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Fertility decline in Singapore:
will the “National night” become a night of love?

Singapore authorities are trying to find non-trivial ways to convince the local population to reproduce itself. In particular, an advertisement encourages Singaporeans to “do their civic duty” after celebrating the “National Night”. The country with one of the highest standards of living is facing a severe demographic decline. Singapore is almost at the last place in the world in terms of birthrate.

A well-known manufacturer of chewing candy launched an original commercial before the national holiday of Singapore “Night of the nation”, traditionally held on August 9. It is a video for an r-n-b song that displays a caption on the screen. In short, the message is this: “I am chewing this sweet candy to kiss you. It is the Night of the nation today, and we need to perform our civic duty. I mean — conceive a child.”

Surprisingly, the authorities, usually very strict about compliance with the norms of morality on television, this time they stayed away. This means that the problem is really serious.

Singapore, being among the top countries in the world in terms of standard of living, was at the end of the world ranking in terms of birthrate. In 2010, the rate per woman was 1.1 children. Last year, it dropped to 0.78. The rate required for simple reproduction of population is 2.15.

“If one-child families begin to dominate in the society, in 25-30 years the nation is reduced in half,” said in an interview with “Pravda.Ru” Igor Beloborodov, director of the Institute for Demographic Research. According to him, such a situation with the birth rate is not unique to Singapore, but is true for other economically developed countries in the region — South Korea, Japan, the Chinese provinces of Hong Kong and Macau.

There is an inverse relationship between the increase in prosperity and birthrate. Economist Adam Smith drew attention to this in the 19th century. He wrote that the birth rate was falling not only in the richest countries, but in the most affluent sectors of society in these countries“, said Igor Beloborodov.

Singapore fully confirms this relationship. Everyone has heard of the Singapore economic miracle. In thirty years, this once one of the most backward countries in Southeast Asia made a really huge leap. Its per capita GDP now stands at 25 thousand dollars. The average salary is two or three thousand dollars. In addition, each resident donates 20 percent of monthly salary in the central reserve fund, the same is donated by employers. This amount is not taxed and bears interest.

When a citizen turns 55 years old, this money can be retrieved. Thus the financial problems of the citizens have been fully resolved. At the same time it resolved the problem of corruption and crime. However, the ways it was achieved may seem unduly harsh. Huge fines are paid for the slightest violation of public order — up to 1,000 Singapore dollars (800 U.S.).

For example, one would have to pay this fine for an attempt to eat in a public place or throw trash in the street. Chewing gum in public places can also cost you. Incidentally, from 1992 to 2004, this “product” in Singapore was generally banned. Later, under pressure from the U.S., the government allowed to sell 19 kinds of gum, but only in pharmacies, and upon presentation of identification.

More serious misdemeanors are punished by swings with sticks against one’s soles — no more than 24. They say that 12 swings can be fatal. Also, Singapore is one of the first places in the world in terms of the number of executions per capita. As a result, these measures produce an effect of surprisingly comfortable standard of living of the country.

Why the locals do not want to have children in this “paradise” remains a mystery. Singapore citizens do not seek to create a family. According to the Organization for Social Development in Singapore, for the period from 1984 to 2005, there were only 30,000 registered marriages.

For comparison — in Moscow last year nearly 100, 000 couples got married. The authorities are partially to blame. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, they carried out an active policy of family planning and decline in birthrate. In particular, one of the measures was to raise the legal marriage age for women to 26 years.

Now the situation is reversed when it is necessary to raise the birth rate.

“The problem is that if family planning programs provide a quick effect, there is no recipe on how to improve the reproduction of the population. Today, the birth rate is increasing in the countries where the traditional family values are persistent. Birth rate is also not an issue in the sectors of society that stick to religious foundations — both Orthodox and Muslim. It turns out that the solution to this problem lies in the plane of ideology, religion and morality ”, said Igor Beloborodov.

For now the Singapore authorities are looking for their non-traditional recipes. In particular, the lessons of love have been introduced for students where they are shown romantic movies and taught to hold hands. Now advertisers have joined the efforts. Whether this unusual way to make the “Night of the nation” the night of love produced results will be clear in nine months.


Дата публикации: 2012-08-16 13:51:25