03 November 2006

Family values

One of the things that we American lefties find frustrating about all of this “family values” blather in the social/political sphere is the assumption by social conservatives that the solution to the problems facing the American nuclear family is ultimately for people to just try harder. Lefties argue that rather, we just don't support families as well as we did in the old days, economically, logistically, and socially.

The Washington Post reports on France supporting families by providing actual economic support.

This summer, the government—concerned that French women still were not producing enough children to guarantee a full replacement generation—very publicly urged French women to have even more babies. A new law provides greater maternity leave benefits, tax credits and other incentives for families who have a third child. During a year-long leave after the birth of the third child, mothers will receive $960 a month from the government, twice the allowance for the second child.

A century ago, France was one of the first European countries to face a declining population. Since then, almost every elected French government—regardless of party—has instituted laws that encourage bigger families and make it easier for women to keep their jobs while raising children.

It appears that this is effective. Imagine that.


Sea's Blog said...

This is precisely where my heart lies. Supporting families is where it's at. Hell, we've basically got a war against parents at this point in time.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, the CEO of the start up I was at instituted a $1000 bonus when an employee had a child.

Alas, that CEO did not last long (for other reasons). However, there were a remarkably large number of people in our sales group that had children in the first year after I joined

Which begs the question: if these sorts of economic incentives actually motivate some people to have (more) kids, is that the type of social value we want to select for (in a Darwinesque way)?

That being said, social/work norms that are compatible with parents actually seeing their children during the week may ultimately be more impactful...