Welcome to Blogster!
1,488,167 Blogster Users  |  364,642 Posts
 
 
 

chuckman

 

Blog Traffic: 158874

Posts: 3408

My Comments: 8

User Comments: 331

Photos: 231

Friends: 0

Following: 0

Followers: 11

Points: 52847

Last Online: 60 minutes ago


 
 

Visitors

No Recent Visitors
 

POSSIBLE DARK IMPLICATIONS OF UNTHINKING CALLS FOR POPULATION CONTROL IN THE NAME OF CONTROLLING POLLUTION OR CLIMATE

Added: Friday, November 8th 2019 at 10:05am by chuckman
 
 
 

John Chuckman

 

COMMENT STIMULATED BY AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE AND POPULATION CONTROL BUT NOT POSTED THERE

 

“If we want to stop the climate emergency, we need to break the taboo around population and contraception”

 

The author does seem unaware of dramatic changes having taken place in the composition of world population growth.

The natural engagement of a well-established social-economic phenomenon called Demographic Transition has already put population growth on a negative path in all advanced societies.

Every one of them. Any future growth in such societies depends completely on migration, and hasn’t that become a bitterly contested subject, migration, in great parts of the advanced world?

The natural rate of population growth – births minus deaths - is now insufficient to maintain the future size of populations in Europe, North America, Japan, and a good many other places.

Birth rates in fact do respond almost automatically to a sustained decline in death rates in advanced societies. People have fewer children with the assurance that those they do have will survive.

That was not so only a century or so ago, and it is not yet true in the Third World, where birth rates remain very high in some regions, as in Africa or the Mideast or parts of Latin America.

But it is the new norm for advanced societies. Its reality represents the interplay of many forces. Just good hygiene and nourishment and generally healthy, safe conditions plus advanced medicine and miraculous drugs make the probability of a child growing into adulthood extremely high. Also, many social security measures such as pensions add to the adults’ sense of security.

Families are relieved of all old notions of having to have a number of children just to guarantee the survival of at least some of them. Gone too are the old fears of not having someone to look after you and the farm when you are old.

Women in advanced societies want careers, good ones. Families want to maximize their total earnings with two working adults so they can enjoy more of the good things of life. And there is the immensely high cost now of raising even one child well with adequate education and recreation and entertainment over a long period.

The problem with talking about serious population control in such a world is that, de facto, you are talking about people in advanced countries imposing things on people in less advanced countries. Race also enters the issue when we think of Europeans or North Americans telling Africans and others about how many children they can have.

Remember, too, that all the fears and concerns that afflicted generations of European and North American families for centuries still very much afflict families in the Third World. They are not dry old stories from textbooks, they are part of what it still means to be alive and have a family.

So, while it is easy to glibly speak of population control, that glib speech hides a number of massive difficulties, difficulties touching profound and dangerous matters such as race and imperialism and “the rich versus the poor.”

The ideal way to bring population growth down in the Third World, and thus for the world in total, is with economic development there, so that its people too experience the social changes Europeans and North Americans already have experienced, but what are the chances of that? How many serious efforts do we see along those lines?

Indeed, I think it not exaggerated to say that calls for population reduction in the name of climate change or any other goal, no matter how seemingly worthy, calls with no appreciation of the facts I’ve outlined, are potentially quite dangerous.

We do live in a time with a rather heavy undercurrent of resurgent nationalism and ideology as well as a time of an immense number of wars and interventions, advanced states like the United States having come to regard destruction and death as a normal activity of national policy.

Is it not easy to see the potential for something hugely dark and destructive emerging from demands about population? A call almost for a kind of international crusade? One conducted by those who have against those who do not? And on an almost planetary scale?

 

A FEW NOTES ON POPULATION GROWTH

Here is the way population increase is analyzed. I've looked a bit into the numbers now, and we do have some surprises.

To replace an existing population with no growth requires a “(total) fertility level” of about 2.1 children per woman.

That is a level which replaces the two parents but with a small allowance for some inevitable infant mortality.

Actual fertility rates for women in North America and Europe are on the order of 1.5 - 1.8, which is a number not sufficient to replace the parents.

This is way down from the beginning 19th century, when fertility levels in places like the United States and Britain were about 6.

The global fertility rate is about 2.5 today, about half of what it was just fifty years ago, so we are making big progress, although there are countries still with rates like 5 or so, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

Charts of all countries’ rates suggest eventual future convergence of fertility rates at around 1.6 to 1.7.

Artificial birth control as well as programs to immunize children have played an important role in these changes. Immunization has played a role in assuring parents that the children they do have will survive.

 

 

User Comments

Post A Comment

This user has disabled all commenting.