(Tim, w/thanks to Eric) Our Lord, the Apostle Paul, and economists are agreed that money matters quite a lot. For instance, check out the comments on this blog responding to the news that, in China, a law is being proposed that would make an adult child's failure to visit his parents actionable in court. If the law passes, parents could sue their child for failure to visit and the child could be fined and directed to submit to a visitation schedule. What wonderful visits that would produce! Beyond the question of banks, pensions, and Social Security, though, there's another set of numbers worth noting, here.
We have a fair number of international students who attend ClearNote Church, Bloomington (our new church name), and some are from China. Due to China's one-child policy, these students rarely have siblings or cousins. Picture it: one father and mother had one child--a son; another father and mother had one child--a daughter; that son and daughter married and had one son who married someone else's daughter--again, an only child. Now what do you have?
You have a married couple who themselves have one child who will grow up with two parents, four grandparents, and eight great-grandparents. It's entirely conceivable he'll have some of his great-grandparents live to the time of his marriage, at which time he'll take on through his wife another set of two parents, four grandparents, and eight great-grandparents. Let's assume only half of that couple's great grandparents survive to the time of their marriage; then that couple each has two parents, four grandparents, and four great-grandparents, which brings the total number of aging relatives on the shoulders of that young couple to twenty. And if all their great-grandparents are still alive, the total is twenty-eight.
Which is to say that, beyond the hundreds of millions of little babies slaughtered by the one-child policy and forced abortions of China in the past century, they now have a rapidly aging population. It's estimated one in four adults will be over the age of sixty-five by 2050.
Let's be practical about this. When my mother-in-law and mother want to move into someone's house...