To breed, or not to breed?


Australia has had a dramatic increase in the national fertility rate, putting it at its highest rate since the 1980’s. A report from the Australian Productivity Comission said on Tuesday that that while "in a safe zone" now in terms of fertility rate, any further increases could damage the economy. An article in the (Australian) Daily Telegraph reviews the report, saying that having more children will "shift women out of the workforce while they care for babies, depressing labour supply and reducing the taxation base" – factors that could potentially hurt the economy. Further on it states, "the women having the babies would be exacerbating the financial impacts of the government".
What this article fails to mention is that more and more women are now having children and working outside the home. So, yes, there is the time they take where they are not contributing to GDP, but shortly after they are back in the workplace. Also, it puts far too much emphasis on the short-term outcome, rather than highlighting the long-term benefits of a replenished population. A growing labour force is one of the requirements of growth. While they are growing up, children are, technically, a drain on funds, but the end result of a larger labour base more than overcomes this through increased productivity in the long-run.