Archive for October 2012

Economics and birth rates

October 28, 2012

Do religious conservatives actually think before expressing their views on demographics?

I ask, because there seems to a sizeable percentage of religious conservatives who believe that birth rates are inversely related to prosperity.

Certainly birth rates tend to be lower in rich countries than poor countries, but that doesn’t mean they’re lower because of greater economic opportunities.

The recent recession is a strong case in point. According to the logic of religious conservatives, westerners should have been having more children over the last five years since jobs are scarcer and wages are lower, so there’s been more incentive for women to stay at home and have children. But this hasn’t happened. Instead, women in both Europe and North America have had even fewer children, and the modest increase in birth rates that occurred just before the recession has abruptly ended. According to one estimate, at least 20 percent of US adults between 18 and 34  have consciously delayed having children because of the recession.

This is basically the same pattern that occurred in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Birth rates fell significantly during the tough times, and then increased when the economy picked up at the end of WWII. They then continued at a high rate until birth control arrived and the 1970s recession slowed down the economy.

Similarly, birth rates are now also declining in the Middle East, which is struggling with high food prices, and a lack of jobs for young males.

So religious conservatives are wrong – people do have more kids when the economy improves and less when the economy gets worse. It’s also important to bear in mind that just because we live in an affluent age doesn’t mean we live in an age of economic security. Out-sourcing, free markets, and the increased use of temporary labour, may not had reduced prosperity per se, but they have made a lot of people’s work lives much more insecure, and economic insecurity is a big turn off for young people contemplating having children.

Some conservatives cite the high birth rates of immigrants from poor countries as evidence that prosperity reduces birth rates. Newly arrived immigrants from poor countries have lots of babies, so poverty must increase fertility. The difference here is that these immigrants are moving from a poor country to a rich country, so they having rising economic expectations, as well as access to health and welfare services that may be unavailable in their home country. So this line of reasoning doesn’t hold when you’re looking at affluent natives who are facing the depressing prospect of getting poorer.

Education is another overrated factor in birth rates. Sure, university does take up time and money that could otherwise be spent on family formation, but if all the men and women who went to university got high-paying jobs when they graduated, then they would still have plenty of time and money to pay off their debts and raise families, and would have more money with which to do it.

The problem is that education is in many respects a symptom of economic decline – people go to university in the increasingly desperate hope of getting a higher paying job in a competitive job market, only to find there aren’t enough high paying jobs for graduates either.

If education is lowering birth rates, it’s because too many people are getting unmarketable degrees in a weak job market and the combination of being over-educated and underemployed is making it even harder to start a family

I don’t what the best solutions to the West’s population decline are, since population  decline is due to a range of factors that are difficult to untangle, but I’m pretty sure that impoverishing people isn’t one of them.

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So much for the precautionary principle

October 22, 2012

Given the speed with which Western governments are rubber stamping gay marriage and gay adoption legislation who would think there would be lots of social science data showing that gay adoption’s fine, and that the general public has nothing to worry about.

Unfortunately, though there isn’t much data – in fact there’s some pretty good data to show that it’s a bad idea, and to make matters worse, left-wing activists are actively trying to suppress it.

I wonder if gay marriage advocates stop to consider that it would be like growing up in a gay household. Imagine for example, being a  straight 14-year-old male and accidentally finding your two dads going at it “Greek style. ”

Catching straight parents having sex would be embarrassing, watching gay male parents having sex would be a different mindf–k altogether.

Obama woos white nationalists

October 6, 2012

As the Democrats seek to widen their already diverse voter base in anticipation of a tight second term election, Obama opened his “50 shades of Obama” campaign with a pleasingly hostile reception in West Virginia last weekend.

A large crowd of angry whites from across the South turned up to voice their frustrations over his disappointingly middle-of-the-road first term. A David Duke supporter commented that Obama just hasn’t done enough to offend reactionary whites in his first four years:

“Whites need to get angry, but they can only do that if the country really does fall apart. But besides interfering in Arizona’s immigration law, Obama just hasn’t pissed off white America as much as we’d hoped. So far we’ve only seen light weight Clinton-style reforms and socialised medicine, next term we want to see some really ambitious Great Society-style screw ups. At present, Romney’s raising more honky hackles with his election appeals in Spanish.”

North Carolina skinhead Mark Blunt put it more succinctly – “the time for pussy socialism is over, we want to see the real New Deal.”

Anticipating that right-wing whites are waning of his self-styled Lincoln persona, the President took the opportunity to re-label himself as “Magic Johnson,” and turned up on stage wearing a Public Enemy T-shirt and low-slung jeans, and accompanied by a pair of submissive looking blondes.

Minuteman Gary Shultz was one of many who warmed to the new image:

“I delighted the President has gone for a more “bad ass,” openly anti-white  image. I think the tougher Johnson persona will resonate really well with our older supporters.”

The President talked of the need to widen tax reforms to all white income groups:

We can’t just tax wealthy whites, even the Republicans are doing that these days. We need to increase taxes for middle class and working class whites too. Of course there will be tax exemptions for whites in mixed-race relationships, but the main focus will be on working that vital white tax base on which this increasingly diverse and vibrant country depends.”

Obama’s next campaign meeting will be in Austin, Texas, where he will talk about the need for suppressing state’s rights and the ambitious new programme he has in place for expanding global government.