Start with Science
Demographic policies can be thorny. Family policy is strongly linked with culture, and so easily and often politicised. Migration quickly gives way to questions of identity and economic uncertainty in a globalising world. Yet both are complex and can take years to bear fruit. They require a strong foundation in scientific expertise— not ideological preferences for one model of living over another.
To be sure, demographers are not immune from ideological persuasion. But a good demographer, like any good scientist, will have the strength of will and faith in the scientific method to accept results that do not agree with their worldview. Open discussion, peer review, international comparisons, and work in teams—especially international teams—are essential best practices here that should be fostered at every opportunity.
Policymakers should follow suit. Whether politicians, functionaries or stakeholders, they should be ready to accept difficult realities, work cooperatively, debate openly, invite scrutiny, and develop innovative solutions to today’s demographic challenges. In other words, they should base their work on scientific best practices as well as scientific knowledge. It will make their contribution, and the democratic process, much more meaningful.
Janina Jóźwiak (+), Warsaw School of Economics, Poland