I was amused to read in an op-ed article of the ultra-liberal New York Times recently that Japan and practically all the Western countries are facing a grave aging crisis.
It seems that the global financial meltdown is not enough to punish them for their greed. They also have to face the dire consequences of their crazy idea of controlling population, theirs and that of the rest of the world.
These are excerpts of the piece written by Philip Bowring, entitled “This crisis is getting old,” published on April 24:
“The global annual average growth of 5 percent in the five years ending in 2007 was bought at a high cost to the future, and a slowing growth in the workforce means expectations must be lowered further. Policies need to be shaped to demographic realities…
“As for aging countries, the crisis has clearly shown the need to raise retirement ages by five years to reflect increases in life spans to relieve the state budgets now weighed down by bank bailouts, and to reduce the burden on corporate and other pension schemes…
“Only a return to replacement-level fertility rates will provide a lasting solution.”
The article then made a litany of countries with this aging problem, plus the economic woes it leaves in its wake: Japan, Germany, Britain, Spain, Ireland, etc.
Even China is already experiencing the devastation, what with their one-child policy. Someone told me that Chinese males far outnumber females, since they tend to kill baby girls, not only while inside the womb, but also when already born. That’s population control for you!
Among the economic problems caused by this dangerous demographic winter are the shrinking of the local market, decrease in buying and in business activities in general, decline in the innovative and creative energy of the country.
Of course, the pension and health burden is ballooning. More old people need to be supported, while less young people are working and in position to support the elderly.
I think this is a formula for disaster. And here we are in our country still foolishly infatuated with family planning and population control that are now beautifully and deceptively packaged as reproductive health, women’s rights to their bodies, and other devious inventions.
We prefer to consider only their short-term benefits and not their long-term desolation. We prefer to enjoy their practical dividends, and ignore their immorality. We are quite short-sighted!
It has been said time and time again that when we tamper with the natural working of things, especially when we deliberately go against moral laws, and not just economic laws, we will get the consequences we deserve, sooner or later.
And the consequences will be far worse than what are forecast for global warming that many self-appointed prophets of doom are predicting. The latter, if true, will only affect our material side. The former will destroy our interior life, a far more valuable part of our life.
That people in general seem to be more concerned about global warming than about population control can only indicate an unbalanced sense of values that is now prevailing in many places.
This disturbed sense of values can be seen especially among many political leaders we have. They can appear good and decent in public, but they can have no qualms in systematically stealing and engaging in graft and corruption, demanding SOPs for projects, and other forms of anomalies.
Compare them with some of our simple folks who even in their difficult situations would still refuse to commit some wrongdoing. We can mention heroes the likes of 11-year-old Gicoven Abarquez of Dagupan who returned the $400 he found in the street.
Or the lady mall guard Trinidad Quintana of Baliuag who also returned the amount of P2.4M in cash and checks that she found somewhere. Or that honest motorcycle taxi driver who found $17,000 and returned it to its owner.
We have to wake up. There’s always hope, as long as we are willing to make changes, if not conversion. All of us, especially our political leaders, have to return to authentic spiritual and moral roots. Let’s stop playing games.
(Fr. Cimagala is the Chaplain of Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE), Talamban, Cebu City. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)