chapter  12
11 Pages

A Reflection on Barren States: The Demographic Paradoxes of Consumer Capitalism

WithGail Kligman

This chapter explains about a reflection on Barren States: the demographic Paradoxes of consumer capitalism. Discourses about demographic crises reflect differing views about who “should” bear children, often in opposition to who is bearing them. Such discourses classically invoke categories of otherness, be they of class, ethnic or racial distinctions. The rhetoric of demographic crisis masks the intimate intertwining of national, state, racial, ethnic, gendered and class interests. “Death of the nation” or related metaphors implicitly assume who “should” be reproducing rather than recognizing the legitimacy of who is. The chapter demonstrates that the ideals of responsible, modern motherhood, parenting and family arrangements have changed considerably in post-Second World War Europe. These changes have themselves been importantly shaped by the very aspirations and achievements of “modernity. Cultivating consumers and consumption has contributed to transforming individual, familial and societal “needs” and desires as individuals seek increasingly to pursue their own interests and explore the world in ever greater numbers.