By Rosanna Emenusiobi
10 Countries that Desperately Want People to Have More Sex for Babies (contd)
Vladimir Putin once brought Boyz II Men to Moscow to rile men up right before Valentine's Day.
Can anyone blame him? As Tech Insider recently reported, the country is experiencing a perfect demographic storm. Men are dying young. HIV/AIDS and alcoholism are crippling the country. And women aren't having babies. The problem got so bad that in 2007 Russia declared September 12 the official Day of Conception. On the Day of Conception, people get the day off to focus on having kids. Women who give birth exactly nine months later, on June 12, win a refrigerator.
Japan's fertility rate has been below replacement since 1975. To offset that decades-long trend, in 2010 a group of students from the University of Tsukuba introduced Yotaro, a robot baby that gives couples a preview of parenthood. If men and women begin thinking of themselves as potential fathers and mothers, the students theorized, they'll feel emotionally ready to take a stab at the real thing.
The 1960s in Romania were a perilous time for couples. Population growth flattened, prompting the government to impose a 20% income tax for childless couples and to implement provisions that made divorce nearly impossible. The idea was: If you weren't contributing to the communist state by creating future labourers, you had to contribute with dollars instead. The 1980s weren't much better, however -- women faced forced gynecological exams that were performed by "demographic command units" to ensure pregnancies went to term. When Romanian leadership changed in 1989, the brutal policy finally came crashing down. But at 1.31 children per woman, the fertility rate is still well below replacement.
Singapore has the lowest fertility rate in the world, at just 0.81 children per woman. On August 9, 2012, the Singaporean government held National Night, an event sponsored by the breath-mint company Mentos, to encourage couples to "let their patriotism explode." The country has also placed a limit on the number of small one-bedroom apartments available for rent to encourage people to live together and, presumably, procreate. Each year the government spends roughly $1.6 billion on programs to get people to have more sex for procreation.
On the third Wednesday of every month, South Korean offices shut their lights off at 7 p.m. It's known as Family Day. With a fertility rate of just 1.25 children per woman, the country takes any steps it can to promote family life -- even offering cash incentives to people who have more than one child.
India as a whole has no problem with fertility -- the country's ratio of 2.48 children per woman is well above replacement. But the number of people in India's Parsis community is dwindling -- it shrank from roughly 114,000 people in 1941 to just 61,000 in 2001, according to the 2001 census.
That problem led to a series of provocative advertisements in 2014, including one that read "Be responsible -- don't use a condom tonight." Another, geared toward men who lived at home, asked, "Isn't it time you broke up with your Mum?" The adverts seem to be working: By the latest measure, the population has inched back to 69,000.
With a fertility rate of 1.43 -- well below the European average of 1.58 -- Italy has taken a controversial approach to encourage citizens to have more kids. As Bloomberg reports, the country has been running a series of advertisements reminding Italians that time might be running out and that kids don't just come from nowhere. "Beauty knows no age, fertility does," one advert said. "Get going! Don't wait for the stork," another said. Couples haven't responded positively to the guilt trip. Francesco Daveri, a professor of economics at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, has called the adverts a failure.
With a fertility rate of just 1.18 children per woman, Hong Kong faces the same challenge as many industrialized countries: without enough young people to replace aging citizens, populations are dwindling and economic growth is slowing. In 2013, the country proposed giving cash handouts to couples to encourage them to have kids. The idea took its cue from Singapore, where parents receive a "baby bonus" of about $4,400 for their first two children and $5,900 for their third and fourth. But in Hong Kong, the plan never came to life.
Fertility rates in Spain are creeping downward while unemployment is rising: About half of all young people don't have a job. It's the second-highest rate in Europe, behind Greece. To combat the worrying trends, the Spanish government hired a special commissioner, Edelmira Barreira, in January 2017. Her first tasks are finding the myriad causes of the trend and devising macro strategies to reverse it. "We have a lot of work ahead of us," Barreira told the Spanish newspaper, Faro De Vigo.
3. Sex Education in Europe Turns to Urging More Births
Recently, Sex and Society, a non-profit group that provides much of Denmark's sex education, adjusted its curriculum. The group no longer has a sole emphasis on how to prevent getting pregnant but now also talks about pregnancy in a more positive light. It is all part of a not-so-subtle push in Europe to encourage people to have more babies. Denmark, like a number of European countries, is growing increasingly anxious about low birthrates. Those concerns have only been intensified by the region's financial and economic crisis, with high unemployment rates among the young viewed as discouraging potential parents. The Italian health minister described Italy as a “dying country” in February. Germany has spent heavily on family subsidies but has little to show for it. Greece's depression has further stalled its birthrate. And in Denmark, the birthrate has been below the so-called replacement rate needed to keep a population from declining — just over two children per woman — since the early 1970s.
“For many, many years, we only talked about safe sex, how to prevent getting pregnant,” said Marianne Lomholt, the national director of Sex and Society. “Suddenly we just thought, maybe we should actually also tell them about how to get pregnant.” Reason? The demographic shift is more pressing in Europe than almost any other major region, save Japan. A dying nation! There are an estimated 28 Europeans 65 or older for every 100 residents ages 20 to 64, almost twice the world average, according to the United Nations, and compared with 24.7 for the United States. By the end of the century, the United Nations expects the European figure to double.
Anxiety in Danish society has spawned no shortage of creativity. One priest made headlines for his enthusiastic writings on sex and eroticism. An entrepreneur created a pro-procreation dating site. Spies, a Danish travel company, began a “Do It for Denmark!” promotional campaign last year aimed at increasing getaway bookings to European capitals. A racy commercial featured a young Danish couple going to a hotel in Paris to do their part to lift the nation's birthrate. “Can sex save Denmark's future?” the campaign asked, claiming that Danes had 46 percent more sex on holidays. Christine Antorini, the Danish education minister, said in a statement that the government was now seeking “a stronger focus on a broad and positive approach to health and sexuality, where sexual health covers both joys and risks associated with sexual behavior.” Perhaps all of the attention is starting to bear fruit. New statistics show about a thousand more births last year than the year before, the first increase in the Danish birthrate in four years. “I cannot say it is because of us,” Ms. Lomholt of Sex and Society said, laughing. “We have just started having a focus on it.”
4. Affluence without People is a Disaster!
The developed nations are rich, affluent – they have virtually everything – food, technology, science, name it. Yet they are not happy because they appear to have no future. They accuse developing nations of “breeding like rabbits” in the midst of poverty. Yet, they have poverty of human beings. They are rich and can cater of dozens of children, yet they refuse to have children. They made themselves sterile and childless because they want to enjoy life to the full. Yet they are poor! They are not happy. What gives lasting happiness lies in human beings, not in having things. Being must supersede having, John Paul II says. Incentives will achieve little until these nations drop the culture of death mentality and embrace the culture of life. Only then, and only then could they become living nations once again.
The foregoing are just a few examples. The incentives are not even working in some nations, as we saw above. Why? People have been indoctrinated for years against parenthood, against children. Today those nations are reaping the bitter fruits of their indoctrination! It is said that one cannot eat one's cake and have it. Notice the various forms of incentives people are being offered just to have children – children that Africans are having generously and happily without any incentive! “Igwe bu ike”, “maduka ka”, “madu k'eji aka” the Igbos say. This is the cherished and experienced wisdom of this ethnic group and other groups in Africa. Hence, their love for family! Their love for parenthood! Their love for children! Their love for people! Their love for life! LONG LIVE NIGERIA! LONG LIVE AFRICA!
The governments of west are busy providing incentives for the growth of their nations, while African governments are busy, by the same monetary incentives from the West, depopulating theirs. We must reject this neo-colonisation of Africa.
Food for Thought
Is it not curious that affluent nations promote population control in Africa when their own populations are dangerously declining?
Is it not curious that developed countries discourage Africans from having large families, while they encourage their own citizens to embrace large families?
(to be continued)