South Koreans are industrious. They’re part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), that club of uber-productive economies that accounts for well north of 60 percent of global GDP. How long they can continue as an economic powerhouse remains to be seen. That’s because the birth dearth shrinks the workforce. In 2020 there were 37.4 million South Koreans of working age (15 to 64), or 72.4 percent of the total population. There were workers aplenty to support dependent retirees and children. But Statistics Korea has issued a grim forecast: If the current pattern of fertility (or lack thereof) holds, South Korea’s working age population will be only 17.4 million by 2070, a 53.5 percent decrease in just 50 years.
Nobody is apoplectic about it. They are insufferably insouciant. The “who cares?” attitude prevails. Sheer anomie.
Their record-breaking low fertility has been a long time coming. Demographers are not surprised. Here are the grisly stats:
- In 2020, 272,300 births; in 2021, 206,500 – a 4.3 percent decline in one year
- In 2020, 305,000 deaths; in 2021, 317,800 – a 4.2 percent increase
- In 2020, a 33,000 population decline; in 2021, a 57,300 decline
Statistics Korea’s Noh Hyung-joon: “This trend is expected to continue as the number of newborns will keep declining and deaths will likely rise amid rapid aging.” He announced this at a press briefing without a hint of dismay, disappointment or alarm in his voice.
The Korea Times reported, “A fall in the working population means a decline in labor supply, potentially undercutting economic growth.” Yes, it is everywhere lamented how the lack of babies will impact the economy. It’s all about mammon. Children are expensive. Children interfere with money-making careers. The love of money is the root of collapsing fertility.
Unfortunately, South Koreans (like so many others) are suffused in secularism, temporal to a tee. They make good money, get all the latest gadgets, and are addicted to that debilitating workaholism prevalent in East Asia. Highly competitive, they are so good at the produce-and-consume game that they’re pricing themselves out of being able to support a family.
But many don’t even want a family. Material success is first and foremost. Children impede that, and it is the materialist, consumerist yardstick by which they measure success. Their priorities – no, their values – are way off, and in the long run that will destroy the nation they have built through the millennia.
Many South Koreans are so thoroughly, pathologically modern. About half claim no religious affiliation. Every religion they have historically followed (including Christianity) adjures the faithful in one way or another to be fruitful and multiply.
But not the religion of secularism. That’s the modernist creed of “do your own thing – as long as it is PC.” Like their European and American counterparts, South Koreans are saturated in secularism – a “me generation” mentality on steroids.
I like the South Koreans.
However, we would be better to use the Orthodox Jews as a model.
Not just money and academic excellence, even though this is desirable.
Family and children as well: preferably four per family.
And Jesus Christ and His Law-Word above all.
With the State being just one of many governments, like family and church – a minister of God, and not a fake-God, not the Source of the Law that owns all things and can kill all things.
Work, yes. But a Future, too!