Yes, it sounds terrible. Legally implemented population control probably carries with it loads of awful stuff like back-alley abortions, and could be seen as a simple denial of basic human rights.
That said, we're facing Really Deep Crap if the world's population keeps on increasing exponentially. At what point should countries be willing to enforce some kind of population control? Is the right to have children a basic human right that we're not willing to give up, even facing literal extinction?
Mind you, I'm not talking about banning birth or anything. There are plenty of ways to implement population control--taxes, for instance. It's worth noting that the "family planning strategy" in China has been less than effective.
It's worth noting that I personally don't think we should be slapping around population control laws, at least no lightly. For me, the jury is still out. I just wanted to hear people's views on the matter. Do you think population control will ever be come feasible? Should it? Where do we set the "cap?"
I also know it's been proposed before, though never really on the legislative level, at least in America. Does anyone know if anyone is seriously considering this today?
I agree that it is possible, I just don't think it will happen, at least not within 40 years. There's too much corruption and disorder in the world for that to happen within that time frame. As our numbers rise and resources dwindle, it is much more realistic to expect that the 2 billion poorest portion of the population will increase rather than decrease.
Yes, the poorest will continue to grow, but if we can manage to make them not so poor then they will stop growing. Here in Canada, our birth rates aren't even high enough to sustain our population (I think). That is because we are very well off. When a country becomes very well off, the birth rate lowers, and so population stops increasing so fast.
If government stopped giving financial support to families after the second child, I think it would at least partially solve the overpopulation problem. That or maybe motivate many lower class teenage mothers and fathers to get a job. Far too many families in England have children for money.
Darta I think the govt shouldn't give support at all except to the disabled.
There is always something thinking about this. The third world war will fix us up nicely. and i have a feeling its going to happen... i mean they said "never again" after the first one.... the second one came along... plus humans arent exactly known for their honesty.
I had an idea for a government program that would encourage population control, unfortunately it has some flaws that would make it untenable, but it's still an interesting idea. Basically, a one-time cash payment to anybody, man or woman, who voluntarily undergoes sterilization. It wouldn't be limited to people who didn't already have children either. Have three kids and don't plan on any more and need some money to take care of the ones you have? Go get snipped, and Tadaa... $$$ Plus, the risk of "oops" babies is now gone.
Before people jump all over me, I already know it wouldn't work in practice. First off they would have to perfect the medical procedures to the point that there was absolutely no risk of death, which is currently impossible.
Secondly, it would have to be genuinely voluntary and informed. That too would cause problems. The teenage girl whose mother pressures her into it? Yeah, not good. Or what about... well... stupid people. "Wait, you mean since I got this done, I can't ever have kids?! I didn't know that!" I got a phone call at work one day. The woman said, "I'd like to spay my dog, but I also want to breed her one time. Should I spay her before or after I breed her?" And yes, she meant the question the way it was phrased, and yes, she seemed to know what "spaying" was. As long as there are people that stupid in the world, I sometimes wonder if genuine informed consent is even possible.
And of course, there are people who would accuse such a program of being targeted at certain races, and it would certainly be criticized because it was "targeted at the poor" despite the fact that it would be totally voluntary (in this hypothetical universe where the other issues weren't a problem). To that argument, I would say, DUH, anything that offers money for messing with your body is targeted at the poor, not to be mean to the poor, but because they need the money. A rich guy doesn't need the $30 for jacking off in a cup once a week (or however much they pay). I was paid $1,200 once for being a guinea pig in a medical experiment. None of the participants drove a Ferrari to the facility. The rich never have to think, "I need $500 for a root canal and have no insurance, no cash, and nothing worth pawning, what can I do to raise the money so I don't get an infection in my face and die?"
If there are people out there willing to have kids they don't want and put their bodies through that stress just to get money from the government, then they may as well get money from the government for going the opposite route. There would probably have to be a relatively high minimum age requirement, since a lot of people don't want kids when they're young, and then change their mind 5-10 years down the line. Not to mention that would keep people from sterilizing their teenage children to get money for themselves, or some such crappy scenario.
But in a perfect world where medicine was foolproof, informed consent was always truly informed, and individuals never got pressure from the people around them when they made life decisions, it would work out well.
...Of course, in a perfect world, such a program wouldn't be necessary anyway.