The Economist says we are going extinct but don’t panic:
Ah the Economist.  I am not aware of any American publication that goes into such depth on so many important topics – none that ever mentions birth rates, supremely important and terrifying though they be.  It is aimed at a literate audience of wide ranging interests.  The odd thing is that, to my understanding most of their readers are in this country. 

It seems strange.  Given eager readers with real money, you would think there would be a market for good writers in a periodical that would serve them, splicing out subscription receipts with a reasonable amount of advertising.  But it ain’t happening.  Periodicals apparently are owned by plutocrats bent on controlling the beliefs of the masses.  I doubt even the British publication is innocent.

For instance there are a lead and a follow up this past week (as I write on August 5) named “In Defense of the Childless” (how correct can you make it?) Economist vol. 424 no. 9051 July 29, 2017 page 14 and “The Rise of Childlessness” on page 51 of the same issue, pointing out that more women are having no children at all.  Their bottom line is straight out of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: DON’T PANIC!  Pursuant of this they include a graph.

This shows the countries of Europe with the number of children women born in 1968 had against childless women as a percent of the total.  There is, implicitly, no relationship.  Following that logic, when all women become childless, there will be no effect on the birth rate.  Forgive me for being a little skeptical.  And why that particular year?  They draw numbers from more than one year in different places; I suspect this year was chosen to make the choice, and that choice was made directly or indirectly by the plutocrats above. 

As I look at the graph, I find it difficult to tell Eastern Europe from Western.  And far from seeing no trend, it shows the bulk of the countries follow a trend line well enough.  The outlier that makes their case is Ireland, not Europe’s biggest country, eh?  They indeed have an exceptionally high birth rate for the number of childless women.  Then there are a couple of countries, including Russia, that are fecundity underachievers given the number that actually have at least one child.

Of course for this publication the causes are all related to “choice” one way or the other, responsive to the vagaries of the economy.  Yet a study I cite often from Denmark shows that the number of children is unrelated to income or education once kinship issues – town size and distance between birthplaces of a couple – are taken into account.  Sure the birth rate rises and falls on an annual basis, but that is because couples are delaying or advancing their families. 

So why should the moneybags want to whitewash falling birth rates.  No doubt they think the world’s population is too big, and I agree.  But it appears that the process at work is irreversible past a certain point.  My best guess from the numbers is that this point was reached a generation ago in the rich world and just recently in the middling world.  That leaves the poorest countries as our only hope.  We have 25 years in which to promote a rational mating strategy there.  That’s a tall order, since we aren’t doing it here. 

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