Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Carrot Ineffective, Stick Too Risky

We’ve written about falling birth rates throughout the developed world, rates are below replacement (2.1 per woman) in places as widely scattered as South Korea, China, Russia, all of Europe, most of North America, much of South America, etc. This article at Vox looks at various efforts governments have taken to encourage their people to have more children, including subsidies of various sorts, none of which have worked.

Obvious things governments could do would be to ban import, production, distribution and sale of birth control drugs and products. Banning Internet pornography would help too. There is evidence that the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade has resulted in an additional 32,000 births (i.e., 32,000 fewer abortions).

Why haven’t governments done much to ban alternatives to sexual activity, or to preventing conception? Probably because they see how much hostile political activism Dobbs has aroused from otherwise apathetic voters. 

Banning birth control products would be politically risky, at least in nations with elected governments. Even nations like China or Russia with non-elected governments know they need the continuing-if-sometimes-grudging consent of the governed.


I wonder if we’ve never met a star-faring race of aliens because intelligent species develop technology to control reproduction which becomes widespread before they develop immortality or a star drive? Hence they go extinct? 

If this hypothesis turns out to be correct, call it a corollary of Cotton’s Law, briefly stated as "Paradoxically, species intelligence eventually brings about species extinction."