There’s recently been published that 50% of women never had a child by age 30.
This article will explore the case for having children, but no way is it demanding people to have children and that the choice not to start a family is valid.
My argument will focus on the necessity for children to look after their parents in old age, and great meaning can be derived from family and romantic relationships though there are other outlets.
When deciding whether or not to have a child, the burden of childbirth and the growing of the child is placed squarely upon a woman’s shoulders due to only biological women capable of carrying a child through the nine months of pregnancy.
The Ending of the Welfare State and the Pension
The ability for people to retire only existed in the 20th century.For ordinary people, before this, it was normally the rich or the very well-off who could retire during their twilight years.
Previously the development of the welfare state in the case of Britain during the early Liberal governments of the 20th century and Clement Attlee’s Labour government of 1945 created the United Kingdom’s welfare state and social security.
Without the development of the retirement and pension systems, people would have worked until they were dead, or their families would have had to support them.
On a personal note, my great-grandfather burnt to death, having finished working down the coal mines in the 1950s.
According to the author and journalist Louise Perry, the welfare state is a ‘pyramid scheme’ where it is the younger generations that pay for the retirement of the older generation, and this system only really works if there are more young people at the bottom of the pyramid then are old people at the top.
People born in the late 1990s and early 2000s in the Global North are expected to live well into their 90s, meaning there will be more old people aged 45 to 95 than young people aged 1 to 40; therefore, there won’t be enough young people look after older people and pay for their retirement through taxation.
This also includes private pensions because pensions tend to go into investments that pay for people’s retirement, for these kinds of investments are often dependent upon people’s investment into the economic system.
Because of these reasons, society and the economy need more young people in the population to maintain its birth rate at 2.1.In South Korea, for instance, its replacement level is around 0.7 to 0.8.
If these levels continue, by the end of the 21st century, North Korea will have a larger population than South Korea, with its population currently at 51 million compared to 25 million North Koreans.
Another important factor to consider is that people with friends in their 80s cannot look after their friends or themselves if they don’t have children.
As we age, we have more health conditions related to old age, such as arthritis and other health conditions revolving around inactivity due to life choices before and after retirement.
With the population plunge, we will see a world with places like China going from a population of 1.4 billion to possibly under 500 million; by the end of the century, welfare systems will no longer be tenable.
A reversion to support the family unit will become a new normal or, more accurately, returning to the old ways of maintaining family and looking after older relatives.
Legacy and Relationships
What is this brief and mortal life without the pursuit of legacy in a world where all empires and all legacies turned to dust and ashes with histories great as conquerors, British scientists and others will eventually be forgotten due to the passive of centuries?With everything eventually ending, the only true legacy we have is family.
The historian David Starkey stated it is the ‘duty of present generations to pass on a legacy to their children’.
However, it’s important to point out David Starkey’s hypocrisy and double standards due to the man choosing not to have children or adopt due to being a gay male or homosexual if you prefer terminology.
As I write this, I’m not saying people must have children, but if you are looking for legacy, a form of permanence in children is one of the most robust options.
However, we live in a culture that does not value family, community and relationships; in wealthy and post-industrial economies, relationships are becoming more individual with people’s focus, not developing bonds.
Due to this decline, the culture being against family and relationships is one of the driving forces of people’s depression.
In 2023, 29.0% of Americans reported being diagnosed with depression in their lifetime, while 17.8% reported depression.
In 2017 in South Korea, nearly 1 in 4 individuals had a mental disorder, though only 1 in 10 received treatment, culminating in the country having the highest suicide rate of any OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) member nation.
Ninety-five per cent of South Koreans report being stressed, with staggering rates of depression among older people.
The result is an alarming national epidemic that has only worsened annually for the past 20 years. Every day, nearly 40 South Koreans commit suicide.
What society needs is a return to the value of relationships and family. It doesn’t have to be children, but there needs to be true human connections and relationships.
The use of smartphones, social media and people’s being lazy and not intentional with their lives is leading people to have immediate enjoyment but not have filled lives that give them meaning.
Being on a smartphone or a computer game for 12 hours and feeling fun but reading a book for the same amount of time, you will get more of a sense of accomplishment.
Dating and taking on responsibilities are only sometimes fun because relationships and people are tough.
Plenty of miscommunication at the beginning of relationships but through this hardship and feeling uncomfortable is where good things begin.
Life is hard, and the only way to make it through and have fulfilled life is to live your life with intention and purpose.
The purpose doesn’t have to be children, but there is the economic and social incentive in the long run to have a family though there are short-term sacrifices which are hard.
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