Should there be a limit on the number of children one person can have?

(Mofosyne) #1


Is fairer for other families who responsibility make enough children to care for.

Ensures the right of the child to have a family with enough resource and emotional support.

Limits welfare strain.


If set too low, leads to population decline.

Limits freedom to choose maximum family size.

May go against religious freedom to have as many kids as possible.

(Peter Fulton) #2

No, no limits.

If parents can’t maintain sufficient upkeep to look after their offspring and themselves, they have only themselves to blame (without getting into any specific scenarios/circumstances).

Our population density is far too low to consider limits like this. What there needs to be is incentives to evenly spread resources out to avoid issues that’d trigger “X children per family” policies to need to happen.

(Andrew Downing) #3

Authoritarian much?

(Ben McGinnes) #4

Or to put it another way, should we just rename the country China 2.0?

(David Boxall) #5

Probably but, without some pretty horrific authoritarianism, how could it be done? My own gloomy conclusion is that, if (when) we become too numerous, nature will take care of it. Of course, that may already be happening.

(Tim Challis) #6

I don’t know - the economic rationalisers would probably happily work out a system where the market could set a price on a baby - say proportion of net life earnings less estimated expense to raise a child to earning age and capacity (health care, food, education etc.) and assign a token trade value.

Then there could be a futures market where planned childless couples could trade promissory notes (like ETFs - LTFs?) to remain so to couples wanting extra children.

Endless bureaucratic fun and keeps the actuaries - if there are any left - busy?

Oh: DavidB said “horrific authoritarianism”, didn’t he? 'Cause yep - all of that.

(David Boxall) #7

Not a baby, but a human life perhaps?

As of 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency set the value of a human life at $9.1 million. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration put it at $7.9 million — and the Department of Transportation figure was around $6 million.

I feel that human life is cheaper now than it was in (say) the 1980s. Which doesn’t change my feeling that there are already far too many of us and we’re heading for a population crash. As I said, nature has ways of taking care of such things.


By setting up the economy so that having children has a high cost for little obvious benefit. Actually, just leaving things as they currently are works.

Already happening, y’say? Here, take a look.

Fact is that without immigration Australia would already be in population decline. With that and the authoritarianism, this isn’t an idea even worth considering. People concerned about overpopulation should go bother Africa, China, and India about it. Mostly Africa at this point.

(twisty) #9

Should there be a limit on the number of children one person can have?

Won’t make any difference … humans are already in plague numbers and will continue breeding until all resources are consumed or Gaia reduces the numbers.

In his “The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning,” (Basic Books, April 2009) James Lovelock says humanity is “Earth’s infection.”

Nice. We are the viruses.

While in theory it would be extremely difficult to truly destroy this planet, it’s not such a stretch for some scientists to imagine us making it a place that doesn’t support humans. The planet would go on, the thinking goes, but it’d get rid of us much like we shake the flu.

I’m a farmer and I know what happens to the land when I try too keep too many animals. Not good. My advice? Sit back, enjoy, humans are already fucked.

(David Boxall) #10

Would that be a bad thing? How many people do you think Australia can sustain in perpetuity?

The greater the overstock and the longer it persists, the greater the environmental damage. The greater the damage, the further the population will eventually fall.

(twisty) #11

And while I’m at it, what a bunch of hypocrites we humans are! We’ll breed dogs and cats that can’t breathe properly and think we’re clever but ridicule considered and planned human reproduction.

(Ben McGinnes) #12

Yes, but even when restricted to its own species, a lot of that consideration and planning was built upon an incredibly dubious foundationand it still is.

(David Boxall) #13

Ben, your reaction substantiates my belief that humanity is incapable of saving itself. We’ll just carry on until nature takes its course.

You imply that the population of Australia (and the world) should continue to grow. Do you believe that there’s any limit? How would you organise Australia to sustain, say, a trillion people?

(twisty) #14

Easy. Find another 10,000 earths. Quickly.

edit: and mine them.

(Andrew Downing) #15

We’re not going to have to worry about that.
Take a look at this chart, based on UN data for the last 100 or so years. Run the slider at the bottom back/forth over the years and you’ll see why.

(Ben McGinnes) #16

I’m not really arguing against your point; what’s currently being passed off as “civilisation” is led (if you could call it that) by people so short-sighted they can’t see past the next election cycle. Without some kind of drastic change (which almost certainly won’t happen) the species is cutting its collective throat.

Personally I find myself alternating between wanting society to hit the brakes on this downward spiral … and just watching the world burn.

Perhaps it’s a good thing that the latter mood is the less frequent of the two. Or, if not, then I’m at least able to channel my cynicism in other ways (e.g. when “rights” seem like too much of a pipe dream to keep the surveillance state at bay, I can work on practical solutions to take that power back).

As for the specific issues stemming from overpopulation; I don’t have hard figures or any idea what the tipping point might be.

(David Boxall) #17

Y’reckon? To anyone who’s managed livestock, those trends will come as no surprise.

Does anybody? Figures exists, but interpretations differ.

My own guess, based only on a lifetime of observation and contemplation, is that we passed sustainable limits of population at some time in the first half of last century.

Consequences of global overstocking are evident in, for example, conflict and asylum-seeker flows. In the Australian context, the Murray-Darling comes to mind. If we manage to screw that up it will eventually recover but, in the interim, Australia’s carrying capacity will drop.

(Ben McGinnes) #18

So it’s back to the baby boomers, then. Not so much their fault (for a change), but the fault of what led to them being called the baby boomers in the first place.

(Mofosyne) #19

Well winning WW2 can’t really be considered a bad thing.

(David Boxall) #20

There are those who seek to solve and those who seek to blame. The latter is ineffectual.

We could blame every generation that’s produced more children than needed to replace themselves. What would that solve?

Fighting it, on the other hand …

What were the causes of that war? Didn’t one of the belligerents seek space for its population?