Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Better Swedes than Babies

Ross Douthat thinks that we're missing a vibrancy and an optimism that accompanies high birth rates. That may be true, probably not, but what really bugs me is the argument that the wealth of nations depends on the quantity of babies produced.

Labor markets can be corrected by immigration policy. If the Japanese quit reproducing, there's a wealth of human capital in sub-Saharan Africa. Now that we've overcome our respective national chauvinisms (ahem), teamwork can remedy the imbalances in our demographics.

Take for example those historic rivals, the Norwegians and the Swedes. Once Norway discovered its oil and became decadent and effete (in a Douthatian sense), it decided to import loutish labors from its eastern neighbor. Which keeps a smirk on Norway's face, but also enriches everyone, so that no one has to implore women to crank out more.