Now imagine also that the planning was minimal. So kids first - poverty eradication second. Better to be fertile and poor than infertile and rich.
What would happen if we were still running a society like that?
Well, there would be enormous pressure on the government to engineer a society that facilitates fertility, to keep the financial pain of bringing children into this world at a minimum. And this is where the heart of my point is.
We've lost that political pressure. Because nowadays if it's hard to have children, then we just don't have them (excluding the truly reckless, of course.)
Now that would be alright enough, except for the fact that the political-pressure to hold to family-friendly policies has largely collapsed. The result, is that public policy has been overwhelmingly engineered to take care of the interests of older people, rather than young families, and in turn amplifying our collapsing fertility rates.
Today, we've got all these young people making perfectly sensible decisions about not having children until they can most comfortably afford it. Resulting in both heavily delayed and greatly reduced fertility. And fertility usually below even social replacement levels.
We've become so sensible with our decision making as individuals, that our governments no longer have to be. And it's literally killing us.
These are some of the key policy movements that probably would not have survived if we went back to being foolish, and had well-sized families at the younger and healthier times of our lives:
1. The property market would not have been allowed to artificially inflate.
-This has been a nightmare for the young, though profitable for the older generations.
2. Educational demands would not have been allowed to inflate.
-You wouldn't need a degree for a job requiring just good communication skill and diligence, and most people would hardly need high school in fact. Young people (and society in general) would win back at least 5 years of their lives.
3. Pensions would be strictly means-tested.
-The idea of paying pensions to old people who don't really need them, would no longer be tolerated. Not with too many families with young children struggling.
The final result of all this reduced fertility, and bloated privilege to the elderly, is that the third world is set to replace us. Because when it comes to having kids, as individuals we're just too damn sensible. In turn we've made it too easy for our governments to ignore pro-fertility policy, and in fact facilitate anti-fertility policy.
It's time for a re-think.