Why all the population control hate?

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Jul 10 2011 09:02

Because the history of it and the eugenics movement it spurred. Who's worthy to procreate? Who isn't? What tactics, either subtle or outwardly coercive, are used to keep certian people from procreating? Slippery slope it is. Even though the right wing anti abortionists like to use this for propaganda some of it is true (regarding Margret Sanger). Also the abortion clinics in the US are disproportionally located in poor neighborhoods so you see whats going on if you take a step back....people who cant afford kids are mostly getting abortions.

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Jul 10 2011 10:02
yoda's walking stick wrote:
Yeah, I can't believe no one's colonized Antarctica yet! Talk about cheap rent. And all those "unused" forests - we could just bulldoze those for condominium space. I can't believe I hadn't thought of that yet!

If you look at this image you will see that most of the available land mass isn't occupied by large numbers of humans. Even without taking Antartica into account.

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Jul 10 2011 10:28

An analysis does not have to be original to be correct....., in any case Marx's retort to the Malthusians was (and, still is) much more original....

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Jul 10 2011 11:06

I like how rather than actually engage with requests to place his ideas within a coherent framework he instead decided to engage in continual "oh you think this and you're wrong" rhetoric.

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Jul 10 2011 12:22
yoda's walking stick wrote:
Oh, you're welcome to stick to Marx's position vis a vis Malthus. I was just hoping that posters taking that route might do more than paraphrase weakly. Make it fresh, relevant, your own. Or don't. I guess it really doesn't matter.

let us consider, by way of analogy, the statement '1 + 1 = 2'

this statement was correct when the concept of a number was first thought of, and remains correct today.

sorry to be terribly unoriginal, but I really have nothing to add to the validity of this statement.

I cannot make the statement "fresh", without throwing its validity out of the window.

the statement is as "relevant" as it has ever been. there is no reason to make it more relevant as its validity is already clear.

clearly I cannot make the statement "my own" as it was already true long before I was born. why would I want to modify an already valid statement so that it is unique to myself?

Obviously there are differences between logical and empirical claims. The point, however, is this: until you establish what is wrong with Marx's criticism of Malthus (something which, interestingly, you appear to have so far not even attempted to do), the suggestion that there is anything at all wrong with other people agreeing Marx is entirely unsubstantiated, in fact entirely meaningless.

I'm sure that, all those thousands of years ago, Aristotle was well aware that 1 + 1 = 2. Are you really telling me that you have nothing "fresh, relevant, or your own" to add?

yoda's walking stick
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Jul 10 2011 12:27
jonglier wrote:
yoda's walking stick wrote:
Oh, you're welcome to stick to Marx's position vis a vis Malthus. I was just hoping that posters taking that route might do more than paraphrase weakly. Make it fresh, relevant, your own. Or don't. I guess it really doesn't matter.

let us consider, by way of analogy, the statement '1 + 1 = 2'

this statement was correct when the concept of a number was first thought of, and remains correct today.

sorry to be terribly unoriginal, but I really have nothing to add to the validity of this statement.

I cannot make the statement "fresh", without throwing its validity out of the window.

the statement is as "relevant" as it has ever been. there is no reason to make it more relevant as its validity is already clear.

clearly I cannot make the statement "my own" as it was already true long before I was born. why would I want to modify an already valid statement so that it is unique to myself?

Obviously there are differences between logical and empirical claims. The point, however, is this: until you establish what is wrong with Marx's criticism of Malthus (something which, interestingly, you appear to have so far not even attempted to do), the suggestion that there is anything at all wrong with other people agreeing Marx is entirely unsubstantiated, in fact entirely meaningless.

I'm sure that, all those thousands of years ago, Aristotle was well aware that 1 + 1 = 2. Are you really telling me that you have nothing "fresh, relevant, or your own" to add?

That's not what I meant by making something fresh or relevant. I was discussing the presentation, rather than the substance. But never mind. Evidently I'm pissing everybody the hell off.

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Jul 10 2011 12:38

It's up to you as a budding young Anarcho-Marxist to make it fresh and relevant! In a time where population thinking and its inherent classism and racism is coming to the fore in the sphere of global politics, Marx's critique of Malthus is extremely relevant...

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Jul 10 2011 12:51
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I was discussing the presentation, rather than the substance.

Sorry, but what the fuck does that even mean? does it actually mean anything? so now it turns out that you have no problem with Marx's actual arguments, it is just that everyone on this forum "presents" the arguments in a way that you disapprove of. should we write poems that contain the essence of Marx's argument, or what?

seriously I'm not sure if you even mean anything by that or if you're just arguing for the sake of it, enjoying the fact that these debates can quite literally go on forever.

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Jul 10 2011 17:33

Fuck sake Yoda. You don't even need Marx's critique of Malthus. Did you even bother to read up on demographic transitions? Right there is a statistical argument for why overpopulation is not a problem, but that poverty (and all its associated lacks of education, health etc.) is. Who needs Malthus when you have clear stats like that. And why this reverence for Malthus in the first place? He got it wrong. Pure and simple.

yoda's walking stick
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Jul 10 2011 17:40

Rah-rah. angry macho noises.

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Jul 10 2011 18:11

Is that all you can say? You shown no interest at all in engaging with other people. You just want to be right about the FACT that overpopulation is a problem. One question: is Europe faced with an overpopulation problem at the moment?

RedHughs
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Jul 10 2011 18:35

I believe that Russia, Japan and several other major capitalist nations are in a population decline that's creating problems for them. China is also going to be experiencing population decline soon if it is not now.

India, the Mid-East and Africa are the main areas experiencing population growth.

I recall that world population is expected to peak at around 2050 and then decline.

In general, urbanization seems to lead to an irreversible decline in birth rates. In Russia, the birth rate has declined further as the standard of living dropped to utter destitution after the breakup of the USSR.

Interestingly, the distribution of soap-operas seems to be strongly linked to a decline in birth rates in Brazil.

radicalgraffiti
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Jul 10 2011 18:52
yoda's walking stick wrote:
Rah-rah. angry macho noises.

i found this picture of you

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Jul 10 2011 19:06
RedHughes wrote:
I believe that Russia, Japan and several other major capitalist nations are in a population decline that's creating problems for them. China is also going to be experiencing population decline soon if it is not now.

Which was my point exactly. The "problem" today, in the "advanced" capitalist countries, is population decline rather than overpopulation, an elementary fact that Yoda seems to be completely ignorant. The current immigration discourse in Europe is centered on this. We'll take the educated, skilled workers from the global south, but none of the lumpen.

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Jul 10 2011 21:25
Khawaga wrote:
RedHughes wrote:
I believe that Russia, Japan and several other major capitalist nations are in a population decline that's creating problems for them. China is also going to be experiencing population decline soon if it is not now.

Which was my point exactly. The "problem" today, in the "advanced" capitalist countries, is population decline rather than overpopulation, an elementary fact that Yoda seems to be completely ignorant. The current immigration discourse in Europe is centered on this. We'll take the educated, skilled workers from the global south, but none of the lumpen.

I'm not so sure immigration has so much to do with declining population than it does with capitalists seeking to lower overall wages. It's cheaper to "import" cheap labor rather than offshore it to another country. Keep them "illegal" and they can't organize and demand better wages and in the end wages depreciate overall in the trades and service sector jobs. Plus, the more unemployed there are the more profits capitalists make. Workers have next to no bargaining power with millions of unemployed workers nipping at their heels.

I'm not saying overpopulation is a problem I'm saying capitalism is a problem. We could also talk about why (In America) so many people are migrating up north. Since the inception of NAFTA/CAFTA and the introduction of private property on a mass scale in South America scores of millions of once independent people have been made dependent on a quasi form of capitalism that is meant to extract wealth from South America in lieu of create wealth. The parasitic system in South America simply can't support the workers there. It wasn't meant to do so (tell that to some right wing capitalist and they'll just say "Mexicans are stupid").

This is one reason Chavez is trying to start up the "Bank Of The South"- in order to sever the parasitic ties (World Bank/IMF) South America has with the USA. The poverty is South America is created by American capitalism as is the mass immigration....all in the name of profits.

Alexander Roxwell
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Jul 11 2011 02:36

Let's say that we do, in fact need, "population control."

Who would be in charge of seeing to it that "people" had "fewer babies" - or knocked off people as soon as they retired - or whatever might be the various "solutions" to "over population."

I admit that there is, in fact, some maximal "human carrying capacity" that the earth could sustain - altho I must confess a lack of knowledge of what that might be.

Right now I think the problem is our predatory social system and the people who are in charge of it - not the number of human beings on the planet.

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Jul 11 2011 09:01

Soylent Green was a good film....

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Jul 11 2011 14:41

Reproduction is a feminist issue.

Since the stalinist-style state-enforced population control programmes of China and India in the 70s, in the 80s and 90s less dogmatic development researchers reviewed the actual data on various birth-control associated programmes by outcome. Looking at the results they found that the programmes with the most significant outcome on lowering fertility rates were not the free distribution of condoms, the pill or whatever (although access to affordable/free contraception is a necessary but not sufficient enabler) but female literacy programmes. Want to reduce fertility rates? Teach the poorest women how to read. The empowerment of women in the lowest classes (whether peasant, or proletarian/slum-dweller) is the route to women being able to stand up to their husbands and refuse to be reduced to perpetual baby-producing machines.

In addition there are economic factors, such as market/commodity dependency versus subsistence relations, and crucially, the availability of providing for old age care other than through dependency on one's offspring.

The right have always said that the poor are poor because they have too many children. The alternative viewpoint is that the poor value having many children precisely because they are poor and/or oppressed. My argument would be that any survey of the scientific literature on this question will show that the latter position is more correct than that of the right.

In that context, framing the issue as the "population crisis" rather than the "poverty crisis" is ideologically laden.

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Jul 11 2011 16:32
CRUD wrote:
I'm not so sure immigration has so much to do with declining population than it does with capitalists seeking to lower overall wages. It's cheaper to "import" cheap labor rather than offshore it to another country. Keep them "illegal" and they can't organize and demand better wages and in the end wages depreciate overall in the trades and service sector jobs. Plus, the more unemployed there are the more profits capitalists make. Workers have next to no bargaining power with millions of unemployed workers nipping at their heels.

In Europe at the moment, the way in which immigration is framed is often in terms of a declining population. SImply put: in the future there will not be enough workers, especially to take care of an aging population. The push to postpone going on pension is part of the same problem. But it's only very recently that immigration started to be framed in such a way simply because the context was different. In the EU in any case there is no need for illegals from Africa anymore. There's plenty of cheap labour in the EU-member countries in Eastern Europe.

However, I do agree with you that immigration has more to do with capital than anything else. Even the push for migrants to leave comes from the simple fact that labour, like capital, will go where there is money to be made. And of course, immigrants who are willing to work for much less than domestic workers is extremely profitable for capitalists. However, my point with raising the issue of immigration was an aside really. Yoda is under the erroneous belief that there is an overpopulation problem, when the reality is that the problem is capitalism.

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Jul 11 2011 16:58
ocelot wrote:
Reproduction is a feminist issue.

Since the stalinist-style state-enforced population control programmes of China and India in the 70s, in the 80s and 90s less dogmatic development researchers reviewed the actual data on various birth-control associated programmes by outcome. Looking at the results they found that the programmes with the most significant outcome on lowering fertility rates were not the free distribution of condoms, the pill or whatever (although access to affordable/free contraception is a necessary but not sufficient enabler) but female literacy programmes. Want to reduce fertility rates? Teach the poorest women how to read. The empowerment of women in the lowest classes (whether peasant, or proletarian/slum-dweller) is the route to women being able to stand up to their husbands and refuse to be reduced to perpetual baby-producing machines.

In addition there are economic factors, such as market/commodity dependency versus subsistence relations, and crucially, the availability of providing for old age care other than through dependency on one's offspring.

The right have always said that the poor are poor because they have too many children. The alternative viewpoint is that the poor value having many children precisely because they are poor and/or oppressed. My argument would be that any survey of the scientific literature on this question will show that the latter position is more correct than that of the right.

In that context, framing the issue as the "population crisis" rather than the "poverty crisis" is ideologically laden.

well put, O.

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Jul 13 2011 01:50

I'm game for depopulating Britain wink Hell, most of America while we're at it. shit....throw the Canadians in there as well.

yourmum
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Jul 13 2011 15:08

overpopulation is a wrong answer to the question "why are there people unemployed?", nothing more, nothing less. the idea cannot originate in anything else. show me if you think otherwise.

the maximum capacity of the earth is a strange idea too because the earth is not a box to fill.

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Sep 14 2011 18:56
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Even without taking Antartica into account.

laugh out loud what does this mean? Are there even abortion statistics for Antartica?

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Sep 15 2011 16:57

Hi, i just thought that I should try to come slightly to the defense of Yoda here. Has anyone heard of Aubrey de Grey? He's a Cambridge genetics researcher who thinks that in the near future we will be able to live MUCH longer lives due to the improvement of medicine, largely driven by genetics research. He thinks that the first person to live to 1000 is already 60 today. Here he is explaining it himself.

Last year researchers at Harvard were able to take an old mouse, give it an injection and turn that mouse young again, albeit with a hugely increased risk of the mouse developing cancer.

Predictions by economists are notoriously inaccurate and I doubt that any predicted improvement to life expectancy was factored in to the projected population curve that shows that it will eventually level out.

Even if you consider Aubrey's predictions to be wildly optimistic, it seems obvious that given enough time, any future society will have to deal with greatly reduced death rates. Of course I believe that we wouldn't have to resort to authoritarian measures to keep our population in check, but we do need to consider how this will be achieved fairly.

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Sep 15 2011 21:27

Aladinane, as interesting as your post is, I think there are too many hypotheticals in it. It is worth pointing out that natural scientists are often not so well informed on their socio-economics. Even if it were possible for someone to live to 1000, how many people will be able to afford it? Where will the infrastructure come from that will facilitate enough people to live that long? The problem with 'population control' is what it is a cipher for. Killing off poor people who have too many kids.

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Sep 15 2011 22:24

The thing about Yoda's stuff in particular, population control or whatever, is that it is generally about X reform in a vacuum.

Assuming hypothetically, that population size, by itself, is a "problem". Said problem cannot be addressed effectively until human has a collective means of acting. I mean, the destruction of the environment is a definite, verified problem but the particular actions which capitalist institutions call for are all either inadequate or entirely fraudulent ("carbon credits").

For any given problem "we face", "we" can't given "begin the conversation" about the problem because "we" don't exist. Until capitalist relations stop, we're all just resources to each other and especially to capitalist production. No collective process exists. Posts on the Internet or infomercials don't count as "beginning" here...

I would a sane revolutionary doesn't want to actually solve all of humanity's "problems". We just want to play a part in humanity having the ability to sanely and collectively address the challenges it faces. Certainly, if the technology existed right now for indefinite life extension, you could not expect it to be used in any fashion that could be called wise or sane...

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Sep 16 2011 12:15
Quote:
Arbeiten Wrote:
Aladinane, as interesting as your post is, I think there are too many hypotheticals in it. It is worth pointing out that natural scientists are often not so well informed on their socio-economics. Even if it were possible for someone to live to 1000, how many people will be able to afford it? Where will the infrastructure come from that will facilitate enough people to live that long? The problem with 'population control' is what it is a cipher for. Killing off poor people who have too many kids.

I realise that it's hypothetical (although the march of scientific progress seems pretty inevitable to me) but a lot of people seemed to be saying that over-population would never be a problem. I just wanted to bring up a situation where it could be possible, and therefore worth thinking about. I think any serious proposal for a social system needs to include a mechanism to 'control' population growth. In a communist society, I imagine this would be a mixture of individual self-control, more communal living arrangements which would mean everyone would be bringing up everyone else's kids anyway, and a lack of economic incentive to have kids. Given all this, I imagine they'd be more a problem with under population if anything. Except if we stop dying so much that is...

For me, one of the (many) major failing points of capitalism, particularly 'anarcho'-capitalism is that it incentivises having children through alienation and the question of who will provide for you when you can no longer work. Without a strong welfare state, the only cap on population growth, as Malthus and others have noted, is the Earth's limited resources. This is unacceptable to me, and one of the arguments I regularly use against capitalists for a communistic way of doing things. I just wondered if you guys thought that reduced death rates could be a possible hole in this arguement? But yeah, it's probs not worth thinking about at this stage anyway.

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Sep 16 2011 13:26
Aladinane wrote:
I think any serious proposal for a social system needs to include a mechanism to 'control' population growth...the only cap on population growth, as Malthus and others have noted, is the Earth's limited resources.

Aladinane, here you are contrasting "human population" with "earth's resources", with the emphasis being on the potential unlimitedness of the former and the actual limitedness of the latter, and the dependence of the former upon the latter.

I think this is a serious methodological mistake.

If we regard "humans" as "earth's main resource", your problem would be seen in a different light. In fact, it stops being a problem at all.

More humans means more natural resources, so that nature has more ability to consciously change and develop itself.

Nature isn't a 'resource'; we are nature coming to consciousness of itself.

'Growth of resources' is only a problem for a social system that has no need of those resources. We have to think beyond the boundaries of that system.

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Sep 17 2011 04:02
LBird wrote:
Aladinane wrote:
I think any serious proposal for a social system needs to include a mechanism to 'control' population growth...the only cap on population growth, as Malthus and others have noted, is the Earth's limited resources.

Aladinane, here you are contrasting "human population" with "earth's resources", with the emphasis being on the potential unlimitedness of the former and the actual limitedness of the latter, and the dependence of the former upon the latter.

I think this is a serious methodological mistake.

If we regard "humans" as "earth's main resource", your problem would be seen in a different light. In fact, it stops being a problem at all.

More humans means more natural resources, so that nature has more ability to consciously change and develop itself.

Nature isn't a 'resource'; we are nature coming to consciousness of itself.

'Growth of resources' is only a problem for a social system that has no need of those resources. We have to think beyond the boundaries of that system.

Are you sure you want to be cited as calling humans a resource? Is that a good position for a communist to be in?

But more to the point, humans consume actual resources. Because they are living beings, and they are going to eat, and they are going to shit, under communism as under any social system. And the resources they need are going to be limited under any social system. The Earth has a finite capacity to provide resources, highly quality energy sources, even if we ignore the simply finite resources of fossil fuels and their ilk, because there are at the very least limits to the flux of Sunlight it receives.

LBird
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Sep 17 2011 06:02
Tojiah wrote:
Are you sure you want to be cited as calling humans a resource?

Are you sure you want to ignore the context of my 'citing', Tojiah?

Aladinane talked about 'the Earth's limited resources', and to carry on their phraseology in the interests of the flow of the discussion, I carefully said 'If we regard "humans" as "earth's main resource"'. I then go on to say that 'Nature isn't a 'resource''. So, anyone actually reading what I wrote can see that, in fact, I didn't 'call humans a resource'.

I thought I was pointing out that the earth and humans are natural products. And as nature is constantly changing itself, the idea of the separation of a 'static' pile of 'resources' from an 'un-natural' leach upon those finite 'resources', is a mistake.

Tojiah wrote:
Is that a good position for a communist to be in?

I'd argue that it's the only 'position for a Communist to be in', regarding our relationship to nature.

The other position, that humans are in some, in fact any, sense separate from nature, will end up with God.

I'm a god-less Communist, so I don't want to take that starting position of the separation of humanity and the earth.

Tojiah wrote:
Because they are living beings...

No, mate, 'because they are natural, productive beings...'.

Nature can amend itself. It is not a 'limited resource'. Nature is us, and we can develop ourselves as natural beings.

I think we all need to have a discussion about these philosophical underpinnings of these two views of the relationship between humans and nature, Tojiah.

I suspect we'll end up in different political positions, depending upon our different philosophical starting points.