In 1992 the Nobel Prize in the sphere of economy was awarded to an American professor Gary Becker – an inventor of the theory of social capital. In his works he proved that the basis of capital are not material base, but a man, whereas economic development and social expansion depend mainly on a strong position of family, which is the most valuable social capital of a country. Becker estimated that family and its work bring even 30 percent of the national income.

The American Noble Prize winner also noted that it is just family in which factors so needed in economy are created, like reliability, honesty, solidarity, ability to cooperate and devote oneself, diligence or love for order. So, no wonder, that more and more frequently economists start to pay attention to a good family as a factor guaranteeing a stable economic growth in the further time perspective.

Similar conclusions were made by a French economist Jean-Didier Lecaillon, who proves in his work ‘Family the source of welfare’ that it is impossible to achieve a permanent economic success without social capital based on good, well-functioning families.

Another French economist – Alfred Sauvy noted that there has not been a country in the history of the world so far, which would achieve a stable economic growth during demographic stagnation. For, aging of societies does not allow for satisfying needs of technological renewal or development.

Lower birth rate in western societies is also a real danger of collapse of social systems, especially retirement insurances. The latter ones are based on the rule that a generation which is professionally active today, pays for elderly people’s pensions, in order to be maintained for next generations. So, the essence of the whole system is investing in children, that is, giving birth to children and bringing up those who will work for pensions.

Aging societies are also featured by an enormous growth of expenditures for medical means or financing pensions. They are also characterized by lower mobility and flexibility and detest to innovations – so the shortage of features which are very needed in the activity of free market. Countries dominated by pensioners and suffering from the lack of children are doomed to inevitable stagnation.

A kind of a solution for western societies seems, in this situation, encouragement for setting up families and having many children. Only thanks to this situation is it possible to keep demographic balance. However, when large families started being economically and socially disabled, this model entered the phase of disappearance in the West. Consequently, the process of substitutability of generations in highly-developed countries was inhibited. So, if there is a litmus test which allows us to notice a forthcoming crisis, then it is a decreasing number of large families. Where there is lack of them, the future becomes uncertain.


„Niedziela” 7/2015

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: