How does the dystopian vision in The Children of Men present a warning for modern society?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the important themes in the novel is how important children are to civilized society. Whether a person has children or not, all of humanity knows that children are the future of the world and the reason to leave a legacy. If there are no children, there is no point in struggling to invent, innovate, or even survive, and no reason to continue acting towards a civilized society. The complete lack of births worldwide might easily result in a dystopian society such as the one in The Children of Men. Today, world birth rates have dropped on average since 1950, and are predicted to continue dropping. Since the world population is over seven billion, some analysts have predicted that the world's resources will no longer be able to sustain the population if birth rates remained stable. The drop in birth rates can be attributed to a great number of factors, such as reliable birth control and social awareness. In The Children of Men, births stopped entirely, and the result was that civilized society began to break down; this is not seen directly in modern society, but many people believe that modern society is reverting to a less-enlightened age and to a more violent common mindset. It is possible, through statistical analysis, to relate violence and the collapse of society to lowering birth rates; more and more people believe that there is no future to work toward, and so their actions have no moral meaning.