Arnon Grunberg



Ross Douthat on pro-natalism, Africa and Europe:

'Emmanuel Macron, the youthful and ambitious president of the French, likes to talk about African birthrates. In the summer of 2017, he answered a question about why there couldn’t be a Marshall Plan for Africa by calling the continent’s problems “civilizational,” and lamenting that African countries “have seven or eight children per woman.”

This was attacked by some as racist, defended by others as hardheaded realism about development economics. Macron obviously felt comfortable with what he’d said, because he returned to the idea last month at a Gates Foundation conference. (Bill Gates himself has also been talking a lot lately about population control and development in Africa.) “I always say,” Macron told the assembled do-gooders, “‘present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children.’”

This time there was a specifically female response: A Catholic University of America professor, Catherine Pakaluk, posted a photo of six of her eight children under the Twitter hashtag #postcardsforMacron, and soon there was a flood of female Ph.Ds posting pictures of their broods.

As a pro-natalist, I am in full sympathy with the Macron-tweaking mothers, but as a descriptive matter the French president is basically correct. It’s a law of modern Western and East Asian history (we’ll call it Macron’s Law hereafter) that with wealth and education birthrates fall — and fall, and fall. The existence of occasional exceptions only highlights how exceptional they are.

This plunge has happened without population-control interventions as well as with them, and because Western-supported population control efforts in the developing world tended to be inhumane and not-so-mildly racist, over the last couple of decades they have fallen somewhat out of fashion, with Gatesian philanthropists and politicians alike.

So why are they creeping back into the discussion? For three reasons: Because African birthrates haven’t slowed as fast as Western experts once expected, because European demographics are following Macron’s Law toward the grave, and because European leaders are no longer nearly so optimistic about assimilating immigrants as even a few short years ago.

In 2004, the U.N. projected that Africa’s population would level off by 2100 around two billion. Today it projects that it will reach 4.5 billion instead. This change in the expected trend is more likely a result of sluggish economic growth than proof of an African exception to Macron’s Law — though it holds open the possibility that Africa could be such an exception. But whatever the explanation, by century’s end two in five human beings could be African.'


'Of course government efforts to raise the Western birthrate, France’s included, have been no more obviously successful than Western-sponsored efforts to cut birthrates elsewhere in the world.

But focusing on European fertility has at least one moral advantage over Macron’s finger-wagging at African babymaking: It’s the part of the future that Europeans actually deserve to control.'

Read the article here.

I'm not sure if I'm a pro-natalist, having not procreated till now calling myself a pro-natalist would be slightly hypocritical. And demographic warfare in the Middle-East is among certain people completely accepted (many of the Israeli settlers for example) but do we want demographic warfare to come to Europe?

(Please read also this article about Poland and demography in NYT.)

Perhaps the downfall of the Third Reich was just a foreshadowing of quite a few other downfalls? The price for survival may be too high, and then: how do you define survival? Your children's survival? The survival of your "race"? Of your religion? Of your state? Of human beings? Of beings?

I believe in the survival of cockroaches and for those worrying about Mozart and Mahler: AI will listen to Mozart and Mahler, and probably AI will enjoy it even more than we did.

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