Great analogy from Professor Vaidyanathan of the Indian Institute of Management, subject of a column by Mark Steyn, Bringing It Home:
Bangalore is also home to the Indian Institute of Management, wherein resides Professor R. Vaidyanathan. The professor has an arresting phrase he likes to use: “the nationalization of the family.” I would doubt he’s the chap responsible for the coinage, but he applies it brilliantly, as the defining fact about the decline of the West. He has a certain post-imperial chippiness and he’s nobody’s idea of a right-winger, but I think he’s on to something. Once upon a time, in Britain, Europe, and beyond, ambitious leftists nationalized industries — steel, coal, planes, cars, banks — but it was such a self-evident disaster that it’s been more or less abandoned, at least by those who wish to remain electorally viable. On the other hand, the nationalization of the family proceeds apace. “The West has nationalised families over the last 60 years,” writes Vaidyanathan. “Old age, ill health, single motherhood — everything is the responsibility of the state.”
…The nationalized family is the key to understanding why the West’s economic “downturn” is not merely cyclical. Like any other nationalized industry, the nationalized family prioritizes more and more perks for its beneficiaries, is unresponsive to market pressure, and revels in declining productivity. Literally: The biggest structural defect in the Western world is its deathbed demography, the upside-down family tree. When 100 grandparents have 42 grandchildren (as in Greece), it is a societal challenge under any circumstances. When 42 grandchildren have to pay off the massive debts run up by 100 grandparents, that’s pretty much a guarantee of disaster. The Great Contraceptive War of 2012 is a classic nationalized-industry story straight out of moribund pre-Thatcher Britain: The workers are demanding more pay for less productivity — or, to be precise, no productivity.
…In the end, in Britain and much of Europe, the nationalized industries of the post-war years got privatized — which is how an Indian tycoon came to own the formerly state-run Jaguar and Land Rover. Privatizing the nationalized family will prove a tougher proposition.