What is known to work for having babies:
The Economist.  What would I do without them?  I hoot and yowl how they ignore the obvious – if you want babies marry cousins – and then I refer to article after article by them.  It seems that they are the only ones who care.  Here is yet another with more to follow.  (Baby Love Economist vol. 416 no. 8948 July 25, 2015 page 10) 

They are at pains to list those ways to encourage more babies that work and don’t work.  They say rather wistfully that immigration would work, but politically it is a non-starter.  The people won’t go for it.  Since the article, that has been put to the test.  Both Germany and Sweden tried to allow in lots of Syrian refugees, whose plight none can but sympathize with, and the people balked.  Meanwhile “populist” parties seem on the rise on both sides of the Atlantic.  I’m not quite sure what populist is supposed to mean.  I thought it meant doing what the people wanted.  In that case any political organization that is not populist is committing treason, but the jails are singularly empty of them. 

Then there is the patriotic ditty approach, which doesn’t work.  They blame the baby drought on pensions for the old; that’s not the reason.  Medals for heroinic fecundity don’t work.  Subsidies don’t.  Longer parental leave is nice but doesn’t work.  Subsidized child care seems the only winner, but even that won’t raise the birth rate to the balanced 2.1 per woman that is needed for survival.  They say few countries will ever go that high.

Are you listening?  They have just pronounced a death sentence on Europe, Japan and so forth.  Don’t call me an alarmist.  The Economist is not an alarmist magazine.  In fact it is heroic of them to be talking about the subject at all.  I am just taking them at their word. 

I say that had we time we could fix it.  That is in defiance of the best available opinion.  I am a starry eyed optimist.  I accept that cheap nurseries are good.  I accept that it will help.  I accept that it will be insufficient.  But I say we could, maybe, fix it. 

Otherwise?  If no European country ever gets back to 2.1 it means that they will all collapse.  A few lingering groups that are able to define themselves will continue for a while, presumably at war with each other, and one indeed may claim the old name although probably not the old territory.  But even that won’t last.  They will fall eventually, too.  It will take another dark age.  Dark ages have never lasted forever, but they can last a long time.  And even that might fail. 

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