On Babies and Work

The New York Times Magazine had an interesting article about the global baby bust.  The birth rate in very many countries is below the replacement rate. That means we’ll see shrinking, aging populations for decades to come.  It’s a global phenomenon.  (Perhaps everyone in the world figured out that diaper changing, sleeplessness and Barney aren’t as fun as booze, cash, and freedom.  At least the education system is working.)  

One theory in the article linked the number of babies being born to the openness of the job market.  More babies get born in countries where people are free to change jobs, or enter and leave the workforce.  That makes a ton of sense.

A lot of the labor markets in Europe are disastrous.  In some countries, getting a full time job can take years.  The problem is, once you’re hired, you can’t be fired.  So companies will do anything to avoid the risk of a bad hire, including hiring nobody. Even if they could hire only good people, when the economy tanks, a company with too many employees is doomed. So they hire for the worst case economy, which means fewer jobs.   

There is a certain irony that, in an attempt to make people feel safer about their jobs, some countries have made people feel so insecure that they won’t even have children.  I’m just glad that I live in a country where a service like Trovix.com can actually help people find the right jobs for them, and where even people with jobs can be thinking about their next best move. 

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