General Question

Jiminez's avatar

Do you think higher birth rates among the poor (which leads to increased scarcity and poverty) needs the same attention that global warming has gotten in recent years?

Asked by Jiminez (1245 points ) April 7th, 2009

Watch this issue for a good example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvx0eAFQ-RY

What can be done about this?

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90 Answers

Ria777's avatar

yes, yes and yes.thank you for bringing this up. no one talks about overpopulation any more. but the environmental crises come from this. the housing crisis indirectly came from this, too.

jrpowell's avatar

You are drawing a strange parallel there.

The solution to teen pregnancy is simple. Abstinence only is bullshit and won’t ever work. Teach the kids about sex and glue a condom to the bottom of every beer bottle sold.

Jiminez's avatar

@johnpowell What’s the strange parallel I’m drawing?

I’m not talking about teen pregnancy. Watch the video I posted a link to. It’s a short little video journal. It’ll give you a better idea of what I mean. I’m talking about the poor, i.e. the third world mostly.

Ria777's avatar

@johnpowell, Jiminez never mentioned abstinence (in the sense that you mean).

Jiminez's avatar

*video

(what a weird typo)

Qingu's avatar

Birth rates seem to correlate pretty highly with religiosity. Poor countries tend to be more religious than developed countries. The birth rate in many developed countries (excluding America, which is quite religious) is actually negative.

It almost seems too good to be true. But it does look like the overpopulation problem will solve itself as countries get more economically developed and less religious—which seems to be the trend. I imagine this is because if given the choice, people don’t generally want to have more than a couple kids. Partly because it becomes quite expensive to put them all through college. People in developed countries generally value quality of life more than quantity of life, in other words. (Not that this isn’t also true, in a way, in traditional societies—having lots of kids is actually a good method of ensuring that you yourself will be well taken care of; the kids themselves are seen as an investment. But this is no longer true in developed countries.)

Jiminez's avatar

How is the birth rate negative, @Qingu? There were more births in America in 2007 than in any year in our nation’s history.

I agree with you on the trend, but that’s long term. Short term, poorer peoples tend to have more children after gaining further economic stability because they can finally afford to, so expect a huge baby explosion in the next few decades as India and China (and other places) become further developed.

casheroo's avatar

I’m not sure what you think can be done. Unless they force abortions and sterilization in those countries…then other than education, and family planning..there isn’t much else to do.

I am strongly opposed to forced abortions/sterilization. I don’t care how poor you are. That guy in the video rubbed me the wrong way, as he was talking about the woman. It seems he’s judging and looking down upon her, rather than actually wanting to help.

Ria777's avatar

@Qingu, I think of the religiosity as an effect more than a cause.

edit: edited my answer. hard to put complex issues into few words, so screw it…

theluckiest's avatar

The poor have always (and probably, will always) had a higher birthrate than the rich. There’s lots of sociological reasons for this that are more or less obvious. The explosion that we can brace for in India and China is more about increased life expectancy and a plummeting infant mortality rate than anything else, I think. With technological breakthroughs (that we had 50 years ago) the infant mortality rates in China (21/1000) and India (32/1000) will quickly catch up to the West (N. Europe averages about 4.5/1000).
As the health care and economic structures shift more quickly than people’s expectations and ideas about the world, we’ll still have people thinking 6–8 children is necessary to guarantee familial stability. This trend usually only lasts for a generation and is a pretty predicable, observable behavior consistent through the history of developed countries.
Maybe it’s of greater concern given the already immense populations of China and India, but I’m not entirely sure what can be done about it… I’m not about to suggest withholding medical technology

theluckiest's avatar

Amazing how the anti-religious fanatics can inject themselves anywhere. Just like the religious fanatics! The parallels are uncanny…

Ria777's avatar

@casheroo, It seems he’s judging and looking down upon her, rather than actually wanting to help.

ad hominem attack. his attitude towards her has no bearing on the issues.

tinyfaery's avatar

I often correlate, and I have no data to back this up, and I am not saying this is the only factor, high birthrates in underdeveloped countries with missionaries. Mother Teresa told thousands of poor people that having children is a way to glorify god. Muslim missionaries preach the same. Why would someone who claims to care about people preach an idea that often ends in tragedy and pain?

Ria777's avatar

@theluckiest, I didn’t call it a bad thing to derive comfort from religion. actually, I had some harsher words that I could have said in regards to religion. decided to self-censor.

theluckiest's avatar

@Ria777 If you can’t see the glaring bigotry in your existing commentary I am sad for you.

Qingu's avatar

@Ria777, the Bible says “go forth and multiply.” I believe there are similar passages in the Quran. Super-religious people (Christians, Muslims, and Jews) tend to have as many kids as possible. My Hasidic aunt, for example, has 11.

I don’t think it’s reducible to “desperate people turning to religion.” In many cases the religious tradition values and encouraging having tons of kids. That needs to change. And fortunately, it looks like it’s changing pretty fast.

Ria777's avatar

@theluckiest: maybe I do have some glaring bigotry towards religion. argue me out of it if you want, don’t say that I have it. I know I have it!

gimmedat's avatar

*Disclaimer: I was unable to view the video on my phone, so I will speak to my opinion.

On the surface, this question, to me, implies state-supported/mandated birth control and/or family planning to a class of people who are too stupid to figure it out on their own. That is offensive, sad, ignorant, and unintelligent. If the plan is to help, address societal issues and cultural attitudes that perpetuate poverty across generations.

Ria777's avatar

@Qingu, on second thought, I also consider it chunkable down into a simple “desperate people…” explanation. I changed my answer accordingly. I don’t think it has as much to do with the religious texts telling people what to do. the Koran prohibits pork and alcohol and selling it. and you still have Muslims in the u.s. selling it in convenience stores.

theluckiest's avatar

@Ria777 I’m not sure it’s possible to argue someone out of any kind of bigotry. Using him as an example, I think Jerry Falwell’s problems are immune to logical reasoning and more a visceral emotional reaction to some traumatic thing he experienced as a child, perhaps. The reasons for it are so deep seated usually It’d take a psychologist to uncover the causes. But admitting it is the first step :) Kudos

@Qingu Those passages reflect the socioeconomic demands of the time they were written. Short life expectancies, difficult physical labor that requires many hands, etc. For some groups, they’re still true.

Jiminez's avatar

@theluckiest & @casheroo No one’s talking about withholding medical technology or forced abortions/sterilization. I don’t know why peoples’ minds always automatically shoot to that extreme at even the mention of this EPIDEMIC. I was just asking if increased awareness on par with that of global warming is necessary. Of course education works when these people are getting the kind of attention this issue deserves. We haven’t seen that happen yet. They need to be hearing it from every single aid worker that having children in their condition is just not an option and that they should take every necessary precaution if they want any semblance of a good life.

Qingu's avatar

@Ria777, the fact that a few Muslims in America sell pork and booze does not really negate, for example, the fact that such products are banned in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, specifically because of the Quran (which Saudi Arabia has as its “constitution.”)

On the other hand, Christians nowadays tend to simply ignore the Bible. This is because modern Christians do not actually derive their morality or social views from their religion. They derive it from the secular morality of the Enlightenment. They cherry-pick passages from the Bible that fit this secular, Enlightenment morality, and they ignore the rest (or dismiss them as being the result of “socioeconomic demands of the time they were written,” which somehow implies that it’s okay to ignore these God-given commands today).

Whatever their rationalizations, there is little doubt that Christianity today, in developed countries, is watered down and subservient to secular, Enlightenment morality. We need a similar cultural change in less developed countries as well. Cultural change is the solution to overpopulation.

theluckiest's avatar

@Jiminez I didn’t mean to suggest you were :) I think the best thing we can do is to provide as much aid as possible towards the advancement of their infrastructure and education. Maybe it is as much an issue as global warming and we should be taking enormous steps to addressing it from at least those two fronts.

casheroo's avatar

@Jiminez Then what do YOU suggest we do about the problem. I’m genuinely curious. Other than aid workers telling them not to have more children, because they’ll have a better life if they have less children…what else can be done?

casheroo's avatar

@Ria777 I was making a comment on the video the OP posted. Am I not allowed to have an opinion on disgusting people who judge others for having children.

I hate the overpopulation debate, I really do.

Ria777's avatar

@gimmedat, actually this does have to do with “address societal issues and cultural attitudes that perpetuate poverty across generations”.

and, yeah, people in the third world do have too many kids. I would partly call that “too stupid to figure it out”, in your words. though I can see the ironic self-interest motive. (have kids so they can support you.) you used a lot of emotive words like “sad”, “offensive” and “ignorant” (which has emotive connotations) which showed to me that you thought with your emotions and in effect pre-loaded responses.

if this discussion had to do with ’‘middle-class and upper class’’ people in the developed world having too many kids (which they do and I don’t mean that just as an argument, I truly think so—I think everyone has too many kids) I bet you wouldn’t have a problem with this line of talk.

theluckiest's avatar

@Qingu You are generalizing beyond any useful commentary.

There are plenty of fundamentalist Christians left in the USA. There are also many secular Christians that do not observe, practice or otherwise associate with the faith of their parents and/or community, but somehow associate with the group in similar ways “secular Jews” do. There are also many Christians that interpret their doctrine through the lens of the 21st century and this leads to a whole array of perspectives, some which you might rightly and wrongly attribute to the European Enlightenment (they probably get their “subservient to secular Enlightenment morality” from an amalgamation of influences, including whatever scriptures and church teaching they follow).

Ria777's avatar

@Qingu, and yet I don’t know of any countries which mandate that every fertile woman must have X number of times, as dictated by the Bible or Koran.

I completely agree with what you said in the second and third paragraph. great to hear someone say something I have believed for years.

Qingu's avatar

@theluckiest, the fundamentalist Christians, unsurprisingly, tend to breed like rabbits. I thought it was clear from the context that I was talking about the Christians in developed countries who do try to control their populations.

And it’s difficult to avoid generalizing when talking about entire civilizations. I don’t think what I said is especially inaccurate.

@Ria777, I don’t think that’s the kind of thing that would work as a law; it’s not a law (i.e. enforced) in the Bible or the Quran. It’s just culturally encouraged because, after all, it’s exactly what these supposedly God-given texts say. So the more people ignore these text, the better off we’ll be re: overpopulation.

theluckiest's avatar

@Qingu And it’s difficult to avoid generalizing when talking about entire civilizations. I don’t think what I said is especially inaccurate.
I think it’s critically important not to generalize when you’re talking about these issues. And further, it’s entirely not necessary to do so. Taking a broad stroke to a precise problem is often more destructive than the problem itself. Maybe it’s just the scientist in me.

Ria777's avatar

@Qingu, but I don’t that overpopulation comes from religious texts as much as you think. just a hunch I have.

few people in india believe in the Abrahamic religions, but still they don’t exactly shy away from making babies.

Qingu's avatar

Overpopulation is not a precise problem.

gimmedat's avatar

@Ria777 Why are you psychoanalyzing the nature of my response? What difference does it make if it has an emotional connotation? Because you view over-population as a concern that is the cause of stupid poor people doesn’t rationalize state sponsored birthing guidelines.

theluckiest's avatar

@Qingu
The causes of overpopulation, I would argue, are very precise. See my first comment and respond to that if you take issue.

Ria777's avatar

@theluckiest, fundy belief systems have, you know, changed a bit. I mean, they haven’t stayed just the same. one thing I find fascinating: in the 19th century, proto-fundies believed that the events of the Book of Revelations had already happened and god had already won.

theluckiest's avatar

@Ria777 You’re totally right. Even “Fundamentalist” is a hugely broad category.

Qingu's avatar

@Ria777, I don’t think religiosity is the only factor, let alone Abrahamic religiosity. Though I would bet that religiosity and birth rate correlates in India as well.

I mean, let’s consider the reasons why someone would want to have more than two or three kids.

• They want to bring more life into the world—which is a stupid idea in light of overpopulation, but one found in many religious texts.

• They don’t use protection or birth control—which has two main explanations, lack of access (through poverty) or religiosity.

• They want a lot of kids to help work and so one or more will take care of them when they’re older—an explanation that makes no sense in developed countries.

@theluckiest, you are talking about cultural trends, which are broad, not precise. You’re doing the same thing I’m doing.

theluckiest's avatar

@Qingu I’m not arguing with your description of trends – I’m arguing with your [biased, bigoted, simplistic, condescending, hate-mongering] description of groups.

Ria777's avatar

@Qingu, I didn’t think you thought of religiosity as the only factor. I hadn’t considered the fact of religious charities stepping in to not help when they could.

VzzBzz's avatar

People are uneasy to talk overpopulation because is runs into tangents of eugenics, classism and racism. Birth control for women needs serious improvement, short of sterilizations, nothing is reliable enough yet and no way to get it mass distributed to all women around the world who would choose it. Side effects of birth control are awful for many women and there can be anger when a woman feels she has to compromise her health in order not to breed and still maintain some basic sexual interaction and satisfaction. Also and my own opinion, my own observations so far, the majority of men want a woman who can breed even if they don’t think they want children at first, most want the option of the woman being fertile later. Women feel pressure to remain fertile for future partners if a present one doesn’t work out.

Ria777's avatar

@gimmedat, Why are you psychoanalyzing the nature of my response?

if you don’t take a look at your automatic responses to ideas, you will not manage to actually consider or examine those ideas.

What difference does it make if it has an emotional connotation?

see above.

Because you view over-population as a concern that is the cause of stupid poor people doesn’t rationalize state sponsored birthing guidelines.

no said anything about the state mandating anything. I do believe in good choices and bad choices (I do tend to think in black and white—I recognize that as a personal tendency which I try to modulate, with various degrees of success).

if you have people in the situation where they can barely feed themselves and their kids now and they have kids anyway, and the kids have more kids… what do you think happens? and I know that in the short term it might seem like a smart investment to have kids, especially, boys, so that they can take care of you, but in the aggregate: poverty. more people in poverty.

Ria777's avatar

@VzzBzz, People are uneasy to talk overpopulation because is runs into tangents of eugenics, classism and racism.

classism means you can’t consider that class upbringing might have affected the way you think and act. except when you find it convenient to consider how class upbringing might have affected the way you think and act, which then makes it perfectly okay.

and, of course, criticizing a socioeconomic class above never counts as classism.

Qingu's avatar

@VzzBzz, I basically agree, but is birth control really that bad for women now? At least they offer women more control. What I’d like are similar birth control methods for men.

@theluckiest: You know who is biased, bigoted, simplistic, condescending, and hate-mongering?

Your mom

Ria777's avatar

and, by the way, going back and re-reading the title of this thread, overpopulation causes global warming. or more accurately, has caused and continues to cause.

VzzBzz's avatar

@Qingu: Women do have many options of birth control, I agree and I’ve tried lots of them, lots. Anyhoo. And birth control being made for men? Wow, that’s a great idea but it looks to me like more money is spent to combat men’s hair loss and limp dicks but I’m not a doctor so.

Ria777's avatar

@VzzBzz, the pharmaceutical companies can make more money that way.

casheroo's avatar

@Vzzbzz I agree with you about the birth control options for women. It seems people are uncaring about how the birth control affects the woman, they just want her on it. I can’t imagine just disregarding a woman’s health, just because of fear of overpopulation.
@Qinqu None of the reasons you listed, are why I continue to have children.

Jiminez's avatar

@casheroo Reward people monetarily for not having more children. It’s the perfect approach to high birth rates amongst the poor.

GAMBIT's avatar

Education is the key. Teach boys and girls about their bodies. Teach young girls about their cycle times and when they should and should not have relations. Give young men role models that they can look up to that take care of their children. Let them know that if they create a child it is their responsibility to take care of it.

Jiminez's avatar

@Qingu You said: Overpopulation is not a precise problem.

Can you explain what you mean by that?

Qingu's avatar

@Jiminez, it’s a complex problem with a number of causes, and many of those causes are generalized, cultural problems that have no specific solution.

tinyfaery's avatar

@casheroo You are of course allowed to call people disgusting, so long as you accept being called disgusting for your views.

Qingu's avatar

@casheroo, please don’t feel obligated to answer this, but I am curious as to why you “continue” having children.

Jiminez's avatar

@casheroo Oh I judge the shit out of people who have children. Mostly when they have more than 2. I pretty much think they’re immoral. That, or ignorant. Or maybe you could say… uh… disgusting.

casheroo's avatar

I still don’t understand when the change happened, from people not being judged for having multiple kids, to more than two is too many. I know my grandparents each had between 5–7 kids, my husbands family had 8, and 5…That was all the norm. I guess things changed when it didn’t become economically feasible to pay for that many children? I don’t know, but I really hate it. I find that people who don’t have kids or judge those that do, usually say they’re liberal thinkings…when their line of thought is not liberal at all.

@Qinqu I have children because I want to. Bringing children into the world is the most natural experience. Children equal happiness, in my life. I understand that isn’t the same for everyone, and I don’t expect every single person to desire to have children, adopted or biological. I don’t care if others do or don’t have children, but this is what’s right for my family.
I don’t find the need to judge others if they reproduce or not. I’m pro-choice, which means I believe a woman has complete control over her fertility. From what I gather, you aren’t pro-choice, which very much saddens me to think there are people like that in the world.

Qingu's avatar

What?

I’m so pro-choice I’m basically pro-infanticide… ohhh, I see what you did there.

I guess where I disagree with you is the implication that because something is “natural,” it’s morally justified. Algal blooms are “natural.”

But I do have more respect for someone like you than someone who wants to have kids because they believe a god commands them to, possibly to increase the demographic power of their cult. Bringing more happiness into the world is a-okay with me, I just worry about the sustainability of it.

casheroo's avatar

Yeah, I’m not religious in the least bit. I don’t understand that motivation to have children..I think having them should be because you want them and can care for them. I do have issues with people like the Duggars. Having that many children is not natural, and my issue with having that many kids differs from your issue…I know parents say your love is able to be spread to all children. But I just cannot imagine giving myself to 18 children and my husband. There’s no way to properly raise each child individually, and that’s when I have issues with parents. Children aren’t collectibles, so I can’t condone having that many children.
Plus, don’t worry..we’re pretty sure we’ll stop at three..we’ll try not to ruin the world while at it ;)

Qingu's avatar

Wait. You only want to have three children?

Um, that’s not exactly overkill. My parents had three. What are we disagreeing about here, exactly? :)

casheroo's avatar

lol, did you think I wanted like 8?! No way, I can’t wait for my husband to have a vasectomy! He can’t wait either haha.
I understand the point of this thread was more directed at third world countries, and I remember the day Obama lifted the ban on not funding family planning in other countries, I was very, very happy about that. I’m hoping it helps the issue, and women can get the care they need, whether it be an abortion, sterilization, or birth control. I think it’s a big step in the right direction.
I just get worked up when people judge regular families with three or four kids…some babies are oops babies! Once they’re here, you can’t do anything about it!

Qingu's avatar

I guess I wasn’t aware that people were judging families with 3–4 kids. My judginess really only kicks in at 5+, with many exceptions.

But I think your perspective illustrates what I was talking about way earlier. Your parents had a lot of kids, but you only want 3, because that’s the number you feel you can raise well and devote an adequate amount of attention to. I think that’s pretty normal in our culture and in most developed countries, and it’s interesting how this idea has sort of evolved on its own. I really hope it’s just part of a natural “trajectory” that cultures follow as they get more wealthy. But of course I’m sure it’s way more complex than that.

Jiminez's avatar

@casheroo The change happened when some of us realized that 90% of the big fish in the ocean have been killed. Or when some of us realized that 50% of the coral reefs are gone. Or when we found out about the huge swirling vortex of trash and plastic in the Pacific Ocean the size of Texas. Or when we found out we’re using more of the Earth’s resources in a year than the Earth can replace (that one’s particularly scary). And so there are people out there walking around whistling to themselves, paying no attention to objective reality and thinking reality is what they see on the cover of the magazines. These people have to be shaken back into awakeness. They’re sleepwalking while they fuck up the world. And they don’t see the tragedy in thinking “Oh but having children is the most naturalest thing you could do” while contributing to overpopulation by having more than 2 kids. It’s fuckin’ sad! Moreover, why are any of these people even having kids? What’s the reason? Answer: as a way of making themselves happy. Brilliant.

casheroo's avatar

@Jiminez Well, thankfully you won’t be reproducing. Mind your own business, or maybe go about your mission in a better way so people actually listen to you. You’ve convinced me to have 4 kids now, out of spite.

tinyfaery's avatar

@jimenez I do agree with you, for the most part, but do you really think that having children is the worst thing someone can do? What if someone has 5
kids and lives as Eco-friendly as possible? It might be that some childless, self-righteous, ass contributes more to the destruction of the planet than the family of 7.

Ria777's avatar

@tinyfaery, a childless person might contribute more to the planet’s destruction, but look at the most probable scenario. in the most probable scenario, five kids will create more strain on the environment. never mind the kids’ kids’ and the kids’ kids’ kids’.

Jiminez's avatar

@casheroo No. I won’t mind my own business. I have the sovereign right to judge any and every person I want. And for anybody who has more than 2 kids in this day and age, I will judge them as being immoral. You may not care, but that’s what I think. This is my planet, too.

Jiminez's avatar

Just watch this video and give it some thought: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgvnqv1-_D4

Jiminez's avatar

@tinyfaery I think more people = more people using resources. No matter what. Living “green” is nothing more than raping the Earth with a condom on. There need to be big changes, not little ones.

casheroo's avatar

@Jiminez I barely got through the video…do you think I don’t believe in global warming? Would you like that boy in the video to kill himself? Maybe that will help your cause since he shouldn’t have been born…it goes against what you believe.

Ria777's avatar

as a meta-comment, “judge” does not always mean to condemn, to prejudge or not to have sympathy. the word “judge” has gone through some semantic shift lately so that to judge does mean those things. but it need not do so.

Jiminez's avatar

He’s talking about more than just global warming. I don’t want anyone to kill themselves. That’s a ridiculous assertion. And you know it. I just want people to understand that the world is overpopulated, and the old days of having as many children as you want with no consequences are long gone.

casheroo's avatar

Well, I think telling people how many children they can and can’t have is a ridiculous assertion. We won’t ever agree on this.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Since Qingu hates kids so much, Cash can have his extras. Problem solved, no one is immoral and we’re net negative on population growth.

Jiminez's avatar

I’m not in support of telling anyone they can’t have kids. I just want the case to be made that it’s important to limit our population because we’re about to really ruin our planet for good. We face a scenario where there’s no more fish in the sea (and no more jellyfish). This is the reality. I just think people should be more concerned with what’s going on on their planet, that’s all. You don’t live in a vacuum. You live with billions of other people and species.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m not sure a family with 5 kids, who live in a shack, do not buy anything that is unecessary, grow their own food, barely have clothing, etc. use more resources than a rich, bachelor, attorney living in Beverly Hills, CA., who consumes, consumes, consumes.

Jiminez's avatar

@tinyfaery True. I’m not sure of that either, but that’s not really an argument against population control. It takes a certain minimum amount of stuff to keep 1 person alive. That amount is less than the amount that it takes to keep 5 people alive.

tinyfaery's avatar

@jimenez But not necessarily. There is no way to tell. So maybe instead of concentrating on damning those who are following their nature and their culture, we should focus on creating better opportunities to live more in tune with nature and actually do SOMETHING as opposed to NOT doing something.

And remember, I do agree with you. One of the top 3 reasons I will not reproduce is because I cannot fathom bringing a child into a world that cannot sustain him or her.

3or4monsters's avatar

@theluckiest someone check on this man, he’s been crafting a response for almost 10 hours now! Much <3 for theluckiest.

Jiminez's avatar

@3or4monsters He’s writing Fluther: the novel. I think we’re all characters in his book. :D

But, yeah, seriously… what’s going on with this guy? Passed out on the keyboard maybe?

Jiminez's avatar

@tineyfairy I think we need to really concentrate on creating awareness. Unfortunately we don’t have any ex-U.S. presidents to make a movie about it. I’m not sure what you mean by creating more opportunities to live more in tune with nature. It sounds good and I’m all for it, but what constitutes one of those opportunities? People need to know how dire a situation we’re in and that having children is the cause.

casheroo's avatar

@Jiminez I’m curious…how old are you? Are you married? What are you doing to fix the problem? Do you do all you can to save the environment? Do you use any plastic? Do you not use paper towels, toilet papers, or napkins? Do you make all your own products? Is being on the internet a bad thing as well? How is bashing people who have children helping?

theluckiest's avatar

10 hrs later…

BOOBS!

Ria777's avatar

@tinyfaery, I’m not sure a family with 5 kids, who live in a shack, do not buy anything that is unecessary, grow their own food, barely have clothing, etc. use more resources than a rich, bachelor, attorney living in Beverly Hills, CA., who consumes, consumes, consumes.

neither has made laudable choices.

two things, though. 1) it doesn’t only have to do with consumption. it has to do with misery experienced by the poor family, and created by them and created by both parties indirectly.

2) the attorney may consume as much as ten other people, but if he never has kids his overconsumption ends with him. in the case of the family, the five children will have children and so forth.

tinyfaery's avatar

But as far as each individual’s impact on the planet, the rich lawyer could be worse than the family of 7. So who did more damage, lawyer guy or the family? Plus, many poor families lose children and grow up with health problems, so the number of offspring, and their impact, might not be what you think.

My point is, we can never know. And though I say I agree with you, and I even agree that having children is always done for selfish reasons, it’s not really fair of us to judge those who have many or even a few children. We just do not know what and individual’s impact will be.

Ria777's avatar

@tinyfaery, the attorney may well cause more damage within his lifespan. I didn’t say, “yeah! good for him!” also, read my point 2 again where I talked about the long-term consequences of having five children. really, though, sort of like comparing a cokehead with a heroin addict. both have destructive lifestyles.

also, read what I said upthread about the word judge. to judge someone does not mean to say that person has no worth or to not have sympathy.

it sounds to me as if you don’t like the idea of evaluating the worth of a choice, at all, regardless of whether we can make an educated guess as to the overall impact of said choice.

Jiminez's avatar

@casheroo

All that’s kinda personal. I’ll tell you some things, though. I’m 25. No, I’m not married. I’m attacking the problem at the root level; the philosophical one. I’ve pinpointed the flaw of our civilization and written a book about it, which I’m in the process of pushing to publishers. It’s kind of esoteric; not for everybody. I don’t live like I should, of course. I should be shunning all unsustainable products and services, but that would render me ineffective. We have to fundamentally change our products and services. But I likely won’t have any kids, even though I want some. I may have one, possibly two. But no more than that. I don’t want to make myself out to be the bad guy, but I kind of think people need something big to wake them from the spell our culture puts on them. That feeling manifests itself in various ways.

tinyfaery's avatar

@ria you obviously did not get my point.

Once the kids are had, why judge? You can use the term however you see fit, and I will use it my way.

Evaluating the worth, or judging, will NEVER be my place.

And anyhow, my comments have been directed at jimenez.

theluckiest's avatar

After thinking more on this, I kind of relate it to the idea that “we shouldn’t sign Kyoto until China does!” in that-
We expect the developing world, on their own, to be more respectful of the environment than we were at similar stages in our development. If we are to have any expectations of them to be better than we were- and control population growth, energy usage, industrialization, workers rights, etc, it has to be done on our check, because it isn’t economically viable for them to have more advanced technologies at this stage.
If you want to raise my taxes 5% and put it directly towards this, I’m game for sure 100%, but I think that’s going to be a tough sell.

resmc's avatar

Westerners, even tho we tend to have less kids per person, use so many times more resources – and are able to live with relative (albeit precarious) social/economic security without having any kids – that i don’t see lowering Global South birth rates to be quite as worth of attention as ensuring only those ready & able to be parents become such in this part of the world.

Of course, considering the pressures of population on land and societies… less farmland, water, more strife over access to resources… it’s very much a problem. But focusing on the root of that problem, at least the one we have by far the most control over (here) – the extreme economic exploitation of the Global South by the “developed” world – seems more important, personally.

Btw, @theluckiest that exploitation (mentioned above) hinders at least the workers rights and economic independence/sustainability of the ‘undeveloped’ world. And i’ve seen a number of quite inexpensive inventions, most invented in the Global South, that are more sustainable than their counterparts here. They’re not lacking ingenuity, certainly… if survival becomes less of a imminent problem, am sure it won’t be as hard as many of us assume to allow and help those elsewhere in the world ‘develop’ their societies in a way which is more sustainable than the path we took.

Ria777's avatar

@tinyfaery, having an emotion doesn’t have a practical point. I mean, I don’t think that my feelings affect the world one way or another.

perplexed82's avatar

higher birthrates among the poor is part of a very complicated poverty cycle. the cycle is integrated and the problem cannot be addressed in a “one bullet shot” type of way. It must be addressed as a whole.

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