Demographic economics Essay
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Overpopulation is an issue which is constantly being debated upon, as the very aspect of humanity is at stake here. Paul R Ehrlich, Anne H Ehrlich, Frank Furedi and Vanessa Baird bring each of their unique perspectives to the table. Ehrlich and Ehrlich, in the abstract from “The Population Bomb Revisited”, believe that overpopulation is a problem that needs to be constantly addressed for humanity to survive in the long run.
On the other hand, Furedi shares his views, in the article “Really Bad Ideas: Population Control”, about how he thinks the people that perceive overpopulation as a hindrance are the real problem here rather than overpopulation itself.
Baird, from “Population Panic”, takes a neutral stand on overpopulation among the 3 authors. She does approach overpopulation with caution and yet is optimistic that the issue of overpopulation will get taken care on its own the way things are flowing.
Ehrlich and Ehrlich believe that the natural resources humans have available to them are limited and overpopulation will only hasten the exploitation of these resources (65).
Ehrlich and Ehrlich also warn that “it is an error to consider increases in human numbers as automatically expanding real wealth” as it can be seen in the case of China and India (64).Other problems due to overpopulation would be depletion of ozone layer due to exploitation of chlorofluorocarbons and increase in carbon dioxide emissions(66).
Ehrlich and Ehrlich also believe that overpopulation will eventually lead to a resource war among ourselves as “the capacity of Earth to produce food and support people is finite” (68). The only way that we can escape without having to deal with the death rate solution would be to “entrain a general population decline toward an optimal number” (68). Ehrlich and Ehrlich believe that humans will have to lower fertility rates much further if they want to survive with adequate resources (68). Low fertility rates also lead to an ageing which is ideal as it is one that can easily controlled and managed (65). Furedi detests the very idea of population control.
1) Furedi points out that we are being hypocrites by spending a lot on healthcare and trying to make sure that people can live as long as possible but also blaming ourselves as a source of the world’s problems and trying to minimize the population by carrying out birth control measures.(1)
Furedi believes it is the Malthusians, such as Ehrlich and Ehrlich, that are the real problem as they promote inhuman practices such as birth control to be given such great lengths of attention.(1)
Furedi discredits Ehrlich and Ehrlich ’ global warming concerns by stating that without human species, the issue would resolve by itself (2)and so the “obsession with natural limits distracts society from the far more creative search for solutions to hunger or poverty or lack of resources”(5). He also claims that Malthusians strongly lower people’s confidence in fighting future problems(5) by giving people immoral solutions such as stopping to reproduce altogether. Malthusians also enforce the use of contraception for women in poor countries by disguising the whole thing and calling it counseling about family planning which is mandatory for everyone to attend(3).
Furedi wants people to start believing in themselves again and begin having faith in humanity as a whole. Furedi believes that people will never reach the “death rate solution” mentioned by Ehrlich and Ehrlich if they do not sacrifice humanity. According to Furedi, overpopulation should never have been given this much attention and spotlight in the first place. Vanessa Baird seems to recognize that there are both positive aspects and negative aspects of trying to deal with overpopulation.
She approaches this topic with caution as there are estimated to be about nine billion people by the year 2050(5). Baird is still optimistic in the sense that she believes that humans are well on their way to stabilizing the populations, “Fertility rates around the world are falling. If this trend continues, it will help stabilize global population size.” (Baird,5).Baird agrees with Fureti to a certain extent about people starting to blame overpopulation for all their problems, such as child abuse, murder and increase in carbon emissions and people implement more birth control measures instead of finding other solutions to these problems.
Unlike Fureti, Baird does not seem to question the moral aspect of dealing with overpopulation. Baird also does agree with Ehrlich and Ehrlich also to some extent about implementing birth control measures as she believes that there are other benefits of lower fertility rather than just population control, such as more education since there is more money available per child when resources are not stretched as much anymore(7).
Finally, unlike Ehrlich and Ehrlich, Baird believes that ageing population is not such a great thing as many problems do come with it (8).Paul R Ehrlich, Anne H Ehrlich, Frank Furedi, Vanessa Baird each had their own thoughts and views on overpopulation. Vanessa Baird saw the advantages and disadvantages of tackling this overpopulation. For Frank Furedi, this was never an issue to begin with. Ehrlich and Ehrlich want more emphasis to be given on dealing with the problem of overpopulation .
Frank Furedi “Really Bad Ideas: Population Control” spiked, 18 June 2007 Paul R Ehrlich, Anne H Ehrlich “The Population Bomb Revisited.” The Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development 2009, p.64-70 Vanessa Baird “Population Panic” New Internationalist, January/February 2010