Grey Thoughts
Life - Putting 2 and 2 together
Tim blair has a post on the Sydney Morning Herald crew being unable to put two and two together.
Where have all the babies gone?—The Sydney Morning Herald, April 9

Abortion rate hits 91,000 a year—The Sydney Morning Herald, April 20
Unfortunately, the number of abortions is only a significant part of the problem not the entire problem.

I recently posted on contraception and how this has also led to the reproduction rate decline.

The Sydney morning herald article has a few interesting observations that are worth highlighting though.
a post-feminist generation - one that has had more contraceptive and reproductive choice than before; a group that has revelled in, not reviled, singledom, and has embraced education, career and work. Child-bearing is delayed, and when it is chosen, it is often juggled with the demands of work.
The changes in culture and the feminist lie that mothering is not a worthy way to live you life (Mothering is probably one of the noblest of all careers) coupled with contraception and abortions (Note how the SMH doesn't use the word abortion) is a big part of the decline. Suddenly life is all about money and materialistic wants.

The article continues
But there are other views, too, expressed by experts such as the University of Tasmania's Natalie Jackson. She believes the nation is in the throes of a profound social evolution, which may well mean that in the long term Australians do not want to return to the birth rates, beliefs or life choices of the past. "Maybe we have to go with it, rather than trying to stop it...."
Expert? Her answer is to not try and stop the impending disaster? Brilliant. See what years of university education can produce!

SMH does the math and poor reproductive rates
HERE is some simple maths to clarify the long-term effects of low fertility: a stable population with a birth rate of 1.3 children per woman loses 1.5 per cent of its population each year. Within a century, it will fall in size by 75 per cent. That means that in 100 years, just as an example, the Italians, Spaniards and Greeks will number about 23 per cent of their present-day forebears.
So unless something is done now, Australia will have a population of 4 or 5 million within the century. (Btw: The real math puts this decline within 50 years) And we have "experts" who don't think we should try and stop it. Fantastic!
Update: My math putting Australia down to a population of 4 or 5 million is based on the birth rate continuing its trend to drop each year.

Another part of the problem of declining birth rates is alluded to in the article
Malcolm Turnbull, the businessman- turned-federal MP for Wentworth, has been a vocal commentator on the nation's dwindling fertility rate for more than two years. He, too, is adamant we need to reverse the trend urgently: "Countries like this [southern Europe] are not ageing; they are dying. Will Europe be allowed to shrink in size or will other more fertile societies and cultures take the place of current inhabitants? It has happened before."

Turnbull argues that those who are not worried by these figures should ponder that in Australia, as an example, those aged over 85 now number about 300,000, representing 1.4 per cent of the population. "By 2050, this age bracket will increase to 1.6million, a cohort of aged citizens as big as Brisbane and bigger than Adelaide.
. So why is it a problem having an aging population? Simply because of things like Medicare and 'Social Security'. You get too many old dependent peope (who need a lot more medical attention) being supported by too few young workers. The welfare state, coupled with declining reproductive rates (caused by abortion, contraception and devaluing of parenthood) is heading us, and western civilization, towards disaster.

The article conitnues
McDonald and an ANU colleague, Rebecca Kippen, say research suggests two main reasons for Australians putting off having children - or not having them at all. One is the clash of high economic aspirations with declining job security, a conflict that leads young people to delay family plans while they accumulate capital (risk-aversion theory). The other explanation lies in the reality that while women have equality of opportunity in education and work, these freedoms are dramatically impaired once they have children (gender-equity theory).
Notice how it only materialistic concerns that are given as the causes. Not materialism itself.

One final comment by our "expert" from Tasmania
The University of Tasmania's Dr Jackson insists that Australia should not try to stop these trends, but manage them better. She says people will have to engage with what she calls the ABC of population ageing: "Accept that this future has already happened ... Buffer and ameliorate the forthcoming problems and maximise opportunities ... and celebrate that while the future will be one of slower, even negative, population growth, it will not necessarily be one of stagnant economic and social growth. Instead, future populations will almost certainly be wealthier, healthier and wiser. It will just depend on how well we manage the change."
Talk about putting your head in the sand (I would use more colorful language about the placement of her head, but this is a PG blog). Somehow, despite all economic logic we "will almost certainly be wealthier, healthier and wiser". There is of course one possible way to ensure that, which is to euthenase anyone who is eldery and dependent. I wonder if that is what she has in mind when you says "It will just depend on how well we manage the change."
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