The 6 Craziest People Who Are Overpopulating the World
By: E. Reid Ross, Meg Anastasia May 11, 2012
Millions of us are so terrified of or disinterested in having kids that we'll literally never do it. But the world's population keeps inflating like a balloon because there are plenty of people at the opposite end of that spectrum. Way, way at the opposite end.
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I thought this was an interesting article.
Those are wonderful questions Jonathan. I'll start looking into researching those questions and post here ...yeah with no images, I get you!
The big trend in birthrate is a marked decline correlated with the Industrial Revolution essentially everywhere in the "industrialized" world. The trend began in the 19th century and continued into the 20th. It continued unabated in most Western societies throughout the late 20th century, with the notable exception of the US. Here in the US, our birthrate is somewhat above 2.0 children per "couple" (say, around 2.3), whereas in Western Europe and Japan it's fallen to around 1.5, and in some cases far lower. With few exceptions, these are the "socialist" countries with extensive economic safety nets and assistance programs for mothers and children. So I am not persuaded that pro-natalist financial incentives are directly responsible for high birth rates.
What is a more likely culprit is culture. Throughout the Western World, some large measure of gender-equality has been achieved more or less everywhere. But there is an important difference in the US. Here, we have a culture of "family values", and extol reproduction really like no other advanced country does. I think that American religiosity plays a huge role in this. In America, there is a deep stigma - for both men and women - in not having children. Being childless is somehow "irresponsible", regardless of how successful one might be in one's career. In Europe, Australia and the like, there is greater societal acceptance of childless couples and of women who reject motherhood. So even though American government probably does not provide any greater financial benefits for family-formation, than do other Western governments, our society and its culture are rampantly more pro-natalist.
Unfortunately, modernity and its cult of "progress" depends on an ever increasing population base. We desire "more" - more benefits, more technology, more transportation, more investment. To a large extent, the only way to motivate the production of "more" is to have an n+1 generation larger than the n-generation, n+2 generation larger than n+1, and so forth. The most obvious example is old-age pensions, which depend on a much larger population of workers than retirees. A static total population would strain pension systems, while a declining population would outright break them. So governments are stuck with pro-natalist policies, even if the long-term cost of overpopulation outweighs the benefits.
I've always thought that people who feel compelled to pass along their DNA are the selfish ones.
Breeding has been on the increase for a decade in Canada, mostly due to a huge influx from third world immigrants to occupy our cheap labour jobs.
What we often forget is that before massive health and societal "improvements", the fertility rates were actually naturally quite low (abortion, infanticide, infantile death, seasonal ammenorhea, lactational ammenorhea) these were all a normal part of the human experience, before humanity decided, as a group, as a religious group, that it was important for there to be more of us... So the high fertility experienced by modern society was entirely un-biological.
This could probably be a discussion of its own but I’ll post it here since it’s related to this topic.
Many of us agree that over population is a serious problem. So, why do we make fertility treatments so available? Part of nature’s defense against overpopulation is making some people sterile. Since so many of nature’s other defenses against overpopulation, like disease, have been radically reduced by modern medicine doesn’t it make sense to force sterile people to remain so?
There is no doubt that human nature is going to continue to cause us to do everything we can to save and extend lives. It’s natural for most people to do anything they can to extend their life even though its quality is usually greatly reduced during their later years. So, it only makes sense to do what we can to reduce the number of lives brought into the world. Respecting nature’s bidding and keeping sterile people sterile is one small step we can take in that direction.
I’m a realist so I don’t expect this to ever happen. Too many people just couldn’t live with themselves if their DNA wasn’t continued for at least another generation. But if we can’t outlaw fertility treatments all together can we at least stop the practice of forcing all of us to subsidize them through our insurance premiums? I recognize that keeping insurance companies from covering fertility treatments will make the practice another thing that the wealthy have access to but the middle and lower classes don’t. I’m not bothered by that because the wealthy are much more likely to have their child without needing government assistance to pay for its care.
Canada's already overburdened healthcare system has just approved high priced fertility treatments to be included in healthcare!!!!! The trouble is we have a political system which is entirely disconnected from the biological/geological/societal realities of the world, focused on GROWTH of the economy at all costs, instead of economic STABILITY.
Growth of economy requires growth of population, poor Homo sapiens the world over are but cheap resources placed into the cogs of GROWTH. So what does our government do? to GROW Canada, we import cheap labour, breeding labour.
You make some great points here. I am wondering, though, if pro-birth government policies in the United States play more of a role in the decision to have children than they do in other societies where governmental assistance is available whether you have a child or not. In other words, are the policies of the American government encouraging child birth because having children’s often one of the most lucrative ways for a struggling person to get financial assistance?
I also wonder if the tremendous wealth gap in the United States, which is much higher than it is in Western Europe, creates a sense of hopelessness and despair that many believe can only be filled by having a child. If people feel like their chances at an education and a good job are limited and the strains on their life that are so often caused when those limitations sit on generations of the same family many people seem to decide that one of the few things they can control is child birth. Many of them seem not to care about the cost to society for their decision because deep inside many of them feel as if they are owed something since the discriminatory policies that still define America have had much to do with the lack of opportunity they suffer from.
It is possible that some people view parenthood as a last desperate effort at self-actualization, as providing something to themselves when all other avenues appear to be closed. But the opposite may also be true: if a person feels that progress in life is hopeless, why participate in generating new life - new life to be sentenced to propitiation of the hopelessness?
Hey Steph! I haven't been able to find numbers on American births that have resulted from fertility treatments. I have found bunches of articles that discuss the higher rate of illness and disability that results when fertility treatments are used. I have respect for those who can't have children. But not all of us should have children. If couples spend thousands on having a child that's less they'll have to raise a child. Fertility treatments, in my opinion, simply don't make sense.