Ethical dilemma: Can we link food and medicine to mandatory birth control?

Not that it matters too much, I lost the paperwork designating me as King-of-the-world and therefore can't legislate my thoughts. It does seem worth discussion on an athiest web site, because there are ethical issues here, and religion also plays a big role.

Reading some other posts about charity, the choices we make, and helping the poor, I started thinking. With the world overpopulated (a billion starving people leads me to beleive that is the case), is it ethical to feed the starving and give medicine to the ill, without addressing then underlying causes? Cruel, and controversial thought, to be sure. But looking 'downstream', if feeding and curing disease does what it is intended to accomplish, without effective and cheap limitation of reproduction, then there will be more babies, more famine, more destruction of the environmental systems that support human life, and more suffering.

Many places on earth are already overburdened with resources, leading to war and ethnic conflict, stripping the environment of the very resources that are needed for survival. Losing trees, soil, water. That in addition to corrupt governments, companies, and tribal / ethnic conflict.

They used to have a saying that if you give a starving person a fish, you feed them for a day, but if you teach them to fish, you feed them for life.

So, if I can find my paperwork making me king-of-the-world, should I mandate linkage between food or medicine, and limitation of reproduction. In other words, "Here is your food. Here is your antibiotic. But first, we'll need to give you a tubal ligation or vasectomy".

I could make a best-try estimation - "this region" can support 1/2 of its current population. Sterilize people who already have one child, and sterilize 1/2 of the current children. "This region" can really only support 1/3 of it's current population. Sterilise people who already have 1 child, and sterilize 2/3 of the current children. Etc. Understand that the estimate would be flawed. Sterilization could be random - by lottery, or by admittedly controversial selection, such as first making sure there is no gene for important inherited diseases, like fragile-X (severe cognitive disorder), Huntingtons chorea (fatal nerve disease), muscular dystrophy, and other devastating genetic disease. Slippery slope / eugenics / and human rights issue there, but if we are making choices here, is it ethical NOT to make that consideration?

It's a tough choice. Is it eugenics? Is it racist? I ask that because many places were starvation is rampant, are in Africa or Asia. China had a one child policy, with mandatory abortions. Look at the Chinese economy now - it's a muscular, shining star of Asia. Were they right to mandate reproductive limitation?

The idea of mandatory control of reproduction would be repugnant to most people. People who belong to highly reproductive religions would have to chose: either eat, and get your medicine, in which case you also have your vasectomy, or obey your religion and you and your children will remain sick and starving. What an awful choice.

Remember also, that in the current world politics, we have all made the choice, without thinking about it, that it's OK to let people starve and die of disease, without doing much of anything to address underlying causes. We are letting a billion people do exactly that, right now. Millions of children have stunted growth due to hunger, right now (here). 6 million children die of hunger annually. also in that article, "According to FAO, the number of hungry people rose this year to 1.02 billion people, as a result of the global economic crisis, high food and fuel prices, drought, and conflict. "

Wondering what the thoughtful people of A|N would say about this.

Tags: charity, population, starvation

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(Reminds me of this discussion)

How we should help the underdeveloped countries is a tough question which I don't have a definite answer to, although I'd certainly favor education over sterilization to solve the overpopulation issue. I ordered Dambisa Moyo's book Dead Aid a few days ago. She seems to be on the right track. Did anyone read it?
Cool - we were thinking the same thought at the same time, thousands of miles away. (Play sound track from X-files here). That proves I'm NOT a bad person for thinking it! :-)

I actually wonder, is it even ethical to provide the food and medicine, without simulatenously instituting sterilization. Your point exactly. Maybe aid should ALWAYS be conditional. Seems like we currently set people up for failures that the next generation will pay dearly for.
Man, I gotta grow me a blue fin tuna. Do they have them at Petco?

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