Russia is trying to curb the excessive drunkenness that’s sent many of her young and able-bodied men to their early graves, leaving the country with rapid population decline, its women desperate for spouses, and a general sense of, shall we say, despair.
As of the new year, Russian government has effectively doubled the price of its cheapest drink. Now the cheapest half litre of vodka will set you back 89 roubles (about $3).
The drive to reverse the trend of declining population is so strong that the government is effectively bribing its people to have more children.
So giving a Russian $9,200 in cash is like giving an American $36,112. Would that be enough to convince lots of Americans to assume the financial responsibilities associated with an additional child?
But that is the Russian carrot to Portugal’s stick when it comes to population management. As part of its 2006 pension reforms, pension contribution rates are tied to the number of children one has.
Contributions would stay unchanged for people with two children, decrease if they had more than two and increase if they had fewer.