Germany's Population Decline
by Sabine Barnhart
by Sabine Barnhart
Contradictions occur when truth clashes with thinking that purports to be rational. It results in behaviors whose consequences are opposite from what a policy or a thought process originally intended would happen. This is also known as the "law of unintended consequences." The policy maker or planner often compromises with society's misguided ideas by endorsing behaviors that are actually damaging to society.
Societies will pressure its elected representatives into legitimizing lifestyles that often have a reverse affect on the productivity of its nation. People feel then entitled to receive its cake which the politicians have baked, but yet continue to bemoan the system when there is no delivery and continue to bemoan its taste and keep sending it back to the kitchen for another try upon try.
Their short-term vision cannot see future failures of their philosophy. Governments, who are placed on their throne by the will of the people, will enforce these irrational policies on its citizens. Government policies in cooperation with the majority voices of its society create more poverty and hubris with their legislations if one takes a closer look at statistics. The data is a visible outcry of an alarming crisis in their economic and social arena of their countries.
Germany is currently finding itself in such a crisis. With a birth rate of 8.45 per 1000 people in 2004 (down from 9.35 in 2000), its 82.5 million population is aging quickly. Along with its higher death rate than birth rate, Germany finds itself at a net population drop of 143,000 people in 2004. Even if Germany intends to fill the gap with an influx of immigration from the East through its attractive welfare system, it cannot keep up with the reality that people are not reproducing at a rate that would keep their social security system from breaking apart.
Although attempts are made to import highly skilled workers, Germany is currently finding itself in an immigration mess which places Germany's Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, under pressure due to his lax visa regulations allowing thousands of immigrants from Ukraine to enter the country in 2000 through 2003. His political opposition is claiming an increase in illegal workers and rise in criminal activity.
Unemployment, which in February 2005 stood at 10.4%, presents an additional obstacle for those people who wish to start a family. Job stimulation is restricted by government's interference of placing too many demands and high taxes on its businesses. Social welfare has to be supported as well as the motivation to increase population. And yet, the businesses and industries that could provide employment for its people is being punished and restricted by labor laws and labor unions, forcing businesses to move to countries in the East where taxes are lower.
Capital that is essential for economic growth, is diverted to support policies that in the long run will drain it further and suffocate any chance for a substantially growing economy, thus endangering the incentives for production and damaging the chances of those stuck on the bottom rung of the economic latter. The uncertainty of this shaky policy instills a fear in every second German of losing his job with an increase of mental depression in its population.
The German government has spent already over 150 Million Euros on family issues trying to raise the birth rate. Since 1964 the birth rate fell from 1.4 Million to 700,000 each year showing a consistent 40-year pattern that the government has not been able to break with policies. Its incentive to financially reward average income parents with two children by adding approximately 2000 Euros each year to their paycheck is not enough to instill the desire to marry and have children.
Another consistent pattern appears in a study done in 1998 showing that approximately a fourth of all children born in EU countries are born out of wedlock which in 1980 was only at 10% of all births. Countries that show the highest numbers of out of wedlock births are Italy at 8.3%, with Sweden (3.6%) showing the lowest desire to marry. Even Germany shows this increasing trend each year where almost every fourth child is now born outside the union of marriage.
Renate Schmidt, Bundesfamilienministerin (Federal Minister of Family Affairs), also finds this trend very alarming. A recent study by Unicef concluded that 40% of all German children in single parent households live in poverty. Unicef defines poverty as living in a household with less than half of the average income. Her Social Party Democrats (SPD) intends to solve the problem through stronger financial funding by increasing the monthly child support to 140 Euros for single parent households.
Every tenth child in Germany is now classified as living in poverty by government standards and has become the burden of its society. It is willingly removing the responsibility of those individuals who have engaged in behaviors that are freely being endorsed by society at large. Its consequence falls on the wallet of the state that rewards the behavior of its citizen through financial aids — money paid by the tax payers. Pity is not a policy that can change behavior when its vicious cycle burdens the productivity of its society.
The left-wing voices of society in most Western nations are now urging the Church to lower its standards by embracing behavior that is contradictory to a healthy society. The recent appointment of the new Pope, Benedict XVI, has received this opposition in its native Germany because of his orthodox stance on church dogma. However, evaluating the statistics above, one can see the loud voices of irrational thoughts do not conclude a healthy outcome for their society.
A healthy society consists of man and woman and their children within the sanctity of marriage by providing a nurturing family environment that raises productive and healthy children. It is in this union where genuine care is being extended. Children see that they were wanted for the sake of love and not for the sake of being an integral part of the social security program to support a retired populace. Their existence becomes a personal and loving choice and not a financial one, since government only desires its offspring for additional taxing.
It is in the union of marriage where children learn to love and receive the foundation of moral teachings. Endorsing any other behavior outside this context of truth will result in consequences that have become a social disaster that only furthers a continued decline of living standards. Frau Renate Schmidt should see that family consists of values, and that values can only be instilled by parents and by adhering to moral codes that cannot be rewarded when transgressed. The transgression of a law demands a retribution, which courts of law are to determine. The Church can teach its spiritual rehabilitation that no secular policies can mend.
Contradictions will cease when truth is accepted as reality. This is when the scales will fall from people's eyes and they will recognize that they have been blinded. Germany knows the basic principals of that reality, because its small communities were once founded on moral behavior. Commitment for improving Germany's situation does not start from the top down, but starts from within and a change of thinking in its people. The new Pope may have his hands full by re-introducing this concept to his parishioners. Government cannot replace what God and family can offer. If Germans can shed the false sense of security of their government and its socialistic policies, it can rejuvenate itself again into a thriving culture and healthier society that is still strongly present in its traditions. All it needs is freedom from its irrational policies so people will want to marry and have children that can be provided for by the fruits of their own labor.
April 29, 2005
Sabine Barnhart [send her mail] moved to the US in 1980 and lives in Fort Worth, TX with her three children. For the past 15 years she has been working for an international service company.
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