Memorable quotes for THX 1138
SRT: How shall the new environment be programmed? It all happened so slowly that most men failed to realize that anything had happened at all.
They have a name for the phenomenon - SDT - Second Demographic TransitionA must read:http://sdt.psc.isr.umich.edu/pubs/presentations/Unfolding_2010.pdfThe Unfolding Story of the Second Demographic Transition
Ron LesthaegheRoyal Belgian Academy of Sciences.
Paper to be presented at the Conference on “Fertility in the History of the 20th Century
– Trends, Theories, Public Discourses, and Policies.”
Akademia Leopoldina & Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie.
Januari 21-23, 2010.
Abstract.This paper presents a narrative of the unfolding of the Second Demographic Transition (SDT) since the theory was first formulated in 1986
. The first part recapitulates the foundations of the theory, and documents the spread of the SDT to the point that it now covers most European populations. Also for Europe, we focus on the relationship between the SDT and current period fertility levels. It is shown that
the positive relationship between these two is not a violation of the SDT-theory, but the outcome of a “split correlation” with different sub-narratives concerning fertility postponement and recuperation respectively for two parts of Europe.
The second part of the paper addresses the issue of whether the SDT has spread or is currently doing so in industrialized Asian countries. Evidence gathered for Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan is being presented. That evidence pertains to both the macro-level (national trends in postponement of marriage and parenthood, rise of cohabitation) and the micro-level (connections between individual
values orientations and postponement of parenthood). Strong similarities are found with SDT-patterns in Southern Europe, except for the fact that parenthood is still very rare among Asian cohabiting partners.
The first signs of the SDT emerge already in the 1950s: divorce rates were rising, especially in the US and Scandinavia, and the departure from a life-long commitment was justified by the logic that a “good divorce is better than a bad marriage”. Later on and from the second half of the 1960s onward, also fertility started falling from its overall “baby boom” high. Moreover, the trend with respect to ages at first marriage
was reversed again, and proportions single started rising. Soon thereafter it became evident that premarital cohabitation was on the rise and that divorce and widowhood were followed less by remarriage and more by post-marital cohabitation. By the 1980s even procreation within cohabiting unions had spread from Scandinavia to the rest of Western Europe. Both France and the UK now have more than 40 percent of
all births occurring out of wedlock. In 1960 both had 6 percent.The notion of a second demographic transition, introduced in 1986
by Dick van de Kaa and myself in a short article in the Dutch sociology journal “Mens en Maatschappij”, has been criticized from different angles.
First, the SDT would merely be the continuation of the one and only transition (e.g. Cliquet, 1992).
Second, according to David Coleman (2003), it would not be a “second transition”, but merely a “secondary feature”. The SDT would, still according to Coleman, not even be demographic in nature, but only a “partial analysis of life style preferences”.
Third, a more common argument, particularly in the 1990s, has been that the SDT is an archtypical Western European (+ Canadian, Australian) feature which would not spread to the US nor to Southern, Central and Eastern Europe.
Instead, the demographic changes in the latter parts of Europe could be accounted for by the economic crisis associated with the transition from Communist to market economies, without involving the operation of a cultural shift at all. In the US, solid Christian values would stem the tide and strengthen American “exceptionalism” as for instance exhibited by the absence of sub-replacement fertility.
Fifth, it was suggested that the SDT overemphasized the link between the transformation in family relationships (especially cohabitation) and the prevalence of sub-replacement fertility. Along the same path, the SDT theory could not account for the great variety of levels of fertility from barely below replacement to “lowest low”. And finally, questions inevitably arose about the universality of the SDT: could its features spread further to Asia or other continents as societies grow richer and initiate a Maslowian preference drift?
Or is the SDT merely a western idiosyncracy and bound to remain only that?
These six questions set the agenda for the present paper.
The SDT starts with a multifaceted revolution, and all aspects of it impact on fertility.Firstly, there was a contraceptive revolution with the invention of the pill and the reinvention of IUDs
. All of these were perfected very rapidly, and particularly hormonal contraception was suited for postponing and spacing purposes. A.J. Coale’s 1974 “learning curve” of contraception, which was monotonically increasing with age and which fitted the FDT experience so well, was no longer applicable in the West. After an interim period with increased incidence of “shotgun marriages” (often 1965-75), the use of highly efficient and reliable contraception starts at young ages and permits postponement of child-bearing as a goal in its own right. Secondly, there was also a sexual revolution, and it was a forceful reaction to the notions that sex is confined to marriage and mainly for procreation only
. The younger generations sought the value of sex for its own sake and accused the generation of their parents of hypocrisy. Ages at first sexual intercourse decline during the SDT. Thirdly, there was the gender revolution. Women were no longer going to be subservient to men and husbands, but seize the right to regulate fertility themselves
. They did no longer undergo the “fatalities of nature”, and this pressing wish for “biological autonomy” was articulated by subsequent quests for the liberalization of induced abortion. Finally, these “three revolutions” fit within the framework of an overall rejection of authority and of a complete overhaul of the normative structure. Parents, educators, churches, army and much of the entire State apparatus end up in the dock. This entire ideational reorientation, if not revolution, occurs during the peak years of economic growth, and
shapes all aspects of the SDT.The overall outcome with respect to the SDT fertility pattern is its marked degree of postponement
. Mean ages at first parenthood for women in sexual unions rise quite rapidly and to unprecedented levels in several Western European populations. The net outcome is sub-replacement fertility: without the ethnic component (such as Hispanics and Blacks in the US or Maoris in New Zealand) all OECD countries have subreplacement fertility.
...The SDT, on the other hand, is founded on the rise of the “higher order needs” as is defined by Maslow (1954).
Once the basic material preoccupations, and particularly that of long term financial security, are satisfied via welfare state provisions, more existential and expressive needs become articulated. These are centered on selfactualization in formulating goals, individual autonomy in choosing means, and
recognition for their realization. These features emerge in a variety of domains, and this is why the SDT can be linked to such a wide variety of empirical indicators of ideational change.
In the political sphere such higher order or “post-materialist” (Inglehart, 1970) needs deal, inter alia, with the quest for more direct, grassroots democracy, openness of government, rejection of political patronage, decline of life-long loyalty to political or religious pillars (= “depillarization”), and the rise of ecological and other quality rather than quantity oriented issues on the political agenda. The downturn of it all is
rising distrust in politics and institutions and growing political anomy that can fuel right wing extremism. The state is no longer viewed in terms of a benign provider, but again more as an Orwellian “big brother”.
A corollary thereof is the disengagement from civic, professional and community oriented networks (e.g. Putnam, 2000).
5. Can the SDT also spread to non-Western populations?
At present everyone has come to terms with the fact that the FDT is a worldwide phenomenon. Furthermore, everyone equally realizes that the FDT can take-off at just about any level of economic development, and in strictly rural as well as urban societies. But, will the SDT be equally universal? Or indeed, as David Coleman expects, remain a regional idiosyncrasy? Obviously, if we wish to address this
question on a global scale, we can only speculate about the probabilities of such a “universal” diffusion, in the same way that one could only speculate in the 1950s and 1960s about the eventuality of pervasive fertility control emerging in the then developing countries. However, if we are looking for SDT evidence beyond the European cultural spheres but in countries that are wealthy enough to have undergone
some Maslowian drift, we may indeed find suitable testing grounds. Several industrialized and urbanized Asian countries are therefore of direct relevance.
Before considering the detailed evidence, one should be reminded of the fact that the SDT diagnosis requires the presence of several features:
(i) Sub-replacement fertility is not enough, but must be linked to postponement;
(ii) Ages at marriage must rise and reflect a growing prominence of free partner
choice and female autonomy;
(iii) Premarital cohabitation must become more common and more acceptable.
(iv) Not only evidence at the macro-level must be mustered, but also at the individual
level connections between the demographic features and values orientations must
Note, however, that the demographic characteristics of the SDT features are not necessarily occurring simultaneously, but that lags are likely to emerge. Premarital cohabitation and parenthood among cohabitors, for instance, typically constitute lagging features, since they often run counter to existing moral codes (cf. supra RWAmodel applied to US and Belgium).
At this point, we feel sufficiently secure about the fact that several advanced Asian populations have joined the set of SDT countries
, since all characteristics except for one (procreation among cohabitants) have emerged. Moreover, the scarce Asian micro-level data for Japan, South Korea and Singapore are in line with what was repeatedly found in the European examples.
Admittedly it will remain difficult to make a neat separation between the effects of structural factors and ideational ones respectively on marriage postponement and low fertility. But that has never been easy, not even in the case of the FDT, in the first instance because these sets of factors are often causally interconnected. Furthermore, one should also realize that mass media are producing a “world culture” in which individual autonomy and self-actualization have a very prominent, if not dominant place, and that these provide both motivations and justifications for the onset of the SDT. Political, religious and ideological backlashes are of course always possible (e.g. both Christian and Muslim fundamentalist reactions), but at least up till now the experience has been that such reactions have not been strong enough to cause decisive trend reversals in countries with democratic credentials.