Crisis in the Population Question


Crisis in the Population Question

Crisis in the Population Question (Kris i befolkningsfrågan) is a 1934 book by Alva and Gunnar Myrdal. It discussed the declining birthrate in Sweden and proposed possible solutions. The book was influential in the debate which created the Swedish welfare model.

Contents

Work on the book

In the spring of 1931, Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal and Alva Myrdal wrote an article on Social Policy and Demography. The article was supposed to be published in the Swedish Social Democratic magazine Tiden, but it was never completed. The article, instead, became the cornerstone of the book Crisis in the Population Question which was to be published three years later (1934). The manuscript of the article as well as of the latter book is missing.[1]

In the early spring of 1934 Alva and Gunnar Myrdal decided to return to this manuscript, to revise, update and expand it into book form. For this purpose, they rented a cottage in the Norwegian mountains. They worked out their theoretical differences and produced a manuscript originally titled Demography and Social Policy. Gunnar was responsible for the historical, theoretical, economic and statistical sections, while Alva drafted chapters on families, children, and specific programmatic proposals.[2]

Main Content of the Book

The couple Myrdal's book deals with the consequences of continued low fertility in Sweden. Mr and Mrs Myrdal argues that Sweden is threatened by a decline in population and thus reduced productivity and standard. They advocate a series of social reforms in order to overcome this problem.

A large chapter is devoted to Malthusianism and nymalthusianism as they attack and criticize. They argue that it is not needed less population growth, but rather an increase of birth rate and points out that the fertility rate further decreases "we would at the end of the 1970s have almost twice as many elderly people in relation to individuals in the working ages now (1934) " . This would lead to serious supply problems. In this context, the spouses Myrdal that "a positive population policy should not focus on getting a few poor families to give birth to a very large number of children, but to persuade the majority to give birth to, say, t . ex. Three children. " .

The basic idea of the book was the birth of fewer children when it is economically and in terms of unsustainable housing for families. Therefore, families with children supported by various reforms such as free medical care , free school lunches , child benefit , more and better housing, affordable housing and subsidized rent. The idea was that both parents could work outside the home and that the prevailing patriarchal family system (professionals father, home-working mother) must be revised substantially. If children are placed in some kind of institution with trained staff while parents work, this would have positive economic impacts as well as educational benefits to the individual child.

The couple Myrdal saw a very serious housing issue. Overcrowding and low-quality housing was particularly poor children growing up environments that could lead to "physical and psychological harm," they claimed.

Myrdal saw a future with "enhanced quality" force "people's material" in front of him and as an additional tool to meet these requirements will Myrdal also on the issue of forced sterilization as a prophylactic (preventive) instruments. They show, however, some uncertainty to extend the application of the 1934 law on compulsory sterilization in Sweden and think "that heredity research to make progress and safer to clarify the heredity of rules for different defects and disease predisposition" . [8] But they also take a clear stand on the use of sterilization when they write "again and again we meet, for example. large litters of children of unmarried mothers imbeciles, where the whole body must be maintained by the public and where their frequent anti-social behavior and crime in the future will cause further trouble ".

However, one can see the whole issue of forced sterilization in the future context. Many other Western European countries, including Germany , Britain , Switzerland and the Netherlands , had similar programs, like the U.S. , Australia and Canada . Although Sweden's neighbors had a sterilization law at that time, Denmark (1929), Norway (1934) and Finland (1935).

Influence of the Book

Among the most prominent intellectuals in 1930 - and 40-century Sweden belonged to the couple Alva Myrdal ( Nobel Peace Prize 1982) and Gunnar Myrdal ( Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974). Their political ideas and research efforts played a major role in the design of welfare policy in the welfare state time . In his book "Crisis in the Population Question" formulated the radical reform demands for a community-oriented family policy. At issue in 1934 caused the book a lively debate. In eight chapters illustrate the pair Myrdal in his book range from "Malthusianism and nymalthusianism" over "Swedish people's living standards" to the "Family Sociology of development" and "The new family" . In a chapter with subjects 'Social policy and people's quality " , they will enter the sterilization issue . To help take the large statistical numerical data from the 1920 census, some of which are listed for the 1934 conditions.

Socioeconomic Background

The economic situation in the early 1930s was serious. A recession had hit the Western world and one million people were jobless. In the winter of 1932/3 200,000 people were unemployed in Sweden, and working families were especially hard hit, with one-third of children estimated to have been malnourished at the time. Birth rates fell sharply and were the lowest in the Western world. Overcrowding in stone city was huge and housing standards substandard. Of inner city apartments were 1930 instance, only 34% had a bath.

Main thesis

The couple Myrdal's book deals with the consequences of continued low fertility in Sweden. Mr and Mrs Myrdal argues that Sweden is threatened by a decline in population and thus reduced productivity and standard. They advocate a series of social reforms to overcome this problem.

Notes

  1. ^ Stellan Andersson (1999:1): "On the value of personal archives: Some examples from the archives of Alva and Gunnar Myrdal – with a main focus on Gunnar". At: NORDEUROPAforum, p. 15–32, http://edoc.hu-berlin.de/nordeuropaforum/1999-1/andersson-stellan-15/XML/
  2. ^ Stellan Andersson (1999:1): "On the value of personal archives: Some examples from the archives of Alva and Gunnar Myrdal – with a main focus on Gunnar". At: NORDEUROPAforum, p. 15–32, http://edoc.hu-berlin.de/nordeuropaforum/1999-1/andersson-stellan-15/XML/

References

  • Carlson, Allan C.: The Swedish experiment in family politics, the Myrdals and the interwar population crisis New Brunswick, NJ, 1990
  • Stellan Andersson (1999:1): "On the value of personal archives: Some examples from the archives of Alva and Gunnar Myrdal – with a main focus on Gunnar". At: NORDEUROPAforum, p. 15–32, http://edoc.hu-berlin.de/nordeuropaforum/1999-1/andersson-stellan-15/XML/

See also



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