A number of countries on the world are experiencing catastriphic birth rates. I do not want to argue why this is happening – only thing I insist is that many political extremes world wide are going through extreme lengths to blame other people (or conspirators) why birth rates in their respective countries are so catastrophically low. The consequences of these low birth rates are gruesome, in particular in nations with inadquate social safety nets, such as in China. But even with currently somewhat adequate social safety nets and services these won’t stay that way for much longer – as the tax base is quickly eroded by the disparity between the young (who have to generate ever ballooning taxes to sustain an ever expanding geriatric generation). In the current economic capitalist paradigms there are no easy solutions to motivate the young to have more kids – and even if governments were able to enact population growth right this very moment (say, coastal China, Korea, Japan) then it would take a good 20 or so years for these new children to start generating taxes an workers to address problems which are already catastrophic this very moment.
When “thinking far outside the box” I stumble across absolutely heretial ideas. This is who I am – I like sacrilege. I like to come up with concepts that are so far left field they are guaranteed to shock the casual reader. I do not advocate implementing these ideas – I just generate ideas with the purpose of looking at existing challenges in a new way.
As an aside – Broken demographics could be solved very quickly. Most gerontologists world wide are now certain that “with sufficient investment” various rich countries would be capable of halting aging – and not long after enact medical treatments that would be capable of actively revesing most symptom of aging – and to do so in a manner that would cost less than the compounding effects of a catastrophically skewed demographic pyramid. The problem with thi s is that to politicians this assertion is meaningless – there is no way to ascertain the amount of required investments required to halt the process of aging – let alone to reverse aging. How money much do we need, when will such an uncertain investment generate the urgently needed demographic fixes. To a cynical beancounting politician this is an uncertain high treshold investment … but what is more important : why would a politician work hard to make such an in investment if the potential electoral benefits are accrued maybe a decade or more in the future, when the same politician has long since retired. Politicians think in terms of 4 year electoral cycles and any investments that might serve the other team (or are relatively uncertain) don’t make much sense. For the same reason the typical politician loathes trying the fix the already catastrophic process of climate change. It’s much easier to pay some propagandist think tanks to foment climat change scepticism. Its much easier to satisfy votes who don’t believe serious problems actually exist.
I have been fascinated for over 15 years by the problem of collapsing birth rates and broken demographic pyramids. And thinking about this problem in the most detached, cynical and mechanistic perspective I anticipate one country to soon be the first thinking outside the box.
Let’s do a quick “back of the napkin” calculation of a truely scandlous and sacriligious notion. How much would a well educated person cost tgo “generate” in one of the poorer countries in the world. Let’s assume we need about 3 people (including the mother) to work full time to generatea person. Let’s assume investments in buildings, medical facilities, IVF treatments, maybe even some level of genetic/health screening. Let’s assume we need schools and some level of orchestrated ‘orphanages’.
I would estimate that at a median wage of several hundred euro a month in a country such as India it should be perfectly feasible to have Indian women implanted with IVF generated embryos, generate healthy pregnancies, raise these kids in a loving and save and productive manner and thus generate model citizens for somewhere between 20 and 30 thousand euro. If (as an example…) South Korea would go to some region in India, get the required licences, find the prospective willing and motivated mothers, generate pregnancies in these Indian women of Korean origins at a rate of one per two years, then each mother should be – with adequate medical care – be able to produce ten children in two decades. That would nett these women a fine income for Indian standards. These faciluties would isolated from Indian culture and language – the children born would be immersed in Korean culture, language, desirable values, a strong worth ethic and national pride. They’d be subjected to a gentle, loving regimen, good education. So if (hypthetically) a country like Japan, Korea, China were to decide to implement such an uhm …”infrastructure” each prospective tapaying, amicable , healthy, sane and highly educated Korean individual would be deposited in Korean society some 18 years later, where they would receive Korean citizenship, and a small apartment and a starting job.
Such an idea, let alone the implementation thereoff, is deeply unethical. But since I am engaging in my favorite passime – generating truly offensive and sacriligious ideas – the notion itself appears to be a remarkable success.
The problem is not that such an idea is unethical. Lack of ethics in policies or endeavours never stopped much of western society. Capitalism itself is a deeply unethical system at first and second glance, wrought with worker exploitation, environmental damage, depression, despair, conflict, violence, prejudice and much much worse. The above sacriligious is just an extension of the same – a system which routinely dumps problems over the fence and lets other people deal with it.
But yes, I can see certain increasingly desperate and frantic governments take ‘several ten thousand a pop’ of something equivalent to Euro, head out to the nearest low wage country, impress the imagined financial benefits on some local politician – and start up “a production facility”.
Once one counrty starts throwing tax money at this problem, others wil quickly follow. Early experiments with ‘the industrial scale generation of future citizens’ will no doubt be frought with scandal, abuse, mistreatments, endless discussions, racism. If a country with a very low birth rate such as Italy “orders up some mail order kids” from a low wage country somewhere it will arguably bad in numerous ways – but imagine of Russia starts up the facilities 3 years from now in a particularly low wage country such as Tajikistan, you can bet they will cut corners every step of the way.
What I am advocating is having this debate in all earnestness – what if developed countries start actually failing catastrophically because of low birth rates. We are already seeing this with the attempt of Russia to colonize Ukraine. Part of the impetus behind this illbegotten project was to steal Ukrainian kids and focribly turn these poor kids into russian citizens, by means of near genocidal instruments, war crimes and gruesome brutality. We haven’t seen the last of these policy choices, and in the near future we will see much more unethical projects in this field, especialy when the world’s most sociopathic elites start realizing their investments (and populations of lackeys) might significantly depreciate because of aforementioned lowbirth rates. When the 1%-ers start getting the memo it will be all hands on deck to come up with solutions.
Let’s be ready for that moment and have a disussion about how to enforce the maximum ethical and humane practices.