Whither the Child? Book Launch held at the London School of Economics

05 Apr 2013

LSE Professor Elliot Green chaired a session at LSE on March 11, 2013 to present some of the issues treated in STI's new book Whither the Child? Causes and Consequences of Low Fertility

Whither the Child?: the Causes and Consequences of Low Fertility in the West and East Asia

Increasingly, demography is front page news, with the focus less on traditional themes of overpopulation than on the aging, low fertility rich world. In Europe and the United States, birth rates have declined since the financial crisis, reinforcing a decades-long norm of below-replacement fertility. 'In 2050,' writes Ted Fishman in the New York Times, 'developed countries are on track to have half as many people under 15 as they do over 60. In short, the age mix of the world is turning upside down and at unprecedented rates. This means profound change in nearly every important relationship we have — as family members, neighbors, citizens of nations and the world'.

This panel explored the impact of those changes - especially the social effects which have largely been ignored. It coincided with the publication of a new book, Whither the Child: Causes and Consequences of Low Fertility (Paradigm Publishers 2013), which was launched in the UK at this talk. The book, edited by Eric Kaufmann and W. Bradford Wilcox, grew from a 2010 Social Trends Institute Experts Meeting that brought together many of the world's leading researchers and journalists interested in the social and political implications of low fertility.

Hosted by Elliott Green of the Department of Development Studies at LSE, the panel discussed the causes and consequences of low fertility and aging populations in the West and East Asia.


Carlos Cavallé, Director, Social Trends Institute - introduction.

Stuart Basten is ESRC Research Fellow in Demography and Social Policy in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford and a research fellow in Sociology at Nuffield College, Oxford. He also holds fellowships at the National Taiwan University and the European Research Centre on Contemporary Taiwan at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen. He has published widely on both empirical demographic issues - especially relating to East Asia - and more theoretical approaches to contemporary childbearing.

Catherine Hakim is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies. She is best known for developing preference theory and, most recently, a theory of erotic capital – both based on the latest empirical research evidence. She is the author of over 100 papers and numerous books, including Work-lifestyle Choices in the 21st Century: Preference Theory (Oxford, 2000) and Honey Money: Why attractiveness is the key to success (Penguin 2012). She sits on the editorial Boards of several academic journals, including  the European Sociological Review and International Sociology, and referees for many others.

John Parker of the Economist writes many of the magazine's articles on demographic issues. More broadly, he writes about globalisation without economic policy. He has previously been bureau chief in Washington, Moscow and Brussels for The Economist; assistant editor, business editor, Europe editor and books and arts editor for The Economist and features editor for the Financial Times.

Eric Kaufmann is Professor of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth: Religion, Demography and Politics in the 21st Century (Profile, 2010) and co-editor of Political Demography: How Population Changes Are Reshaping International Security and National Politics (Oxford, 2012). He has also written The Orange Order (Oxford, 2007), The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America (Harvard, 2004) and Rethinking Ethnicity (Routledge, 2004). He is the winner of the 2008 Richard Rose Prize of the UK Political Studies Association (PSA) for research in British politics by a scholar under 40. He has also written for Prospect, Newsweek International, Foreign Policy and Jewish Chronicle.