FAMILY, THAT IS, AN CAPITAL
Prof. Gary Becker, one of leading representatives of the so-called Chicago school, associated with a liberation trend in economy, received an award in Economy in 1992. He gained acknowledgment in the world as one of creators of the theory of social capital, especially an author of a monumental ‘Treaty about family’. In his work Becker proved that the basis of capital are not the material base, natural resources or technological means, but it is the human being, whereas economic development and social progress depend mainly on a strong position of family. Why? Because family is the most valuable social capital of a country. The American Noble-prize winner enumerated that work done in family amounts to even 30 per cent of the national income.
Similar conclusions were made by Francis Fukuyama in his book ‘Entrustment. Social capital and a road to welfare’ from 1996 . He stated that an essential condition to create economic success is bilateral trust between economic partners. Where there is an atmosphere of mutual suspicion, one cannot do any business on a long run. Whereas the most favourable environment to build trust is family.
Studies carried out by Thomson Financial proved that in European economy family companies are the most successful – they are effectively managed and gain better results on currency market than other enterprises. It is similar in the USA, where – according to the ‘Fortune’ magazine – family companies have better results than others, considering both profit and efficiency. In family enterprises there are also less scandals, deceptions or embezzlement.
Not only the state of family but also number of their children have an influence on economy. A French economist Alfred Sauvy noted that there has not been a country in the history of the world yet, which would gain a permanent economic development during demographic stagnation. Aging of societies does not allow for satisfying needs of renewal or technological development. They are also characterized by a high increase of expenditures on medical means or financing pensions, and also lower mobility and elasticity as well as hostility to innovations – that is, shortage of very needed features in free-market activity.
Lower birth-rate of western societies is also a real danger of collapsing social systems, especially pension insurances. The latter ones are based on a rule that a generation which is professionally active, pays for pensions of elderly people so that when it gets older itself after some time, could be maintained by the next generation. 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.
Unfortunately, today in many countries the last condition stopped being fulfilled and bringing a cheap labour force from the Third World countries is often help from a collapse of pension systems, and in case of Europe – mainly from Islamic countries. Whereas is causes more and more social problems as the Muslim minority does not want to get integrated in a new environment and creates its own ghettos. So, it lives in parallel societies where even a different law obliges, that is, Sharia. This problem is growing in countries of Western Europe which is seen all the time.
No wonder that more and more number of well-thinking economists postulate that countries should pursue a more active policy supporting families and a pro-natalist policy – and not for world-view but financial reasons.