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The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity And What To Do About It Hardcover – April 13, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
Longman begins by laying out the data. Today global fertility rates are half what they were in 1972.
Europe of course leads the way, with precariously low levels. Italy for example has just 1.2 children per woman. Spain is doing even worse, with 1.15 children. These two nations are experiencing the lowest fertility rates ever seen in recorded history.
All together, 59 nations making up 44 per cent of the world's population, are not producing enough children to avoid population decline.
What are the implications of such a demographic time bomb? Simply stated, we are rapidly becoming an aging society, with ever shrinking pools of young people. This has very real repercussions on many fronts. But a major worry of governments is how we are going to pay for this growing pool of the elderly, with these declining fertility rates.
As but one example, in Europe today there are 35 people of pensionable age for every 100 people of working age. If present trends continue, by 2050 there will be 75 pensioners for every 100 workers.
Longman asks why this demographic trend is unfolding before our eyes. One major factor is that it simply costs a huge amount of money to raise a child today. The increasing number of working women, and women in higher education, is another factor. So too are such reasons as declining male wages, fear of divorce, rising taxes, the absence of grandparents as child carers, contraception use and abortion.
The economic component is certainly a leading cause of childlessness.Read more ›
I wish that people could do a better job of rising above their personal values to critically examine books like The Empty Cradle ¡V like the reviewer who criticizes the book because it ¡§promotes the idea that women staying home is the solution for falling birthrates.¡¨ The book does no such thing.
Among other valuable contributions to our thinking, The Empty Cradle reveals that 59 nations representing 44% of the world¡¦s population are headed for population contraction and that this is hastening the aging of societies worldwide, many of which have virtually no infrastructure in place to meet the needs of coming vast waves of elderly, and others whose infrastructures are woefully inadequate.
The upshot is, the health and nwell being of the world economy stands to be challenged as never before by the first population contraction in modern times. We would ignore Longman¡¦s work at great peril to social, cultural and economic institutions ¡V and one might argue even the environment, for the shortage of resources to deal with the problems he describes will almost certainly seriously stress an already over stressed environment.
All of the 1 star ratings are people disagreeing with the subjective values the book describes. I'm not sure that the fact that one *disagrees* with the book is a good justification for rating it poorly. The book does exactly what it sets out to do.
Fearing the threat of a radically conservative religious takeover, I was curious as to what should be done, and I found "The Empty Cradle" by Phillip Longman and was curious. After buying the book, I have never been disappointed and have recommended this work to a great many people whom I know or have known.
Phillip Longman, as not only this book but also his articles at the New America Foundation website demonstrate, is a brilliant writer who manages to transcend the boundaries of left and right without succumbing to predictable "wishy washy" centrism. In every section of "The Empty Cradle" he looks very clearly at every possible alternative and is remarkably effective at understanding how possible answers to declining birth rates are likely to be correct or incorrect. His illustration of essential issues like the present state of affairs in the most critically affected nations, the skyrocketing cost of children, the problems an aging society will face, and possible remedies that will avoid the problem of a state ruled by religious law and lack of freedom for women stands as masterful. He is, in fact, firmly principled and resolute in a way people seeking to bridge problematic political divides which both him and myself understand to relate to the issues mentioned above.
Similarly, Longman's viewpoint (like many conservatives) of the utility of home-based economics actually resonates well with me even though I have never married or even dated - probably because so much of what I have learned was never taught to me at school.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Anyone with even a rudimentary grasp of exponential mathematical functions and common sense would understand that this "non-fiction" book has but a miniscule basis in fact. Read morePublished on November 30, 2012 by Winston D. Jen
Very informative with thorough support statistics. Thirty years from now when people look up from their defaulted pension statements they'll realize children were a blessing and... Read morePublished on September 3, 2011 by Jonathan
This book is all wrong and if we continue to add people to this planet we surely push our people to destruction! Total BS!Published on August 23, 2011 by Brooker
While I don't plan to go out and try to 'fix' the falling birthrate problem myself, this book puts the whole matter into a totally different perspective for me. Read morePublished on June 30, 2011 by Paul A. Tomlinson
Full of new ideas. It challenges your traditional knowledge in each chapter. Well supported. Just the last chapter was too mundane, but despite that I give it five stars.Published on May 31, 2011 by Mr. Pablo Rodas
"Documentation of Undeniable Facts of Reality
Interested readers, if they may ever at all doubt seriously the massive empirical truth can freely consult the following... Read more
Subreplacement birthrates leading to depopulation on a scale not seen since the collapse of the Roman Empire threatens the modern world. That's Phillip Longman's premise. Read morePublished on September 5, 2010 by Brian Villanueva
The Empty Cradle, by Philip Longman, is a wide-scope book delving into a truth much more inconvenient than "global warming. Read morePublished on May 15, 2009 by L. Cress