109 Comments

Incredible post about a vital topic. Bookmarking so I can keep coming back to the data. Make babies, save the world.

Expand full comment

The future belongs to those who show up for it.

Expand full comment

The future belongs to the parents of legitimate offspring.

Expand full comment

It is not enough to sire offspring here there and everywhere with unmarried mothers left in the lurch, they must be legitimate.

Expand full comment

As a man in his 70s something always strikes me as odd when I read journalism about fertility decline. Your own essay is impressive, evidence-rich and well argued....so well done. And you don't call it a fertility 'crisis' so well done for that too. But here's the thing....when us baby boomers were young there were 3 billion people on the planet and now there are 8 billion. If anyone had any idea of this impending population explosion in the 50 s and 60s they would have been staggered - and horrified. It would have sounded apocalyptic. They just wouldn't have believed it. So how come fertility experts never seem to think this near tripling of the earth's population something even worth mentioning?

Expand full comment

A different kind of people multiplied since 1960s, "diverse" and "vibrant" people. Their explosion is a diffent kind of crisis.

Expand full comment

Do you mean the bastards of unmarried parents who would be treated as sex offenders as prescribed by quran.com/24/2 over-represented in the prison population?

Expand full comment

> If anyone had any idea of this impending population explosion in the 50 s and 60s they would have been staggered - and horrified. It would have sounded apocalyptic.

And yet standards of living improved.

Expand full comment

They always improve. At least in free societies. More people means more brains means more knowledge means more development.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Implying we weren't already chopping down a fuckuva lotta trees back in the days where we mostly made shit from wood? When charcoal was a major fuel source?

Deforestation's a serious problem, but degrowth would exacerbate every one of the problems that causes or leads to deforestation.

Expand full comment

Ah yes, another of those "urgent crises" that never seems to go anywhere.

Expand full comment

The food supply increases as one consumes one's seed corn, doesn't it?

Expand full comment

Except this has been happening for much longer than a year.

Expand full comment

It is a metaphor for putting women to work outside the home, encouraging divorce, illegitimacy, etc.

Expand full comment

Ok. I agree that is a problem.

Expand full comment

The spiritual needs of white people are not being addressed. As I define it, spirituality is the desire for justice in this life or the next. White people are aghast and horrified that their government wants them replaced by non-whites in their own white homelands and can hardly believe it that their governments could be so callous. Those who refuse to believe it would blame Jews, complain about Muslims and racial foreigners until they come to the notice of the authorities causing their status to be lowered as racists, Islamophobes and antisemites causing the confirmation bias that is required for a belief system that is playing the blame game. Instead of solving the problem, they look for people to blame. When playing the blame game gets them into trouble, people holding a pre-existing dislike and hatred for Jews, Muslims, non-whites and foreigners would have their beliefs confirmed making them hate and blame some more. Now we have academics thinking of new ways of justifying racism instead of wondering if there is something fundamentally unsustainable about their belief, value and rule system.

Expand full comment

Because most of them are white supremacists who aren't concerned about humanity as a whole, and only see the increase in population as a threat where hordes of brown people are outbreeding whites. I'm surprised the author didn't recommend mass sterilization in Africa, Asia, and South America.

Expand full comment

I couldn’t agree more. 8 billion is enough. Some crunches in fertility is a very good thing.

Expand full comment

Why not 20 billion? There's plenty of space especially with the work from home revolution

Expand full comment

The Earth won't be able to sustain 20 billion people (https://zerocontradictions.net/FAQs/overpopulation-FAQs#nowhere-close-bogus), especially if we assume that all those humans will be living first-world lifestyles, and if we don't do anything to raise the carrying capacity (https://zerocontradictions.net/FAQs/overpopulation-FAQs#higher-pops-solutions).

Expand full comment

More than enough?

Expand full comment

I hate to imply that existing lives are not precious. They are. But making more lives seems irresponsible.

Expand full comment

Advanced economies become more efficient. They do use more, but they waste less of it. The earth could support 12 billion people at late 20th century levels indefinitely. We could support more people more comfortably with improved technology.

The USA and Western Europe cleaned up their mess, and not just by exporting it to the third world. People care more about their environment when they aren’t worried about their next meals.

Expand full comment

They _were_ horrified. Do you not know of Paul Erlich and “The Population Bomb”?

Expand full comment
Dec 27, 2023·edited Dec 27, 2023

The sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov lectured my junior high school class about the importance of taking measures against fertility (even as Paul Erlich railed against it in the media). This certainly worked for the upscale Boomer boys and girls in the audience that went on to have fewer than 2.3 children per family. Somehow, though, his message and those of many other seeming visionaries was lost on the rest of the world and here we are with white and productive Asian populations in drastic decline all over the world--both relatively and in absolute terms.

Expand full comment

Good point. Also, too many dumb people. We need to breed intelligent people.

Expand full comment

Really good article. So making marriage attractive again is the key to both saving society and probably making it happier at the same time. Still, hard to see how that will come about with the current people in charge.

Expand full comment

An interesting think piece with some based implications. One major issue is that the conclusions are not fully proven by the article, and narrative overlaying messy trend lines is heavily relied on. What could improve this hypothesis is a multi-national analysis correlating women's rights with fertility decline. Shouldn't be too hard to do. This would link fertility decline with the ultimate cause of feminism, dysgenics, especially through the accumulation of de novo mutation.

Expand full comment

The global decline in fertility was caused by increased access to birth control, not so much women's rights and opportunities: https://zerocontradictions.net/FAQs/overpopulation-FAQs#birth-control-and-other-factors.

It's easy to prove that too. As a thought experiment, if we took away all of the world's birth control, then fertility rates never would've decreased in the late 20th and 21st centuries. The feminist movement negatively affected fertility rates too, but feminism couldn't have happened the way it did without increased access to birth control.

Expand full comment

This is extremely interesting. Your prescriptions at the end, the Establishment ain't gonna like, at all, but they make sense.

Expand full comment

gem

Expand full comment
Dec 22, 2023Liked by Aporia

Very informative article.

"In the long run, it means extinction or conquest by younger and more numerous invaders. It is a very bad thing to have happen to your society."

Younger and more numerous invaders were more of a problem during Genghis Khan's time.

"Women outperforming men in education seems to be a universal feature of the modern world."

This may have some validity in secondary education. But in higher education, not so much. Currently, more women are at university than men, but this is meaningless. What is meaningful is the quality of the studies pursued. Women tend to pursue more mundane majors that provide less benefit to themselves and society. Men, on the other hand, tend to populate the more productive majors that are essential to the growth of our society.

Speaking of quality, the author was concerned about a higher fertility rate; nothing was written about higher quality in the replacement population.

Expand full comment

More women at universities is far from being meaningless, as it is the college degree that helps to designate one’s class and social status. With women being the hypergamous creatures that they are, less men at college only reduces the pool of potential suitors for women.

And as mentioned, many of these stupid degrees that women pursue have well playing jobs waiting for them after they graduate because the jobs and career fields have been subsidized/incentivized in several different ways.

A woman who has a degree in some HR related field and makes 90k a year making sexual harassment slide decks is never going to even consider a relationship with a carpenter or some other tradesman making less than her.

Expand full comment
Dec 26, 2023·edited Dec 26, 2023

But my point is these superfluous degrees many women are getting are merely social status in nature. I believe this to be short term.

Expand full comment

They’re social status in nature, sure, but many of them lead to well paying jobs — not because of the intrinsic nature of their degree or the jobs’ productive capacity. They pay well because they’re artificially inflated. They’re a form of a bullshit job. But one with real consequences for how they view themselves in relation to others. Going back to my example, an HR woman making sexual harassment power points (or some other useless job) is probably more often than not going to view herself as “above” a tradesman who makes a similar amount or less even though the tradesman is actually way more valuable to society.

Expand full comment

I'm sympathetic to the arguments re marriage as a driver of the baby boom, but I don't see how most of your suggested solutions would be palatable even to moderately conservative people. In places like Scandinavia the now higher status of women in the workplace and society is not something the electorate will want to reverse very easily.

Expand full comment

Good points made, however impoverishment of single mothers is not a viable solution.

Recognition of the value of women's work (often unpaid) is sadly lacking and part of the problem.

Just because the pill wasn't legalised in Japan until 1999, doesn't mean women weren't taking it! This point seems disingenuous.

Also, the spread of pornography from late 19th century onwards to the hellscape we have now has vastly reduced ordinary women's "market value" so it's a two way street on that front, men are less keen to marry and give up their virtual imaginary harem.

Rolling back women's rights and going back in time to women being property is not the solution.

Expand full comment

I agree that we can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Some thoughts:

Women generally care more about their status with other women than with men.

Do _women_ want higher fertility rates?

Women’s work lost status _with women_.

Women discourage each other from marrying and starting a family before they are “ready”.

Women encourage each other to do things which reduce their attractiveness for marriage.

Men have one primary motivation, which gets sublimated into other things. Convince them that their hopes are futile, and you remove that motivation. Unmotivated men are less attractive. It’s a vicious cycle.

Expand full comment

This kind of work takes a sharp and diligent mind. Thanks for your craft.

Expand full comment
Dec 21, 2023Liked by Aporia

Part of the problem is that the policies that made the US one of the freest, most competitive economies in the world turned out to be fundamentally hostile to fertility. This happened as our jobs became the sole place for playing the innate game of status seeking. The unmarried’s natural advantage on this field accounts for the insensitivity of TFRs to financial incentives. But just as there were cultural factors behind the fall in TFRs, culture could be enlisted in the turnaround. Greater progressivity of the income tax, for instance, would over time reduce the female lfpr by tipping the scales for young women in favor of marriage.

Expand full comment
Dec 21, 2023Liked by Aporia

This is why I am a paid member, such great analysis on something important and ignored by MSM. The fact that the conclusion is something that should be obvious is even more striking. Keep up the great work Aporia!

Expand full comment

Interesting points, but I think this article isn't exactly international enough. What about countries where, at least intuitively, there has been less influence of feminism? Was Saudi Arabia influenced by second wave feminism?

Also, one common hypothesis I see is that the richness of the modern world has created distractions such that having kids is a big opportunity cost. I think this explanation struggles with the Baby Boom (people were more prosperous than they were before yet had more children) and might not hold up to marital fertility data. Also, very rich people probably aren't having tons of children despite it being less of an opportunity cost since others can take care of children for them if they wanted. Alex Nowrasteh has an article in Quilette recently arguing this hypothesis. I think it's worth addressing.

Expand full comment

Since making this comment, I've discovered the work of Lyman Stone, and he has written an article on fertility that I think is even better than this article. It doesn't answer all of my questions, but I genuinely feel like I understand the world better after having read it. https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Declining-Fertility-in-America.pdf

Expand full comment

I wanted to thank you for replying with this link. I was familiar with Lyman Stone, but hadn’t read this particular report—very edifying. Lyman himself says: “Where marriage goes, so goes fertility.” I wonder if he would agree with this account of the baby boom, even if disagreeing about some of the solutions.

Expand full comment

You're welcome! This thread I found outlines his explanation of the baby boom. https://twitter.com/lymanstoneky/status/1700155482453790764?t=4UpAhXgRhuKm_xCF2723kQ&s=19

Expand full comment

I BELIEVE OUR ANCESTORS LEFT US A WARNING ABOUT THIS PHENOMENON!

So... unbalanced female empowerment lowers fertility and lowers all the downstream benifits.

Consider that the semininal "wisdom parable" of Western Culture is the GARDEN OF EDEN story....where a women eats from the "tree of knowledge" and then everyone is cast out of paradise.

Is it possible that this lesson was learned before?...maybe thousands of times before?....and a warning was coded into the metaphorical wisdom of the ancient texts?

Expand full comment

Wow, this was impressive sophistry!

What might have been more useful would have been some ideas that are known to causally increase birth rates. Here, you used a demand for higher birth rates and a weak correlation to argue for the restoration of traditional social structures, which might or might not increase birth rates. My view: attempts to force people to do what you want, instead of what they want, typically result in perverse outcomes where no-one gets what they really wanted.

Expand full comment

Great post.. I just have a comment / question regarding your recommendations at the end. Is taking women's rights away really the only way to make us want to date men again? Basically trapping us?

You saw what happens when you add unexpected financial gains to the equation (lottery). Men get married and women get divorced. Why is that? Have you ever thought about that? How about simply not being jerks, not cheating, helping with housework / childcare. This would make me reconsider dating men... But until then... Is money really the only thing men can bring to the table? Think about that and then you'll have no problem attracting women and having kids..

Expand full comment

It is natural for women to feel more attracted to stronger men in the widest sense of the word (more intelligent, affluent, physically and mentally strong). Having kids is a big big cost for women, hence one has to be careful who you choose as a partner. For men, conceiving is nothing more than pleasure.

So it is normal once a woman is more educated or richer, to have a smaller pool of "attractive" candidates. It shows in the individual data (Swedish lottery) and macro data (e.g. swarms of "involuntary single" educated and high earning women in top cities like New York).

I think we should get back to a more natural state. A woman with ambition to earn should be allowed to do so. A woman with a high drive, should be able to be herself. I think it would be fair to aim for a "fair" society where sex is not an issue and the state does not distort the natural outcomes so much (e.g. tax/subsidies). Let's go back to a more meritocratic society and let it be whatever it is.

Expand full comment