(Appendix 3 to the 2014 book by Peter Jakubowski "Atlantis of the Neanderthals"; the original book for reference online.)
If we look 20-30 years into the future, what difference can we assume between the "Germany of today" and the "Germany of tomorrow"?
Five years ago, George Friedman, founder of the American geopolitical intelligence agency Stratfor, wrote in his bestseller "The Next 100 Years" that Germany's role in Europe would sink below that of Poland in a few decades. He cited Germany's catastrophic demographic development as the main reason.
One might think that five years is too short a period for a demographic change. But this is a mistake. And this mistake will be repeated in German politics, including family policy. In just five years of uninterrupted political inaction, you have lost an entire generation of children in primary schools (four-year-olds). You have missed an opportunity to re-educate the teachers in these schools. The result is that after these five years, these teachers are five years behind the world development; the world has taken a big step in a new direction called "globalisation". German family and education policy has not moved. And those who stand still are indeed going backwards.
An even bigger problem for the German nation, however, is that it cannot accept that its demographic "extinction" could very soon become irreversible.
In German documents I have only found a brochure "Familien in Deutschland; Zahlen und Fakten" (Families in Germany; Facts and Figures) by Heribert Engstler & Sonja Menning of the German Centre for Gerontology, Berlin, December 2004, with a foreword by Renate Schmidt, Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. It is strange to read this foreword, which is addressed more to an "international community" than to the German citizens who are simply dying out. Of course, most of the sentences in this preface sound good and even wise. But they seem more reassuring or even comforting than alarming, which would be much more necessary.
Thus we read there: "Developments such as the change in family structures, the growing number of families of different ethnic origins and the current demographic processes have a fundamental impact on social security systems. Developments in this area are not limited to the national context, but are global phenomena. We live in a time of internationalisation and globalisation and the associated mobility leads to different forms of living together. Amidst all the upheavals and innovations, however, there is one constant factor: the family. Today, the family has many more facets than in earlier times; in addition to the married couple family with children, there are a large number of non-marital families, single parents and families consisting of several households. However, the changes in outward form do not change the fact that the family is still the core element of society. The family is and remains the basic model for lived public spirit, so that only a family-friendly nation is a nation with a future. That is why the acceptance of the family is an essential political credo - in Germany and in the world." (So far I agree; but the right alarm signal is still missing that compels immediate action. In the following, Madam Minister addresses the international context of the current situation worldwide in order to "promote international debate on this issue"; P.J.)
The brochure was written ten years ago (i.e. 2004; P.J.). And what has changed in Germany since then? Only one thing, as far as I know, the extinction rate has accelerated. Is that still no cause for concern? Apparently not.
Let's compare the freely available data. In the government statistics of the USA we find the following figures:
Married couple households 2010 total: 56,510,377 (2010); for comparison: 54,493,232 (2000); 58,000,000 (2013);
Couples of same race or same Hispanic origin total: 51,141,342 (2010); 50,452,248 (2000); 52,000,000 (2013).
In the document "C1. Household relationships and marital status of children/1 under 18, by age and sex: 2013" we find the following:
Total under 18 in the family: 68,003,000 (2013).
From this data we can calculate: => 68 million children in 52 million married couple households leads to the conclusion: 1.3 children/healthy household (USA; 2013). This means that 1.3 children per healthy American household have the chance to be lovingly supported as they start their adult lives and then still see a good reason to start a family of their own and support their own children in the same way. In purely mathematical terms, even the figure of 1.3 children per family seems too low for a secure future development, but that is an American problem.
But what about Germany? The first page of the brochure mentioned reads: "The average household size in Germany has been declining for decades. It has fallen by a quarter since the 1950s. In West Germany there were 3.0 persons per household in 1955, 2.7 in 1972, and only 2.2 persons per household in 2000... Two thirds of all households in Germany are one-generation households, i.e. one-person or couple households without children. (Please read the last sentence twice or even more; P.J.) Every third household is a multi-generation household. In 2000, two generations lived in 12.6 million households, which is 33 percent of all households. Multigenerational households in Germany consist almost exclusively of two-generation households, i.e. families with parents and children. Only 0.3 million households (0.8 % of all households) house 3 or more generations. Grandparents, parents and children living under one roof are thus a shrinking minority of all households."
As we can see, our figure of 1.3 children in each "healthy" American household calculated above should be compared with a figure of 0.3 (or less) in an equivalent German household. 1.3 versus 0.3; isn't that an alarming enough signal? One can only see a truly secure future when a nation reaches the figure of about 2.5, i.e. twice the American figure and eight times the German figure. If we now add the information that every second German is already older than 45, we don't have to be a prophet and say that around 2040 (in no more than 25 years) at least one third of all German households will be empty. The second third will follow in the next one to two decades. The eastern regions of Germany are already aware of the problem. They try to minimise the situation by simply demolishing the empty houses. This is certainly not a solution to the problem.
There are about 700,000 births per year in Germany. However, the difference to the number of deaths is getting bigger and bigger. In 2012, it was around 200,000. A medium-sized city, like Kassel or Mainz, is disappearing year after year. And nobody cares? In the next 25 years, this rate will approach one million a year. And nobody cares? Yes, I do. I want to know what country my grandchildren will have to live in with their own children. Can I help them? I think that's a wrong question. I have to help them. All of us who still live in Germany have to help our children and grandchildren. And not only after the countless "international debates on this issue" sponsored by the Ministry of Family Affairs or some other bureaucratic institution. We must help now, immediately. And how? I can only contribute my own spontaneous idea. Any other idea would also be welcome.
We need to change our view of the meaning of our life here on earth. To die without younger members of one's family, but with a full account in a Swiss bank, cannot be that meaning. Even the gold of the Maya could not prevent their "extinction". If I were to become old (I mean really old, "ready to die") as the last member of my own family, my first thought would be to support some other children with all my remaining wealth and physical strength. In such a situation, even a "foreign" child should be worth more to me than my own car, even if it could be the latest "Mercedes" or "BMW". Not a single child living in a country as rich as Germany should be hungry, dirty, poorly educated, living in a cold or too small flat, with no room of their own to learn and play. Families with children had to be provided with suitable housing free of charge. Schools would have to be adapted to the children present and not to the existing bureaucratic school system. Only those teachers who are accepted by the majority of a class should be allowed to teach them. We just need to change our view much more to the children's view. Education, including discipline and behaviour, is meaningless if it is done against the expectations of the children.
You can expand the idea yourself, but we need to actually change our view, preferably today. The only realistic option for tomorrow could be: "Good-bye Germany".