01 October 2009

A message for the immorals among us

In the 26 September issue of the New Scientist there is an essay by Paul and Anne Ehrlich. They write:

Somehow, cultural attitudes toward large families everywhere need to be changed. It should be considered immoral to have excessive numbers of children - an attitude that already exists in most industrialised nations with low birth rates. Nothing is more clearly a governmental responsibility than keeping a nation's population size sustainable by benevolent measures.
I completely agree with them in that it is indeed necessary to change the general conviction prevalent in many countries that having many children is a virtue. In the U.S. where the abnormally high religiosity of the general population is probably at least partially responsible for the tendency to have large families, which is the norm even among the more educated segments of the society and which creates an exception among industrialized nations.

However, I don't quite understand what a government can accomplish in this respect especially if the government itself is openly or covertly on the side of the religion.


Deniz Bevan said...

Part of the reason people in the past, and currently in developing countries, have so many children is that many of their children are likely to die before the age of 5; having more kids increases the odds that you'll have more kids who survive to adulthood. I just read about this last week!


Also, in rural family farms when most labor was manual, kids, especially boys, were necessary to run the farm.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for society changing it's line of thinking about large families.

What I am not for is the government getting involved. I just don't believe the government has any business telling people how many kids they are allowed or not allowed to have.

Anonymous said...

Of course human populations move readily to exploit possibilities not available at home. So when there is a net deficit of new births it leads to a lack of workers to support the aging population. This deficit leads to importing people from areas where there is a net surplus. Thus the large number of Turks in Germany. The newcomers may keep their birthrates high for a generation, but eventually will adapt the local customs. Allen Aigen