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Population/Birth Control - Ed's journal
Population/Birth Control
Ok, so I hear on the radio, that we're probably going to hit 8 billion on the planet by 2030. The thing they asked, which was dodged because it was politically sensitive, is the notion of stronger birth control (e.g. government enforced somehow).
Now the thing is, it's actually quite a lot harder in Britain today to adopt a child than it is to drop your own sprog. The problem isn't that there's people who want to have children, and are prepared for the commitment that means to their life.
Nor is it the people who don't want to have children - it's not a duty or anything, and actually you're doing the future some good by not breeding.

The problem is somewhere in the middle - the people who have 'accidents' or who aren't really prepared for what's actually involved. I mean, babys are hard work, and a serious commitment for the best part of 20 years. If you want to do a good job, then for the next 20 years you'll need to center your life around this little sproglet you've brought into the world. It's not something to do carelessly.

But where they're able to bring that out a bit when vetting people for adoption, they're really not so much when it comes to just breeding. Is it just me that thinks it's plain lunacy that it is SO MUCH harder to adopt a child, that's already in need of someone to look after them and bring them up, than it is to end up with your own kid?

So yes. Our population is growing - and that 8 billion includes an approximate doubling of the population of Africa. As we increase, our natural tendancy to act like locusts will mean serious problems - we're already nearing a point where if everyone in the world were to live in the style that the Europe and the US are accustomed to, then there wouldn't be enough farm land to do it. Advances in growth of foodstuffs can only go so far.



Yep, that's how long it'll take for the world population to double, as we implement better and better healthcare, quality of life, and ... well, all the other stuff that we want. That's somewhere below 50 years right now.

That's actually pretty scary - nothing can support geometric population expansion like that. A plague of humans is what we'll be. Consuming more, and ever more, as we each want to improve our quality of life. The solution ... well, there's two really. The first is to ignore the problem, let it hit crisis, and accept that a large proportion of the population of the world is just going to have to die. It's not very nice, but it IS what's going to happen. It's just a question of when. How much longer can we keep trying to keep up with geometric population growth, and ever improving the 'poverty line'.

The other, is a bit more humane - control population growth. Artificially limit rate of increase of the population of the planet, much as we artificially reduce death rate, infant mortality, and extend life expectancy. Having children shouldn't be a right, it should be a privilege. There are enough people out there willing to be good parents, and to take full responsiblity for bringing up their child to be a happy, well rounded individual. To accept that this is a serious undertaking, and will take a large proportion of their life for 20 years.

So yes, I'm saying that I think that no one in the world should have a right to 'just have children'. I'm saying that if it take a serious effort to adopt a child, then it should take EVEN MORE to have one of your own. I'm saying that the future demands a smaller world population, if we want to maintain civilisation. I'm saying that having a child is far more complicated, and has far more long term consequences than learning to drive - if we make people have lessons and take tests to drive a car, we should be making people have lessons and take a test to be allowed the privilege of guiding a human life.
19 comments or Leave a comment
thepsion5 From: thepsion5 Date: March 19th, 2009 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't always thing this way, but in the last couple of years I've come to believe that there should be strict rules and regulations to govern whether someone can have a child or not. Unfortunately, I very much wonder how we could regulate such things without:
1. Incredible cost that outweighs the benefit for a long time
2. Rampant abuse at the expense of disenfranchised minorities
3. A huge public outcry at such a system

I think that overpopulation will continue unabated until it seriously threatens the western world, similar to the way that Global Warming is beginning to be treated. By then I wonder how manageable the problem would be.

Who's up for some terraforming?
elrohana From: elrohana Date: March 19th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you. There are parents like Peter and Rashida, and there are parents like Baby's P's so-called 'parents'. The first should have kids, the second never.

I'd be a Baby P type, I recognise this, and I have never bred (and at 43 never will!).

I guess the answer is enforced contraception - you have to take tests to be allowed to come off it. Nasty, but probably the only way as people are scum and will try to buck ANY system, even one that is trying to save their miserable existences (look at attacks on firemen and MHS staff if you don't believe me)
sobrique From: sobrique Date: March 19th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, I suspect were you inclined to, you'd make a superb parent - as much because you're someone who isn't prepared to, unless you're going to do a good job of it.


if that makes sense.
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: March 20th, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Which is sad. Because its more of this type of parent that this country needs. We need parents who step up to their responsibilites as parents and recognise their responsibilities to bring a child up so that "it" will a good human being.
elrohana From: elrohana Date: March 20th, 2009 09:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I decided at age 13 that I loathed children and never wanted to spawn any. A year teaching ages 11-17 in France reinforced this view. I have occasionally considered fostering, or even adopting, simply out of sympathy with kids that get left with social services and never have a proper home, but Matt isn't that fond of kids either, though he is good with them (son of a childminder) and I don't really think we have time.
From: dj_rws Date: March 19th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
When it comes to running the world don't get me started. If I ran the world then it would work but I acknowledge it wouldn't be pretty...
mister_jack From: mister_jack Date: March 19th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, is it trolling day again? Seems to come round so quickly these days.
ash1977law From: ash1977law Date: March 20th, 2009 01:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have my troll-hat on, and my special troll-shoes.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: March 20th, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, that's my normal hat.

Oh wai...
phyrbyrd From: phyrbyrd Date: March 19th, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Can I post this to childfree? More people ought to see this and I think they'd rather like it.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: March 20th, 2009 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Be my guest.
I'm not exactly anti- people having children though - there's quite a few people I know who would (or are already) superb parents, bringing up well adjusted children - I just a bit more 'anti-' the way it seems to have become some kind of obligation or expectation.

Edited at 2009-03-20 07:58 am (UTC)
zaitan From: zaitan Date: March 20th, 2009 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Manipulating the birth rate is tackling the problem from the wrong end of the system. The problem we have is not that the birth rate is too high, but the average life expectancy is too high. We have added many years to the lifespan of populations across the globe. Unfortunately an incresing number of these are spend dribbling in a chair.

It is part of human nature that we want to prevent suffering, and that seems to equate to preserving life as long as possible for lifes sake.

We have been burdned for too long by a morality that insists that human life is sacroscant and cannot legally be ended by another human, including the person whos life it is.

I would suggest leagalising assisted suicide and, in well defined cases, euthanasia as a partial solution. Unfortunately even this will not be the complete answer and more extreme measures would be needed to prevent the worst aspects of overpopulation.

I am not sure what dj_rws is alluding to, but it may be similar to how I may run things if I ruled the world. So don't ever let me get that job.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: March 20th, 2009 07:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, I sort of agree. Same problem, amd might well require a multi-faceted solution.

Actually, what I'd go with is not 'allow euthanasia' exactly, but go for aggressive legalisation of drugs - let people 'end it' on a heroin high, or something.
On the plus side, that might mean there's people who end up dead because they can't control themselves, and have addiction problems, or just ... are stupid. But personally I feel they'd be doing us a favour by removing themselves from the gene pool.
I'm fairly sure it was Japan's health minister saying that they weren't going to restrict people smoking via legislation, because the impact on mortality rates more than offset the additional cost of treatment.

But ... I think we'd be better with a slightly smaller, longer living population than we would having one that reproduces really fast, but with really short lifespans.

Edited at 2009-03-20 07:54 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
sobrique From: sobrique Date: March 20th, 2009 08:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that actually is where I start to have a problem with the idea - I don't mind the notion that someone who is horribly debilitated might want to end it. But I have a lot more problem with the notion that you could "bully" someone into it if it were legal.

My life would have to be pretty terrible in order for me to want to, and... well, guilt at "being a burden" - 24/7 care for someone is way hardere and more expensive than a lethal overdose, but that _shouldn't_ ever come into it.
cbr_paul From: cbr_paul Date: March 20th, 2009 11:13 am (UTC) (Link)
What's wrong with a good old-fashioned one child policy anyway?
sobrique From: sobrique Date: March 20th, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Stupid people, basically.

One person one child doesn't change the fundamental problem that you can really screw up someone's life by 'giving birth to them' if you're careless, cruel, or just not prepared to accept the 20 year commitment that's involved.
kalkyrie From: kalkyrie Date: March 22nd, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can think of some young adults who have come from *very* bad backgrounds, who were made more self-reliant by it.
Of course that doesn't hold true anywhere near all the time.

The simplest way of solving this problem is a 'two child' policy, imho. Any policy based on 'judging' whether someone is fit to have children is vulnerable to manipulation by power cliques/social groups.

Have you read 'The Selfish Gene'? It seems very relevant to what you are considering.
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: March 20th, 2009 01:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are many things in this discussion that I agree with an disagree with, but i am having problems making a legible and credible post that makes sense and does not sound like a beligerant rant.

I don't agree with state policied enforced contraception.. it is just wrong on so many levels. I mean I do not want to be fored to take the pill, I don't want to have to have my tubes tied or have a hysterectomy. I just don't.

Nore do I want to be constrained and descriminated against for having one child.

But I also want to have teh right to say. I have had enough when and if I get an illness that is so debilitating that I am no longer a useful contributer to the human race.

Hell on a high intellectual level i don't particularly like film censorship. I am an adult and free enough to make my own choices damn it..

It would be nice if our wonderful government shopped acting like its populace WERE children to be protected and catered for, and started treating us as adults.

The problem with the adoption agency is that it's rules are petty and arbitrary, these need to be updated sensibly and with more sensible thought behind them.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: March 20th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't like the idea of state enforced contraception either.
However I also don't like the fact that the plague of humans increases resource demands - to the point right now, where we cannot give everyone in the world the quality of life we have here in the UK, even now.

This problem is only going to get worse. The solutions are:
Accept that there will always be poor people, and the numbers and the depth of their poverty will increase.

Some kind of population control.

The problem is right now, there are people who are well informed and educated adults, who postpone or defer having children until they can do it right. These are the ones that would make good parents, and typically will have a small-ish average family size.

And then we have the people who aren't, or don't care. Even worse, we actively reward them for having extra children, via a benefits system - because it's the lesser of two evils to prioritze a single mother to the benefit of her baby, than it is to prioritize a single adult.

What are we doing here? Well, we're basically ensuring that the people most able to do a good job are less likely to try, and the people who aren't, are pretty much guaranteed to have extra. I wouldn't be suprised in the slightest to find there is an strong correlation along those lines.

I can't see a solution to that particular problem - nanny state issues aside, do you accept that we're going to overpopulate? (If we haven't already?). And if so, what's the most ... humane approach to take?
19 comments or Leave a comment