Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

with a whimper

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 03, 2006

Vision Book Cover Prints

Mark Steyn summarizes his take on First World demography in an article in The New Criterion:

Scroll way down to the bottom of the Hot One Hundred top breeders and you'll eventually find the United States, hovering just at replacement rate with 2.07 births per woman. Ireland is 1.87, New Zealand 1.79, Australia 1.76. But Canada's fertility rate is down to 1.5, well below replacement rate; Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. That's to say, Spain's population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy's population will have fallen by 22 percent, Bulgaria's by 36 percent, Estonia's by 52 percent. ...

As fertility shrivels, societies get older -- and Japan and much of Europe are set to get older than any functioning societies have ever been. And we know what comes after old age. These countries are going out of business -- unless they can find the will to change their ways. Is that likely? I don't think so. If you look at European election results -- most recently in Germany -- it's hard not to conclude that, while voters are unhappy with their political establishments, they're unhappy mainly because they resent being asked to reconsider their government benefits and, no matter how unaffordable they may be a generation down the road, they have no intention of seriously reconsidering them.

Don't see a large role for Catholic social doctrine in this picture? Not to worry: there are probably Muslims and Mormons in your neighborhood who take it very seriously indeed.

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