The need for systematic counteraction
The sharpness and continuity of the demographic crisis in Bulgaria, its negative inertia is determined by four main factors, functioning cumulatively - with an accumulating and mutually generating effect: (1) a sharp decrease of the number of the born children, a de facto decrease by half of the young replacing cohorts - in comparison with the respective data of two decades ago; (2) immense mass of emigrated fertile contingent, export of fertility, continuing depopulating emigration; (3) moral and motivational crisis for timely and fully-functioning parenthood, crisis of the family forms and partnership; (4) bifurcated stratification profile of fertility - an extremely low birth-rate among the educated and socialized strata and an extremely high birth-rate among the illiterate and marginal strata.
These factors are complemented and generally reinforced by a set of the complementary factors, mainly connected with: (5) the physical, psychical and intellectual health as well as the degree of social integration of young generations; (6) as well as with the extremely risky social environment, due to which a considerable part of the currently born young generations have been individually or socially wasted - because their early involvement and enticement in various forms of addiction, absence of social integration and deviant behaviour, criminality and damaging hedonism.
Having such a complex of factors for the demographic crisis and its negative inertia, the counteraction should also be complex, with an overall state and social mechanism, with a motivating mission and clearly defined strategic goals.
Demographic crisis, demographic collapse, demographic inertia, spiral of crisis, cumulative complex of factors, complex counteraction, critically reduced birthrate, postponed fertility, extremely lower birthrate, extremely high birthrate, stratificational polarization, export of the fertile contingent, lack of value motivation; formula for political action, instinct for national self preservation
The Demographic crisis in Bulgaria in the last two decades (1989-2008) has been evolving into a spiral of contraction and deformation: first, as an exponential decay in fertility, preserving a high mortality rate and an immense emigration of the young and fertile population (1989-1994); then, as a long lasting "bottom" period of an extremely reduced birthrate with a formation of demographic inertia and distorted reproduction structure of the reproduction of population and working resources (1995-2003); after that, a slight recovery, birth-rate increase, initial symptoms of convalescence of the reproduction structure, but more as partial compensation for the postponed births of the previous decade than as demographic activation of population; in perspective, a demographic echo with a new exponential contraction and distortion of the reproduction of population (2020-2030) is expected, unless an active combination of counter factors is set in motion by then - for an activation of fertility among middle and educated strata, restraining of emigration and return of a part of it as well as immigration of active and integrating foreign population.
It is important to underline that after 1995 it has been a matter of demographic inertia spun around in a spiral of demographic crisis. If these inertia and crisis are not interrupted and the tendency is not reversed towards a demographic convalescence, there will logically set in a new period of a demographic exponential decay (probably in 2020-2030) - a new sharp birthrate decrease which moreover is combined not with a decrease but rather with an increase of the mortality rate. Child mortality rate will probably be slightly reduced but mortality rate as a whole will go up in the next 20-30 years: both because of the rapid aging of population as a whole and the retiring of the baby-boom generation, and because of the increase of the relative share of Romanies and of a large mass of extremely destitute people in the country (20%) whose average life expectancy is considerably shorter. It is mainly about a demographic echo of the first exponential decay in 1989-1995, which is the next phase of the demographic collapse - as an objective process and inertia.
These cycles of successive exponential decays, the generation and sustainability of the respective downward inertia of the demographic spiral, are determined by the blending of a number of factors and are caused by various reasons. Let us summarize and structure them. What combination of factors - main and supplementary- is causing the downward inertia of the demographic spiral?
Firstly, it is the drop in the fertility rate and the mass loss of motivation for child bearing, particularly more than one and at a naturally young age.
The drop in the fertility rate is taking place:
• radically among the ethnic Bulgarian majority - after 1995, for a period of approximately 10
years, the fertility coefficient has been at about 2 times lower than the required for the
ordinary reproduction (TFR 0,8-1,0), now it is slightly rising - probably up to 1,1-1,2, but
remains far from the required rate of ordinary reproduction (TFR - 1,8);
• tangibly among the urban Turkish minority - in it the reproduction norm is around and close
to the ordinary reproduction norm;
• visibly in the socialized part of the minority of Romanies - they also are moving towards the
norm of ordinary reproduction as they adopt the two-child family model.
To some minimal extent there is starting a slight decrease in fertility among unsocialized and marginal Romany communities although they still have an excessively high fertility rate (TFR above 3,2).
Table 1. Demographic estimate of the number of Bulgarian population in perspective up to 2060.
What is causing this general lack of motivation for a normal reproductive activity? It is above all about a decrease among the ethnic Bulgarians, among the middle classes and socialized strata as a whole. These are the strata which have the highest labour activity and social productivity; they are also the population with the highest level of human capital and with European standards of life biography and career. The reproduction passivity and insufficiency among them leads to a general lowering of the educational and cultural level in general, as well as to a decrease of people's adaptability and receptivity of modern social forms and of the productive and constructive capacity of population as a whole.
In Bulgaria during the last two decades the lack of motivation comes first of all from the prevalent feeling of instability and the economic and social crisis, which has been lasting longer than it was expected, as well as from the continuing polarization and dooming a large part of the population to permanent misery and marginalization. The long duration of the crisis and instability are exhausting. In these circumstances parents feel helpless and afraid of being unable to secure good future for their children, protect them from the risks of the street and deviation, keep them close.
It is mainly because of these reasons among the ethnic Bulgarians and the middle strata that:
• the birthrate is decreasing - not only critically towards one child model, but also towards a risk for families to remain childless;
• the childbirths are postponed - both with respect to the existentially needed first child, and with respect to the second wanted child;
• the marriages are also postponed or even rejected as a desired form of family partnership and child ensuring;
• A negative effect of a double lack of motivation is accumulated - first the decision for having children is hard to take, then very often this frightening feeling is covered by a lack of motivation for being a really dedicated, good and caring parent.
Secondly, there is a division of the active child-bearing population in two parts. The first has a riskily high birthrate and the other one has a riskily insufficient birthrate. The outlines of those diverging groups have been already marked above.
Figure 1. Disproportion in the fertility structure in strata.
This is a structural dimension of the reproduction of the population with core significance now as well as in a long-lasting context.
It is only because of the postponing of childbirths and the fast increase in the average child-birth age among the middle classes and socialized strata in 15-20 years (till 2010) that we will lose a birthrate which equals the reproduction activity of half a generation. After that both diametrically opposite parts of the fertile contingent are reproducing and intensifying this structural unbalance - the first is increasingly growing and getting younger, whereas the other is diminishing and getting older.
Figure 2. Natural population growth as for March 2003, including emigration.
Fertility coefficients indicate a discrepancy of at least 10 to 15 years between the two groups. Besides, the maximum among the unsocialized groups is 5 times higher than the maximum among socialized groups (1). These are the facts. The problem here is not to argue weather they are true or not, but to make an adequate diagnosis and find the appropriate remedy.
Furthermore, the social problem of stratification and polarization has bright ethnic coloration, the social problem is transformed into ethnic and civilization, and this alone is generating civil pressure, economic barriers, and political collisions.
Thirdly, because of the extremely high emigration rate – first, it was the massive emigration of the Turkish people living in Bulgaria, and now it is an unabating ethnic Bulgarian emigration, with the emigration rate of Romany people being the lowest one.
Through emigration trend, unceasing until 2008, Bulgaria has been exporting a large part of its active child-bearing contingent which in its greater part is ethnic Bulgarian.
The phenomenon concerns thousands of young women, who because of emigration either postpone childbirth, or give birth abroad or even give up the idea of having a child (missing the natural birth age). The children are born abroad with the tendency of remaining there and even losing their Bulgarian national consciousness.
Figure 3. Do you intend to move somewhere abroad – to a foreign country?
What is the number of the exported children through emigration, including the number of the "temporary" working and studying abroad? There is no reliable data; the number could be estimated approximately on the basis of indirect data. It probably comes around to 100-150,000 Bulgarian children, born abroad in the last two decades. A great part of them have already acquired foreign citizenship and are now adapting to a foreign culture and nation, principally alienated from Bulgaria and Bulgarian nationality. Another part is keeping their civil Bulgarian status as well as their ethnic tie and identity. The problem here is that they are placed in a kind of bilingual situation, which means a primarily divided ethnic and cultural identity.
Bulgarian grandmothers are nursing the illusion that most of the exported Bulgarian children are their "Bulgarian" grandchildren. Practically, their mothers will bring them up as foreigners (Italians and Spanish, German and French, English and Americans), and if the mothers do not do that deliberately, the social environment in which these children live and experience will do it. This is the logic of adaptation to the foreign national tradition, and the integration in the immediate cultural and behavioral environment. It should here be pointed out that Bulgarian people are extremely adaptive and adjustable. They can not only adapt themselves, but also they do it with strong motivation – adopting the foreign culture deliberately and strengthening the practical effect of their assimilation on the part of the new nation and state.
In the last few years an opposite tendency among the new Bulgarian emigration has emerged and it also should here be mentioned. A part of the Bulgarian emigration has been consolidated in Bulgarian communities with the clear notion of being able to preserve the Bulgarian spirit in their lifestyle, as well as their ethic consciousness, culture and national identity. They have done it also in order to prevent the cutting or thinning of the communicational and informational ties with their fatherland as well as in order to give a chance to the adults to come back to their country without any particular adaptation difficulties and to the children and grandchildren to preserve their fundamental connection with Bulgarian ethnos.
Thus, a part of Bulgarian emigration is trying to preserve itself in an ethnic sense. This is what the communities of Jewish, Armenian, Polish, Serb, Russian, Irish, Greek and Italian people have been doing long since. Regretfully, this tendency concerns only a part of the tremendous Bulgarian emigration in the last two decades, and to put it more accurately – only a tiny part of it.
Fourthly, a sharp turning of the value system has been done. The domination of the collectiveness and communal principles has been replaced by a domination of the individualism, often interpreted as a justifiable egoism leading to conscious atomization. The domination of creative constructiveness and moral principles of personal contribution in the production of the public goods has been replaced by the consumption mentality which reaches the levels of pure parasitism in various forms. There has also been a turn in the life and civil philosophy – from the notion of work and public usefulness (homo-faber) to the philosophy of party-time and pleasure (homo ludens). There has also been another moral turn – from the moral of family, parental, professional and civil responsibilities to the moral of personally successful and egocentric man, unwilling or unable to make compromises, as well as from the moral of the sense of belonging to your nation and state to the principle of "one dimensional man" (after Marcuze) who is confining his interests and commitment to his own micro space, private interests and conveniences as well as to his intimate experiences and problems, which leads to the extreme form of principal refusal to have own children.
All of these close-ups of the moral twist in the last 20 years have numerous and cumulative manifestations and dimensions of demoralization – when things come to the extreme ends, when the healthy life proportions are not upheld and when there is no combination of the two moral and behavioral alternatives – the social and collective with the individually craved, the socially useful with the personally centered, the altruistic with the egoistic.
Figure 4. What is the most important thing in your private life?
In a sociological system plan, the demoralization is of key importance in as much as it interrupts and cuts off natural social ties – between people at home and in the family, also between the generations in families and in professional communities, between the basic social strata and classes, between individuals and natural macro communities – religious and ethic communities, own nation and its historic and cultural identity, the fatherland and its own ethnic and national state.
The demoralization and the breaking of the social ties in contemporary society is taking place as a mass process at the three basic levels – micro, meso, and macro levels, in the respective life cycles of people. The demoralization and moral rupture are deeply affecting the relations within the family, the motivation of bearing children and family reproduction, as well as the motivation for making efforts for a good parenthood. All of these generate the demographic crisis not only in terms of quantity – as shrinkage and postponing of births, but also in qualitative terms – not only because of the parents’ negligence and minimal communication with children, but also as risks for children, which comes from a lack of motivation for good and dedicated parenthood and reaches the extreme of the parents’ conscious abuse of their own and "favourite" children.
In summary – there is an accumulation of four basic factors – one is quantitative, two are structural and the last one is subjective. 
It is namely their combination in the last two decades that has lead to the malignant inertia of the demographic crisis in Bulgaria. It is inertia indeed and it is malignant in most of its parts.
I lay the emphasis on the inertia in as much as it is essential and has a key importance for the adequate orientation of the demographic and reproductive strategy of the state.
As it has already been said, the current structure of fertility and its respective reproduction inertia has been sustainable since 1995. The sharp change was made in the previous transition period between 1989 and 1994. Since the middle of the past decade Bulgaria has been in essence a sustainable model of low birthrate and a stratificationally deformed reproduction of population, labor resources, and nation as a whole. If the demographic strategy has a generalizing objective and clear and synthetic criteria for success, then this would be a change of the inertia, this new sustainable reproductive model and its respective demographic and civil structures.
It's not only about the sharp contraction of the number of children born to around 70,000 per year, but also about a sharp deterioration of the social and national-ethnic structure of born children, and also about the risky decrease of the productive potential of the population and about the respective demographic impediment to the economic development as well as about the obvious lack of energy for national and ethnic self-preservation, for respective fertility and reproduction.
The severe shrinking of the newly born generations is a complex problem which reflects directly on all of the fundamental spheres of society as a system. Along the chains and in the networks of the systematic sociological interactions, the absence of the young generations determines the structural, functional and essential deficits and deformations in all of the social spheres and fundamental activities. The principle of qualitative similarity in this case exports the crisis outside the family borders and reproduction of population and transfers it first to the economy and communications, then to the policy and government and finally it results in the intellectual production – science and knowledge, faith and morality, art and spirituality.
Scheme 1. The accumulation of the four basic factors for the inertia in the demographic crisis/collapse
The contraction and the shortage of young generations have a negative impact as a generally depressing atmosphere in Bulgaria, and as a sense of sinking into crises and deformations. This is inevitable in a situation with so many single adults, so many isolated young people, when there are so many young women who remain without the desired children and male partners.
The shortage of young generations and depressing atmosphere directly affect the economy. It is actually about the human resource which is required for rapid modernization, advanced growth of productivity, innovation and flexibility in accordance with the restructuring of the global economy, the energy and environmental crisis, global financial crisis and the possible new geopolitical crisis. Moreover, it is also about the real life and tone and civil activity of the human capital in the state and the economy.
The other aspect of the demographic crisis, the change in the ethnic structure of the population is actually a problem of preserving or deteriorating the status of Bulgarian nationality, the structure of the future Bulgarian nation and respectively the character and sustainability of the Bulgarian state. It is essentially about a sharp unbalance in national, ethic cultural and socialized structure of the children, born in the past two decades. This unbalance leads to an extremely rapid growth of minority and marginal communities and strata of the population, most of which are either unfit or are excluded and excluding themselves from the productive part of the economy and the socialized part of society.
The supplementary factors are a numerous and diverse. They are intensifying the influences of the fundamental ones – in total, the result of their interplay is an unbalancing and distorting demographic effect. Here we need to point out at least the following supplementary factors to the four basic ones, mentioned above.
• Homosexuality – male and particularly female ; in the last ten years or so, by means of
research ASSA-M has registered a double increase of the spreading of homosexuality as a
whole, and rapid and overtaking spread among girls and young women. In the process of
unfolding and covering a wider perimeter, the tendency is towards saturation and reaching the
respective scope and size. The problem is that society is under the active influence of the
homo-fashion; the sense that these phenomena aggressively take away territories and that
the "reverse" wave is pressing and pushing out those who are still "normal" and traditionally
• Health diseases along with abortion, depressive forms of stress, difficulties in intersexual and
intimate communication, unsafe sexual practices, moral and socio-psychological barriers to
partnership are also detrimental to the reproductive capacity;
• Alarming spread of STD’s – syphilis and a growing risk of contracting AIDS, on the one
hand – there is a fear of sexual and intimate partnerships, on the other – it could be
increasingly harmful to children;
• Mass prostitution particularly among some of the social strata and communities; lowering of
the age for involvement in prostitution, public announcement of all forms of prostitution,
including male prostitution, and even the media propaganda of prostitution and the respective
impairment of a part of the fertile contingent; placement of children of such parents in a
position of primary and increased risk;
• trafficking and sexual exploitation of children and young women as a contemporary model of
slavery in a world which pretends for a high level of democracy and humanity as well as the
related damage to the fertile contingent, contraction of the prospectively viable part of the
children cohorts, insufficient as they are;
• risky and promiscuous sexual life from an early age also without the adequate contraception
and hygiene, often under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as well as the related damage not
only to the childbearing ability and motivation but also to the emotional health of the minors;
• juvenile delinquency and criminalization involving the organized and conscious abuse of
children and youngsters in criminal organizations, and the social impairment and unsociability
of a part of young cohorts;
• mentality of vandalism which in the intimate sphere is transformed into manners of brutality,
demonstratively challenging vulgarity, cold-blooded cruelty to others, as well as self-impairing
behavior – which is obviously a barrier to full and lasting emotional intimate partnership as a
prerequisite for good parenthood and sustainable family;
• wide spread of alcoholism and drug addiction among children and young people, which is
particularly damaging for girls and young women – a problem which is still underestimated
despite its direct influence on the ability and motivation of youth for parenthood and family
• Computer action – game addiction and the lack of basic social reflexes and abilities for
intersexual communication, which causes considerable emotional and intellectual damage to a
considerable part of boys and young men – an absolutely underestimated problem in
Bulgaria, which also has a considerable civil scope.
The supplementary factors could be summarized in two main points: (1) the complex social health and social integrity of young generations – not only the physical and psychical health and development, but also the mental, cultural, value and behavioral health of the young generations; (2) also extremely risky social environment, which affects a large part of newly born young generations – either because of a bad family environment or because of abandonment and negligence, exploitation and violence against children as well as involvement and initiation in various forms of drug addiction, unsociability and deviation, criminality due to adoption of personality-impairing forms and ways of amusement, intimate life and communication, personal realization and incomes, unrelated to labour.
All these factors, independently and in combination, cause erosion, contraction and a lack of motivation among the child-bearing population and create anti-family models and attitudes. In the process, a considerable part of the young generation damages its potential and goes out of the productive and socialized contingent of the population.
Let us repeat that the effect is cumulative – factors work simultaneously as a system creating deep and long-lasting damage – personal, generational, human and social.
In such a situation of a complex generation of a demographic crisis and its sustainable inertia, it is obvious that the anti-remedy also needs to be multi-dimensional, systematic and applied simultaneously at many different levels, in different forms, for a considerable period of time. In order to achieve a significant and massive effect, the complex factors need to find their adequate and systematic counteraction, so as to break the synchrony in the striking combination of basic and complementary factors.
The formula for political action – a tempting illusion
It is a tempting illusion that a simple and fast, single and direct solution to the demographic and reproductive problem is possible. Politicians wish that it were like that. Firstly, because they do not have time to wait long for the effects – far after the "democratic" mandate of those, temporarily empowered by them; secondly, because there should be something concrete which they would boast of before their electorate, opposition, and their European partners, and third, because every governor or politician is tempted by the illusion that the civil society yields easily to every imperative from above and obeys directives and decisions, taken political leaders.
Due to this tempting illusion, we tend to observe how not few politicians and administrators cherish the deceptive idea that somehow, by means of a clause or a separate law, some new form of assistance for mothers or a new service for families would suddenly make some people start giving birth to a second or third child, while others will stop giving birth to a fourth, fifth, sixth child, especially when they very well know that they do not have the proper financial capacity and conditions to look after them in a normal way. And these politicians believe all that, design programmes and "strategies", find the necessary finances and ardently explain their chances of success before the mass media.
However, the success which is based on separate measures, isolated services, fragmented social aid and incentives in this area is not possible. Nor can the result come fast, within several months or 1 or 2 years. Once all this has been realized, many of the active politicians are disappointed and become passive and inert. Actually, the illusion can easily be transformed into disappointment and well-learned helplessness.
Given the condition of the inertia of the process and the diverse set of factors, the simple and single decisions are quite impossible. Neither is it possible that an authoritative decision may come from above, regardless of the fact that from a subjective point of view they may be quite attractive, and also regardless of the fact that they may be tricky, if the politicians are bigheaded or self-willed, and finally regardless of the fact that they could be considered to be convincing by someone who is lacking a systematic way of thinking as well as profoundness in the accessible information.
Moreover, the illusion is quite impossible, when it is obvious that the demographic tendencies are formed within the civil society, or within the socalled "people at large" – of course, in the framework that has been established by politicians and government, law and administration, economic realities and financial security. Actually the demographic processes are an organic symbiosis between the inertia and the impulses of the civil mass in the frame of the society and social engineering from "above" – on the part of politicians and power. However, this social engineering is not a direct tool, it is always complexly mediated, it is not a matter of a single act, but it implies consistency and cumulative effect; it is not one-way, but has several different projections among different social strata and communities.
It is about civil processes which are manageable only to a certain extent and which in all cases are inertia-driven mass processes – they are realized by means of a self-generating civil conduct, demonstrated by millions of people simultaneously. A number of factors is at play; these factors are combined, accumulated and transformed into mass social attitudes, into modern paragons of conduct, and into concrete motives and life norms. Therefore, the direct authoritative ban or the single incentive do not work when it comes to demographic and family policies.
Finally, it is about demographic trends and processes which have a long life-cycle – within decades that span at least one or two generations. A demographic trend requires a long period for its formation, then it takes shape within one or two decades. After that it could be stopped or reversed within at least one or two more decades.
Such a time-schedule in a policy segmented by mandates is a quite a distant horizon ahead. When the politicians are aiming to reverse a given demographic tendency, their efforts should be sustained and consecutive, without giving it up, for a long time period. The considerable success could be expected after many years to come. The long-term horizon of the objectively possible reversal of demographic waves puts the subject in politics and government under the obligation to act in a forecasting manner, consistently and simultaneously along many lines, harnessing different forces and resources, stimulating various factors, overcoming any possible obstacles or deforming circumstances. In this sense, a demographic strategy and policy could be implemented only if there is a consensus above all political parties, as well as an adoption of a uniform non-party national and state mission on the part of all main political parties. In Bulgaria, it is that demographic consensus that proved to be difficult to achieve. That is why the problem has not been granted the required attention and involvement. Our closest examples of the achievement of such a consensus and the respective cumulative effective action on the part of the state and other institutional factors are Greece and Turkey. The more distant positive examples could be found in the Czech Republic and Slovenia; in France and Germany if we go farther still.
The politicians’ habit to rule society through campaigns, tackle problems through focused short-term efforts, and be impatient to see the positive results fast and unambiguously is quite misleading.
This approach is to some extent reasonable in as much as the solution to every important social problem requires concentration of attention, efforts, resources and funds, state power and civil contribution. The problem is that when it comes to systematic and inertia phenomena, the campaign could be only the starting point. The campaign itself cannot yield a result, not can it guarantee a realization of the desired goals. It could only involve the society in the problem, establish the basis and organization for the solution of the problem, and create the required motivation and criteria for success, but this is all that it can do. If we stopped here, the process would quickly come to a standstill, and all that has been invested would be dissipated and stultified. So there is a need for continuation.
The campaigns of course are a convenient way in which some politicians demonstrate their determination to deal with a serious specific social problem. They write programs and establish committees, propose strategies and projects, inject a lot of money, raise media racket, sow optimism and expectations. But then the next campaign comes. The first problem is put aside, the work is reduced or terminated, the coordination falls apart, the money disappears, and the responsibility is blurred. The inertia of the problem proves to be stronger, and the problem remains and deteriorates.
Such a reflex is understandable, especially in the context of mandate democracy in which the authorities are changed periodically and in a short time cycles at that. But understanding it is different from waiving liability. The responsibility of politicians should not be taken down when they, misled by this reflex, are helpless to solve particularly serious and systematic problems – problems that require long-term planning and consistency, persistence and faith, and at a political level require consensus and loyalty to the electorate, to the state and nation.
Here we actually come to one of the negative, back sides of democracy and mandate basis.
The solutions to the demographic problems could not be carried out under sporadic pressure, nor could they be arrived at rashly, with superficial and one-sided concepts which are oversimplified. Practice shows this.
Their solution requires consistency and cumulative effect of the planned actions. It presupposes determination and unremitting pursuit of the goals. This in its turn means a well planned strategy for complex action – a strategy which organically combines:
• explicit values and their respective concrete goals;
• clear political principles and efficient organizational approach;
• involvement of a network of political and administrative, civil and communal, interior and
exterior forces and factors;
• Reasonable and feasible system of concrete steps and acts, which should be done in
coordination and with reliable criteria and indicators of success.
As it has already been pointed out, the prognosis and strategy for family and demographic policy should be done in a medium- and long- term plan. The system of the involved administrations, institutions and organizations should function on the basis of clearly determined, mutually-complementing and mutually-controlling tasks and responsibilities. An effective mechanism for coordination of their work as well as for mobilization of their efforts is also required.
A special training of the experts, government officials and politicians is required so that they do not fail to see the demographic problems in their priorities and their criteria which they use in order to evaluate and resolve current issues. What is required is cooperation and active support not only on the part of governmental bodies and institutions, but also on the part of the third sector – NGO (non-governmental organizations), the Church, the professional syndicates and the media as well as the public opinion leaders.
The optimistic project for a new revival and modernization
The optimistic project for new revival of the Bulgarian nation, of the power and dignity of the Bulgarian state is not only needed but it is also possible.
The optimistic project has the following several important milestones in the context of the demographic crisis and the deformations in the reproduction of population and the nation in the last two decades:
• timely awakening of the instinct for national self preservation; the ambition among Bulgarian
people for new national revival and recognition by the Europeans should be awakened;
• The state and society should be activated to overcome their passive and resigned position in
order to be able to concentrate the social resources and complex efforts to stop the most
deforming demographic tendencies and support some of the positive tendencies which have
already appeared within the civil society;
• The moral stimuli for timely and good-quality fertility, mostly among the socialized and
productive strata of the society, as well as among the educated and integrated classes and
among the family and civilly responsible people should be set in motion again;
• The ideological renunciation of marriage and family virtue, the responsible parenthood and
family partnership, the will to bear and love children, should be opposed and stopped;
• An effective mechanism for support of the good parenthood, protection of motherhood,
stimulation of the attentive fatherhood, preservation of the Bulgarian tradition and succession
between generations in the family, should be established and secured (legislatively,
financially, administratively, and media-supported);
• Such an effective mechanism for child protection, minimizing the abuse and exploitation of
children and, even the negligence and abandoning of children, is also required;
• European standards of contraceptive culture and responsible behaviour, for timely sexual
education of children and formation of a contemporary culture of family planning, marital,
family and parental partnership should be accepted.
• State and civil factors and control mechanisms should be activated to ensure crime and
deviation-free areas, clear of the risk of enticement and violence, areas in which children and
students can safely study and do sports, have fun and develop their individual talents and
• Counter factors against the models of consumption, hedonism and mercantilism should also
be activated through accessible opportunities for cultural and creative development of
children, through collective and communal activities and communication, through forms of
cultivation of awareness and motives for participation in charitable, humane and pro-social
activities in the name of higher values of human solidarity and social mutual assistance.
All this presupposes an all-out system of: (1) social activities; (2) social investments; (3) relevant legislative and moral norms; (4) respective administrative and expert capacity; (5) as well as atmosphere of communal exigence to all who are responsible for dealing directly with the problem.
The establishment of a system of that kind is a social investment in itself. The state has direct responsibility for this. The system could function only under the pressure and the charisma of the respective political leadership.
The lack of such a system or the failure of the attempt for it to be established and work efficiently means that there is a malignant deficit of creative and responsible political leadership, and that the state is going down in chaos and weakness, that the objectives are blurred, the means are being scattered and the problem remains and intensifies..
1. Sergey Sherbov. An Alternative Scenario for the Future Human Capital in Bulgaria. In:
"Demographic Development of Republic Bulgaria", 2005, pp. 27, figure 2.1
2. National Strategy for Demographic Development…. Sofia, 2007, pp. 24-34