From March 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021, there were 86,000 deaths in France due to Covid: it is an event, and an event that was taken seriously, and rightly so. But, during the year 2020, 697,000 babies were born in mainland France, for more than 65 million inhabitants, instead of 870,000 in 1947, for only 40.7 million inhabitants.
This means 10,680 births per million inhabitants in 2020, against 21,400 in 1947, or exactly half as much in 2020. And another 8,000 fewer births in January of this year 2021 compared to last year. However, this development does not seem to worry many of our rulers.
The birth rate is serious
Year over year, metropolitan France has fallen from 714,000 births to 696,900. The decline is modest compared to the increase in deaths, but it is a long-lasting trend, which is occurring. before our eyes since 1970, so for half a century, without our realizing its seriousness. This long-term trend, firmly established, should worry us and mobilize us. However, its psychological impact is out of all proportion to that of the pandemic. 10% more deaths (654,600 in 2020 instead of 599,400 in 2019) are enough to prompt the public authorities to take drastic measures, This is understandable, even if it is probable that one could have equivalent health results without harming the activity as strongly. On the other hand, it is absurd not to deal seriously with the birth rate, this incredible division by two of the number of births per million inhabitant which has occurred in our country.
We must reinvent family policy
For several decades, the French public authorities have ceased to take a serious interest in childcare. Yet it is common knowledge that, as demographer Alfred Sauvy said, “ we do not prepare our pensions by our contributions, but by our children “. This is what I call Sauvy’s theorem, with a truth as certain as 2 and 2 is 4. Our leaders did not want to hear this very simple truth. France, if it understood that in certain fields like the infinitely large (the Cosmos), and the infinitely small (the elementary particles), it needs scientists, did not have the same common sense in what concerns the birth rate.
Of course, many of our neighbors are in the same situation; the birth rate is even worse among our Italian, Spanish, German friends, and so on. Further from home, it is not necessarily better: Japan, for example, is experiencing a real demographic disaster. And the cause is the same everywhere: the refusal to face the facts, namely that the most important investment is to give birth to children and to educate them well.
Family policy is not first and foremost a matter of benefits. The mentality of helping families is detestable: it is they who, by investing in human capital, prepare for the future, and in particular pensions. These investors work for the country as a whole: it would therefore be normal that justice be done to them, which has little to do with the assistance mentality that prevails in high places.
It is up to the French legislator to take this bull by the horns. As long as the law says that it is the contributions paid for the benefit of retirees who must open up future pension rights, and not the children brought into the world and then educated, we will go straight into the wall: fewer children, higher rates of deductions higher due to the insufficient number of contributors. Let’s not just think of covid: this problem is even more crucial.