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September 24, 2003 4:44 AM   Subscribe

Have more sex says the Conservative party in the UK, procreate for the good of the economy and solve the looming pensions crisis. "Europe's real demographic crisis is not longevity but birth rates". Research says, apparently, that most women want more children than they have, but could it also be the case that a growing number of people just don't see the attraction?
posted by jonvaughan (30 comments total)

 
Why aren't we just growing new children in jars yet?
posted by Space Coyote at 4:50 AM on September 24, 2003


I will say now that I am nearly a conservative follower, but i have to say that this is bloody stupid.

Lets spend many many thousands of pounds to raise a child, give is child benefit and get it through school. Then in 20 years time it might help with the pensions problem. Assuming there isn't a massive unemployment problem as more people suddenly flood onto the marketplace. Bloody fools.

Of course, what would have been nice was if the government had taken the money from us for 'pensions' and stuck it somewhere safe rather than spending it and waiting for the future governments to sort it out.
posted by twine42 at 5:18 AM on September 24, 2003


After WW2, to encourage the devastated Russian population ( 20 million dead in WW2 ) to increase it's numbers, the Soviet government proclaimed a new category of heroic service to the state:

That of the "Mother-Heroine", defined as a woman who had born ten children of more.
posted by troutfishing at 5:25 AM on September 24, 2003


Wasn't there some guy here in the States saying that middle-class white folks weren't procreating enough to do their part for demographics?

Duty Now For The Future, I guess....
posted by alumshubby at 5:25 AM on September 24, 2003


Telling people to have sex: at last someone might just listen to a tory...
posted by nthdegx at 5:26 AM on September 24, 2003


jonvaughan, there's a difference between something being party policy and one politician giving his own, rather foolish, opinion.

The population of Britain -- well, England -- is already too large for such a small country. We're now one of the most heavily populated countries in Europe, and the housing problems and urban sprawl are symptoms of that. People need to start saving for their future instead of relying on unsustainable population growth. We are earning more now than ever before, so there is really no excuse for having made no provisions for retirement.
posted by MarkC at 5:45 AM on September 24, 2003


I keep reading these scary stories about how discounting the effect of immigration, Europe will suffer a catastrophic population decline.

But frankly, what scares me even more is the prospect that, discounting the effect of gravity, the entire population of Europe could just drift off into outer space!

I demand a massive goverment programme of velcro shoes and pavements to overcome this imminent catastrophe...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:57 AM on September 24, 2003


Of course, what would have been nice was if the government had taken the money from us for 'pensions' and stuck it somewhere safe rather than spending it and waiting for the future governments to sort it out.

Does anyone really believe that the squander wasn't inevitable?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:04 AM on September 24, 2003


could it also be the case that a growing number of people just don't see the attraction?

This is not just a European sentiment.. Once upon a time, your life was all about being born, growing up, and having children of your own. Now, we actually can have a life of our own, there are plenty of people on this earth already, and frankly, raising children is an expensive proposition.

Not too mention that they're pains in the asses. :)

The only demographics which are reproducing at high rates are largely future laborers, which is probably all this world is going to need eventually.

Thank god for birth control.
posted by eas98 at 6:26 AM on September 24, 2003


Isn't this just a big Ponzi scheme? Rob the young to pay off the old, and all that.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:34 AM on September 24, 2003


So another Tory MP with a illegitimate sprog on the way...

Of course the obvious solution to a skills/support shortage is immigration but successive govts have screwed that by:
a) under-funding the immigration service leading to a backlog in processing & lots of anti-immigrant feeling among the more thought-impaired sections of the media & society &
b) pandering to the above in an attempt to retain popularity

MarkC: Altho' I tend to agree about the population thing, Belgium [336.82 per sq km] & the Netherlands [466.45] are more densly populated than the UK [244.69 - not much higher than Germany [234.86]] but have coped with this with such crazy ideas as integrated transport that isn't so reliant on cars & urban planning that is *shock* planned.

Fun (?!) population density links [here] & [here]
posted by i_cola at 6:41 AM on September 24, 2003


Every time I go to the local doctor's surgery it seems that the local retards are doing their best to breed like rabbits from 15 onwards. They also seem happy to do their utmost to keep driving up the price for gold and for sports leisure wear. I do worry for the snooty intellectual class though, as hardly any of my academic friends seem bothered to breed. Who will deconstruct the post-postmodern art of the future?
posted by biffa at 6:46 AM on September 24, 2003


That of the "Mother-Heroine", defined as a woman who had born ten children of more.

That's obscene.

Isn't this just a big Ponzi scheme? Rob the young to pay off the old, and all that.

Heh, well said.
posted by rushmc at 6:52 AM on September 24, 2003


... most women want more children than they have, but could it also be the case that a growing number of people just don't see the attraction?

so we want them but we don't want them? am I reading this right? maybe I need more caffeine.
posted by whatnot at 7:10 AM on September 24, 2003


What is a "demographic crisis"?
posted by sudama at 7:15 AM on September 24, 2003


whatnot: sorry, wasn't clear - the Guardian is saying 'most women would have more if they could', so make things better for them and they'll have more children. I'm saying, well that might have always been true, but maybe 'most' isn't as big a proportion as it used to be. Is it instead that a growing number of people these days, who are richer, have good provision for their future, are healthy, have long lives and are still enjoying their childhood in their 30s, have no need for and no interest in having children?
posted by jonvaughan at 7:48 AM on September 24, 2003


I_Cola: But the population density for England is 376 (per sq km) which would make it the 25th most heavily populated nation in the world. And most of those other places are so heavily populated mainly because of their very small size, ie Monaco, Hong Kong, Jersey.

Hmm, if only we could persuade more people to move to Scotland or wales... no chance!
posted by MarkC at 7:50 AM on September 24, 2003


Weirdly enough, Demographic trends correlate perfectly to changes in stock market. Check out this report on Stocks and Sex (pdf).
posted by Pinwheel at 8:05 AM on September 24, 2003


MarkC:
...and the pop. density of London is 4,565 putting it in in 5th place. And so forth.

The planning failures in the UK include allowing the north-south divide to open up so that the population of SE England is so much bigger than the rest of the country.

Oh, and Monaco &c. are densely populated due to their size and the attraction of financial/trading/tax status. The Falkland Islands are small but they're not exactly overflowing (apart from the sheep & sea birds)

[Personally, I'm heading for Spain or France;-) ]
posted by i_cola at 8:37 AM on September 24, 2003


could it also be the case that a growing number of people just don't see the attraction?

It could. And clearly, if there's any genetic basis for this, these people will be selected out of the gene pool. In that sense, the problem will probably solve itself.
posted by weston at 8:56 AM on September 24, 2003


Russia is dealing with a similar situation by limiting the reasons that women can get abortions legally between the 12th and 22nd weeks of pregnancy.
Abortions are common in Russia, with some estimates suggesting there are 4.5m a year - four times the number in the US, and approximately one for every 35 people in the country. The ease with which Russian women can get an abortion - adverts offering the service are displayed on the metro - has led to an estimated 13 abortions for every 10 live births.
13 abortions for every 10 live births(!).
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:04 AM on September 24, 2003


And so once again women are being advised to "just lie back and think thoughts of England"....
posted by briank at 9:17 AM on September 24, 2003


i love it when having a child is reduced from something we would want to have, to just another thing we need. just another consumer, another part of the machine. As SC points out, wouldn't jars be far more efficent? brave new world indeed.
posted by carfilhiot at 9:24 AM on September 24, 2003


It seems to me that a lot of the people who are pushing more breeding are simply racists of one sort or another. In the U.S., it's that they want "white" people to remain the majority. Personally, I'm just hoping that traits like "doesn't-go-to-college" and "fervently religious," which are both strongly correlated with high birth rates in the U.S., have no genetic basis.
posted by callmejay at 10:27 AM on September 24, 2003


Hmm, if only we could persuade more people to move to Scotland or wales...

I would move to Scotland in a heartbeat if immigration rules weren't so strict for Americans and animals.
posted by dejah420 at 10:40 AM on September 24, 2003


I would move to Scotland in a heartbeat if immigration rules weren't so strict for Americans and animals.

Amen to that, dejah, though I understand if you have Scottish anscestry you can get in fairly easily. All's I need to do is find a Scot to adopt this middle-aged Lithuanian lad. Any takers?
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:06 AM on September 24, 2003


I thought the idea that there was a pensions crisis because of the baby boomers reaching retirement age had been disproven on both sides of the Atlantic?
posted by kerplunk at 12:56 PM on September 24, 2003


In class we discussed the racial backdrop of ideas about global population control, and I remember one theory that states the more prosperous a region is, the more stable the population is. So why should Europe complain?

The theory nicely explains why many impoverished regions have such high population growth rates. Those people who are concerned about the population explosion of impoverished countries should work on improving the economic conditions of those countries. Then the population will stabilize itself.
posted by tlong at 1:35 PM on September 24, 2003


could it also be the case that a growing number of people just don't see the attraction?
Possibly because they observe that those with children have no (adult) fun, no money, no sex, no sleep, no privacy, no patience and no sex. In fact, they have none of the things that we have been convinced are vital for living a happy life. Who can blame them for not seeing the attraction?
posted by dg at 5:26 PM on September 24, 2003


Who indeed.
posted by rushmc at 9:52 AM on September 25, 2003


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