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Family planning, lower birth rate



Thomas Edward Malthus, an English scholar influential in political economy and demographics, lived from 1766 to 1834. In six editions of “An Essay on the Principle of Population,” his major theory was that population sooner or later would be decreased by famine, disease, and wars — “population does invariably increase when the means of subsistence increase and that the superior power of population is repressed, and the actual population kept equal to the means of subsistence, by misery and vice.”

The world population in Malthus’ time, the 1800s, was estimated to be 800 million. At the beginning of this year, according to the US Census Bureau estimate, world population was more than 6.9 billion, and went over 7 billion on Oct. 23.

According to a United Nations report on food insecurity, one-eighth of the world population is going hungry; 868 million people were hungry in 2010-2012, about 12 percent of the world’s population. This means one out of every eight people in the world is chronically undernourished.

The effect of chronic undernourishment is not just the misery of gnawing hunger, but also translates into lack of proper brain development and stunted growth for the children who don’t have enough to eat.

With climate change affecting crop production around the world, from extreme drought to overwhelming floods, food production has gone down worldwide. And, of course, as production goes down, prices go up.

Aid groups are warning that these rising food prices are effecting reversals in the gains made in recent years in the fight against hunger.

Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization, warned, “Most of the progress in hunger reduction was made until 2006, as food price levels continue to decline. With the rise in food prices and the economic crisis that followed, there have been many fewer advances.”

So with Malthus’ prediction of “misery and vice” produced by extreme famine, production and distribution of foodstuffs is not the only answer to alleviating the “misery” part of his prediction.

For me, the greater underlying problem is the skyrocketing population. Medical science drastically lowering infant mortality rates, coupled with advances in immunization and the fact that we humans are living longer, are causative factors in this overwhelming population explosion.

The country with the world’s largest population, China, with 1.3 billion, instituted its One Child Policy as a way of stemming population growth. By limiting couples to one child, it is estimated that China reduced population growth by 300 million people.

If China continues its One Child Policy in the decades to come, it will actually see its population decrease. In spite of the success of the policy, most Americans find this draconian policy abhorrent.

To me, the only alternative is to promote education in family planning and continuing the greater use of contraceptive methods. One of the promising new methods is a male oral contraceptive being tested in the medical community. Misguided abstinence-only programs have proven to be utter failures for population control.

A medical doctor many years ago told a group of us ministers at a meeting in South Dakota that if you put two young people who thought they were in love into a situation where they would be uninterrupted for an hour and they didn’t have sex, there was something wrong with them.

Obviously, if you truly care for your children, help them to stay away from that scenario.

lompo record

3 Comments on "Family planning, lower birth rate"

  1. Kenz300 on Fri, 26th Oct 2012 1:49 pm 

    Quote — “According to a United Nations report on food insecurity, one-eighth of the world population is going hungry; 868 million people were hungry in 2010-2012, about 12 percent of the world’s population. This means one out of every eight people in the world is chronically undernourished.”

    The world adds 80 million more mouths to feed every year. This is unsustainable in a finite world and only leads to more poverty, suffering and despair. Yet it is those that can least afford to provide for their children that are having the most.

    Every country needs to develop a plan to balance its population with its resources of food, water, energy and jobs. Those that do not will be exporting their people and their problems.

    Access to family planning services needs to be available to all that want it.

  2. BillT on Fri, 26th Oct 2012 2:16 pm 

    Well, Mother Nature is going to reduce the food problem soon, with the help of the Empire in a little population control called World War 3. Then there is the climate changes that will cut food production, the collapsing global economy and financial system that will throw more havoc into the mix. Bottom line…there may be only 2 billion of us left in 2050.

  3. DC on Fri, 26th Oct 2012 3:02 pm 

    I never get tired of the fundy, corny fanatics that keep insisting that ‘Malthus was wrong’. Usually, they say because he couldnt predict ‘X’. ‘X’ being CAFO’s, the so-called ‘green-revolution’ and so on. As it turns out, he was pretty close to the mark, because so-called ‘technology’ has little to do with the matter. We could invent some magical food tech to quadruple food production next week, and in a few decades time, wed be right back to starving and malnourished people as the population exploded to eat up the new ‘surplus’. Just like they did in India after the agri-corps rushed to ‘save’ India from its famine in the 70s. Well, here we are a few decades later, and india has nearly doubled its population, and guess what? 1/2 the population or ore is still malnourished. (allready calling for a 2nd ‘green-revolution to you know, ‘fix’ the problem).

    IoW, Malthus did not have to worry about technology he couldn’t predict, because tech doesn’t matter. All tech does is provide temporary relief, until a new equilibrium condition is obtained. The new condition is more mouths and more chronic hunger, which in turn raises calls for new ‘tech’ whose only short-term benefit is provide transient relief for a few years. Then the ‘problem’ begins to re-assert itself in a way thats harder to ignore, and the cycle begins all over again. More tech..etc etc…

    The problems started showing up at the 6 billion mark, and are only get worse as time drags on. He will be right in end, as the larger the stomach gets, the more effort it will take to keep it filled. And the day will come, when that system just breaks down for good. Then all bets are off. The trick I guess is to hope to live a full life and die a natural death before the problem shows up on your doorstep.

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