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

Janet Minshall jhminshall at comcast.net
Wed Sep 8 04:04:45 JEST 2004

Hi Nancy Winfrey,  Thanks for your comments (below).  They were 
actually along the same lines as some of my own thoughts.  I just 
happened to tune in to a presentation to high level military 
personnel on C-Span Saturday night about the possible reorganization 
of the US military as a result of the problems they have encountered 
in Iraq and before that in Afghanistan and Somalia.  They are 
thinking along the lines of developing two separate military 
organizations, one to do the actual armed combat and armed 
peacekeeping, and one to follow up with an army of people who have 
the skills to help rebuild infrastructure, a legal system, a 
government and ongoing civil services such as police, fire 
departments, sanitation, etc.

The man who made the presentation was from a military think tank. He 
was a very effective speaker and had state-of-the-art audiovisual 
displays to emphasize his points.  He spoke out of an understanding 
of political economics and, especially, out of knowledge of the 
actual effects of globalization in the world (Not the imagined 
effects you have heard from anti-globalization protesters, but the 
actual effects that are apparent to economists and sociologists who 
have studied the data). The reality is that globalization is 
beginning to bring nations out of poverty, even some of those which 
have struggled with issues of corrupt leadership, lagging economic 
development, exponentially growing populations and millenia of 
periodic draught and famine. The thing that most intrigued me was 
that his evaluation of which countries would and which countries 
would not be able to achieve economic independence came down to how 
women are treated in those countries. Only those countries which have 
freed women for full participation in the economy and in the 
political decision-making process are clearly becoming economically 
viable.  After all these years of talking about inequalities and how 
they ultimately damage most those who promote and enforce them, we 
Friends finally have some allies in the military of all places!

Now don't get me wrong.  I do not believe that the military has 
changed overnight into a bunch of soft-hearted liberals.  Nor do I 
believe that the changes discussed will actually occur without a lot 
of struggle. But it makes me feel better about the military to learn 
that it is rethinking its mission and realizing, at least at the 
think tank level, that change is necessary. That is an enormous step 

Yes Nancy, the basic causes of declining population are economic and 
include the availability on a wide scale of birth control and 
abortion.  But as birth control use goes up and women have access to 
safe forms of sterilization when their families are complete, 
abortion numbers go down.  At the same time, when women feel safe and 
economically secure they choose to have fewer children, not more as 
you hoped.  The population ages and then declines.  That is the huge 
problem we face in 40 to 75 years depending on which study you trust 
most.  As the population ages and declines there are fewer and fewer 
workers to pay taxes and fund our social and health programs, our 
support systems for the poor, the elderly, the sick and the disabled, 
and fewer resources available to fund education of any kind. 
Everything that depends on tax dollars begins to fall apart. What do 
we do?  40 to 75 years really isn't a very long time to come up with 
an answer.

                    		Janet Minshall

Nancy Winfrey wrote:

>The way I see it, from a perspective of 70 years and the 
>pre-abortion, pre-birth control era, two major causes of declining 
>population are economic, and advances in birth control and abortion.
>I respect a woman's right to make decisions about her own body, but 
>I still don't think that addresses the underlying causes of 
>population decline.
>Years ago, the Catholic Church in particular, held as a mission 
>homes for women who needed shelter for an unwanted pregnancy, as 
>well as orphanages for abandoned children.
>Today, these institutions are mostly gone, even at a government level.
>Until this country (and by that, I mean us, as citizens and members 
>of the human race) begins to value all women and children as 
>deserving of a right to at least a minimal standard of living no 
>matter how many children may be involved, we will continue to have 
>this dilemma:
>Those who have access to birth control and/or abortion economically 
>will continue to have smaller and smaller families for economic or 
>personal reasons.  Those who do not have the means to access the 
>needed controls will continue to have uncontrolled birthrates, with 
>many of the resulting children needing medical care, welfare, and 
>having poor records for education and being good citizens.
>Is there a message for Friends in this scenario?  Might a more 
>effective way to impact this situation be to begin paying attention 
>to the need for valuing women and children by affording them decent 
>living conditions, support if they wish to keep their children, 
>necessary social services to enhance minimal parenting and life 
>skills, etc.?  Is there any way that Friends can help this to happen?
>I predict that birthrates might even stabilize if the most poor and 
>dysfunctional portions of our citizens are supported as they need to 
>be, and families that are able to access birth control might not so 
>limit their families if it weren't necessary for economic reasons. 
>This doesn't even address the segment of our population which is 
>seeing more and more repro-
>ductive problems due to lifestyle and environmental pollution!  We 
>have that circumstance in our own family, where more children are 
>desired, but not possible due to medical conditions that can't be 
>This is a complex problem, but as always, paying attention to human 
>needs and social programs can be an answer to what so far sound like 
>dry statistics and projections thereof.
>Nancy Winfrey
>Clemson Worship Group
>Greenville MM
>The following document was sent as an embedded object but not 
>referenced by the email above:
>Attachment converted: Janet's HD:15_tile.gif (GIFf/ogle) (0001DC63)
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