Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ye Olde Time Solution to Low Fertility Rates

With Russia trying novel ways to boost fertility rates and writers looking at even more ways, I say let's look back in history to see what our ancestors did. With that, I am going to quote this entry from (*cough*) Uncle John's Curiously Compelling Bathroom Reader by The Bathroom Readers' Institute (Page 72, Bathroom Readers' Press 2006, First Printing):
  • BACHELOR TAX. A favorite strategy of governments to encourage population growth and raise money at the same time. Julius Caesar tried it in 18 B.C. The English imposed it in 1695. The Russians under Peter the Great used it in 1702, as did the Missouri legislature in 1820. The Spartans of ancient Greece didn't care about the money-they preferred public humiliation. Bachelors in Sparta were required to march around the public market in wintertime stark naked, while singing a song making fun of their unmarried status.
I think the Spartan method is more a form of shrinkage than a tax.

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