FRIDAY BONUS POST!
Marriage and Family is quite an interesting concept. It’s something that can be traced to the dawn of civilization and has probably had a huge impact on the global population. How you ask? Let’s jump in.
In the beginning of civilization it was pretty simple. Marriage was a practical arrangement. Man needed woman to bare his children and take care of his home, while woman needed man to protect her and provide her with food and shelter. The two would do their part and eventually have children. The man would provide for the family while the woman cared for the children. When the pair grew old, the children would care for them. The idea of marriage and creating a family was more of mutually beneficial arrangement. Counter to popular belief, marriage and love did not, traditionally, go hand in hand. The Greeks considered what they called “love sickness” as a form of insanity. Getting married was just something that was financially smart. The man does his part, the woman does hers, and that’s that.
As civilization advanced, marriage became even more important. For royalty, marriage was used as a way to ally up with fellow royalty. Having children was especially important. We need an heir to carry on the legacy. The rich pretty much did the same with business. For the lower classes, the dynamic pretty much remained the same until farming became the main occupation for most. Once farming was introduced children became a commodity. More children meant more hands to work the fields, which meant more money. This was the dynamic for most families for hundreds of years and it’s the reason why most people bothered having kids. This would all change when society started to urbanize.
Once humanity started industrializing, more of the lower class families started, well industrializing. For a time, children remained profitable. They were able to fit into small places to do the work that fully grown men could not. That all ended in 1852 when education became mandatory. This was a HUGE shift in the family dynamic because this made children sadly unprofitable. It used to be that once a child was seven or eight they’d start working but now parents had to wait until the child was 14 to start earning a return on their investment. This wouldn’t have a direct hit on the population’s growth immediately but education became more and more important over the years which meant the kids had to stay in school for longer. By the end of the twentieth century some would stay in school until the age of 22 and at that point they’d barely been supporting themselves let alone their parents! Having children was becoming extremely expensive but the population wouldn’t realize the full gravity of the expense until the early 1900’s.
It was around than that people started getting married for love. It was no longer profitable, because as I’ve explained, the family dynamic was decreasing in value. People were getting married because they loved each other and were having children because baby making was fun. Then World War II ended and we got the baby boomers. This increase in population seemed great at first but as time progressed we’d see how this increase in population wasn’t so great for the economy. This was one of the factors that led to the depression. People finally realized that having kids was actually expensive so naturally, they started having less children.
Another big change that happened in the twentieth century was gay marriage. As marriage became redefined as the union between two people who loved each other, homosexual men decided to fight for the right to get married. The increase in openly gay men and women meant less people were having kids.
All of this can possibly contribute to the population growth de-accelerating for the first time in recorded history. The decrease in the profitability of children as well as the redefinition of marriage all happened in a relatively short amount of time and I’m interested to see how that will affect our future. Personally, I think that a decline in the population will be a good thing. As a certain mad titan once said “the universe is finite, it’s resources finite.” Plus, there are already too many fucking people already so less people populating the earth means less people whining about what fucking pronoun to call them.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!