Sunday, February 03, 2013

Innovation and fertility rates

(WSJ, Feb 2, 2013) Low-fertility societies don't innovate because their incentives for consumption tilt overwhelmingly toward health care. They don't invest aggressively because, with the average age skewing higher, capital shifts to preserving and extending life and then begins drawing down. They cannot sustain social-security programs because they don't have enough workers to pay for the retirees.
 I don't believe this claim because over the last two hundreds of years fertility rates kept falling while innovation rates kept going up. The process of long-term innovation depends on invention development (e.g. science) and  investment. Once the government guarantees retirement benefits, there are fewer incentives to invest in one's own children. The society as a whole has to learn how to invest in "somebody else's" children and how to attract immigrants willing to invest in their own children.

tags: problem, demographics, trend, innovation

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