Denmark travel agency Spies Resjer may have produced an ad for the ages. Announcing declining birthrate for over two decades, the agency is urging all Danes to get busy. “Fewer Danes mean fewer to support the ageing population”, the ad says. The solution? “Take more vacations” the ad suggests, citing further research that Danes get more romantic during vacations, and this is needed in order to bring the birth rate back to normal levels to secure the future of Danish society. The ad is already causing a sensation on the Internet, especially in U.S.. While the ad is being criticized, there is something U.S. can learn from Denmark’s situation.
This call to action has a different value to those Danes who have already retired. Their retirement fund was paid for during the time they were employed, and the current Danish workforce will ensure that the fund does not run out. The true benefactor from this ad will be the very generation of Danes who are being asked to take up this cause, and follow through on its intended purpose. If they do not have children now, they will not have enough workforce to support them during their retired years.
The bold directness of the ad, sweetened with humor, logic, and visual appeal, is impressive at all fronts. There are ideas provided to increase fertility and chances of getting pregnant. There is even a reminder on the ad website to “have sex – without using protection.” But the ad showcases a deeper conundrum that Americans should pay careful attention to, reserving judgement, for the success or failure of this endeavor could teach us something about our own social interdependence.
For those unconcerned with Denmark’s plight in declining younger population, and the steps implemented to address and resolve the situation in a practical manner, this may be just an opportunity to vent their views. For the nation that is facing a crisis in the future of its social support structure, this is as relevant a solution as China’s one-child policy that is designed to discourage couples from having more than one child. The two countries are facing acutely opposite problems of enormous magnitude. While China seeks to control its rising population, Denmark cannot continue to sustain its healthcare and other social services, if there is not enough young working population to support it. The ad urges Danish couples to travel and get busy making babies, even offering incentives of free baby supplies for the first three years, if they can prove that conception happened during the vacation. Though some may find this approach humorous, in fact it hides the seriousness of the problem that must be resolved. U.S. lawmakers and the public can learn, for they may face a similar problem in the future.
While critical analysis is needed for all social reforms, it would be counter-productive to continue to criticize these reforms and policies once they are in place. Take ObamaCare for example. It would be easy to criticize endlessly the new policy implemented by the current administration. One could argue convincingly, with facts and analysis, how this system can, or cannot work. Any amount of argument will not delay or stop the problem in its track. What is needed is the dedication to make it work for the good of all. This approach should be applied to all public service matters by those who willingly decide to lead the way in reformed thinking, and reforming societies for the future of generations.
The challenges facing the human social structure in the 21st century are intricately and unavoidably tied to each individual, each society, and each nation, under the domain of planet Earth. The balance must be maintained at all levels, and it must start with the individual. Too much population puts enormous strain on the society and the nation. Not enough population also strains the society and the nation. Denmark travel ad may be urging just the Danes to get busy, but U.S. and the world can learn, watch, and get busy too. The fruits of this labor performed by the Danes will grow up to identify themselves as a unique generation, on which tremendous expectations were set before they were even conceived. Knowing this, the Danes have an opportunity to set an example for the world that before they expect the world from the future generation, they must make the world a better place for the future generation.
Opinion by Amit Singh