Friday, October 01, 2004
TCS: Tech Central Station - Will Hutton's Fecund Suggestions Very funny. Author Tim Worstall seems to be channeling Lileks at one point: The UK, which is much less accommodating to the needs of mothers and their children, has [a fertility rate] of 1.65 [children per woman]. You might also be interested in noting that the USA, a place where people work the longest hours of any rich country, where anything more than a few days off for the stitches to take after parturition is regarded as malingering, where paid paternity leave is almost unheard of once it is confirmed that the babbie can work out how to suck on a teat, that hellhole of family unfriendly policies has a fertility rate of 2.07. It might just be different immigration rates of course, as first generation such are known to be more philoprogenitive but then Sweden has a higher rate than the UK, 5.4% to 4%, of foreign born residents. So there seems to be something empirically wrong with the suggested solution. We cannot see that actually having more of these sorts of policies does in fact increase the birth rate. We might have known that there was indeed something wrong with the analysis as Mr Hutton gravely informs us that Italy's exceptionally low number of children, (1.12% fertility rate) is actually caused by the Catholic Church. No, don't laugh, Will Hutton is a highly respected liberal intellectual and commentator, former editor of The Observer (The Guardian's sister paper), chief executive of The Work Foundation (formerly the Industrial Society) and a Governor of the London School of Economics. If he says that a Church which outlaws both abortion and contraception, one which regards any sexual act which does not contain the possibility of conception as sinful, if he says that this Church and its teachings are leading to underpopulation, well then, it is so and no sniggering at the back there. Given the growing Islamicsization of Europe, Mr. Hutton just might get his wish. Of course, one should be be careful what one wishes for.