Babies in France

For hundreds of years, France has had an indelible aura as a romantic paradise for couples, both young and old. Inevitably, its freshly baked baguette-scented streets, the intoxicating wine available at almost every street corner and the melodic sound of omnipresent accordions would compel even the most hesitant couple to procreate. What better conception place than the birthplace of Gustav Eiffel, the man responsible for one of the most seductive landmarks in the world, the Eiffel Tower. Besides from Paris holding the ‘’City of Love’’ title, it is worth noting that as a member state of the European Union, France entails many tangible benefits to its citizens such as freedom of mobility around the E.U, a top-tier economy, a robust health care system, a very high Human Development Index and also the ability to follow the common trend among 21st century born individuals to speak more than two languages. By comparison, Latin American third world countries such as Nicaragua for instance are not only among the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, but also some of the most underdeveloped, where teenage pregnancy remains a profound epidemic that hinders the region’s potential to make substantial advances with regards to socioeconomic performance. France has a stark contrast regarding sexual reproduction awareness which contributes to the use of contraceptive methods such as birth control pills, condoms and even abstention thereby having a more productive youth.

70 years ago, it would be hard to imagine a more idyllic place to conceive than the United States; this was of course at the dawn of the Second World War, where France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Poland, the United Kingdom and just about every other European country became entangled in the war effort to defeat the Nazis and bring an end to Hitler’s authoritarian rule. Today, after going through the baby boomer period, the ‘’New Frontier’’, the ‘’Great Society’’ and the ‘’Morning again in America’’ periods, it is hard to envision a more polarizing nation (in the free world) than the United States. With every call to ban Muslims, to build a wall across the southern border, to mock the disabled and promote oligarchies and inequality, the U.S.A is gradually losing its standing as the premier procreation location in the world. As stated, things have changed dramatically in almost a century, and through decades of peace as well as prosperity, France has become, along with countries like Germany, the Nordics and many others, a magnet to aspiring parents in search of new opportunities and a new life, paradoxically, in the so-called ‘’old world’’. Having a baby is never easy, especially when one is young. Many doubts and insecurities arise especially regarding the financial aspects, career hopes, academic goals and many others. That is why it is important to plan coherently and with a long-term vision. France for instance has many prestigious academic institutions, relatively safe streets and a robust political system which would hint at stability and a solid framework for future progress.

The challenge for young parents starts way before birth (and not just in France) but particularly in the E.U where the cost of living is among the highest in the world; where housing, utilities, groceries, baby supplies and other products are significantly more expensive than other countries. This of course is relative since median income in France is over U$30,000 dollars a year compared to countries like Russia where the figure is almost cut in half, compounded by an autocratic regime and several social repressions which can make raising a child, extremely difficult. Another relevant aspect about giving birth in France (assuming the baby will be raised there) is the world-class museums, palaces, art centers, theaters and other historical sites which have been hallmarks of France’s identity. This kind of exposure to arts and culture would ideally make a child much more worldly and educated about music, literature, paintings, history and many other human expressions of creativity and self-discovery that not everyone can access. It could be argued that raising a child in France would entail many more chances of success at life than one born in Rwanda or Armenia for instance, which is precisely why it would make sense to have a baby there.

The French also are very proud and patriotic people. A child born and raised in France is a child that will defend their republic and the lives of their people. France as well as many other industrialized nations of the European bloc have been the subject of cowardly attacks from paramilitary groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, there is no question that many would shield their nation from a flying bullet attempting to thwart their freedoms and civic liberties. The same can be said of countries like Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and others, however, the United Kingdom showed an unfortunate stance in 2016 with regards to freedom of migration in Europe and aid to refugees by leaving the European Union. France and many other democracies have guaranteed not only democratic governments, pluralist societies and diverse social structures but also many freedoms threatened by ultra right wing movements such as ‘’Brexit’’, America’s Donald Trump, France’s Marine La Pen and others. France voted for more tolerant and traditionally liberal social stances by electing Emanuel Macron as President. It is safe to argue that President Macron will defend life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the French republic thereby borrowing those sacred lines from the American Declaration of Independence. It is important children as well as teenagers see in their parents, regardless of where they live a sense of moral conviction and sound judgment by standing on the right side of history. The xenophobia, economic isolation and racism once prevalent in periods of slavery and bloody fights for civil rights can no longer be the rule of the land. Franklin Roosevelt said in his 1932 inaugural that ‘’our generation has a great rendezvous with destiny’’. It is imperative to honor those words and meet the challenges of each generation with vigor and determination.

The challenges of the Eiffel baby

Throughout this article, much has been said about the advantages of having a baby in France. Starting with the mother’s health care, academic and career opportunities for the baby and many peculiar intangibles of the French people. However, it is important to contrast the Eiffel baby with perhaps the ‘’Dragon Baby’’ meaning that rising, fast developing, hard working Asian baby. Despite European citizens having very high standards of living, it is undeniable that their economies remain among the slowest growing in the world whereas countries like China, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia have very high growth rates particularly because of offshoring, cheap labor, friendly conditions to foreign direct investment and an ever-growing pace of innovation. The Eiffel baby, surrounded by his ‘’city of love’’ aura and his first-world birthright cannot ignore the rapid pace of the dragon baby’s steady advance towards industrialization, highly developed innovation hubs and world class academic institutions. In a sense, the West (including America) has become stagnant and even decaying in comparison to their eastern counterparts. Moreover, huge trade deficits against these countries and an increasing dependence on Chinese debt has created an asymmetric playing field for these 3 giants (America, Europe and Asia). It might be argued that their G.D.P is not yet equal but their influence on the global economy is becoming ever more evident. That is why, the Eiffel baby must not stay behind, that’s why he or she needs to become well educated, to become involved in extracurricular activities, to enhance their leadership and more importantly to prepare themselves for the jobs of the future which are gradually gravitating towards artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles. The Asians have made meaningful strides in all of these areas presenting the world with low-cost, top-tier product designs and an ever more skilled workforce. The same cannot be said of the Europeans or particularly the French ( service urgence en ligne avec geoallo ).

If there is one problem the French must solve is inequality. In fact, 20% of their population earns 5 times the median income and when one visits Paris it is easy to see two realities surrounding the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysées which is: fancy banks, stores, cafes and restaurants in the heart of Paris, and then just a few miles to the outskirts, decaying slums filled with very poor people having few hopes at overcoming their reality. One thing they cannot do is dwell solely on a welfare system and stop trying to succeed. Capitalism was made to maximize profits but never to be in and of itself and equalizer of the social structures and therefore, one must rely on education which has historically been ‘’the great equalizer’’. In an age where school tuition seems to jump much higher than the rate of inflation, it might be worth noting that courses and even entire academic programs are now widely available online, sometimes for free in what’s usually referred to as the ‘’democratization of education’’. In order to bridge the equality gap, education must be the missing ‘’x’’ to that troubling formula of development and prosperity.

Where to have your baby?

By now, you must be surely wondering where the heck to have your baby! It is more than understandable. Many parents share your concerns as the world just seems to regress to an outdated time where anarchists and demagogues ruled the land but know this: in no time in history has there been more wealth in the world, there has never been a more educated population, a higher quality of living or a more civilized world order. Granted, not every country observes this macro-level signs of progress but in general terms, those facts are undeniable. Imagine for a moment you could choose where to have your baby? What questions should be on your mind?

Here are a few:

Where would your baby be safest?

Where would your baby have a better and affordable education?

Where would your baby have better career opportunities?

Where would you feel most comfortable raising your baby?

The world today is more connected than ever, via cell phones, computers, planes and buses. Mobility and communication have never been more mainstream and therefore it shouldn’t really matter where your baby is born after adulthood; but for the first 18 years of their life, your choice is paramount and over the past few paragraphs, many pros and cons have been explained regarding your ideal choices. The answer cannot be a generic pill for everyone since we all have different conditions and realities, therefore, come up with a notepad, write down your thoughts, answer the suggested questions and think with your mate or immediate family about your decision. There are also many websites and blogs online that offer great advice on parenting and geographic choices. Take a look at them, and make your pick!

Last call

 

As bartenders would say, a last call creates a sense of urgency and nothing is more urgent than choosing the birthplace of your offspring; the one that shall accompany you for your remaining years and who should roam this earth for at least 75 years. Some cultures especially Latin Americans stick too closely to the household, sometimes not leaving the nest even after their marriage. DO NOT make that mistake with your children. It cannot be denied that in countries like France a child is more likely to succeed than in a country like Nicaragua for instance. This is not intended to call for a massive exile or for you to leave your family but simply to analyze things with a long term vision and with your child’s best interests at heart. Ideally, your significant other should weigh in the decision and in some cases it depends on where they or you can best execute your career path but as stated before, after the age of 18, it should be encouraged that your child travels the world, experiences new cultures and environments, tries new schools or toys with vocational orientation. We usually jump to pivotal decisions far too lightly, or far too quickly. Let not your children’s future become a part of that filthy habit.