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Dropping birth rate seen as indicator of cultural decadence

December 03, 2012

New York Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat argues that America’s falling birth rate is not only an enormous economic problem—since a smaller number of children will bear the massive debt that the country is accumulating—but also a sign of deep cultural problems:

The retreat from child rearing is, at some level, a symptom of late-modern exhaustion — a decadence that first arose in the West but now haunts rich societies around the globe. It’s a spirit that privileges the present over the future, chooses stagnation over innovation, prefers what already exists over what might be. It embraces the comforts and pleasures of modernity, while shrugging off the basic sacrifices that built our civilization in the first place.


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