An academic has hailed mass migration and the coming artificial intelligence revolution as reasons not to fear plummeting fertility rates in Western countries, wherein most it has long stood below replacement rate.
Oxford University academic Sarah Harper’s views that falling fertility should be a “cause for celebration” were profiled by British left-wing newspaper The Guardian, which reported that changes in society meant Western countries no longer had to worry about growing or even sustaining their populations.
The former Royal Institution director said nations wishing to sustain themselves was “really old thinking”, and praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a world leader who had found a way to grow their country without having to resort to citizens having their own children.
Make Babies Great Again: Hungarian Fertility Rates Rise, Turns Back Demographic Decline https://t.co/AaqgdMUQbQ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 12, 2018
Speaking of the migrant crisis which Dr Merkel triggered by throwing open her own borders — and by proxy the borders of the European Union as well — Harper said: “I believe that one of the reasons why Angela Merkel took the million refugees was because she desperately needed to boost her working population.”
As well as mass migration, the academic pointed to artificial intelligence, which she believes will render many human occupations obsolete in the future, as a reason to celebrate falling birth rates.
Harper said: “What we should be saying is no, [a declining total fertility rate] is actually really good because we were terrified 25 years ago that maximum world population was going to be 24[billion]… A smaller number of highly educated people in the knowledge economy of Europe will vastly outweigh increasing our population because automation is going to take over many of the tasks.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 6, 2015
It was not explained what would happen to the large, newly arrived, and low-skilled migrant population once those manual jobs were replaced with intelligent computers, however. It is also not clear whether proponents of mass migration would ever be willing to admit developments in technology and industrial process would render their perceived need for continued immigration obsolete in the future.
The article also repeated the clearly antinatal claim that “Having fewer children is also undoubtedly positive from an environmental point of view”. This follows a July 2017 piece from the same newspaper that declared having children a “lifestyle choice” as opposed to a fundamental part of human existence, which was reporting on a new academic study calling for anti-childbirth messages to be targeted at teenagers.
While Harper’s views are widely accepted in many Western nations — including in the UK where the continued rise in population is mostly down to immigration — some European nations are rejecting the notion that mass migration can be the answer to all problems.
As Sweden Birthrate Declines Migrants Have More Children Than Natives https://t.co/LgwiQGw5Gl
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 13, 2018
Breitbart London reported on the remarks of Italy’s populist leader Matteo Salvini in July, when he set out the priorities of the then-new coalition government, remarking “A country which does not create children is destined to die… We have created a ministry of the family to work on fertility, nurseries, on a fiscal system which takes large families into account.
“At the end of this mandate, the government will be measured on the number of newborns more than on its public debt.”
The Italian state has since trailed plans to reward growing families with free land in depressed areas to encourage childbirth and regenerate the regions.
Poland and Hungary have also pursued clear pro-family policies, enacting laws to curb Sunday trading to allow families more time to be together at the weekends, and financially supporting growing families. The policies seem to be having an impact, with Hungarian government statistics showing a reverse in demographic decline in recent years.
Study: While European Nations Fall Below Replacement Rate, Global Birthrates Surge https://t.co/baCu1gvuS3
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 9, 2018