Overpopulation Misconception #7

  • Intensified population control programs will slow down population growth, improve the economy soon, and thus resolve poverty.

Clarification

The effects desired by population controllers, the slowing of population growth, will not immediately take place, due to population momentum, decreased mortality and longer lifespan. By the time population growth will have slowed down, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) will be way below the replacement level, and the average population age will be extremely high. In other words, the solution proposed to solve poverty, that is, population control programs, will just create more economic difficulties in the long run.

Nor may one say that we should limit population growth now, hope for rapid economic development, and finally try to solve whatever problem might come up in the future. It will simply be too late by then.

Countries that were already rich 30 to 40 years ago when their TFR's started to decline, and are now aging, encounter extreme difficulty in solving their economic problems today. Their efforts to encourage their citizens to produce more children have not yielded acceptable results after a decade. They depend on immigration to maintain their population growth.

The Philippines is not a rich country today, and may or may not be rich within 50 years. How will it support its aging population? Will it also invite workers from other countries to replace its dwindling workforce? How will it attract immigrants if it has no jobs to offer to its people in the first place? Even if it becomes rich by then, it will have to face the same problems rich countries face now, and we will have to tell the people to raise more children.

We simply cannot afford to fall into the trap rich countries have fallen into 30-40 years ago, and from which they desperately try to escape today. Graphically speaking, we cannot afford to have in the future a population pyramid like theirs now, and then, like them today, wish to regain the population pyramid we have now.

Excerpt from World Population Collapse: Lessons for the Philippines, in Familia et Vita, Vol XII (2007) No. 2, pp. 84-113, paragraph no. 26 by Rev. Fr. Gregory D. Gaston, SThD

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