The Decline of Civilisation (Ch.16f) : Population
World population was in decline. The decline was particularly noticeable in the continent of Gallanol, the richest and most efficient part of the world, always in the vanguard of progress. Birth rates had fallen significantly soon after the ‘industrial revolution’ centuries before, and thereafter fluctuated in accordance with historical conditions, such as war. In the last centuries progress and economic growth had reached new proportions. Increased prosperity and material wealth did not however encourage the people to have larger families. They seemed to give people a greater variety of pursuits in which to spend their individual leisure time. The individual increasingly concerned with his or her career progression and education began to see raising families as a brake on their progress and opted not to have a family. Women were encouraged to work and be educated on an equal footing with men, who had traditionally been more dominant in the working world. Naturally fewer women made the decision to raise children. As the pace of competition quickened over the decades it became impossible for women to have children without damaging their careers. Legislation to protect women’s careers in the shape of Maternity Leave had been in place for at least three centuries, but the high qualification and skill standards required at work left maternal women with a distinct disadvantage in career progression. The state of Marriage, which had declined some centuries before, declined further. With less desire to parent children men and women felt less the need to become married. Underlying this lay the increasing demands of work as people studied competitively to achieve a better career position. People were required to work longer hours and to study out of work, as every subject area or profession became more complex and suffered endless change as planners and consultants designed ever more involved permutations of legislative and technical guidelines or regulations. Fewer of the population became involved in social organisations or found marriage or sexual partners. They put their work first or simply did not meet enough people in their daily lives.