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Population control

Population control

Overview
Human population control is the practice of artificially altering the rate of growth of a human population.

Historically, human population control has been implemented by limiting the population's birth rate
Birth rate
Crude birth rate is the nativity or childbirths per 1,000 people per year . Another word used interchangeably with "birth rate" is "natality". When the crude birth rate is subtracted from the crude death rate, it reveals the rate of natural increase...

, usually by government mandate, and has been undertaken as a response to factors including high or increasing levels of poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

, environmental concerns
Carrying capacity
The carrying capacity of a biological species in an environment is the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment...

, religious reasons
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, and overpopulation
Overpopulation
Overpopulation is a condition where an organism's numbers exceed the carrying capacity of its habitat. The term often refers to the relationship between the human population and its environment, the Earth...

. While population control can involve measures that improve people's lives by giving them greater control of their reproduction, some programs have exposed them to exploitation.

Worldwide, the population control movement was active throughout the 1960s and 1970s, driving many reproductive health
Reproductive health
Within the framework of the World Health Organization's definition of health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, reproductive health, or sexual health/hygiene, addresses the reproductive processes, functions and system...

 and family planning
Family planning
Family planning is the planning of when to have children, and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans. Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counseling and...

 programs. In the 1980s, tension grew between population control advocates and women's health activists who advanced women's reproductive rights
Reproductive rights
Reproductive rights are legal rights and freedoms relating to reproduction and reproductive health. The World Health Organization defines reproductive rights as follows:...

 as part of a human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

-based approach.
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Encyclopedia
Human population control is the practice of artificially altering the rate of growth of a human population.

Historically, human population control has been implemented by limiting the population's birth rate
Birth rate
Crude birth rate is the nativity or childbirths per 1,000 people per year . Another word used interchangeably with "birth rate" is "natality". When the crude birth rate is subtracted from the crude death rate, it reveals the rate of natural increase...

, usually by government mandate, and has been undertaken as a response to factors including high or increasing levels of poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

, environmental concerns
Carrying capacity
The carrying capacity of a biological species in an environment is the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment...

, religious reasons
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, and overpopulation
Overpopulation
Overpopulation is a condition where an organism's numbers exceed the carrying capacity of its habitat. The term often refers to the relationship between the human population and its environment, the Earth...

. While population control can involve measures that improve people's lives by giving them greater control of their reproduction, some programs have exposed them to exploitation.

Worldwide, the population control movement was active throughout the 1960s and 1970s, driving many reproductive health
Reproductive health
Within the framework of the World Health Organization's definition of health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, reproductive health, or sexual health/hygiene, addresses the reproductive processes, functions and system...

 and family planning
Family planning
Family planning is the planning of when to have children, and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans. Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counseling and...

 programs. In the 1980s, tension grew between population control advocates and women's health activists who advanced women's reproductive rights
Reproductive rights
Reproductive rights are legal rights and freedoms relating to reproduction and reproductive health. The World Health Organization defines reproductive rights as follows:...

 as part of a human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

-based approach. Growing opposition to the narrow population control focus led to a significant change in population control policies in the early 1990s.

Methods


Population control may use one or more of the following practices although there are other methods as well:
  • contraception
    Birth control
    Birth control is an umbrella term for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception , contragestion and abortion...

  • abstinence
    Sexual abstinence
    Sexual abstinence is the practice of refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity for medical, psychological, legal, social, philosophical or religious reasons.Common reasons for practicing sexual abstinence include:*poor health - medical celibacy...

  • medical abortion
    Abortion
    Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

  • emigration
    Emigration
    Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

  • decreasing immigration
    Immigration reduction
    Immigration reduction refers to a movement in the United States that advocates a reduction in the amount of immigration allowed into the country. Steps advocated for reducing the numbers of immigrants include advocating stronger action to prevent illegal entry and illegal immigration, and...

  • sterilization
  • euthanasia
    Euthanasia
    Euthanasia refers to the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering....

  • genocide
    Genocide
    Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...



The method(s) chosen can be strongly influenced by the religious
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 and cultural beliefs of community members. The failure of other methods of population control can lead to the use of abortion or infanticide as solutions. While a specific population control practice may be legal/mandated in one country, it may be illegal or restricted in another, indicative of the controversy surrounding this topic.

Ancient times through Middle Ages


A number of ancient writers have reflected on the issue of population. At about 300 BCE in India, Kautilya, a political philosopher (c. 350-283 BCE), considered population as a source of political, economic, and military strength. Though a given region can house too many or too few people, he considered the latter possibility to be the greater evil. Kautilya favored the remarriage of widows (which at the time was forbidden in India), opposed taxes that encourage emigration, and believed that asceticism
Asceticism
Asceticism describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals...

 should be restricted to the aged.

In ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 (427-347 BCE) and Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 (384-322 BCE) discussed the best population size for Greek city states such as Sparta, and concluded that cities should be small enough for efficient administration and direct citizen participation in public affairs, but at the same time needed to be large enough to defend themselves against hostile neighboring city states. In order to maintain a desired population size, the philosophers advised that procreation, and if necessary, immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

, should be encouraged if the population size was too small. Emigration
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

 to colonies would be encouraged should the population become too large. Aristotle concluded that a large increase in population would bring, "certain poverty on the citizenry, and poverty is the cause of sedition and evil." To halt rapid population increase, Aristotle advocated the use of abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 and the exposure of newborns.

Confucius
Confucius
Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

 (551-478 BCE) and other Chinese writers cautioned that, "excessive growth may reduce output per worker, repress levels of living for the masses and engender strife." Confucius also observed that, "mortality increases when food supply is insufficient; that permanent marriage makes for high infantile mortality rates, that war checks population growth."

Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, especially in the time of Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 (63 BCE- CE 14), needed manpower to acquire and administer the vast Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. A series of laws were instituted to encourage early marriage and frequent childbirth. Lex Julia (18 BCE) and the Lex Papia Poppaea (CE 9) are two well known examples of such laws, which among others, provided tax breaks and preferential treatment when applying for public office for those that complied with the laws. Severe limitations were imposed on those who did not. For example, the surviving spouse of a childless couple could only inherit one-tenth of the deceased fortune, while the rest was taken by the state. These laws encountered resistance from the population which led to the disregard of their provisions and to their eventual abolition.

Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

, an early Christian author (ca. CE 160-220), was one of the first to describe famine and war as factors that can prevent overpopulation. He wrote: "The strongest witness is the vast population of the earth to which we are a burden and she scarcely can provide for our needs; as our demands grow greater, our complaints against Nature's inadequacy are heard by all. The scourges of pestilence, famine, wars and earthquakes have come to be regarded as a blessing to overcrowded nations, since they serve to prune away the luxuriant growth of the human race."

Ibn Khaldoun, a famous North African Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 polymath
Polymath
A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. In less formal terms, a polymath may simply be someone who is very knowledgeable...

 (1332–1406), considered population changes to be connected to economic development, linking high birth rates and low death rates to times of economic upswing, and low birth rates and high death rates to economic downswing. Khaldoun concluded that high population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 rather than high absolute population numbers were desirable to achieve more efficient division of labour and cheap administration.

During the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 in Christian Europe, population issues were rarely discussed in isolation. Attitudes were generally pro-natalist in line with the Biblical command, "Be ye fruitful and multiply."

The means of controlling and regulating populations can be traced back to many cultures. "Infanticide, or the killing of infants and young children, has occurred since early times. In early Rome, the father was given complete power to kill, abandon, or even sell his child. In Greek legend, Odepus was doomed to death until he was rescued by a family retainer. In Hawaii, China, and Japan, many female or disabled children were killed to maintain a strong race without overpopulation. Infanticide was practiced for many reasons. Like the Hawaiians, Chinese, and Japanese, some cultures saw the practice of infanticide as a means of controlling and regulating the population so that society's resources could be expended on the strongest and most valuable (Crosson, Cynthia)."

16th and 17th centuries


European cities grew more rapidly than before, and throughout the 16th century and early 17th century discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of population growth were frequent. Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He is one of the main founders of modern political science. He was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic...

, an Italian Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 political philosopher, wrote, "When every province of the world so teems with inhabitants that they can neither subsist where they are nor remove themselves elsewhere... the world will purge itself in one or another of these three ways," listing floods, plague
Yersinia pestis
Yersinia pestis is a Gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium. It is a facultative anaerobe that can infect humans and other animals....

 and famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

. Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

, a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

 and theologian
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 (1483–1546), concluded on the issue, "God makes children. He is also going to feed them."

Jean Bodin
Jean Bodin
Jean Bodin was a French jurist and political philosopher, member of the Parlement of Paris and professor of law in Toulouse. He is best known for his theory of sovereignty; he was also an influential writer on demonology....

, a French jurist
Jurist
A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

 and political philosopher
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

 (1530–1596), argued that a larger population would mean more production and in turn more export, which would increase the influx of silver and gold, and thus increase the riches of a country. Giovanni Botero
Giovanni Botero
Giovanni Botero was an Italian thinker, priest, poet, and diplomat, best known for his work Della ragion di Stato . In this work, he argued against the amoral political philosophy associated with Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince, not only because it lacked a Christian foundation but also because...

, an Italian priest and diplomat (1540–1617), emphasized that, "the greatness of a city rests on the multitude of its inhabitants and their power," but pointed out that a population cannot increase beyond its food supply. If this limit was approached, late marriage, emigration, and war would serve to restore the balance.

Richard Hakluyt
Richard Hakluyt
Richard Hakluyt was an English writer. He is principally remembered for his efforts in promoting and supporting the settlement of North America by the English through his works, notably Divers Voyages Touching the Discoverie of America and The Principal Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and...

, an English writer (1527–1616), observed that, "Throughe our longe peace and seldome sickness... wee are growen more populous than ever heretofore;... many thousandes of idle persons are within this realme, which, havinge no way to be sett on worke, be either mutinous and seeke alteration in the state, or at leaste very burdensome to the commonwealthe." Hakluyt believed that this led to crime and full jails and in A Discourse on Western Planting (1584), Hakluyt advocated for the emigration of the surplus population. With the onset of the Thirty Year War (1618–1648), characterized by widespread devastation and deaths brought on by hunger and disease in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, concerns about depopulation returned.

The population control movement


In the 20th century, population control proponents have drawn from the insights of Thomas Malthus
Thomas Malthus
The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus FRS was an English scholar, influential in political economy and demography. Malthus popularized the economic theory of rent....

, a British clergyman and economist who published An Essay on the Principle of Population
An Essay on the Principle of Population
The book An Essay on the Principle of Population was first published anonymously in 1798 through J. Johnson . The author was soon identified as The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus. While it was not the first book on population, it has been acknowledged as the most influential work of its era...

in 1798. Malthus argued that, "Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical
Geometric progression
In mathematics, a geometric progression, also known as a geometric sequence, is a sequence of numbers where each term after the first is found by multiplying the previous one by a fixed non-zero number called the common ratio. For example, the sequence 2, 6, 18, 54, ... is a geometric progression...

 ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical
Arithmetic progression
In mathematics, an arithmetic progression or arithmetic sequence is a sequence of numbers such that the difference between the consecutive terms is constant...

 ratio." He also outlined the idea of "positive checks" and "preventative checks." "Positive checks," such as diseases, war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

, disaster
Disaster
A disaster is a natural or man-made hazard that has come to fruition, resulting in an event of substantial extent causing significant physical damage or destruction, loss of life, or drastic change to the environment...

 and famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

, are factors that Malthus considered to increase the death rate.

"Preventative checks" were factors that Malthus believed to affect the birth rate such as moral restraint, abstinence and birth control. He predicted that "positive checks" on exponential population growth
Exponential growth
Exponential growth occurs when the growth rate of a mathematical function is proportional to the function's current value...

 would ultimately save humanity from itself and that human misery was an "absolute necessary consequence." Malthus went on to explain why he believed that this misery affected the poor in a disproportionate manner.


[There is a] constant effort towards an increase in population [which tends to] subject the lower classes of society to distress and to prevent any great permanent amelioration of their condition…The way in which these effects are produced seems to be this. We will suppose the means of subsistence in any country just equal to the easy support of its inhabitants. The constant effort towards population …increases the number of people before the means of subsistence are increased. The food, therefore which before supplied seven millions must now be divided among seven millions and half or eight millions. The poor consequently must live much worse, and many of them be reduced to severe distress.


Finally, Malthus advocated for the education of the lower class about the use of "moral restraint," or voluntary abstinence, which he believed would slow the growth rate.

Paul R. Ehrlich
Paul R. Ehrlich
Paul Ralph Ehrlich is an American biologist and educator who is the Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford's Center for Conservation Biology. By training he is an entomologist specializing in Lepidoptera , but...

, a US biologist and environmentalist, published The Population Bomb
The Population Bomb
The Population Bomb was a best-selling book written by Paul R. Ehrlich and his wife, Anne Ehrlich , in 1968. It warned of the mass starvation of humans in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation, as well as other major societal upheavals, and advocated immediate action to limit population growth...

in 1968, advocating stringent population control policies. His central argument on population is as follows:


A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people. Treating only the symptoms of cancer may make the victim more comfortable at first, but eventually he dies - often horribly. A similar fate awaits a world with a population explosion if only the symptoms are treated. We must shift our efforts from treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer. The operation will demand many apparent brutal and heartless decisions. The pain may be intense. But the disease is so far advanced that only with radical surgery does the patient have a chance to survive.


In his concluding chapter, Ehrlich offered a partial solution to the "population problem,"
"[We need] compulsory birth regulation... [through] the addition of temporary sterilants to water supplies or staple food. Doses of the antidote would be carefully rationed by the government to produce the desired family size".

Ehrlich's views came to be accepted by many population control advocates in the United States and Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. Since Ehrlich introduced his idea of the "population bomb," overpopulation has been blamed for a variety of issues, including increasing poverty, high unemployment rates, environmental degradation, famine and genocide. In a 2004 interview, Ehrlich reviewed the predictions in his book, and found that while the specific dates within his predictions may have been wrong, his predictions about climate change and disease were valid. Ehrlich continued to advocate for population control and co-authored the book The Population Explosion, released in 1990 with his wife Anne Ehrlich.

Paige Whaley Eager argues that the shift in perception that occurred in the 1960s must be understood in the context of the demographic changes that took place at the time. It was only in the first decade of the 19th century that the world's population reached one billion. The second billion was added in the 1930s, and the next billion in the 1960s. 90 percent of this net increase occurred in developing countries. Eager also argues that, at the time, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 recognised that these demographic changes could significantly affect global geopolitics. Large increases occurred in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

, and demographers warned of a "population explosion," particularly in developing countries from the mid-1950s onwards.

Population control and economics



Opinions vary among economists about the effects of population change on a nation's economic health. Recent US scientific research concluded that the raising of a child costs about $16,000 yearly ($291,570 total for raising him/her up to his/her 18th birthday). In the USA, the multiplication of this number with the yearly population growth will yield the overall cost of the population growth. Costs for other developed countries are usually similar.

While some believe that reduction of the population is a key to economic growth, others argue that population reduction should be focused on what they judge to be undesirable sections of the population (see Eugenics
Eugenics
Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...

). Other economists doubt that a correlation between population reduction and economic growth exists. Some economists, such as Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author. A National Humanities Medal winner, he advocates laissez-faire economics and writes from a libertarian perspective...

 and Walter E. Williams
Walter E. Williams
Walter E. Williams, is an American economist, commentator, and academic. He is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University, as well as a syndicated columnist and author known for his libertarian views.- Early life and education :Williams family during childhood...

, have argued that poverty and famine are caused by bad government and bad economic policies, not by overpopulation.

In his book, The Ultimate Resource
The Ultimate Resource
The Ultimate Resource is a 1981 book written by Julian Lincoln Simon challenging the notion that humanity was running out of natural resources...

, economist Julian Simon
Julian Lincoln Simon
Julian Lincoln Simon was a professor of business administration at the University of Maryland and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute at the time of his death, after previously serving as a longtime business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Simon wrote many books and...

 argued that higher population density leads to more specialization
Specialization (functional)
Specialization is the separation of tasks within a system. In a multicellular creature, cells are specialized for functions such as bone construction or oxygen transport. In capitalist societies, individual workers specialize for functions such as building construction or gasoline transport...

 and technological innovation, which in turn leads to a higher standard of living. He claimed that human beings are the ultimate resource since we possess "productive and inventive minds that help find creative solutions to man’s problems, thus leaving us better off over the long run". He also claimed that, "Our species is better off in just about every measurable material way."

Simon also claimed that if you considered a list of countries ranked in order by population density, there is no correlation between population density and poverty and famine, and instead, if you considered a list of countries ranked in order by corruption within their respective governments
Corruption Perceptions Index
Since 1995, Transparency International publishes the Corruption Perceptions Index annually ranking countries "by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys." The CPI generally defines corruption as "the misuse of public power for private...

, there is a significant correlation between government corruption and poverty and famine.

Contemporary research


It is generally accepted that overpopulation is aggravated by poverty and gender inequality with consequent unavailability, and lack of knowledge, of contraception. Third world evidence usually bears this theory out. However, first and second world fertility rates, in the Depression era United States, modern Russia, Japan, Italy, Sweden, Estonia and France suggest that these populations are responding inversely to poverty and economic pressures, especially on women. Thus, France is increasing social and women's services, like childcare and parental leave, expecting the policy to stop the aging of its population. Italy is regarded as alleviating overpopulation more rapidly than Sweden as a result of less gender equality and fewer children's services.

Newer research has been done by the U.S. National Security Council, in a study entitled National Security Study Memorandum 200
National Security Study Memorandum 200
National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests was completed on December 10, 1974 by the United States National Security Council under the direction of Henry Kissinger....

, under the direction of Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

 in 1974. This report stressed that only 13 countries are projected to account for 47 percent of the world population increase by the year 2050. This, it is argued, (due to its impact on development, food requirements, resources and the environment) adversely affected the welfare and progress of countries concerned. It further argued that this would undermine the stability of countries friendly to the US and therefore harm the "national security" of the US as well.

David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agriculture at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

, and Mario Giampietro, senior researcher at the National Research Institute on Food and Nutrition (INRAN), place in their study Food, Land, Population and the U.S. Economy the maximum U.S. population for a sustainable economy
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

 at 200 million. To achieve a sustainable economy and avert disaster, the United States must reduce its population by at least one-third, and world population
World population
The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth. As of today, it is estimated to be  billion by the United States Census Bureau...

 will have to be reduced by two-thirds, says the study.
A more recent study by Pimentel and colleagues (2010) suggests that the Earth can support a population of two billion individuals, but only if all individuals are willing to live at a European standard of living and use natural resources sustainably
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

. These researchers state that reducing population from today's level of over 6.8 billion to the suggested 2 billion would take slightly longer than 100 years if every couple, worldwide, agrees to produce an average of only one child.

Pimentel and Giampietro believe that agricultural crises will develop, but they will only begin to impact us after 2020, and will not become critical until 2050. Geologist Dale Allen Pfeiffer
Dale Allen Pfeiffer
Dale Allen Pfeiffer is a geologist and writer from Michigan, U.S. who has investigated and written about energy depletion and potential future resource wars. He has also written about class war, sustainability, direct action and the environment. He is also an anarchist activist and a member of the...

 claims that coming decades could see spiraling food prices without relief and massive starvation on a global level never experienced before.

Another study has been done by the National Audubon Society which recently released a 16-page document called "Population and Habitat: Making the Connection." In this study, population control is widely supported.

Support for population control


Population control is also increasingly being featured in many environmental documentaries and films. An example is The Planet
The Planet
The Planet is a Swedish documentary film on environmental issues, released in 2006. The film was made by Michael Stenberg, Johan Söderberg and Linus Torell for the big screen and was shot in the English language to reach an international audience. It includes interviews with 29 environmental...

-documentary, which describes the ongoing rising human population, its effects on the planet, and the necessity of population control.

As early as 1798, Thomas Malthus
Thomas Malthus
The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus FRS was an English scholar, influential in political economy and demography. Malthus popularized the economic theory of rent....

 stated in his Essay on the Principle of Population that population control needed to be implemented into society. Around the year 1900, Sir Francis Galton
Francis Galton
Sir Francis Galton /ˈfrɑːnsɪs ˈgɔːltn̩/ FRS , cousin of Douglas Strutt Galton, half-cousin of Charles Darwin, was an English Victorian polymath: anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician...

 said in his publication called "Hereditary Improvement" that, "The unfit could become enemies to the State, if they continue to propagate." In 1968, Paul Ehrlich noted in The Population Bomb
The Population Bomb
The Population Bomb was a best-selling book written by Paul R. Ehrlich and his wife, Anne Ehrlich , in 1968. It warned of the mass starvation of humans in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation, as well as other major societal upheavals, and advocated immediate action to limit population growth...

that, "We must cut the cancer of population growth," and that, "if this was not done, there would be only one other solution, namely the ‘death rate solution’ in which we raise the death rate through war-famine-pestilence etc.”

In the same year, another prominent modern advocate for mandatory population control was Garrett Hardin
Garrett Hardin
Garrett James Hardin was an American ecologist who warned of the dangers of overpopulation and whose concept of the tragedy of the commons brought attention to "the damage that innocent actions by individuals can inflict on the environment"...

, who proposed in his landmark 1968 essay The Tragedy of the Commons
Tragedy of the commons
The tragedy of the commons is a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource, even when it is clear that it is not in anyone's long-term interest for this...

that society must relinquish the "freedom to breed" through "mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon." Later on, in 1972, he reaffirmed his support in his new essay “Exploring New Ethics for Survival”, by stating that, “We are breeding ourselves into oblivion.” Many prominent personalities, such as Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

, Margaret Sanger
Margaret Sanger
Margaret Higgins Sanger was an American sex educator, nurse, and birth control activist. Sanger coined the term birth control, opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, and established Planned Parenthood...

 (1939), John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller
John Davison Rockefeller was an American oil industrialist, investor, and philanthropist. He was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of...

, Frederick Osborn
Frederick Osborn
Major General Frederick Henry Osborn was an American philanthropist, military leader, and eugenicist. He was a founder of several organizations, and played a central part in reorienting eugenics in the years following World War II away from the race- and class-consciousness from earlier periods...

 (1952), Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

 and Jacques Cousteau have also advocated for population control.

Today, a number of influential people advocate population control. They are:
  • David Attenborough
    David Attenborough
    Sir David Frederick Attenborough OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FZS, FSA is a British broadcaster and naturalist. His career as the face and voice of natural history programmes has endured for more than 50 years...

  • Michael E. Arth
    Michael E. Arth
    Michael E. Arth is an American artist, home/landscape/urban designer, public policy analyst, advocate for the homeless, futurist, and author. He was a candidate for the governor of Florida in 2009 and 2010.-Art:Michael E...

  • Jonathon Porritt
    Jonathon Porritt
    Jonathon Espie Porritt, CBE, is an English environmentalist and writer. Porritt appears frequently in the media, writing in magazines, newspapers and books, and appearing on radio and television regularly.-Early life and family background:...

    , UK sustainable development commissioner
  • Sara Parkin
    Sara Parkin
    Sara Parkin is a former Green Party of England and Wales activist and politician. She rose to prominence during and after the 1989 European election, in which the Green Party received 15% of the vote...

  • Crispin Tickell
    Crispin Tickell
    Sir Crispin Tickell, GCMG, KCVO, MA , DSc , FRSGS , FRIBA , FZS, FRI , FCIWEM is a British diplomat, environmentalist, and academic.-Background:...



The head of the UN Millennium Project
Millennium Project
The Millennium Project is an independent international think tank with 40 "nodes" around the world that gathers and accesses information on futures studies that produces the annual State of the Future report since 1997 and the Futures Research Methodology series Versions 1-3.The Project was formed...

 Jeffrey Sachs
Jeffrey Sachs
Jeffrey David Sachs is an American economist and Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University. One of the youngest economics professors in the history of Harvard University, Sachs became known for his role as an adviser to Eastern European and developing country governments in the...

 is also a heavy proponent of decreasing the effects of overpopulation. In 2007, Jeffrey Sachs gave a number of lectures (2007 Reith Lectures) about population control and overpopulation. In his lectures, called "Bursting at the Seams", he featured an integrated approach that would deal with a number of problems associated with overpopulation and poverty reduction
Poverty reduction
Poverty is the state of human beings who are poor. That is, they have little or no material means of surviving—little or no food, shelter, clothes, healthcare, education, and other physical means of living and improving one's life....

. For example, when criticized for advocating mosquito nets he argued that child survival was, "by far one of the most powerful ways," to achieve fertility reduction, as this would assure poor families that the smaller number of children they had would survive.

Opposition to population control


The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 has opposed abortion, sterilization, and contraception as a general practice, but specifically in regard to population control policies. Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

 has stated that "The extermination of millions of unborn children, in the name of the fight against poverty, actually constitutes the destruction of the poorest of all human beings".

China



The most significant modern population control system is China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

's one-child policy
One-child policy
The one-child policy refers to the one-child limitation applying to a minority of families in the population control policy of the People's Republic of China . The Chinese government refers to it under the official translation of family planning policy...

, in which, with various exceptions, having more than one child is discouraged. Unauthorized births are punished by fines, although there have also been allegations of illegal forced abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

s and forced sterilization.

The Chinese government introduced the policy in 1978 to alleviate the social and environmental problems of China. According to government officials, the policy has helped prevent 400 million births. The success of the policy has been questioned, and reduction in fertility has also been attributed to the modernization of China. The policy is controversial both within and outside of China because of the issues it raises, the manner in which the policy has been implemented and because of concerns about negative economic and social consequences.

India



Only those with two or fewer children are eligible for election to a Gram panchayat
Gram panchayat
Gram panchayats are local self-governments at the village or small town level in India. As of 2002 there were about 265,000 gram panchayats in India. The gram panchayat is the foundation of the Panchayat System. A gram panchayat can be set up in villages with minimum population of 300...

, or local government.

We two, ours two ("Hum do, hamare do" in Hindi) is a slogan meaning one family, two children and is intended to reinforce the message of family planning thereby aiding population control.

Iran



Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 has succeeded in sharply reducing its birth rate in recent years. Iran is the only country where mandatory contraceptive courses are required for both males and females before a marriage license can be obtained. The government emphasizes the benefits of smaller families and the use of contraception.

United States


Enacted in 1970, Title X
Title X
The Title X Family Planning Program, officially known as Public Law 91-572 or “Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs” was enacted under President Richard Nixon in 1970 as part of the Public Health Service Act...

 of the Public Health Service Act
Public Health Service Act
The Public Health Service Act is a United States federal law enacted in 1944. The full act is captured under Title 42 of the United States Code "The Public Health and Welfare", Chapter 6A "Public Health Service"....

 provides access to contraceptive services, supplies and information to those in need. Priority for services is given to people with low-incomes. The Title X Family Planning program is administered through the Office of Population Affairs under the Office of Public Health and Science.
It is directed by the Office of Family Planning. In 2007, Congress appropriated roughly $283 million for family planning under Title X, at least 90 percent of which was used for services in family planning clinics.
Title X is a vital source of funding for family planning clinics throughout the nation, which provide reproductive health care.

The education and services supplied by the Title X-funded clinics support young individuals and low-income families. The goals of developing healthy families are accomplished by helping individuals and couples decide whether to have children and when the appropriate time to do so would be.

Title X has made the prevention of unintended pregnancies possible. It has allowed millions of American women to receive necessary reproductive health care, plan their pregnancies and prevent abortions. Title X is dedicated exclusively to funding family planning and reproductive health care services.

Title X as a percentage of total public funding to family planning client services has steadily declined from 44% of total expenditures in 1980 to 12% in 2006. Medicaid has increased from 20% to 71% in the same time. In 2006, Medicaid contributed $1.3 billion to public family planning.

See also

  • Birth control
    Birth control
    Birth control is an umbrella term for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception , contragestion and abortion...

  • Birth credit
    Birth credit
    A "choice-based, marketable, birth license plan" or "birth credits" for population control has been promoted by urban designer and environmental activist Michael E. Arth since the 1990s...

  • Eugenics
    Eugenics
    Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...

  • Malthus' Dismal Theorem
  • Overpopulation
    Overpopulation
    Overpopulation is a condition where an organism's numbers exceed the carrying capacity of its habitat. The term often refers to the relationship between the human population and its environment, the Earth...



Fiction:
  • Logan's Run
    Logan's Run
    Logan's Run is a novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. Published in 1967, it depicts a dystopic ageist future society in which both population and the consumption of resources are maintained in equilibrium by requiring the death of everyone reaching a particular age...


Further reading

  • Thomlinson, R. 1975. Demographic Problems: Controversy over Population Control. 2nd ed. Encino, CA: Dickenson.

External links

  • Are we smarter than yeast ? A statement/video made by Dan Chay about our similarities with yeast in regards to overcrowding
  • The Nine Lives of Population Control by Midge Decter Traces the history of the perceived need for population control.
  • Motherjones.com , "The Charge: Gynocide", article by Barbara Ehrenreich
    Barbara Ehrenreich
    -Early life:Ehrenreich was born Barbara Alexander to Isabelle Oxley and Ben Howes Alexander in Butte, Montana, which she describes as then being "a bustling, brawling, blue collar mining town."...

    , Stephen Minkin and Mark Dowie, Mother Jones
    Mother Jones (magazine)
    Mother Jones is an American independent news organization, featuring investigative and breaking news reporting on politics, the environment, human rights, and culture. Mother Jones has been nominated for 23 National Magazine Awards and has won six times, including for General Excellence in 2001,...

    ,
    November/December 1979
  • Meehanreports
  • BMJ.bmjjournals.com, "To the point of farce: a martian view of the hardinian taboo—the silence that surrounds population control by Maurice King & Charles Elliott", British Medical Journal
    British Medical Journal
    BMJ is a partially open-access peer-reviewed medical journal. Originally called the British Medical Journal, the title was officially shortened to BMJ in 1988. The journal is published by the BMJ Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Medical Association...

    1997
  • BBC.co.uk, "Population size 'green priority'"
  • Guardian.co.uk, Population growth is a threat. But it pales against the greed of the rich.
  • LiveVideo.com, "Population Control: The Eugenics Connection", Retrieved June 20, 2009
  • YouTube.com, The PRC Forum-Julian Simon. Retrieved June 20, 2009.
  • UNmilleniumProject.org, UN Millenium Project, retrieved June 20, 2009.