[saymaListserv] Fwd: Re: Is Population Decline A Greater Threat Now Than PopulationGrowth?

Janet Minshall jhminshall at comcast.net
Thu Sep 2 14:24:16 JEST 2004

Dear Friends, These messages follow up on the messages I sent earlier 
to you with the same subject heading "Is Population Decline A Greater 
Threat Now Than Population Growth?".   Janet Minshall

Date: Thu, 26 Aug 2004 02:11:23 -0400
To: Stan Becker <sbecker at jhsph.edu>
From: Janet  Minshall <jhminshall at comcast.net>
Subject: Re: Is Population Decline A Greater Threat Now ThanPopulationGrowth?

Hi Stan, I do not miss your point at all but consider it misleading. 
According to your own printout there were in 1999 (apparently the 
most recent data you used) only about 1.5 million live births in the 
US per year above the death rate, the other 1.5 million of your 3 
million number are all arriving immigrants both legal and illegal. 
These are persons already counted in global population data.  From my 
perspective you can't count them twice.

Those 1.5 million net births in the US are dropping steadily.  The 
white population of European descent IS at or below replacement. 
According to the 2002 Revision of World Population Prospects by the 
UN Population Division "For the first time the UN Pop.Div. projects 
that future fertility levels in the MAJORITY of developing countries 
will likely fall below 2.1 children per woman, the level needed to 
ensure the long-term replacement of the population." "By 2050, the 
medium variant of the 2002 Revision projects that 3 out of every 4 
countries in the less developed regions will be experiencing 
below-replacement fertility."

"A second important change in the 2002 Revision is that it 
anticipates a more serious and prolonged impact of the HIV/AIDS 
epidemic in the most affected countries than previous revisions." 
According to what I've read about the current population decline in 
Russia there are not only fewer live births but  fewer healthy 
newborns. The death rate has increased dramatically, too.  The health 
effects of obesity, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption seem to 
be catching up with HIV/AIDS in the morbidity data.  In a September 
'03 article in The National Geographic (not usually thought of as a 
radical rag) Joseph Chamie, Director of the Pop. Div. says "Its a 
monumental change. There's no way out of the demographic box."  If he 
sees clearly what the trends represent why is it that you do not?

If, as I expect, the US is able to delay the onset of population 
decline and the serious impact on the economy which that would cause 
by admitting still more refugees and immigrants, will you continue to 
sound and spread the alarm over the growth of population as net 
births in the US are flat and net births in most of Europe and 3 out 
of every 4 less developed countries are below replacement? Yes, the 
US will have to hustle to manage the environmental effects of that 
many more people living here, as will the European countries who 
choose the same route to delay the effects of population decline. 
But if we/they fail, the increase in deaths from pollution and 
toxicity in the food and water supplies will bring population numbers 
down even faster.

It seems to me that too many environmentalists have a starry-eyed 
glaze over their eyes when they contemplate the world with a flat or 
declining population.  I think it is high time that we get serious 
about the deadly depressing realities of such a world.  That would 
seem to be the best way to stimulate  creative problem solving before 
its too late to even try.       Janet

(Microcredit as provided on a small scale by Right Sharing is exactly 
what I'm talking about when I suggest "economic development targeted 
at women" in my message. J)

  Stan Becker wrote:


Some agreement but some of the facts need to be re-emphasized it seems.

1. population decline is NOT underway in North America (and only in selected
countries n=15 last I looked in Europe).  In fact the US is ADDING 3 million
persons per year.  Why do you keep missing this fact?

2. It is unclear if the "same amount of time and money" for economic 
would be as well spent as that on contraception and sterilization. 
is a very inexpensive and cost-effective part of development.  The UN estimated
that it would take 10-15 billion per year to meet all reproductive 
health needs of
couples in the world.  Microcredit seems comparable in cost but many other
development things are probably not.  Maybe you have cost information (e.g. of
education/schools) available?

3. "Women's economic well-being and safety has more to do with the childbearing
decisions she makes than does provision of contra. and steriliz. 
services"  This
is generally correct but not necessarily the case.  Women in 
Bangladesh are using
contraception at a rate above 50% and in all economic classes 
(51%,53%,53%,59% for
those with none, primary incomplete, primary complete and secondary+ education
(Demo. and Health Survey of 1999/2000) .  Poverty can create a demand 
for family
planning perhaps sometimes.


Janet Minshall wrote:

>  Hi Again Stan, Which arguments I use are used to deny funding for
>  contraceptive assistance?  Do you mean pointing out that a population
>  decline is underway in Europe and North America is used to deny
>  funding in Less Developed Countries?  Or do you mean that raising the
>  issues of white people of European descent being suspect regarding
>  racism, sexism and imperialism are used to deny funding in LDCs?  If
>  it is the latter, I really don't think people/governments of Less
>  Developed Countries need any help suspecting us of deception in this
>  regard.  It seems to me that if we are clear and truthful on all
>  levels that we really wish to provide contraception/sterilization
>  only to those who wish to use them, and make a serious effort to
>  train workers to avoid any language or behavior that gives the
>  impression that we are providing contraception/sterilization to
>  achieve racist, sexist or imperialistic goals, then we aren't in any
>  way contributing to the misuse of information. As you well know, any
>  information can be misused.  From my perspective that is not a reason
>  to avoid telling the truth.
>  This would probably be more clearly communicated to the less
>  developed world if the same amount of time and money was devoted to
>  economic development targeted at women as the amount of time and
>  money devoted to contraception and sterilization services.  Since
>  both of us know that a woman's economic wellbeing and safety has more
>  to do with the childbearing decisions she makes than does provision
>  of contraceptive and sterilization services that just makes sense. It
>  also turns out to be of the greatest benefit in relieving poverty in
>  Less Developed Countries as a whole.  THAT is what needs to be
>  communicated and stressed here in the US.
>  Now are we on the same page?  I feel as if we are finally
>  communicating and may actually find agreement for the first time in
>  twenty years or so.  I hope that is the case.  Janet

    Stan Becker wrote:

>  >JM
>  >
>  >Makes sense.  The problem comes when arguments you use are used to
>  >deny funding
>  >for contraceptive assistance. (Baby and bathwater problem?)
>  >Similarly,  abuse of
>  >sterilization in Bangladesh (by incentives for providers mostly) and
>  >recently in
>  >Peru that was reported was blown up and forced cutbacks to the point
>  >that it is
>  >hard to receive sterilization services in those countries now.
>  >
>  >sb
>  >
>  >Janet Minshall wrote:
>  >
>  >>  Hi Stan, I'm fine with e-mail.  My hearing loss actually makes it
>  >>  easier to communicate this way than face to face.  Yes, I did hear
>  >>  your plenary address three years ago.  I agree completely that it is
>  >>  our obligation to provide funds so that women who wish to use
>  >>  contraception may do so.  It is my guess, however, that in most such
>  >>  situations there are trained workers from the target population
>  >>  itself assigned to discuss contraception and other issues related to
>  >>  childbearing -- hopefully, most of them women -- so that the
>  >>  disconnects over racism, sexism and imperialism I am talking about in
>  >>  the message, sent previously under the same "Subject" heading, 
>do               not occur. Are we on the same page now?   Best 
>Regards,  Janet
>  >>
>  >>  >Janet
>  >>  >

        Stan Becker wrote:
>  >>  >Sorry this is being done by email.
>  >>  >
>  >>  >Let me simply say that it is estimated (from quite good survey data)
>  >>  >that there are approximately 100 million women in the world who want
>  >>  >to space or limit their births but do not have access to modern
>  >>  >contraception.   If there are 1.2 billion people living on less than
>  >>  >$1 per day, someone has to help subsidize modern contraception and
>  >>  >help governments or NGOs provide it to these women(couples).  To me
>  >>  >it is the OBLIGATION of us in rich nations to provide these
>  >>  >commodities unless/until countries can do it on their own.  Burkina
>  >>  >Faso, Mali, Niger are cases in point.    50 million abortions per
>  >>  >year attest to the magnitude of unwanted childbearing.
>  >>  >Perhaps you would be willing to listen to my Gathering plenary of 3
>  >>  >years back or did you already?  It touches on these topics.
>  >  > >
>  >>  >Stan

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