The Corner

Re: Sweden

Andrew, Swedes may claim that parental cohabitation is equivalent to marriage, but it’s not. The breakup rate for unmarried parents in Sweden, and in Europe generally, is two to three times higher than it is for married parents. And yes, the uptick in Swedish fertility declined in the nineties. I think the uptick effect created by a huge welfare state is much less than the feminists claim. In any case, even if the feminist claims were valid, do we really want to buy mere replacement level fertility–or less–at the cost of a massive welfare state? This is simply unsustainable economically. The fertility rate for stay at home mothers in Scandinavia is vastly higher than for the women who’s children spend huge numbers of hours in day care from age two on. The Swedish welfare state will solve neither Europe’s fertility problem–nor its economic problem. On the contrary, the paring back on the welfare state will continue, and with no uptick in fertility. Do you see a tension between your preferred economic solutions and the route of Swedish socialist feminism?

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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