Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Another Reason for Decreased Fertility Rates in Developed Countries

Another Reason for Decreased Fertility Rates in Developed Countries

As regular readers know, I have written more than a few posts (link 1, link 2 and link 3) about low fertility rates in developed countries. This post highlights another explanation for those rates which works irrespective of culture or race. To be clear, I am not saying that it is the only one- but it is certainly one of the major, if not the most important, reason. As you will see, it is also the least obvious to anyone who grew up in the West within the past century.

To understand what I am getting at, let me ask you a simple question- around what principle have human societies been organized for over 99.9% of our history as a species. Is it money, land or domesticated animals? Or was it around religion, a secular legal code or some sort of ideology? Here is a clue.. most of mankind did not use money regularly as late as a couple hundred years ago and the oldest conventional religion still around is about 2500 years old. Modern human beings, in contrast, have been around for at least 100k years.

To make a long story short, human society has evolved and been primarily organized around long-term (but non-monetary) human relationships. As late as 18th century, most people in the west did not use money to perform most of the exchanges necessary for daily life. But what does any of this have to do with rapidly decreasing fertility among developed countries since the 1970s. To understand that, let me ask you another question- what motivates people to have to raise children? You might think the answer is simple, but it is not.

See, many of you might think that people in past used to have kids because effective birth control was not available. Even that is only partially true, but it brings up an even bigger question which most people ignore. Let me put it this way.. if the lack of birth control caused a large number of births, what motivation did parents have to care for and raise children? Willful or less than willful neglect can easily kill young children, yet even in the poorest and materially deprived populations, that is seldom the case. Some might say that such behavior is instinctual- but if that was the case shouldn’t more people in developed countries having kids? Clearly they don’t lack the resources for raising them.

Some sophists might say that having kids has become very expensive in the West. But is that really the case? In most developed countries outside USA, having kids is no more financially onerous than having a half-decent car. And this brings me to another question- given the chance, why will more people in West buy and maintain a semi-luxury car with extra money than have a child, let alone another one. Are you starting to see what I am driving at? Still confused? Let me ask you the same question even more bluntly- why do people see having children as a net negative drain on their perceived happiness?

To understand why people in West see children as costly inconveniences, we have to first talk about why humans throughout history saw having and raising children as a source of great joy and life-cycle fulfillment. See.. in the era before monetization of everything (past century) the vast majority of people lived a life defined by long-term relationships with others around them. You can now see why having and raising children was a source of joy and fulfillment to people throughout history. Children are the ultimate in new long-term relationships and the only way of leaving a legacy.

So what changed? It started with monetization of society in West. There is a reason why 18th century lords in UK used to have a dozen children while their late-19th century counterparts often had only a few, or sometimes none. But why does monetization of society make it less worthwhile to have children? Well.. because heavily monetized societies are impersonal and atomized. Conversely societies that are not heavily monetized still take joy in having and raising children. This is also why working class people in UK kept having large families into the 1930s. The same applies for societies all over the world- from Ireland and Italy to India and Japan. But is the increasing amount of social atomization the only reason?

As it turns out, there are other related reasons. See.. in pre-industrial or early-industrial societies, the children you had and raised also lived and worked around you for the rest of your life. In other words, you spent a lot of time with your children and vice-versa. However in a society where both parents work 9-to-5 jobs, kids go to schools, then move away for university and jobs- there just isn’t time and space to form strong bonds with them. Most people in the West see their kids for perhaps 2-4 hours a day until they move away for university and jobs- often forever. The socio-economic system in West and other developed countries forces perpetual loneliness on its inhabitants.

Now tell me why would a sane person put in the effort and sacrifice to have and raise kids if they could not even provide them basic human company in their lives. It is therefore my opinion that Western social systems based on the current model of removing all potential to form meaningful human interactions and relationships fully deserve to die. The only hope for a better world comes from the demise of this dystopic status quo- hopefully sooner than later.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. bonzo
    June 26, 2021 at 1:29 am

    Monetization is not the problem. Problem is that monetization currently has perverse incentives. In particular, welfare mothers currently have a positive incentive to produce children, but no incentive to produce or raise QUALITY children. Otherwise, monetary incentives are all negative.

    Fixing the problem is very simple and politically feasible. Start with the stick, then offer the carrot. Main stick is that mothers must pay for the sins of their children. Cut to video of some obnoxious sheboon who shat out 14 criminal brats, each from a different criminal father. New rule is that mother loses all government benefits, plus has to pay costs of incarcerating her children. If she can’t or won’t pay, she herself goes to prison, same as men today who can’t or won’t pay child support. Republicans will love this stick policy, especially if it’s retroactive.

    Mixed stick and carrot is to drastically reduce social security for childless people, while tying social security of breeders to combined earnings of their children. (Divorced men who don’t pay child support go into childless category.) Lots of high wage children means very high social security. This mixed stick/carrot will likely be made very complicated so as to obscure the stick aspect. Ideally, backend the reduction, frontend the increases, and use a few years of high inflation to create more confusion about who is being hurt/helped.

    Another carrot is to get rid of unnecessary costs of children, which is mainly a USA phenomenon because of its crazy healthcare and student loan systems.

    Final result is that women who can produce high quality children are monetarily incentived to do so, using the highest quality sperm they can get. Other women are monetarily incentived to be childless.

    Ideally, there would be neutral incentives for men. Otherwise, risk is that high quality men might be dis-incentived to breed, or that low quality men might be positively incentived. Let women assume the risk of deciding who is high or low quality man.

    Probably some east asian country will be the first to put the above system into place. USA and Europe are content to just import immigrants for foreseeable future. Immigrants means no risk of USA or Europe collapsing, though the social fabric will be destroyed. Like India or Brazil, filled with constant inter-ethnic squabbling, declining standards of living, incestuous ruling class.

  2. Advipoops craps his diapercoli
    June 26, 2021 at 8:09 am

    you forgot the most obvious reason. That having kids was a “retirement” plan. now, your kids are most likely to settle you off into a retirement home than take care of you so why bother.

    • doldrom
      June 26, 2021 at 1:09 pm

      It was not a retirement plan because retirement didn’t exist. Old people kept chipping in according to their ability until they break a hip hiking up to the goats or feeding the chickens or whatever, and that’s the end of it, or separating from the group once they have become a burden. Retirement is the lofty civilizational ideal of post WW2 America.
      In previous societies you were never independent: You were mutually dependent for everything, getting water, getting food variety, being tended when injured or sick, defending or being defended in the face of enemies or natural threats. Children did not stand out as a source of retirement funds, there being no funds. In Buddhism this was illustrated by the notion of mother’s milk, which is obviously not repayable — you cannot give something and then say: ‘Well that’s it then, we’ve settled accounts.’ In the 10 commandments there is the admonition to respect your parents. Ancient Babylonian texts clarify the context of this command: Even if you have gone to collect the old man at the alehouse 70×, you must still go the next time this happens.
      I have noted throughout my life how many people consider children to be an annoyance and an inconvenience. But children represent humanity quintessentially, before socialization and culture leave there mark, reacting from vulnerability, love, loyalty, primitive desires, and without guile or masks. If you don’t love children you basically cannot affirm humanity.

      • Advipoops craps his diapercoli
        June 26, 2021 at 9:04 pm

        IDK, maybe AD has “baby rabies” and he is still lonely after banging all those paid wimminz. Think about it, he was butt ass hurt talking about harvey weinstein, why should he care about a man who got pu$$y from trashy actresses in holly weird. It seems to me he was virtue signaling so kinda chubby 30 something wimminz who work in offices would go on dates with him. I figure he is probably roosh v’s age and maybe now looking like a haggard old man at this point like roosh. This really looks like a misfits last attempt to fit in.

      • June 27, 2021 at 10:06 am

        Agreed, DOLDRUM, regarding the relative recentness of formal “retirement”.

        To your thoughts about the traits innate in children (I’m a 65-year old who’s the father of six all-now-adult children and grandfather of seven children; I also taught elementary-age children in a private school for a few years) I add this caveat:

        The primal desires and instincts of children, “before socialization and culture” and, especially for young children, responsible, intelligent parenting leave their marks, include acute selfishness and immediate gratification. A large part of responsible, respectful parenting is teaching children to NOT indulge in their instinctive selfishness and to practice delayed gratification.

      • doldrom
        June 28, 2021 at 8:13 am

        @Joesantus
        Agree. Notice I did not say they were innocent but without guile. Their aggression and greed are fully on display as is.

      • June 29, 2021 at 9:14 am

        DOLDRUM…exactly.

        (And, my comment wasn’t meant to fault your description of children — I definitely did note your deliberate choice to word as “no guile” and not as “innocent”. I just used it as another opportunity to elaborate on the difference for the sake of whoever is reading these posts.

        I cringe whenever I hear adults describe children as “innocent” since I recognize that many use it with the sense of “harmless, unable to perpetrate”. Parents and other adults don’t want to perceive children as what we are as children, mammals born with selfish, claw-to-survive-even-if-to-the-hurt-of-others instincts.

        That refusal to accurately perceive children is, apparently, another of those common the-ways-we-wish-we-humans-were/the-ways-we-ideally-should-be idylls, our not wanting to admit that we’re born with instincts which motivate such behaviors as “bullying” and “discrimination”.

        To me, Blank-Slate thinking such as that about children fails to accurately identify the root cause, so ends up promoting “social programming” strategies which, at best, amount to merely painting over mold-stained surfaces — unless the mold ingrained in that surface is treated and eliminated, those stains will inevitably if not quickly break back through.)

  3. AD is a hypocrite
    June 26, 2021 at 10:02 am

    “It is therefore my opinion that Western social systems based on the current model of removing all potential to form meaningful human interactions and relationships fully deserve to die.”

    hahaha, you are basically the other side of the coin opposed to a feminist. That is you both want “muh cahrear” and an abortion clinic on every other street corner. I thought you “celebrated” the atomized world in which we live.

  4. someDude
    June 26, 2021 at 10:33 am

    Women reproduce most successfully as property and men least successfully as property.

  5. Atlanta Man
    June 27, 2021 at 6:39 am

    WFH is changing this. I work from home and all my female coworkers are having children or had children and are doing so because WFH allows them to. Women can now breastfeed, care for and grow with their children and they are not going back to the office. I see this changing the game for birth rates in the white collar classes. Thoughts?

  6. MikeCA
    June 27, 2021 at 9:41 am

    “To make a long story short, human society has evolved and been primarily organized around long-term (but non-monetary) human relationships.”

    ” See.. in the era before monetization of everything (past century) the vast majority of people lived a life defined by long-term relationships with others around them.”

    “But why does monetization of society make it less worthwhile to have children? Well.. because heavily monetized societies are impersonal and atomized.”

    “It is therefore my opinion that Western social systems based on the current model of removing all potential to form meaningful human interactions and relationships fully deserve to die. The only hope for a better world comes from the demise of this dystopic status quo- hopefully sooner than later.”

    It is really ironic to read this on a blog that got its start advising young men to have sex with escorts rather than trying to find a girl friend or long term relationships with women. Now he is complaining about the monetization of society? LOL

    Note that this blog was a lame attempt at Russian propaganda when it advised men to use escorts and this latest lament is more Russian propaganda attempting to foment unrest in the western nations.

    This post was inspired by my attempts to explain somebody else why a certain form of social organization common to all “developed” countries (western and eastern) has no realistic future- irrespective of how hard some people are trying to prop it up.

    I was never interested in having children, because it did not make sense- even a decade or more ago. The underlying conditions have, if anything, become worse since then.

    • да товарищ
      June 27, 2021 at 9:49 am

    • Mike CACA
      June 27, 2021 at 11:49 am

      “Note that this blog was a lame attempt at Russian propaganda when it advised men to use escorts and this latest lament is more Russian propaganda attempting to foment unrest in the western nations.”

      haha, there is a much simpler answer, but again an “engineer” is too stupid to see it. AD likely did face rejection and racism form trashy, obese western women. If he decided to bang hookers and the story ended there, all good I guess. But apparently he isn’t “happy” with this “arrangement.” (I wouldn’t be either and that’s why I a.) work much less and b.) spend my money on cool sh!t like guitar amps and guns.)

      What is likely happening is he is fast approaching middle age and dislikes the snickers he gets when he visits 20 something hookers. He probably is on a l”last ditch” attempt to find what a PUA would call “6” to have a relationship!t with. I have no delusions about my ability to have a relationship!t, unlike AD. I don’t face the “cultural stigma” and am in good shape despite my low status. However, it is not drugs that have rotted my mind, I wads *psychologically broken* before I had my first sip of beer or experience the glory of mushrooms.

      Why do I bother commenting on the rantings of another broken “man” you ask? IDK, maybe I get some sense of pleasure that how bad I may be off, he is in a level of hell that is more torturous than my level of hell. I suspect, even with your wealth and rotund gut that you are in more psychological pain than I am. Politics can be a better distractor than pr0n, but not as good as drugs. That’s the real deal. It’s what you do the next day or what you don’t do that counts. Or you can numb yourself to a point where the years fly by and you wake up and say “were did it all go?”

      Do yo understand now? One of the worst levels of hell is to promote an ideology that you yourself do not believe and realize that it has made you hollow. The irony that AD would be happier as a 40 year old virgin who cries himself to sleep. And the freedom when you realize that you live like a stray dog with the values of a stray dog but the “sentience” of something much higher.

      How condescending of me to say that I can look from the sewer and see the rot as you and AD look down upon me with disgust from an ivory tower. And further irony that if I don’t die from violence or a drug overdose, I will most likely outlive both you and AD.

    • stonerwitharectalprolapse
      June 27, 2021 at 10:11 pm

      • P rAy
        June 28, 2021 at 9:36 am

        that is obviously not the real stone wit a bonah because he is too estupido….

        I like the cartoon, hmmmm, did you steal this won from Ben Garrison, my honorary aryan. C’mon, I will be your buddy if you let me in the bath house!

      • Pee Spray
        June 28, 2021 at 7:29 pm

      • ubermensch
        July 2, 2021 at 11:19 am

  7. Israeli Observer
    June 27, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    Most of the Western Developed World has not experienced a significant war for 80 years. This causes chronic mass selfishness, short termism, hedonism, feminism and the uptake of other miscellaneous BS ideologies. One aspect is collapsing birthrates.

    I guess the problem will self correct in western Europe over the next generation. The increase in the Crescent Moon population will create full scale civil wars. The current forecast is that by 2040, a quarter of all French citizens aged 20 will belong to that minority group.

  8. July 4, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    I spoke to my aunt the other day, and what’s scary to me is that she personally wanted her daughters out of the house so she could “pursue her own dreams”. She also emphasized that her daughters should experience the world through traveling (ex: waste lots of money). I bluntly asked if she is sure she doesn’t want to protect her daughters until they are married, and she said it’s up to them if they want that. It’s completely over. Nuclear family is cancer and just throws the kids to the wolves.

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