To make money, not kids

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Делать деньги, а не детей

Together with worrying predictions of demographers about the fact that Russia’s population will increasingly decline, there are new proposals on how to radically increase fertility. Unfortunately, most of them linked to an attempt to force people to have children under a variety of threats. As, in practice, does not lead to anything good.

Director of the Institute of demography, migration and regional development Yury Krupnov has written to Russian President Vladimir Putin the project of the Federal law “On the status of large families”. The document proposes to equate the work of educating children to working experience and to give families with three or more children entitled to free land with utilities. But the most contentious point of the document was the idea to impose a tax on small families, delicately called “a tax for the benefit of the future.”

Against the idea even made such a famous revitalize of family, marriage and traditional values, as Senator Elena Mizulina.

This is the second such initiative in the last two months. In April, the Vice-speaker of Moscow city Council Nikolay Gubenko proposed to revive that existed in the USSR from November 1941, a tax on childlessness.

Under the Soviet law, childless men from 20 till 50 years and childless married women from 20 to 45 years of age had to pay the state 6% of salary. However, then in the USSR were taken some privileges for different categories of citizens. To collect this tax was easy. All enterprises and institutions in the Soviet Union was a state, and the tax on childlessness was just deducted from your paycheck.

Formally, the population of Russia is not reduced and continues to grow eight years in a row. According to Rosstat, on January 1, 2017, we had 146 838 993 people against 146 544 710 on January 1, 2016 and 146 267 288 man on 1 January 2015. But the demographic problem in Russia remains.

Even current nearly 147 million — not enough for a site.

In the early 2000s, referring to estimates of demographers, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin said that for the normal development of our country must have a population of about 500 million, and Now it seems completely impossible — except to us suddenly will move one third of China.

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After joining in 2014 of the Crimea, which increased the population from 2.5 million, growth rate of the population, for obvious reasons, slowed down. In the future will not be better: demographers confidently promise us the population decline. The deterioration of the economic situation, experts are painting a negative scenario in which by 2050, Russia will remain just 115,6 million people.

The human-friendly aspect of the demographic problem — a sharp decline in the working age population relative to retirees. If the current retirement age in the country is 55 for women and 60 for men — by the middle of the next decade the number of employed and disabled Russians (children and pensioners) will be equal.

That is, the state simply could run out of money for pensions and benefits, because the money primarily come from taxes of the working population.

The state has long worked to encourage citizens to have children. The most well-known measure — the parent capital, a lump sum payment that is given at the adoption or birth of the second, third or any next child (only of a citizen of Russia). Maternity capital for ten years — since January 1, 2007. The birth rate since slightly increased, mortality decreased slightly, but no fundamental population growth has not occurred.

The severity of the demographic problem does not mean that the government should think about increasing the birth rate.

As practice shows, in the world, in fact, no successful experience of state incentives for fertility.

Although this problem is faced by many, primarily developed countries, to which Russia is not a concern for a number of indicators.

In such a situation at the state level we need to think about the number of children, but primarily on the quality of life. In regions where large families — part of the cultural and religious traditions (such in Russia a lot), increasing the birth rate continues to be active and especially to increase it with the help of measures of state support just not worth it. There another problem arises: where to work young people. The regions with the highest fertility (primarily Caucasian) is a leading unemployment rate.

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Similarly, do not solve the problem the initiative of the Russian Orthodox Church to ban abortion. So that’s that, and the tradition of clandestine abortions in Russia is still strong from the Soviet times. By the way, it is worth remembering that in the presence of a tax on childlessness of the USSR occupied one of the first places in the world by number of abortions, including illegal ones.

A crucial role in the number of children playing the cultural and religious ideas about the family. But forced to drive people into the archaic-religious life of the state today simply will not work.

By the way, in and of itself improve the quality of life does not automatically increase the birth rate. Often the opposite is true. That is why most low fertility where all is well with the economy, and religious traditions are not so strong to stimulate large families.

Overall civilization in which people are living longer and longer and richer and begins to be slower and less multiply for purely biological reasons. And that any decrees do not change.

In such a situation, a reasonable public goal may be not so much increasing the birth rate as reducing child and adult mortality. Improvement of medicine. Improving the overall quality of life. No less important technological and economic development. It will help make labor more efficient and thereby to compensate for the shortage of workers. This is exactly the forces of the state. But to have people it can’t.

And it is not necessary — in the modern world it is not so much the number of people as the quality of human capital.

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