Monday, December 3, 2012

No More Babies, No More Bridges

Our declining national birth rate should be a big deal to engineering.  Last year marked the lowest birth rate in U.S. history.  Americans are having fewer babies than the French and British.

The New York Times has an excellent article on the subject - More Babies, Please by Ross Douthat.  As Douthat points out, the symptoms of our declining birth rate is the true issue.  These symptons impact many different areas of our society. For example it is in our long-term national interest to rehabilitate and renew our public infrastructure.  This becomes almost imposssible when our culture embraces, as Douthat writes, " . . . a spirit that privileges the present over the future."  

"Beneath these policy debates, though, lie cultural forces that no legislator can really hope to change. The retreat from child rearing is, at some level, a symptom of late-modern exhaustion — a decadence that first arose in the West but now haunts rich societies around the globe. It’s a spirit that privileges the present over the future, chooses stagnation over innovation, prefers what already exists over what might be. It embraces the comforts and pleasures of modernity, while shrugging off the basic sacrifices that built our civilization in the first place."

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