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February 28, 2008


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Jim Franklin

Well, maybe, but...
- Fertility rates fell from 1900, somewhat before the welfare state got going
- They fell again when the pill was invented; the causality is obvious
- My guess is that the average number of children of posters to this blog is low, and it isn't because they're on welfare: as I argued in my Quadrant article `Graduate and childless', http://www.quadrant.org.au/php/archive_details_list.php?article_id=504, it's because they're busy getting degrees, chasing a partnership in the law firm etc.

And if it is true that the Welfare State means people don't have to have children to support them in their old age, that's a good reason to have the Welfare State. Having children out of fear is not good.

Grant Harris

I don't mention fear as a motivator why do you?

Jim Franklin

I referred to your sentence "From the 70s onwards couples no longer felt it necessary to have large families as a basic form of insurance against a lack of income later in life." The phrase "feel it necessary ... as insurance against" looks to me like a synonym of "fear". If it doesn't mean that, what does it mean?

Grant Harris

Large families also provided an immediate social fabric and support network for pooling resources and creating operational efficiencies. These are hardly outcomes motivated by fear.

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