Demographers, economists and psychologists are scratching their heads over a phenomenon that breaks all their statistical models and paradigms of human behaviour. Why would people who are prosperous (and, despite the current situation, western Europe is) not want to do what human beings have always done and leave a posterity? How can they contemplate the eclipse of their nation?
One answer might be that the public is simply not aware of what is happening. Lant Pritchett, an economist and Professor of the Practice of International Development at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, toldMercatorNet: “Scientists of perception study ‘change blindness’ and can show people have a hard time even visually seeing gradual change, much less gradual change at the social level. Unlike the advocates for climate change there are no ‘extreme events’ like Hurricane Sandy in demography so it is hard to get attention onto the inevitable consequences of current fertility.”
Dr Pritchett and colleague Martina Viarengo are the authors of an essay, “Why Demographic Suicide? The Puzzles of European Fertility”, which is part of acollection of essays published recently by the New York based Population Council in honour of a sistinguished scholar, Paul Demeny. The papers are heavy going but repay the effort to grasp what population experts are saying right now.
Read the full piece HERE.