Nobody Wants to be Married; Can’t Afford Children

We recently discussed the demographic crises in Japan, South Korea, and parts of Europe. In the close vicinity of both Japan and South Korea, is another nation that is unprepared for the sudden shrinkage of its working class population.

“It’s a society where nobody wants to get married and people can’t afford to have children,” said Wang Feng, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine. “On a deeper level, you would have to think about what kind of society China will become, not just demographically, but socially.”

… Dong Chang, a 28-year-old administrative employee at a dentist’s clinic in Beijing, said millennials like her enjoyed spending on themselves without batting an eyelid and would find it hard to sacrifice their wants for a child.

“We are all only children, and to be honest, a little selfish,” she said. “How can I raise a child when I’m still a child myself? And take care of him and feed him at midnight?”

… Melody Lin, a 26-year-old worker at a nonprofit, said she couldn’t think of a reason to have a child. She said she had thought about conforming to societal norms and starting a family but decided against it after reading arguments that not all women need to have children.

“My parents think that I’m still young and will change my mind when I get older, but I think it’s unlikely,” she said.

… The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said last year that China’s population contraction would begin in 2027. Others believe it will come sooner or has already begun. The accuracy and completeness of China’s population figures, like other sensitive statistics, have been questioned for years, making exact projections and comparisons difficult.

__ Source via NYT and SCMP

The global economic regime has come to depend upon a “China stimulus,” especially nations with heavy raw materials or high technology exports to China. China has come to depend upon large numbers of low-wage working-age Chinese, to spark its decades-old import/export binge. But as China’s working-age population has already begun to decline, the wages being demanded by workers have begun to ramp upward.

Just as bad, some of China’s main trading partners are beginning to question some of China’s trading methods. As rumbles of discontent with China reverberate across the commercial world, expect the underlying complications to add up for Beijing.

China now has a huge, capable population. It is not in danger of running out of people so much as it is in danger of running out of enough working-age people to sustain the hard-fought-for high ranking of China on the world economic stage.

The fall in the birthrate is likely to accelerate as the number of young women of childbearing age is expected to drop sharply.

Meanwhile, the population is aging due to greater longevity. According to the announcement on Friday, the number of people over age 65 reached 12.6% of the total population at the end of 2019, 0.7 percentage point up from the previous year.

The birthrate decline and aging place an extra burden on the nation’s finances and social security benefits such as healthcare and pensions. __ Nikkei Asian Review quoted in China Digital Times

This could all come to an unhappy climax if China is forced to play by international rules in its overseas trading policies. Beijing has bribed a lot of foreign journalists, politicians, and businessmen to stay silent on China’s abusive trade regime. But just as in the collapse of the Soviet empire in the late 1980s and early 1990s, China’s house of cards is subject to being downgraded to a pile of cards if the dragon loses favorable air currents.

More: Trade Dispute repercussions

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2 Responses to Nobody Wants to be Married; Can’t Afford Children

  1. bob sykes says:

    Every White and East Asian population has a birth rate below replacement. This appears to be a consequence of modern economies that actively oppose family formation, e.g., by removing fertile young women from society and placing them first in colleges, what amount to medieval nunneries, and then in professions outside the home that impede family formation.

    In Darwinian terms, Eurasia, North and South America, and much of MENA are failed populations going extinct. The replacement populations are all low IQ, and some are prone to violence. None will be able to maintain the modern societies that are killing off the advanced populations, so the future is grim for everyone.

  2. Mirco Romanato says:

    The demographic (contraction) crises come after a demographic (expansion) crises.
    In the end things will sort out themselves.
    As I have argued in the past, currently China (the EU and many other countries) are converting an excess of people in money and credits for the government.

    The big problem it is the costs of government as a whole are increasing wildly and out of control. This will cause a reduction infertility hitting mainly the less proclived to have children (the workers with the highest productivity).

    But, as the government run out of money and credit to spend to keep people quiet (in EU it is pension funds and subsides) the least productive people will be hit in the worst way possible: not able to pay for themselves they will lose the welfare the government pay to them.

    And when the money stop to flow, the reason a government exist is put in question.
    People with money will survive and have children, the others will starve; and starving is a no no for fertility.

    The main question I would pose for China and every other place out there is:

    “Who will offer an eugenic service to allow productive people with the resources to have the best selected offsprings (the best 10% with IQ, health, personality, etc.)?”

    My back on the envelope computations give me:
    $50k-25K to get the best 5 children over 50 fertilized (50 full genetic sequencing) and the needed insertion of the blastula in the womb.
    This is around $5K/child. Half of what the government spend yearly for a student in a public school.
    High demand would reduce the costs further of the procedure (genetic sequencing is falling down in costs on its own).
    The blastula could be divided in four groups of cells (one sequenced, three in reserve to be implanted if the first fail).

    The effects of selecting the best 10% by IQ, health, etc. (often these are overlapping) is around 18 IQ point higher than the mean of the parents.

    Add artificial wombs or wombs for hire in the mix if you like.

    The costs of adding artificial or for hire wombs are around $10K/child. This total $15K/child (less than couple of years of public schooling or a cheap car) for a 18 IQ points higher child.
    This without accounting for the lower costs of having a healthier and smarter child needing less healthcare, less remedial lessons, etc.

    Will China do this?

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