Sorry for the atrocious headline, but that’s pretty much what’s going in my wife’s homeland, Taiwan. See, they’ve got the lowest birthrate in the world—1 baby per woman, which is well below the replacement rate of 2.1—and are struggling to find ways to persuade its citizens to procreate. Says Foreign Policy:
Now, the Ministry of Interior (IOM) is taking direct action to make their citizenry be fruitful and multiply, subjecting its own dateless employees to mandatory fraternization. For starters, they will attempt to match up the female workers at the ministry with the high number of single male bachelors in the National Police Administration. They will also require each of its agencies to have an annual date night, featuring activities about which I can only speculate — government-sponsored speed-dating, coed Taipei dance workshops, romantic comedy screenings in Taijiang national park?
Obviously, I’m trying to figure out how to turn Taiwan’s pro-baby stance to my advantage. If we get Sasha Taiwanese citizenship, can the government help out with daycare bills? Can the government put Jean and me up in a nice hotel next time we go visit her family?
Perhaps the bigger question is why Taiwanese people aren’t having kids. I don’t think it’s a “Children of Men” scenario, or the fact that they’re slightly too attached to Hello Kitty. Probably they’re just overworked, or stressed out from all the vague threats China keeps making. Or maybe! Maybe the food in that country is just too good, and everyone prefers eating to fucking? (More on that later this week.)
Since Taiwan is an advanced capitalist democracy, one of its natural solutions is, of course, an ad campaign. Currently, the government is trying to come up with a slogan that will encourage people to have babies. Given the utter laughability of their tourism slogan—”Taiwan: Touch Your Heart”—I don’t have high hopes. But might I suggest the good people at MOI take a look at the headline above?