A View From The Handbasket

Friday, September 23, 2005
More babies! No, less!
Posted by neros_fiddle at 7:46 PM
Worried about a 1.9 fertility rate, France is opening its national wallet in an attempt at enticing more French couples to fill their homes with the pitter-patter of little pieds. Under this plan, a parent taking a year's unpaid leave to care for a third child will get $916 a month.

I found this passage interesting:

The European Union average is around 1.5, dropping to less than 1.3 in some countries, including Greece, Spain, Italy and the new EU member nations in Eastern Europe where fertility rates dropped precipitously after the collapse of communism.

I'm curious what the connection is between the fall of communism and the drop in the fertility rate. Evil western ideas about birth control? People finding things to live for beyond family? Less propaganda? Anyone have any info on this? The idea that totalitarianism increases the fertility rate is just counter-intuitive enough to appeal to me.

Meanwhile, over in India, the government is trying to keep the baby-making to a dull roar. Creating tiny humans in India, of course, is all about gender politics, with families generally desiring sons for economic and cultural reasons. So, they'll either abort female fetuses or, perhaps more commonly, keep pumping out girls until they get sons. This new initiative seeks to address the latter problem by giving away free education to single-child families with girls, blunting the economic disadvantages of daughters somewhat.

Maybe India and France should team up to pay French families to adopt Indian girls...

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