The title for this article is now “Many elderly – too few children to care for them” (it was “Demographics of death”). The problem and its consequence discussed in the article remain unchanged, but the title should perhaps be “Demographics of death of families and nations.”
This article was originally posted in 2013 06 08. It was updated today, 2017 07 o6, to add an instructive graphic pertaining to the changing demographics of Japan, caused by the decline of Japan’s fertility rates. Japan’s total fertility rate is 1.41, ranking 210th out of 224 countries, but it is not that extraordinarily low in comparison to other developed nations of comparable size or economies. An appreciation of that can be gained from the list of countries, ranked by their TFR’s, at the CIA World Factbook. All of the countries with too few children have many elderly.
India has few and insufficient social safety nets, but it relies, at least ostensibly, on children in families to care for their many elderly parents and grandparents. That obligation to care is embedded in and backed up by Indian laws. India’s increasingly totalitarian feminist regime, in trying its best to liberate Indian women from the slavery of the family, works contrary to the noble aim of having children provide care and comfort for the ever-increasing population sector of the elderly.
China relaxed its one-child policy for urban areas (in rural areas it had long been two children per family), because China became conscious of the problem of too many elderly, that for one couple of productive age it is an impossibility to provide the necessities of life for two sets of parents and four set of grandparents.
Canada achieved the same TFR as China (1.6 children per average woman of fertile age – China and Canada rank 182nd and 183rd, respectively, on the CIA TFR rank list). That came about voluntarily, without government coercion but with government legislation to deconstruct the family, with punitive taxation for two-parent, single-income-earner families with children, with subsidies for child-care expenses, with child-tax credits, and so on. Still, how come no one in Canada is talking about couples having to support two sets of parents and four sets of grandparents? Is that because it is thought that the problem will be half as bad for individuals living as “single parents” or as fathers expunged from their families, because then each child only has to worry about supporting one set of parents and two sets of grandparents? That would be ludicrous, but even though we refuse to recognize it and look at all sort of things to worry about, except the one that matters, the steadily growing problem of too many elderly will not go away.
Many elderly + few children, add up to a shrinking Schneider clan
The quotes from a discussion thread, farther down, are from a variety of comments posted during the last two days or so (prior to the original posting, in 2013), after my niece sent me a photo of members of the Schneider clan at a recent family re-union that I had not been able to attend. The photo shows fifty relatives, ranging in age from 86 down to about three years of age. There were five children aged three to eight. Most individuals in the photo stemmed from my family of origin, a family with seven children. Some of the individuals shown in the photo are related through marriage.
Not to put too fine a point on it, there is now, three generations after mine got married and began to have children, roughly an equal number of children. My grandparents were deceased when I began to work and to earn money. My father had passed away when I was 15, for which reason we seven children had to support then only one elderly person, my mother. An equal number of children in the photo, three generations later, will be supporting a much larger number of elderly, about 15 to 20, for the duration of the productive stage in their lives.
This article discusses those circumstances, as those are generally true for all children who will shortly enter the productive stage of their lives. The changing proportion of elderly and productive people will of course, on average, not be quite as pronounced, but have a look at what they average out to in Japan, as it will be much the same in all developed nations.
As I was looking at the photos, I noticed that the large Schneider clan will soon have died out. It appears that a few years have gone by since the last child was born into the shrinking clan. The Canadian branch of the clan is no exception.
Naturally, that trend prevails in the whole population. Therefore, one should not be surprised that more and more churches are being closed (or maintained as museums), while the indigenous European population is a steadily shrinking minority.
That is how the Occident is coming to an end, very quietly, and not even with a sigh, let’s hope, because the New Mass-Migrations under the auspices of the UN and the EU will not permit the European indigenous population a peaceful end.
Consequences of declining fertility rates: Many elderly – too few children to care for them
Germany’s total fertility rate, the number of children born to the average German woman of fertile age, has been steadily declining and stands now at 1.35, below the TFRs for Austria (1.39), Spain and Poland (1.4), and Italy (1.41), but better than that of Hungary (1.32), still, all much below the required TFR of 2.2 at which a country’s population will not shrink out of existence. (More on that from Germany’s Bureau of Statistics)
Those few young children are all of the fruit that the living family tree you see in that photo managed to produce. I am afraid that the end of that tree is in sight. Its years are numbered. It is every bit as visibly sick as the birch tree is on our front lawn.
However, as I pointed out before, just as the “sickness” of our birch tree (realistically a relatively short average life span) manifests itself in other birch trees in Bruderheim, so does the “sickness” of the Schneider clan manifest itself in greater society and in all of the developed nations. The dearth of children is neither a characteristic of the Schneider clan nor a German malaise. It will be the cause of death of the cultural and demographic existence of all of the developed nations. All of them are dying out. The Western, Christian cultural heritage is in its last years and will most likely not be able to revive itself.
The insurmountable reality of that is quite simple. A society that grows tired of reproducing itself will inexorably die out.
Update: 2017 07 06 — Recently I came across a graphic that shows quite clearly what the consequences of the changes in the fertility rate over time have caused in Japan: a very serious trend of shifting proportions between the young, unproductive, the old, unproductive, and the productive sector of the population distribution that must support the other two unproductive sectors over time. Japan has many elderly – too few children to care for them, and there is enough recognition of the looming demographic catastrophe that will bring about, on account of shrinking numbers of children, productive or not yet.
When there were no social safety nets, no one expected to be allowed to live forever. Now it seems, that is an expectation that many people have, now that we no longer have the lives of our few children (formerly many) and the many elderly (formerly few) constrained by the limited finances of families of whom vastly most used to live from hand-to-mouth, and little money could be spared to cure someone of a deadly disease or debilitating health condition. But that is coming to an end.
After all, the seemingly “unlimited” capacity of health care and other social safety nets that governments offer is nothing but the sum of the ability of individual families and their income earners to go to extremes to help their loved ones, individually. When those liabilities are spread out and averaged out, individual sufferers are more likely to be helped to a greater extent and in greater numbers than they were and are. When those government-run and taxpayer-funded social safety nets face an increasingly larger disparity between those who need services and whose number increased enormously, while the number of those who must pay for those services is steadily shrinking, hard choices will have to be made by all. Health services will have to be constrained. As a result of that, more people will suffer because they cannot obtain the relief that could have helped them. That suffering means that more people will die. The mortality rates of the elderly population sectors will escalate. That is unavoidable. It does not matter whether it happens by design or not.
No one can jump over his own shadow. The shadow of social safety nets is the large and growing demographic sector of the many elderly that trails a shrinking demographic sector of productive, income-earning younger people.
The Business Insider (Australia) article, from which the graph of Japanese changing demographics in action was taken, explains some of the concerns over some of the unintended consequences of those changing demographics. Those consequences are not unique to Japan. They affect all developed nations. They exist, whether they are being looked at or not, and they are becoming worse everywhere.
There are reasons why some people have no children. There are others with no children, why not I?
There was a Facebook discussion thread on whether that particular forum should give homosexuals the right to voice opinions. Conflicting opinions on that waged back and forth. I added mine:
Let’s bring this from the ideological level into the practical realm. Men and women are nature’s way to ensure one of the most important aspects of life and its continuation: procreation.
Homosexuality is an evolutionary dead-end. In husbandry, homosexuality is considered to be an undesirable trait that needs to be eliminated through rigorous culling, while in our jaded society we have raised it to a human right, which of course means nothing as to whether we can afford to cater to the biological luxury of homosexuality or not.
Every time I bring out that line of reasoning with homosexual activists, they counter it by pointing out that procreation is not always the consequence — in the short- or long-term — with heterosexual unions. That is true, but let me begin again with husbandry.
The productivity of agricultural operations engaged in husbandry is negatively impacted not only through homosexuality but also through the effectiveness of the fertility of its livestock. Infertility, for whatever reason, is a trait that needs to be eliminated through culling to enable a livestock operation to survive, financially.
Humanity as an enterprise is no different. If a human society or civilization stops producing children — whether that is at the family, community, state, national or global level makes no difference — it will quite simply stop being competitive, die out or grow to be so weak that it will be replaced even before it is allowed to die a peaceful death.
I am childless and one of the many elderly, but valuable to society
Naturally, and without fail, someone stated:
Uh, then what does that mean for those of us that are older and are no longer able to reproduce? We are worthless? That’s pretty harsh.
Ways to deal with too many elderly
To which I responded:
…, you are repeating the argument I pointed to in the third paragraph of my last comment. Yes, necessity can make the consequences of that argument quite harsh, such as for instance with aboriginal communities who once lived so close to the edge that at times their elderly committed suicide so as not to put their communities at risk.
In a civilized, industrial society we can afford to be more generous, but that is only a matter of degree. The more biological baggage we must carry along, the less viable and competitive we become as a productive society, until we reach the limit of our generosity, when tax revenues no longer suffice to pay for the costs of social safety-nets and the payouts they provide. Then the cuts start, and then the most luxurious items will be cut first.
When government-funded (that is, tax-payer-funded) social safety nets came into existence a little over a hundred years ago, there were about 16 to 20 people of working age for every retired individual. Today that ratio has shrunk to about 3:1 and is approaching 2:1. Something has to give. We try to address that with making euthanasia legal. That is at first done on a voluntary basis. Inevitably, it will be made compulsory, not directly, of course, but simply by rationing health services, perhaps by design, but unquestionably constrained by financial resources. Of course, the elderly and infirm who need to be supported and have them will have their offspring and relatives do that directly,
That is the way it used to be, with childless non-productive people finding shelter with some of their relatives, if they have any, or with more remote relatives or perhaps friends, if they have no children. Last but not least, there was the poor house.
It will be that way again, as soon as Father State is forced to declare bankruptcy and to hand the role of provider and protector back to the institution of the family, where it had been for ten-thousand and more years.
We are only a few years away from when the only functioning and effective social safety-nets will be found in families with productive children. The government’s role will then once again be reduced to making sure not so much that people pay their taxes but that they properly look after their social responsibility in more practical and direct ways.
As the long existence of civilization has shown us, necessity is one of the best teachers. Too many people forgot that lesson.
There was a response to that:
I remember hearing somewhere that older Eskimo’s walk off from the tribe and die somewhere. Not me, baby! I’m gonna hang on as long as I can. LOLOL!!! You’ll think differently about it too when you are older. We elders still have a lot to contribute, even if it’s not offspring.
To which I replied:
…, when I am older? I should hope so, and hope that I’ll be capable of walking until I meet my maker. I am 77. I don’t quite understand what my way of thinking will change to, but I am sure that people will more likely be supporting the needs of their parents and relatives than those of strangers who are not even related.
Just wait another six years and see what will happen.
The response to that was:
We’ve gotten away from that here in the US. Our elder’s are disposable. Other cultures revere their elders and families feel it not only a responsibility, but an honor to have their elders in their homes and to care for them as they age. Extended families hold no value in the US anymore. I think that’s sad.
It’s not [just] a national problem of the US. It’s a problem that exists and escalates in all developed nations and grows even in the developing nations.
I grew up when the elderly lived with their families and were not yet ware-housed. That was just 70 and 60 years ago, when every family in the neighbourhood had one or two grandparents living with them — built-in baby-sitters and teachers.
We have come a long way to “independent living”. I don’t see things now being in any way better than they used to be then, except that we now have a much larger sector of many elderly people and that we all have much greater life-expectancies, fewer children, much-increased health-care costs, and greatly fewer people to pay for them. There is now also much more loneliness for many people than there used to be, especially for many elderly men [of which very large numbers were expunged from their families].
MGTOW and WGTOW are not only evolutionary dead-ends but make for a great deal of loneliness and rising suicide rates.
That is where I will let it rest, to give you some time to digest it all, but consider also the one of the Ten Commandments that states:
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you” Exodus 20:12
It is the only one of the Ten Commandments that contains a promise, but it is a conditional promise, and I cannot see for the life of me that we have done enough to be able to cash in on it.