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

(Andrew Downing) #61

Ha!. Second response: “Authoritarian much?”
…and then free speech discourse ensues, which we do not censor … because Pirates.

Now, tell me again what your problem is?

(David Boxall) #62

I think the problem is there’s no solution that isn’t distasteful. That’s why I reckon we’ll end up letting nature deal with it. It won’t be pretty, but then neither will any other solution I can come up with.
Warning: that link is on an anti-abortion site. The report seems substantially factual, with a bit of dogma at the end.

(Andrew Downing) #63

Actually @davidb, I was responding to the concerns expressed by @brookmanknight about us even having this conversation. I strongly oppose restrictions or coercion to limit discourse or Discourse.

However, on your actual point, the article you linked made the same point I have made earlier in this exchange. After describing the horrors of authoritarian control over reproduction, they concluded …

let us not forget that, on the big question, the population controllers are simply wrong. If they were paying attention (instead of just mouthing anti-people slogans), they would understand that the most pressing population problem today is not too many people, but a rapidly aging world-population. Ignoring this reality, population controllers continue to espouse a myth that not only makes no economic sense, but literally kills those it targets.

Restrictions on our already low birth rates doesn’t address the real problems of an aging population base.
Looking at absolute population numbers is misleading because there is a 76ish year lag in consequences.

(David Boxall) #64

That’s what I was referring to when I said:

The aging population is a statistic that the unlimited growth lobby exploits. Sadly, their sophistry risks producing a great many people who won’t get the opportunity to grow old.

Whatever we do or fail to do, no matter why we do or fail to do it, we remain responsible for the consequences of our actions and our failures to act. For what would you rather be responsible:

  • a greater number of progressively shorter and more miserable lives, that end brutally or;
  • a smaller number of lives?

(Andrew Downing) #65

Uhhh, wow?

“Unlimited growth lobby”? Really?
Is that just your phrase for anybody in politics that thinks we still have room for growth, or is this some actual identifiable group that lobbies?

I don’t really buy your miserable brutal life ending problems proposition. There are some growth challenges, but that’s always true, and I’m not seeing signs of insoluble problems at this time.

What problems do you think we have that are so insoluble?

Meanwhilw, let’s roll with an assumption that Australia really is overpopulated and we need to cap that, then recast the question in terms of potential political action.

The current fertility rate in Australia is 1.9 (against a replacement level of 2.1). Short term that means the raw numbers increase until baby boomers die off in volume, but long term, it’s a decline.
On top of that, we add immigration. Net immigration (2015 is most recent I found) of ~177000.

So, we could somehow convince existing Australians to have less children when they are already below replacement level, convince more people to leave (thereby exporting the problem), we could reduce immigration, or some combination of these things.

What are you advocating?

(David Boxall) #66

Sadly, I have no solution. That’s why we need to discuss the issues. As I’ve said repeatedly, I reckon we’ll carry on until nature deals with us.

I reckon things like environmental degradation, increasing conflict and asylum-seeker flows indicate problems internationally. Closer to home, the Murray-Darling (for example) is sending us a strong message. The problems are insoluble, only if we ignore or deny them.


it’s an interesting conversion.

I like to think nature will find its own balance once way or another.
Climate change is going to be one factor, eg less food grown, less habitable places etc. Air pollution will be another.
The other thing that will be interesting to see if our massive use of pesticides ever have a measurably impact, it maybe something we see for decades to come or not at all.

the other side of the coin is the theory that wealthy, educated happy people have less chilren - eg -

So the best plan would be to make more people wealthy, educated and happy.