Posted by Mike
Am I out in left field or something? No one’s talking about it, but it’s like the horse on the dining room table that everyone ignores. What am I talking about? Population growth. I see pictures and stories daily, depicting mainly third world peoples, families with 2 parents and multiple little children, struggling to cope with the basics of existence, with minimal resources on their own and little to no help from others. The pictures and stories come from all over Africa, from Central America, South America, the Indian subcontinent (including Bangladesh and Pakistan), the Middle East and Southeast Asia. What’s wrong with the picture? It’s simple. The number of children being produced cannot possibly be adequately fed, nurtured, educated, trained, and socialized given the resources of the individual families or of the countries involved. I only read the popular press, but from what I see nothing is being done on a large scale to address the issue of unmanageable population growth.
People in this country were critical when China enforced its “one family – one child” policy for years. The policy, regrettable in its draconian aspects, enabled China to avoid the population explosion that has occurred elsewhere around the globe.
People might think that the term population growth management implies attempting to exercise excessive controls over the freedom of individuals. Granted that the most sure way to curb population growth would be to sterilize a large percentage of a country’s citizens, but only a Stalinesque scenario would support such drastic measures. In a society that is relatively free rational, noncoercive approaches are acceptable. Some are likely going to say that it is naïve to think that one can influence cultures in which family birth control is completely unknown and in which having many children is a longstanding fixture of the culture. Certainly, overcoming cultural resistance is likely one of the two major factors limiting the success of any attempts at population management. The other major factor is the availability of resources (outreach workers, educators, medical workers and supplies).
When I see pictures of these families with 6, 7, or 8 children – be it in Gaza Strip, Bangladesh, or Uganda – I wonder if the sad women in the pictures would be willing to say, “No More!” given half a chance.