Friday, February 22, 2013

Revanche de Nature et Economie

Even after they recognize the terminal nature of the cancer caused by their policies, the Left still cannot bring itself to stop force-feeding their carcinogens to America:
"I like seeing people with their children, because they have their special bond, and that's really sweet, but it's not something I look at for myself," says Tiffany Jordan, a lively 30-year-old freelance wardrobe stylist who lives in Queens in a rent-stabilized apartment and dates a man who "practically lives there."

Jordan and her friends are part of a rising tide. Postfamilial America is in ascendancy as the fertility rate among women has plummeted, since the 2008 economic crisis and the Great Recession that followed, to its lowest level since reliable numbers were first kept in 1920. That downturn has put the U.S. fertility rate increasingly in line with those in other developed economies-suggesting that even if the economy rebounds, the birthrate may not. For many individual women considering their own lives and careers, children have become a choice, rather than an inevitable milestone-and one that comes with more costs than benefits.

Europe and East Asia, trailblazers in population decline, have spent decades trying to push up their birthrates and revitalize aging populations while confronting the political, economic, and social consequences of them. It's time for us to consider what an aging, increasingly child-free population, growing more slowly, would mean here. As younger Americans individually eschew families of their own, they are contributing to the ever-growing imbalance between older retirees-basically their parents-and working-age Americans, potentially propelling both into a spiral of soaring entitlement costs and diminished economic vigor and creating a culture marked by hyperindividualism and dependence on the state as the family unit erodes.

Crudely put, the lack of productive screwing could further be screwing the screwed generation.

Consider contemporary Japan, which after decades of economic stagnation has become the most aged big country on the planet. Since 1990 the world's third-largest economy has had more people over 65 than under 15; by 2050 it's projected there will be more people over 80 than under 15. More than one in three Japanese women, predicts sociologist Mika Toyota, will never marry or have children (childbearing outside of marriage is still relatively rare in Japan and other wealthy Asian countries).

The results haven't been pretty. In some places in Japan, particularly in the countryside, there are already too few working adults remaining to take care of the elderly, and kodokushi, or "lonely death," among the aged, the unmarried, and the childless, is on the rise. Long a model of frugality, the demographically declining nation now has by far the high-income world's highest rate of public indebtedness as spending on the elderly has shot past what the state can extract from its remaining productive workers. Last month, the nation's new finance minister, Taro Aso, outright said that the elderly should be given grace to "hurry up and die." This situation will not be made better by a desexualized younger Japanese generation: one in three young men ages 16 to 19 express "no interest" in sex-and that may be a good thing, given that 60 percent of young women of the same age share their indifference.

In the coming decades, success will accrue to those cultures that preserve the family's place, not as the exclusive social unit but as one that is truly indispensable. It's a case we need to make as a society, rather than counting on nature to take its course.

[T]he demographics of childlessness mean [singles are] likely to lose out in the long term. Already, retirees have bent government to their will, with people 65 and older receiving $3 in total government spending for every dollar spent on children younger than 18 as of 2004. At the federal level (which excluded most education spending) the gap widens to 7 to 1. With an aging population, that spread will continue to expand, placing an ever-greater burden on the remaining workers and creating a disincentive for the young to have children.

[M]ost damaging would be declining markets and a hobbled economy in which governments are forced to tax the shrinking workforce to pay for the soaring retirement and health expenses of an increasingly doddering population; this is already occurring in Germany and Japan. Almost 14 million Americans are projected to have Alzheimer's disease by 2050, according to the journal Neurology, with a cost of care that experts say could exceed $1 trillion. Less tangible may be the cultural and innovative torpidity of a country dominated by the elderly.

There are several steps our government could take that might mitigate postfamilialism without aspiring to return to some imagined "golden age" of traditional marriage and family. These include such things as reforming the tax code to encourage marriage and children; allowing continued single-family home construction on the urban periphery and renovation of more child-friendly and moderate-density urban neighborhoods; creating extended-leave policies that encourage fathers to take more time with family, as has been modestly successfully in Scandinavia; and other actions to make having children as economically viable, and pleasant, as possible. Men, in particular, will also have to embrace a greater role in sharing child-related chores with women who, increasingly, have careers and interests of their own.

[bolded emphasis mine]
What's really surprising is that this article is from the left wing mouthpiece The Daily Beast, of all places. As evinced by the bolded paragraph snuck into the article like an afterthought, the Left full-on recognizes that their tilt toward radical individualism and antipathy for the family is a ticket for economic and demographic doom. They just don't care, or care less about the long-term implications of their equalitarian ideals than they do the short-run benefits that personal autonomy grants. This is well indicated by the laughable correctives suggested in the last paragraph above, solutions which have been tried before but fail to work as desired, namely, tax code tinkering, bonuses for families that have kids, paternity leave, etc. These all have been expensively tried in Europe and none have resulted in fertility rates at orabove replacement level. Moreover, the call to socially re-engineer the domestic preferences of men--effectively doubling down on the problematic equalitarian solution by attempting to reshape innate behaviors--ignores both economic principles (efficiencies gained by division of labor) and the reliably and regularly expressed gender role proclivities of both men and women. And "making children economically viable" to the families that bear the cost of raising them is a difficult task indeed when the bill for matriculating a child through age 18 tops nearly $250,000. As I doubt liberalists want to reverse 100 yo child labor laws (a sop to Big Labor) that bar young people from learning useful skills in higher-wage employment opportunities, children are left to repay their keep through low-skill menial work that falls far short of a "living wage". It would take an awful lot of lawn-mowing, dish-washing, babysitting, etc, to repay $250,000. How, then, do liberalists propose to make children to be economically viable?

The problem is not that men are intransigent, or that insufficient tax incentives are set aside to convince young couples to get down to messy business of reproducing so that their parents and grandparents can have their transfer payments. The problem lays in the attitudes of the millions of men and women who share Ms. Jordan's attitudes.  Attitudes that produce billions of perfectly rational self-interested choices subsequent to those attitudes. Try as they may, liberalists cannot deny the effects of dynamiting the family, erasing gender differences, consecrating individual autonomy as the acme of human values, and making children a fashion accessory (that are permitted to enter into this world unmudered only if they're wanted).  As a result, we have a society where "family" and "marriage" are defined so broadly as to be near-meaningless, "men" and "women" are legally interchangeable,  sub-replacement fertility, and acting as though "it's all about me" isn't the acme of narcissism but a commonly accepted social norm.

Ideas have consequences, and I'm inclined to say that societies who unwisely implement patently stupid ideas should have the opportunity to get what they want so badly. Even if the signs are clear that natural and economic law are even today re-asserting themselves and rewarding with just desserts those foolish ideologues.


ivvenalis said...

"Post-familial", heh. As bad or ridiculous as a post-racial, post-modern, post-Christian, post-industrial, or post-apocalyptic society might be, they're at least conceptually coherent. You can contemplate the fact that they might exist. "Post-familial society" is an oxymoron. If something can't won't.

ray said...

Even if the signs are clear that natural and economic law are even today re-asserting themselves and rewarding with just desserts those foolish ideologues.

those foolish ideologues are doing quite well, actually

in a feminist, full-female employment culture, i see v little suffering, or even inconvenience, by those who have benefitted from the iniquity and totalitarianism of the past four decades

i look around the u.s. towns, women are doing very very well thank you, lotsa big houses, well-paid jobs, new cars . . . and so are some men, tho every day that number diminishes

it's true many of those women -- our de facto rulers now -- are single, but aside from endless shaming articles in the m.s.m., i see little-or-no actual suffering (by them! lol) taking place

the living (at least in the US) for these people is still quite high, particularly for females, who way is gilded from birth

indeed, it is the very lack of actual consequences (economic or otherwise) that permits the continuance of western nations in oppression and destruction of masculinity, fatherhood, sonship, family, and all things good

yes, these leftie ideologues (like the righties) read the headlines, some guy shooting up something every day, the "economy" is poor etc . . . but such things rarely impinge on their comfortable and secure lives . . . much less on their consciousnesses, as suggestion that the policies of their nations are unsustainable (to say nothing of evil)

if real consequences actually were manifest, and affecting said ideologues, their pet policies and laws would change

instead, those policies and laws have not changed, but continue to worsen, as no sufficient motivation exists for reform


Robert said...

Want to increase birthrates among the responsible? Decrease taxes and oppressive regulations. Responsible people have few children or none because they can't afford to, even if they want them.

Rob said...

It's the divorce laws, stupid.

Change the laws and the breeding will begin.

No alimony, no child support, presumed male custody of children, mandatory paternity testing.

Until then, I can't wait to watch this corrupt, decadent democracy burn.

ClarenceComments said...

There's no doubt that societal attitudes play a part in this.

As does birth control, abortion, and the other things that Rob and Robert and Ray have mentioned. One might also add that child labor laws in most of the advanced countries are a little too strict (I don't think there should be none, but it's easy to see some overkill) and that the legal/regulatory regime that most small private businesses face is ridiculous.

I'd also add that a globalized economy based on lack of borders and squeezing the last penny out of your prices via the exploitation of any type of human labor and automation means the current system does not reward family formation.

So there are many causes, but I'm going to say I think more so than societal attitudes I think its the costs and hazards involved in family formation that are making the most difference.

wanderling said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
El Bastardo said...

Another great article EW.

Yet those pushing this don't want to learn. They are self centered after all. Nothing is too much to ask for their "lifestyle choices."

It does not help that we no longer actually go out and meet one another anymore. I talk to younger males to try and enlist them to the movement; and there are two things I notice about all of them when they are socializing: socializing as an art form (being suave) is one of two things: A. Showing that your are a ladies man, but not a man's man. Or B. You are a man's man, but any other human being you meet, especially a woman you are deathly attracted to, are off limits for conversation.

They can't be both; only one or the other. Each mildly distrusts the other, or down right refuses to talk unless necessary.

If they can't type a conversation from the safety of their phone or computer; forgetta bout it.

My point is, we are isolated on so many levels; and indeed, are culturally raised to be so.

Where we draw the line is anyone's guess, but the lines liberals have drawn will not just come back to bite them; but all the rest of us.

It sucks that we may have to pay more for their crap; but with the power to changes things comes the responsibility to maintain what it is you want.

Liberals, and gender ideologues, never wanted to hear that. The Men's Movement will have to be different! We will have to be old school.

In re-inventing the wheel of talking like confident men again we will show the leadership of strong, intellectual, worldy, Godly (most important), confident men secure in their own skin.

Our young males; especially the feral from single mother homes in the ghetto really struggle to find this. Also, to find it in a person they feel comfortable trusting.

I sense this is the key, and most of us, either through PUA or talking with each other, can actually get them to listen.

We just have to be patient, and kind. They will find us, and come to us.

These demographic issues will be something else entirely, as it takes so long to incubate a human to adulthood; and we have lost so many through abortions, murder, society; the laundry list is quite long. Sad too.

We will have to take our position back; as our fathers before us were too weak to do it themselves.

Christina said...

if real consequences actually were manifest, and affecting said ideologues, their pet policies and laws would change

Real consequences have manifested - but they have been legislated away.

Poverty for single mothers? The government gives them a check. Poor children working in harsh environments to help put food on the table? Child labor laws and free school/free food. Social censorship of poor behavior? Hate Crime/Speech laws.

I've seen some single woman with cushy careers that were probably what you describe in their younger days. When I met her, she was bitter, old, tiny, wight-haired, bent back, and trying to make every young woman in her circle work like she had so they can be just as bitter as she.

She is 70 years old and still works because she has NOTHING ELSE in her life to occupy retirement. No husband, no children, no grandchildren. Just her job.

I think she's suffering just fine.