|For your consideration: could this unobtrusive home intruder mean the ultimate death of all mankind?.|
I think I may have hit on why there has been such a collapse in the birthrate in the industrialized world—and, increasingly, in the developing world as well.
It is not the cost of college, though one thinks it ought to be. In Germany and Sweden, college is free, and they have it worse than most.
It is not the availability of old age security. As someone has worked out, in the Third World, without it, the old folks continue to be worth more in income to the family than they cost until quite late in life.
It is not feminism. Feminism is weakest in Japan, and their demographic collapse is legend.
I think it's TV.
We might forget it now, since we don't have them any more, but watching my neighbours, it is borne in to me that kids have a lot of entertainment value. Once upon a time, that mattered, because we did not have all that many other things to do once we came home from work in the evenings.
And exactly the same has happened to other things that were once good entertainment. Church attendance. Membership in voluntary associations: the Masons, the Elks. Bowling leagues. Playing cards. Botticelli. TV killed it all, by offering massive free entertainment at home.
Of course, computers and the internet are only making it worse.
TV showed up in the postwar years, right along with the baby boom, but it only reached 90% of US homes in 1962. And it took at least as long for there to be enough worthwhile stuff for adults to watch.
The baby boom ended, by common calculation, four years later.