Allan Carlson has emphasized that a government can’t buy a higher birthrate. Generous family allowances may encourage couples to have their children earlier in life, but the ultimate birthrate is not affected.

This seems to have happened in Germany. The German government is concerned about the abysmal birthrate in Germany and increased family allowances. Der Spiegel reports

A drop in the number of births in Germany during the months of October and November suggests there may have been a birth rate decline in the country during 2008, despite lavish government benefits for new parents.

For months, it looked like Germany might have put a stop to its shrinking birth rate. Indeed, in 2007, the country actually managed a bit of population growth. And, with a fast graying population that will be knocking on the door of the local pension office in the next few decades, it was high time, too.

But a reversal of Germany’s demographic fortunes has proven to be a mirage.

Birth rates reflect confidence in the future, and ultimately some sort of faith in Providence. Economic hard times will further de[press the birth rate and increase the burden of pensions, which in turn will lower the income of workers, leading to a lower birth rate, and so on. Euthanasia or massive immigration are the obvious solutions; Holland has already adopted the former to control health care costs.

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