“Poor People would be better off if they had fewer children to feed and clothe”.
The competence of the poor in rearing children will always be a notion of concern in every society, notably in the Caribbean region. Sadly, we suffer from different economic and social developmental issues which dates back as far to the issuing of independence from our colonial states with the exception of some French Caribbean countries such as ; Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and British Virgin Islands. However, most countries are plagued with the demon of unemployment courtesy of the fluctuating economy in the world at large and in the west. Most countries also suffer from brain drain leading back to the slow economy . For each society to be effectively studied, one has to go beyond the surface and dissect the situation, as cells are to the body so are people to the society/ country that we live in, hence the importance of population studies in finding out issues that plague the society, further leading us to the topic of discussion and evaluation today which is “ Poor people would be better off if they had fewer children to feed and clothe”.
There is no doubt in my mind that this statement is indeed factual. Poor by definition means having little or no money, goods or means of support. Therefore if i was poor and I had less dependents to worry about I would be better off having fewer children to feed and clothes, and if I should take the liberty of drawing your imagination to the reality of having the responsibility to also send multiple children to school and provide them with technological advancements… poor people are 120% better off if they had less responsibility. The rich however, do not suffer from the aches of having too much children or too little because in essence they can survive this plight . For this notion of response, the writer will be drawing knowledge from the Malthusian theory and also the Neo – Malthusian and Marxist theory , but for now let us focus a bit on the Mathus ideology and how effective it is on the evaluation of the population growth and trends.
Thomas Malthus, the founder of this theory postulates that if the population continues to grow rapidly, then the effects would be detrimental, he pointed this out in his famous treatise. He states that the population increases in geometric proportions ( 2, 4, 6, 8) while the food resources available for them would only increase arithmetically i.e 1, 2,3… in simple words if the human population was “allowed” to increase at a faster rate than the food supply , a point would come when food sources couldn’t support the growing population. Malthus in his thinking doubted the ingenuity of mankind and technology and even though his theory is not exactly wrong it doesn’t necessarily fit the Caribbean perspective. Food and clothes are available yes, but do we all have the capital to purchase these goods to make life comfortable? Further leading us to thinking of Karl Marx who is hell bent on that it is the inequality of the ruling class that causes poverty, malnutrition, crime and hunger. This would be solved if fair opportunities were given to other people and not only those with wealth running through their veins; this theory fits in to the Caribbean society today. The ruling would be the politicians and those who are apart of big organizations.
These are the people whose children are better off in life and they also receive heavy wages and they perform less taxing work. Compared to the middle class and lower workers, who work for such unfair wages. Thus leading to the underdevelopment of the impoverished and certain population trends such as the heavy migration levels in each country. This further leads to the loss of human development because the people who leave their home countries for better job opportunities and improvements in living standards leave a gap in the society which the government has to fill, costing more. The issue of crime and deviance in the society can be related to having poor back grounds and broken homes, especially juvenile delinquency. The writer took it upon herself to assess these implications and to the extent at which they are true and I came across a family in my community who can be considered as poor. This family living in one 2 bedroom house, with an outside bathroom and kitchen has 35 people living in it. In this family there are 2 people over 60 years old , their 4 children and their children’s many children. Each child has no less than 5 children and to add all of them are without fathers, as they have refused to take up their responsibilities.
It is sad to say that these sisters have not obtained an education higher than a secondary level, and so they are virtually unemployed with the exception of one sister who is a domestic helper. They are also living without electricity and running water. We were asked to assess the population in relation to development. How exactly development is possible when surrounded in situation such as these? In most cases such as these, the children like the ones in my community will end up leaving school and history will repeat itself, other situations such as deviant behavior and teenage pregnancy will also spiral out of control leading to an ineffective society full of stagnant individuals, who will just eventually weigh the economic system down , increase in tax to support welfare systems, a low GDP rate, increase in criminal activities and even untimely deaths. The health care of these less fortunate are also at stake.
As individuals how can we stop the ongoing misery of an overpopulated society, crime and deviance, health care deficiencies, brain drain , hunger and the rhetorical cycle of unemployment? Well there are several organization which seeks to relief the poor such as UNICEF and Food for the poor , who are always present when natural disasters( hurricanes , earthquakes, volcanoes) wreaks havoc in countries , orphanages and in the case of dire needs and physically challenged. In Jamaica there is also the PATH program which was instituted to help children who are going to school, students on this program receive a monthly stipend, health care and lunch at school, a big help to most. Also , if they excel academically , they are awarded scholarships to continue their territory education . Now back to Malthus, who has his solution which takes the form of moral restraint.
The usage of using birth control methods ( contraceptives/ condoms) or just simply abstaining from sexual activity until one is ready emotionally and economically , getting married older, spacing children and having less children. These methods when combined will curve the growing population and create more productive individuals, the poor would be able to take advantage of the help they are receiving and they will then be able to get an effective job which will help them to become less dependent on the society to take care of them, thus poor people would be better off because in essence they wouldn’t be poor again.
Courtney from Study Moose
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