What is the long-term affect of societies that have a low birth rate, such as Japan or Italy.
I mean, what happens when two generations grow up where most people are single children, there is a decline in knowledge of what it means to have a medium or large family and have many cousins and brothers and sisters. One only has distant knowledge of their grandparents having told them stories about such things. Grandpa would tell stories of having so many cousins on a family outing that they had a whole baseball team.
What does it mean for competition. In previous generations competition begins at a young age among brothers and cousins, personalities develop, instincts and tendencies, diversity is formed, but what happens when people are raised primarily as individuals, islands unto themselves, wha does it mean overall for society and the demands of the individual, the “only me” and self-centered society. What does it mean long term when large numbers of people simply don’t want children or families and don’t view heir family as a responsibility, when larger numbers of people expect to grow old without family, a more mobile people, with less roots.
The reduction of family bonds, of the concept of “family” in general, to a degree after several generations where some societies reach a point that Dad and Mom had no brothers and sisters and neither do the kids, must have extreme affects on societies and behavior. The changes will be felt over time. Will it lead to reduction innovation, stagnation, and increased inequality, the insulation of a smaller oligarchic class of nepotism, less social mobility, perpetuation of small groups through connections seeking to reduce competition by hiring only members of a small class.
Large families meant more competition for resources but also tended toward innovation and social mobility for some members, whereas the smaller individual society grasps for family ties not in their families, which are so small, but in their economic family, their class, those they go to high school with, and they seek to insulate themselves from other groups, the “others” which they may call refugees or “deplorable” or “migrants” or some other term. As poverty is sometimes an indicator of “large families” which are seen as rural and parochial or “those people” it may be that even having a larger “family” is seen as a reason to keep social distance.
What does it mean for a society’s ability to plan for the future. How does it plan when it has so few people to plan for, and when its plans are hijacked by the older generation that suck up resources and hoard resources for themselves? Societies that are less focused on the young generation and more focused on the individual, or focused on retirees in an aging society, don’t give tools or resources to the young…hence we see wage stagnation. We see less dynamic societies than the “baby boom” generation. We see less innovation, less competitive instincts. We see a collapse in morale and malaise. Cynicism. Despondency. Societies with more walls, more crime and violence in poor areas and wealthier areas increasingly insulated, with outsiders depicted as “barbarians at the gate”, rising populism among generations of angry people who are themselves isolated due to lack of opportunity and feeling of lonliness.
Lack of responsibility is also a result. Why be responsible when there is no honor or shame of large families to police behavior and there is just “me” and only I judge myself.
Countries that have low birthrates are now reaching the second generation of the low-birthrate phenomenon. There was a generation born in the 1970s-1980s and another in the 2000s, we will soon see the “baby boom” generation that created these societies pass, until knowledge of the concept of a “large family” is no longer a memory for many, especially the middle class and “elites.”
To imagine this impact will not be long-term is to deceive. Even countries like China, rapidly developing, have set themselves on a path, first through government coercion, but now culture, of mostly having one child. Within a generation it won’t be that the government “forced” this, but that people can’t imagine why they would ever have more or even one. China’s government is concerned…its policy worked too well. Other countries are concerned, seeing a future with a declining population, or populism rising and claims that people are being “replaced” by “others.” Extremism has resulted. It will get worse.