Population control

Population control is the practice of limiting population increase, usually by reducing the birth rate. The practice has sometimes been voluntary, as a response to poverty, environmental concerns, or out of religious ideology, but in some times and places it has been government-mandated. This is generally conducted to improve quality of life for a society or as a solution to overpopulation. While population control can involve measures that improve peoples lives, giving them greater control of their reproduction some programs have exposed them to exploitation.

Given the nature of human reproductive biology, control of the population increase implies the use of one or more of the following practices:

The method(s) chosen can be strongly influenced by the religious and cultural beliefs of the community's members. Failures of the other methods can lead to the use of abortion or infanticide, in which case it is regarded as a necessary drastic last resort. A specific practice may be allowed or mandated by law in one country while prohibited or severely restricted in another, an indicator of the controversy this topic generates.


Surviving records from Ancient Greece document the first known examples of population control. Their initial response to overpopulation was the colonization movement, which saw Greek outposts being built across the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins to accommodate the excess population of individual states - roughly equivalent in effect to modern emigration. As the number of available sites decreased, the Greeks - beginning with the Cretans - turned to pederasty, the formal practice of pairing young adult males with adolescent boys for educational and bonding purposes. This was done in concourse with delaying the age of marriage for men to thirty. The Greeks also used abortifacients and some cities practiced infanticide, though the latter is considered to have been an early form of eugenics.

The Siwans also used pederasty and boy marriage until the early twentieth century in order to control population size in an environment with finite resources and no natural enemies. Men were generally not allowed to marry before the age of forty. Thus the overwhelming majority of men took adolescent boys as lovers, a social contract often sealed with a formal and public marriage ceremony - a practice documented into the twentieth century in a controversial book called Oasis, Siwa: from the Inside Traditions, Customs and Magic, by Fathi Malim.

Contemporary research

It is generally accepted that overpopulation is caused or aggravated by poverty and gender inequality with consequent unavailability, and lack of knowledge of contraception, institutionalized in a document misnamed the "Cairo Consensus", and third world evidence usually bears this theory out. However, first and second world fertility rates, in the Depression era United States, Modern Russia, Japan, Italy, Sweden, Estonia and France suggest that these populations are responding inversely to poverty and economic pressures especially on women . Thus France is increasing social and women's services like childcare and parental leave, expecting the policy to stop the aging of its population. Italy is regarded as alleviating overpopulation more rapidly than Sweden as a result of less gender equality and fewer children's services.

Newer research has been done by the U.S. National Security Council, in a study entitled National Security Study Memorandum 200, under the direction of Henry Kissinger in 1974. This report stressed that only 13 countries are projected to account for 47 percent of the world population increase by the year 2050. This, it argued (due to its impact on development, food requirements, resources and the environment) adversely affected the welfare and progress of countries concerned. It further argued that this would undermine the stability of countries friendly to the US and therefore harmed the "national security" of the United States as well.

Another study had been done by the National Audubon Society which recently released a 16-page document called "Population and Habitat: Making the Connection". In this study, population control is widely supported.

The need for population control has lately also been researched by several organisations. Due to this research, the organisations below are now putting heavy pressure on governments for mandatory population control:

Renewed support from private people and media

Population control is also increasingly being featured in many environmental documentaries and films. An example is the The Planet-documentary, which accurately describes the ongoing rising human population, its effects on the planet and the necessity of population control.

A prominent modern advocate for mandatory population control is Garrett Hardin, who proposed in his landmark 1968 essay The Tragedy of the Commons that society must relinquish the "freedom to breed" through "mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon."

Other influential people who heavily advocate population control are:

Finally, the head of the UN Millennium Project Jeffrey Sachs is also a heavy proponent of decreasing the effects of overpopulation. In 2007, Jeffrey Sachs gave a number of lectures (2007 Reith Lectures) about population control and overpopulation. In his lectures (called "Bursting at the Seams"), he featured a integrated approach that would deal with a number of problems associated with overpopulation and poverty reduction.

Present-day practice by countries

An important example of mandated population control is China's one-child policy in which having more than one child is made extremely unattractive. China's population policy has been credited with a very significant slowing of China's population growth which had been very high before the policy was implemented. It has come under criticism that the implementation of the policy has involved forced abortions and forced sterilization. However, while the punishment of "Unplanned" pregnancy is a fine, both forced abortion and forced sterilization can be charged with intentional assault, which is punished with up to 10 years' imprisonment.

Another noted example is Iran, which has succeeded in sharply reducing its birth rate in recent years.

Population control and nation-wide economical savings

It has been documented in a great number of publications and reports worldwide that nation-wide population control would feature a lot of savings for the economy.

Population control through eugenics

Population control measures can be combined with eugenics. Combining the two may offer countries to achieve considerable financial savings and improve the economical state of their country.

See also

Further reading

External links

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This article is based on "Population control" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Population+control&action=history