[saymaListserv] Politics and Economics

Janet Minshall jhminshall at comcast.net
Sun Nov 30 16:22:43 JEST 2003

This is a response to a SAYMA Friend.  His message is below mine)  J.

Dear Friend, Thanks so much for the longer and more detailed message.
I think you'll find that a declining population in the world 
beginning 50 to 100 years from now is becoming the majority view of 
demographers -- especially those in Europe who are experiencing the 
beginning of it firsthand.  If the increase in immigration becomes 
much greater while the birthrate is falling to a state of balance in 
the US then consumption will fall, too, because refugees and 
immigrants don't use as much of anything in their first years in the 
US.  It is in the second generation of refugees and immigrants with 
citizenship and active peer pressure when consumption becomes more 
like that of the US-born population, and by then the decline in the 
birth rate should be the stronger pressure here,too, reducing 
consumption significantly.

If you go back to my original message, dated 11-22-03, I mentioned 
AIDS and other communicable diseases as a force which would speed up 
the decline in population. I also mentioned world war, which might 
actually be several smaller wars if the Bush Administration has its 
way, as having the same effect. I didn't include famine in my message 
because it is a component of the death toll from both communicable 
disease outbreaks and war. I didn't try to work through the effects 
on particular countries (Bangladesh for example.) I did, however do 
some work in East Africa on economic development projects and am well 
aware of the cultural issues which have impeded the use of 
contraceptives there.

Your comments about male dominated hierarchical countries are right 
on target.  However, when women even in those countries, are given 
the opportunity to use contraceptives, as they are now, smaller 
families are the result. This produces a decline in the rate of 
growth of population there.  There is also the factor of less 
developed countries adopting some aspects of US and Western European 
cultures which both improves the situation of the poor and also the 
situation of women. This is occurring most dramatically where there 
are multinational corporations hiring local women and discouraging 
sexist discrimination in the workplace to keep the production lines 
running smoothly. Women who work and have their own incomes tend to 
have many fewer children. All of these issues you have raised 
ultimately result in a declining world population, not an increasing 
one. These are all aspects of why the rate of growth of populations 
is dropping nearly everywhere. This is also the basis of the 
projections of demographers, some of whom recognize that such a 
decline in population is actually the first one on this scale in our 
(US and Western European) history since the Black Death.  Such a 
decline will bring serious disruptions of global economies and have 
terrible effects on people throughout the world unless we start now 
to recognize the danger and begin to plan for it. As I indicated 
before, in times of crisis and fear, the greatest mortality rates are 
among the poor, the elderly, the disabled and small children.

I have taken out your name, e-mail address and other personal 
references and am post both your comments and my response with copies 
to Stan Becker and the other SAYMA Friends I sent to before. I hope 
you and yours have had a blessed Thanksgiving.

		 Best Regards,  Janet Minshall

(I believe the Bush Administration has cut the provision of abortion 
services funded by the US but not the rate of contraceptive 
distribution by US and European-funded providers around the world. 
Maybe you or Stan can check that out.  And I agree completely with 
your last sentence "Voluntary birth control is an essential component 
of improved women's health and establishing a democratic society for 
women as well as men"). J.

 From a SAYMA Friend today:

>I doubt that's the majority view of demographers, and it certainly 
>does not reflect projections of US population (which is the biggest 
>offender as far as consumption is concerned).  
>Steep declines in populations in Africa are possible due to the 
>impact of AIDS, and the consequences would be as predicted by the 
>military.  This is an operation of the aforementioned four horsemen, 
>however (famine and plague, in particular) and is in no small way a 
>consequence of population exceeding carrying capacity.  It is also 
>no coincidence that SARS began in Asia, or that floods (partially 
>caused by US overconsumption of energy) repeatedly decimate lowlying 
>areas of Bangladesh, which are marginal lands subject to population 
>because there are simply too many people occupying better quality 
>Finally, there is the question of female human rights.  Those 
>countries were population is out of control tend to be male 
>dominated and hierarchical.  Exactly what the current administration 
>prefers.  Women in such countries, when asked, want to limit their 
>fertility, and usually do so if given the chance.  Again, from my 
>experience in Bangladesh, I was involved in caring for a Muslim 
>woman who had a serious uterine infection as a consequence of an 
>illegal abortion she received without her husband's knowledge. 
> Voluntary birth control is an essential component of improved 
>women's health and establishing a democratic society for women as 
>well as men.

Janet's new e mail address is :  jhminshall at comcast.net
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