Why feminists should fear a declining birth rate
The example of South Korea is a warning shot
In an article for the Atlantic, Anna Louie Sussman examines why South Korea’s total fertility rate has fallen so precipitously. In what the Koreans call a “gender war”, Sussman suggests that the cause is the “deterioration in relations between women and men”. “I think the most fundamental issue at hand is that a lot of girls realize that they don’t really have to do this anymore,” one South Korean women tells the author. “They can just opt out.”
The fertility issue is hardly unique to South Korea. Look at the comments on any piece in the UK media about our own falling birth rates, and at least half will say something along the lines of “good thing too.” “All our environmental problems become easier to solve with fewer people” is the view taken by David Attenborough, along with many other environmentalists and feminists. You don’t have to look far to find people cheering on the dwindling of our species.
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But it is odd to hear such passivity from South Koreans, of all people, given that their government is certainly not relaxed about low fertility. In 2005, it introduced the ‘Framework Act on Low Birth Rate in an Aging Society’ in an attempt to reverse the trend, and has so far invested $150 billion in pro-natal policies. All to no avail, as the Atlantic piece makes clear.
The existential threat to South Korea is more urgent than for most countries. With a total fertility rate of 0.78, South Korea’s current population of 51 million will likely decline to just 15 million by 2100. Meanwhile the North Korean population of 26 million is expected to drop only slightly to 23 million. In other words, South Korea’s much poorer, much more authoritarian neighbour is currently half its population size — but, within the lifetimes of babies being born in Korea today, that balance will be upturned.
The example of South Korea should be a warning to those who welcome a decline in the size of the global human population, because the truth of the matter is that birth rates are not falling evenly across the whole world, and nor are they falling gently. What we are seeing, instead, is precipitous falls in some rich countries, and among some sub-populations in particular, leading to some extreme political phenomena.
Take the UK, which is likely to face enormous demographic changes as a result of uneven fertility rates. For instance, it is becoming increasingly clear that one of the strongest predictors of fertility is religiosity: more religious people have more children, and a tendency towards religiosity is moderately heritable. Having suffered the humiliation of the atheist revolution, it seems that believers are set to have the last laugh. Which is bad news for secular feminists, among others, given the very direct conflict between their values and those of the ancient religious traditions that are set to surge.
But then here’s the thing: the future belongs to those who show up, which means that the South Koreans who hope that the whole country will “simply disappear” are likely to get their wish. The question we have yet to answer is whether it is possible in the long term to sustain the kind of affluent, urban, secular culture represented by South Korea, or whether we will always revert back to the poverty, parochialism, and rigid control of women that characterised most of human history. In other words, is it possible to be modern and fertile? So far, the answer appears to be ‘no’.
“I think the most fundamental issue at hand is that a lot of girls realize that they don’t really have to do this anymore,”
Maybe, but I think a lot of young men have decided that the whole proposition is is so toxic that they would not touch it even with someone else’s barge pole.
I’m sure that decisions by young women play a part but all reports coming out of South Korea and Japan indicate that the primary factor is the unwillingness of young men to marry or even date. Marriage no longer provides any benefits for men and they have come to realise that women and a family are a drain on their resources. Women have a difficult time understanding male interests so they fail to appreciate that young men have many other entertainments available to them.
Your arguments sound like sour grapes; I can’t get a girlfriend cuz I don’t want one.
Historically, 80% of women have reproduced, while only 40% of men have. This gap is probably even bigger today.
Being alone and childless is very bad for men.
These people have tended to tear down societies. They can just patronize prostitutes and strip bars. In their earlier years crime provides a source of income and excitement.
From what has been reported it’s gaming that occupies the majority of their time. They seldom interact with anyone IRL, certainly not prostitutes, and very few if any are involved in crime. None appear to be interested in tearing down society, they have simply assessed their options and chosen the path that best suits them.
Up voted for the game reference, I suspect it’s responsible for labour participation rates drops in US for men as well. Though I’m not sure gaming is simply one of the many healthy choices someone can make, they’re addictive and unhealthy. As a gamer, I’d know.
The gaming is because they have quit
… or maybe they started gaming well before considering the concept of having relationships/family and like what they already have.
i have heard that intense gaming can have a developmental delaying effect…..
There is a evolutionary pareto point here.
In very basic term the top 20% men in the attractiveness/wealth stakes can attract pretty much any available woman they like.
The top 80% of woman in the attractiveness stakes can pretty much have any available man they like and always look to select up.
If the top 20% of men can attract pretty much any available woman, they have no incentive to stay monogamous and certainly not with any woman who is not in the top 10%.
Since the top 80% of women can have any available man, and they select up, they will focus on on the top 20% of men even though for most of the the chances of a viable relationship are slim.
This is the reason why, historically, only 40% of men reproduce. Further, since we live in an enlightened age, this percentage is only going to fall as women continue to set their sights on men who rank above them and write-off an increasing percentage of men.
The other issue this raises is that 80% of women and only 40% of men reproduce, there are a lot of men bringing up children they have not fathered, often unwittingly. It is estimated that up to 15% men are or have raised children unaware that they are not the father.
Who’d a man in the bottom 60%. Maybe they are starting to realise the deck is stacked
You’ve described the situation of the group of men at the bottom of the social heirarchy but left out the other loser group (genetically): the women at the top of the heirarchy. Unlike men, women tend to be strongly endogamic: they try to mate “up” the hierarchy; anything but down. The top 20% of the women are all competing for the top 20% of the men. But the hierarchies are different. The qualities that men are looking are scattered throughout the women’s hierarchy so those top 20% of women mostly end up unmatched. They’re not going to mate down. The two groups who win in non-monogamous societies are higher status men (always) and lower status women. Monogamy – to the extent it is practiced – is a huge benefit to high status women and low status men.
Pls see Matt M’s comment on the Youtube document Birthgap. Looks like the above has been a major changing trend with increasing number of women being involuntarily childless.
Jordan Peterson also did a segment on it with Stephen Shaw. It’s alarming but I don’t know if it can be stopped because everyone is so entrenched.
Thanks for that, that was a great find as well.
It’s just anecdotal but there are a lot of comments I see on YT of MGTOW. As one young lady stated ‘men are going to other countries to marry, no one comes here to marry ours.’
Not sure why you are getting downvoted. Seemed like a reasonable comment to me. DNA analysis shows the 2:1 ratio in all our genetic ancestry (twice as many mothers as fathers).
I was just out in Wyoming snowshoeing. My tall, handsome, personable guide was a young man of 28. We got talking about the ‘dating scene’ – he would really like to find a girlfriend, possibly a future spouse. He meets girls via on-line dating services but has had no luck. He rejects them because they all profess to be on ‘anti-anxiety medication’. As the son of an alcoholic, he is not interested in someone who is drug-dependent. I asked him if they mention it on the first date and he said, “absolutely’ – as if they are proud of their infirmity. And that my friends is the state of ‘dating’ today.
Why are all these young women being medicated and why are they so anxious to share that fact?
It’s the victimhood Olympics.
I hope that’s all there is to it, but I’m worried.
“Victimhood Olympics”. That’s great. Yes – they’ve been raised to stand out for being victims of one form and another rather than for being good at things useful to others.
Maybe it designates you as “special” like having a food allergy or an Autism diagnosis despite being articulate and fluently expressive,engaging and gracefully charming.
Because the social democracy — which we all instinctively defend because it gives us nice holidays and next-day delivery and promises us unearned pensions — requires us to warp the minds of young women and invert their natural inclinations in order to feed this Leviathan.
The “medication” helps the girls silence the massive cognative dissonance between what they’ve been conditioned to believe they want by 70 years of propaganda versus 300 million years of an evolutionary imperative.
On some deep unconscious level, these girls are aware that reaching the position of head spreadsheet lady by 35 isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
I think you may be confusing issues in the U.S. and U.K. with those of S. Korea and Japan (which S. Korea just passed as the lowest birthrate country). Both country’s declined birthrates seem to be driven by the women who, having become educated, do not want the kind of marriages their mothers and grandmothers had to endure. Really different cultural expectations from here. Patrimonialism married to ancestor worship isn’t a system that is attractive to women who have any other options. And educated women have other options.
“And educated women have other options” – While they certainly can make money that means little in old age. Women have a fairly short shelf life.
You should watch the documentary Birthgap on Youtube.
The filmmaker finds that contrary to the accepted idea that families have gotten smaller, the number of 2, 3 and 4 child families has not dropped in most countries. The average family size in the UK is still 2.4 children. But the number of women having no children has sky-rocketed. This is what has brought down the overall birth rate.
He also interviewed thousands of childless women in their 40s and his conclusion was that 90% of them were Involuntarily Childless. That is they wanted kids but left it too late to get married and down to business. The other 10% were either physically incapable of getting pregnant or genuinely didn’t want kids.
He draws no conclusion on why this has happened. But it is an interesting bit of research.
While I think this is an interesting line of thought, I was a bit sceptical of your claim of 2.4 children and decided to check it out – it’s actually 2.4 people per household and under 2.0 children per family on average in the UK.
I might not have explained that very well.
The average number of kids per woman is, as you say 1.9 per woman but that includes women with no children. This is for the cohort of women who were born in 1975 and completed their childrearing years in 2020. Their mother’s generation (b.1949) had an average of 2.08 per woman.
But the most common number of children in a family is 2 (37%), followed by 3 or more (27%) and 1 (17%). For their mothers generation, the figures were 2 kids (44%), 3+ (30%) and 1 (13%). So some change but the average number of children in families with children is still between 2 and 3 kids (2.4). The big rise is in women with no children, that is what brings the overall number down.
The point I was trying to make is that the decrease in the number of children is to do with many more women having no children rather than women who have children having fewer children. The common belief is that the falling birthrate is to do with women choosing to have fewer children.
Hard to put into words. Sorry if I was unclear.
The more important point is that the women who had no children, wanted to have them but missed the window to do so.
That does clear it up, thanks for taking the time to explain.
Just finished watching the first episode of Birthgap. A fantastic reference, thank you!
That’s an interesting point. Not most women choosing to just have one or at most two children each but a few women doing that and a lot not having any children. I never wanted to even be pregnant,I never had any of those famed cry all night yearnings so it’s just as well I was never in the possibility to get preggers situation. I don’t even want a pet cat or dog as I know I’d forget to feed it so poor kid if I’d had one.
I live opposite a big red brick council estate like the one I grew up in but this one is more scruffy.
At the bus stop I am often in the company of two or three Muslim ladies and they all always have a buggy with a baby in and two or three tots ranging in age. I don’t think there is such a thing as a Muslim spinster in fact I suspect that,as in old Catholic Ireland,an unmarried woman over 30 is seen as immoral and dangerous.
I think there a large element of this is women who leave it late and cannot find an eligible partner who wants children.
Or, as is a lot more common, they leave it untill too late *because* they cannot find eligible partners who want children.
Because any candidate who might be eligible has already have a partner and children and the moment has gone for those that are left
I don’t think that’s accurate. Most either believe they will be in their twenties forever so they mess around or they waste their youth and beauty on a man for years only to realize he will not commit to them.
It’s odd but the only time I found myself astonishly in full agreement with that appalling James O’Brien of LBC ,or maybe rather he with me,is one morning when he stated his position which he defended against many callers that if you have lived ie cohabited with your partner for 10 years,maybe are buying a house together and have children and they refuse to marry you then you should leave them or have them leave you. Because if they still won’t officially commit to you with so much interdependent involvement of life together there is something a bit dodgy. I never expected the likes of J O’B to share the same opinion as me on that. The thing is I’ve observed that “our love is stronger than a piece of paper” thing,but when it breaks up,it’s never just about calmly walking away. It’s the lawyers rubbing their hands time. So many people nowadays think a “relationship” is a purely personal romantic kissy-kissy lurve thing private to them and that marriage is somehow “religious” when it’s actually a social and legal recognition that you are part of society.
Which is why rich men had wives they didn’t like to provide one legal heir but mistresses they liked very much kept in the shadows.
Because a lot of men want sex but they worked out some decades ago that if all you want is a free happy ending you can just go for a walk in the woods or across the Common. Sorry but I have lived too long in this Wicked World and read too much. How I see it is why would you waste time,weeks or even months and waste good money flattering,cajoling,persuading someone to have sex with you by meals out (never as good as home cooking anyway,big con,pay stupid price for some tepid,ill cooked for item you could do at home for pennies),flowers,theatre or cinema when there is a free option. But cynical of me I know
or maybe modern social media has redefined what is accepted by women as “eligible” to a much higher (and unrealistic) level than previously.
True because by that time the good ones are married and the others are embittered by divorce or financially strapped paying support or they are like Leonardo DiCaprio. We need to start telling young women to keep their body counts low and take seriously finding a mate who is compatible.
My Gen X believed all the feminist twaddle and ended up paying the price.
Ask someone who advocates for staying childless how they will get by in retirement and they will tell you their pension will pay for them. Well, a pension is worthless if there is no labour to purchase with it, more so since the state pension is generated by existing employees of which there will be far less. Demographic crash will mean the end of retirement as we know it.
Advanced AI home helpers will eventually fill the gap.
There will be massive development efforts to fill the demand… a demand that will only grow because advanced AI sex dolls will destroy marriage. Unlike women, a large percentage of men would be satisfied by an advanced sex doll. Women will be increasingly unmarried and either childless or single parents.
There won’t be a shortage of people willing to work in the world. There might be a shortage of those born with your preferred nationality, but that’s a whole different matter.
The idea that we can just import a generation of low skilled worker to plug our social care shortage is a common fallacy. An economy based around retirees and those caring for retirees is a far poorer economy. Who will look after the low skilled, lowly paid workers who paid little tax when they reach old age? Another generation of even more poorly paid migrant workers? Outsourcing labour shortages is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme which relies on the next generation picking up the tab when it collapses.
Our whole social welfare system right from when it was first put in place was and is a Ponzi scheme and we know they always come to grief eventually. I was questioning this 50 years when I was 20 but was just told to shut up and not think about it. Why ever designed it this way was stupid or evil I think. I know the first generation of pensioners hadn’t a chance to pay in but there should have been a change point built in so that by say 1960 people could start building up individual funds like in Singapore.
So you know that if you want to spend money now you’ll have less when old or vice versa.
What you’re describing is exactly what we are doing in the US, and so far it’s working, unfortunately.
As Matthew has pointed out, you are proposing a Ponzi scheme that eventually replaces the entire native population with low skilled immigrants.
It doesn’t sound like a long term recipe for success.
Politicians that propose the importation of low skill workers to solve a labour shortage are essentially guilty of similar short term thinking.
Other solutions must be found. Automation is one answer, both humanoid and non-humanoid. It requires considerable investment, investment that the UK has been failing to make for many decades. Our government seems to be content to borrow money to buy what we need for other countries.
And what will be the cultural cost of that?
Do you have a theory to share ?
When I am no longer able to provide for myself or take care of myself, I will die. Having seen the alternative up close and hundreds of times, I am fine with that.
You can see the dystopian future coming into focus, aged westerners clutching their pet dogs as child substitutes, a rich elite that can afford to have children, an underclass that still breeds but lives on the fringes, more and more immigration to service the needs of the ageing population and becoming increasingly dominant.
It’s hard to disagree with that analysis. There’s perhaps still enough wriggle room to try to “manage” the process but the window of opportunity to do so is rapidly vanishing too.
We’ve had the golden age, the world reached it’s pinnacle and is now plummeting back towards the dark ages in all areas.
If by “the world” you actually mean the West, then yes.
However, there are other people on the planet you know, just because they don’t get mentioned on TV on a daily basis doesn’t mean they aren’t there and I’m sure they’ll get on fine once the West declines.
This solipsistic conflation happens annoyingly often – currently being regularly displayed when western media/propaganda outlets talk about “the world” (AKA the US and it’s vassals) condemning Russia for whatever atrocity of the day they have committed, while everyone else in Asia, South America and Africa just shrug their shoulders – being on the receiving end of western atrocities for hundreds of years has that effect I suppose.
No reason for downvotes. If demography is destiny, the 22nd century belongs to Africa. Nigeria could well be a superpower in 100 years time.
They didn’t before and looking at it now doesn’t seem likely.
Would the “western atrocities for hundreds of years,” even if true, be offset by the fifty plus years of pillage, rape and murder of Chinese, Korean and other Asians by the Japanese? Read the Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang if you need details.
Umm, I actually consider Japan a “western country” so it wouldn’t so much “offset” as add to them…
Interestingly, they still haven’t cleared that up with S. Korea, even though they are both American dependents.
However, I wasn’t minimizing other atrocities (I’m fully aware of Nanking, the Holodomor, etc), rather I was making a point about the west assuming they’re at the center of the world and most non western governments not playing along anymore.
Mr Putin may not be a Nice Man and people who criticize him do have a tendency to fall out of windows but he is actually standing up to USA corporate capitalist hegemony so in reality he is The Good Guy but try explaining that to most people!
A number of Historians,professional ones are now saying that it seems to them that the civilised stable world we,in the West knew from c.1950 to 2010 was an ANOMALY in the history of Humanity and that now we,the whole world are reverting back to the original atavistic and archetypal mode of human life. We born in the 1950s,the world we grew up in and lived in,in my area,it seemed a golden peacefulness,even a bit boring to be honest,it has always been like this,it always would be like this. Now and I see it so I think these historians are right. The rich and powerful have had enough of social justice,they want their droit.de seigneur back. The media have been banned from a Tory conference,not that I care,but that couldn’t have happened in the 1960s,70s,80s and it’s because they CAN. We are reverting to a world of warlords and peasants.
Indigenous Brits will die out. We are an endangered population. Yet WASPIs complain that they have to work longer before they get a pension, too many women think their career is more important than having children. Who do they seriously think is going to pay their pension? My father used to say, ‘There is no such thing as money. It takes people working to keep things going. ‘ We cannot go on importing excellent Indian and Nigerian etc medics, who frequently have a better work ethic, and a less entitled attitude than Brits. I want to say to women, get on with it. Heving your children early is healthier for all. In the words of Stephen King, ‘Get married, stay married.’
I don’t feel I have missed out having a large family relatively young. I am still a jobbing musician in my 70s, and my 5th child may well be your NHS physio.
I think the WASPIs’ complaint is not that they have to work longer to get a pension, but that they were promised a pension at a certain age, and it was taken away without proper notice. I felt aggrieved having lost a year’s pension, but many women lost 6 years’ entitlement, which is serious money.
Under the previous system women got five years more pension than men of the same age, after paying five years less in NI contributions. That was also ‘serious money’
Feminists wanted equality and got it. Oh dear.
Bravo – priceless.
Indeed. But they got it imposed on quite a number of women who were not the more toxic and rabid sort of feminists as well.
Personally I would happily work five extra years and let women retire earlier in return for their reduced career prospects and for relieving me of the task of raising small children. Don’t misunderstand me : I was and am a committed parent (and I took a fair share of cooking, cleaning and nappy-changing), but if the choice was between doing a ten-hour working day and a day’s childcare, I’d take the ‘work’ every time and reckon I had got off lightly. I reckon my better half earned and deserved her five years earlier retirement date which the government stole.
Yes I found it very ironically funny even though I was one of the females who faced another four years but ironically the job I found or found me for those last four was the best job I’d ever had,most congenial place,nicest people,most interesting tasks and best of all I knew I only had to do it four years and it paid for my first ever trip to Paris aged 64. I was brought up with the credo God Provides but he never did send me a Eurostar ticket in the post (as per those testimonies) I had to buy my own!
The change to equal pensions was announced in 1995. Surely 25 years notice should have been considered sufficient for the WASPI women to avoid complaining about it in 2020.
Unless you think there’s something special about “indigenous” Britons, I don’t see the issue. Nigerian doctors will come, their children will in turn be British citizens born and bred and life will go on. No need for women to be churning babies they don’t want to.
That would work for low levels of immigration, but when the rate of immigration from Nigeria (to take your example) reaches a certain level, you will simply be importing Nigerian society.
What, exactly, in my post, requires “approval”?
In the 17th century some Dutch settled in S Africa, topped up later by some French Huguenots. They’ve been there for 400 years, but do their Black compatriots regard them as fully African and interchangeable with other South Africans?
People are not interchangeable units that you can move around the globe to satisfy the needs of commerce. They are nations, and have roots.
Interesting article. Of course one of the things it doesn’t mention is the socioeconomic divide in having children. By that I mean the very rich – who can afford to have a number of children – sometimes with a number of partners – and can afford others to bring them up and look after them and the relatively poorer people who have the state to support them. Its the “squeezed middle” that can’t/doesn’t.
I have noticed a trend among the super rich or the wealthy to have families of 4+ kids. Because they can. It’s almost become like having a fancy car was in the 1960s. It’s like because I can. The only name I can immediately think of is tv chef Jamie Oliver but I’m not being critical,I rarely watch his TV shows but I think he’s a good guy ,knows his stuff and cares. His restaurants where he gave homeless jobs failed but that’s just business,it’s tough at the best of times. But other celebs it’s a thing now.
Interesting article and comments. My mom, who passed away 20 years ago, had eight grand children between the ages of 25 and 38. She does not have a single great grand child. The four girls will almost certainly not have children. Maybe one of the boys will.
And it’s not for economic reasons, or to save the environment. They just don’t want kids.
How very shortsighted.I hope their ‘happy’ old age does not need dustmen or doctors, farmers or cleaners. Those all tend to be someone’s children.
And we can’t afford to abort a quarter of the next generation. Very few of us ‘want’ kids. Surely that’s why sex is so irresistable: to ensure the survival of species. And nature gives parents more or less nine months to get use to the idea.
Definitely not true for me because i played with baby dolls and play kitchens and all that. I believed in the fairytale.
Yes, one bad generation can destroy a culture. As long as that generation has to live in the ashes of their civilization during their old age, then justice is served.
Unfortunately the boomers will not have to live with it.
And I expect “the kids” will respond by not wanting them. They’ll likely die in nursing homes, kept physically alive way past their expiration date by indifferent immigrant workers, wishing they were dead.
Think that the women in South Korea frequently have no houdehold support at all from their husbands after giving birth to their children; so perhaps that could be one of the reasons for the low birth rate. X
Yes, I think SK for all its advances is a misogynisystic and a truly patriarchal society.
It’s not just the patriarchal aspect – it’s the ancestor worship mixed with it. It means that a woman not only is expected to take care of her kids and her husband (and work now), but also take care of her or his aging parents who in advanced years expect to live with them. And age rules in those families.
This article should be linked to the one on pornography. Why would men want to work stoically to support a family when the children can be removed at any point, and when they can get their satisfaction elsewhere? The feminist revolution has only gone half way. Until men’s rights as well as women’s rights are examined seriously the toxic relationship between the sexes will only get worse.
If women don’t want to bear children, then society needs to figure out WHY.
It could be that many women don’t think they should contribute to overpopulation on a planet facing ecological catastrophe.
Or, IT COULD BE that for many women, having a child is a burden that society doesn’t do enough (or ANYTHING) to share in.
Women who are abused don’t want to bear the child of their abusers.
Instead of thinking that somehow women are HANDMAIDS who are SUPPOSED to bear your children, maybe you men might start thinking about how to make bearing children something women would WANT to do. Incentivize it, in other words. Carrots are better than sticks; honey is better than vinegar.
Creating incentives might include MORE RESPECT FOR PREGNANT WOMEN. It might include allowing women more CHOICE in how to have children.
In the US, it would DEFINITELY include giving pregnant women paid leave, adequate healthcare AT ALL STAGES of their pregnancy, and help in SUPPORTING THEIR CHILDREN if the man responsible fails to “man up” and do HIS part.
The problem is not WOMEN. The problem is how men TREAT women.
If it were any other group of people, you would realize this, but when it comes to women, we’re just supposed to shut up and take any abuse men and society care to dish out. That’s why women aren’t having it, and aren’t having children.
I suspect you’ll get a lot of pushback for that, but it’s an uptick from me.
My daughter (a doctor) has just given birth for the first time. I have my first grandchild. One of the first things she said to me, after i’d given her a hug, was “he (her husband) was the perfect birthing partner”. She said this because her choice of partner had very much been made with this in mind.
Unfortunately, many women make mistakes in this regard – perhaps mistaking good genes for good partner potential. Perhaps some of those guys outside the top ‘rank’ of genetic potential would have been a better bet.
Sure, blame it on the women for picking a poor partner. DON’T blame it on any man for actually BEING a poor partner.
It takes two to tango.
But even so, it is generally women who choose. They have to genetically.
lived experience can be very misleading
I would urge caution in claiming to speak for all women. First women could actually try to discern whether he’s husband material before sleeping with him. Second if they choose wisely the man will step up to provide for her and protect her and his offspring. Should she not wish to have strangers rearing her children she could have extended leave until they are up and out and then still be young enough to pursue a career. Having a large family almost ensures that future women will be supported by her community instead of expecting the state to do it.
I’m not having children because I’m ugly as sin. No choice in the matter whatever on my part.
Looks are overrated.
Your comment reminded me of an odd movie from ’79 you might check out, “Heartland”, based on the memoirs of an “ugly as sin” woman who as a widow saddled with a young daughter took a job as a housekeeper for a rancher in a remote part of Wyoming. This is one of those rare movies I actually think about regularly.
The world is run by the wealthy minority, not the poor majority. The more babies they have, the poorer and more powerless poor people will become.
The high birth rate among the poor is far worse for poor people than a low birth rate is for rich people.
Those multiple babies will grow up to be the servants of the rich minority.
The South Korean culture is formed by large corporations whose religion is “workism.” You must live for your job and have little else in your life or you are not worthy to work at the chaebol. If you can’t work for a chaebol, then you’ll have a second class career. So the man is always gone and the wife has to do everything at the house while her husband is working. There are not enough kids to help around the house in the family, so the wife does everything. No wonder both sexes are dropping out. If you don’t have a family to support, then the man doesn’t have to have a good job, and he can work less and not seek status. If he does not need a wife, then he can work in his mom’s basement and play video games and watch porn. Sex robots will hasten this trend.
Better to be a servant in a nice house, than have to sift through the landfill looking for recyclables to sell.
It might be even BETTER for there to be fewer “nice” houses and more DECENT houses for EVERYBODY. Then, maybe people wouldn’t have to dig through landfills for food to eat at all.
If you’ve got a ‘nice’ house but no job you will still be reduced to scrounging, garnering or stealing food. When food becomes scarce there is very little for landfill and most ‘housebricks” are inedible. You Takes Your Choice!
The famous Attenborough quote is:
“All of our environmental problems become easier to solve with fewer people, and harder – and ultimately impossible – to solve with ever more people.”
So… is the risk to feminism greater than the risk of environmental problems?
Every complicated problem and its responses involves trade offs – so do we ‘decide’ now for the benefit of future generations, or do we do our best to fumble our way forward?
It’s a false premise. Falling birth rates will only temporarily reduce population and help the environment, because those countries or world-views which don’t have this problem will take over, after tumultuous global re-ordering which may take a mere handful of generations. Then the population comes back more than ever, but without the things that cause both declining birth rates and feminism etc.
Those societies have not developed the Western malaise of self-loathing and moral exhaustion. The West will just be replaced by high-birthrate third worlders.
My response to Attenborough would be a thought experiment: imagine some technology emerges before your time is up, that allows you to revert back to your body and health as was in your mid twenties, and also thereafter prolong your life indefinitely. Would you take the option or would you eschew it and let your life expire?
‘To extend life artificially is tasteless.’ – Albert Einstein
I would certainly choose to die in such a circumstance, and I think many people would. But you have a point that a lot of people wouldn’t.
We know there are people working on making immortality a reality. I sincerely hope they fail, but we have no idea when or if they’ll succeed, and just how many people will choose to take it (or be able to). All bets are off if you choose to factor immortality into the equation.
The immortals or transhumanists will just take over. It will be a great day. I’ve had enough of stupid human politics.
Jordan Peterson would have something unkind to say to David Attenborough about this. Something that might be about to get him struck of as a psychologist. And something that might just be a good point.
If Attenborough was sent back in time, with his cameraman – 60 million years say – he would be standing there in a swamp with a lot of dinosaurs. He would be whispering into the microphone so as not to upset the dinosaurs, “What we are seeing today is a picture of a successful species, one that doesn’t destroy the planet, one that tries hard to maintain a natural balance, one that…uurrggh.”
Species die. Species are successful in the west and then get too clever, asking about the meaning of life, so they die and species from the east take over. They might decide to introduce a religion which demands that you only have one child. They die off….. So what?
And that horrid sly Goodall woman is anti-human too.
Not an answer l imagine the author and many others will regard with anything other than alarm and distaste, but….
There’s always technology. Technology can (soon enough) completely break the link between human reproductive biology and culture, and the size of the human population. The question, if what then emerges thereafter is in fact at all humanity as we know it, is moot. And again, not an addendum many will find remotely palatable, but to my eyes, it is not a given that humanity will in fact fix the rapidly dwindling size of the human population by using technology to do so, even when it can. Because, it’s at that point a matter of priorities, as in, why would it?
I’m inclined to agree.
Debates around declining population tend to see the world as it is now. The future is, of course, unknowable – except for one thing. It’s almost certainly going to be different from what can be envisaged.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t try, in order to try to alleviate any adverse effects of those technologies which appear on the horizon, but that assumes we’d have the power to control them.
What you really mean is “the power to control ourselves”. We could just turn our backs on AI and walk away. Like we could have with sliced bread or automatic transmissions.
Because, of course, the “adverse effects” of AI might turn out to be truly harmful, unlike bread and transmissions. Maybe this time we should make an effort.
The problem is that not everyone will turn their backs on it. And that leaves those who do in what was probably the situation faced by early hunter-gatherers (e.g. Neanderthals, Denisovians) who didn’t adopt the technological advantages being developed by modern humans. Modern humans may well end up being studied by “post-humans” in this light.
Remarkable how little about the financial drivers behind this demographic trend in both the Article and comments.
What young couple can afford a home with a garden in the UK right now to start and bring up a family? Only those with Bank of Mum & Dad?
My generation – 50s+ – needs to ask itself alot of questions about the inter-generational inequity we’ve bequeathed. Amongst a number of crucial trends this is one enhanced by not ensuring the next generation have the same chances we had. And then to add to it many my generation, bang on about too much immigration and how terribly woke all our youngsters have become. What a deflection strategy. We sowed this and should be taking our share of the blame.
Too much immigration of the wrong sort!!! On one of my newsfeeds today an interview involving a young arab female with a child. “I want a big house with a garden.” No thought of who is going to pay for it. Nothing about ‘I need a job’. All power to Ms Braverman’s attempt to sort out part of our problem and frighten other benefit scroungers from even thinking of coming to the UK.
Agree with your initial comment, but worth noting that enough “banging on about immigration” might eventually lead to young couples being able to afford a house.
“Growth solves all problems” my CEO said to me at our last all call.
The South Koreans (and, by default, anyone who subscribed to their worldview) seems to be “We’ll shrink our way to a solution”.
I wonder who’s right?
I don’t know who’s right, but any CEO who can’t see both possibilities isn’t going to be of much use to anybody.
Does that then mean that reduction causes all problems?
There is a radical feminist movement in South Korea known as B4.
A World Without Men The women of South Korea’s 4B movement aren’t fighting the patriarchy — they’re leaving it behind entirely.
It’s fair enough. Some aspects of South Korea’s society do seem very patriarchal. But where will this movement be in 50 years time?
I saw that yesterday too. We seem to be riding the news cycle wave here.
I don’t get the conclusion. Because religious people have more babies, the world is destined to fall back into poverty and parochialism?
Possibly (in the ‘West’) a very pious poverty with the most pious at the top of the heap. That would be, of course, “professional poverty”. cf certain Archbishops.
Hopefully yes,because poverty and parochialism makes a much more varied,colourful and interesting world
Probably it will separate into controlling elites who don’t reproduce much, and worker people who do, with little mobility between the two groups once meritocratic mechanisms have been dismantled.
And the size of the worker people group will be ultimately controlled to the extent that robotics and AI can do their jobs. Maybe they’ll eventually end up in Rousseauist nature preserves where the elites can come visit and marvel at them while on vacation.
Interesting article. The title was never really explained in any coherent way that I could see though. Why particularly should feminists fear a declining birthrate more than, say, non-feminists?
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