 2006 at 05:59:49 AM EST
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