Sunday, May 06, 2007

More On Overpopulation

So I've finally finished Fr. Anthony Zimmerman's Catholic Viewpoint on Over-Population, which I've referred to in previous posts here and here.

There are two more points he makes which deserve to be spread around the internet. Firstly, he addresses the popular belief that:

...if national income remains the same, the savings of the average person will be smaller when the population grows. This leaves fewer surpluses for capital investment.

The very simplicity of this theory makes it suspect. If population be regarded as the engine which propels capital formation, rather than as a passenger carried by it, the picture is reversed. The theory then becomes as meaningless as saying that if an airplane has difficulty in getting off the ground, the engines out to be reduced in size to lighten the load.

We've become convinced as a society that people represent consumers and not producers. Perhaps in this day and age, when materialism and hedonism are so rife - and so blatantly promoted at every corner - we are more susceptible to this lie than ever before.

Secondly, he speaks against another popular belief in our world is that we must limit the sizes of foreign families in order to balance out economic disparity across the globe. Referring to the writings of Pope Pius XII, he goes on:

It would be more reasonable to help underdeveloped countries to develop, than to spread illicit birth-control propaganda, he continued. Society ought to correct its conduct by removing the causes of hunger in overpopulated or depresses areas, through increased use of modern discoveries for peaceful aims, through more trade and political collaboration, through "a more far-seeing, and less nationalistic economy." It ought to replace selfishness with charity, and avarice with justice.

"God is not going to ask men for an accounting of the general destiny of making; that is his business," continued the Pope. God will, however, ask an accounting of the single free acts which have been performed according to or against the dictates of conscience.

This point resonated within me well after I closed the pages. Yes, every individual has an obligation to contribute to the greater good and to be mindful of the role of humanity in the grand scheme of things. But again, if I have more children as a poor man in a poor country, I am creating more producers, once they get past the first 20 years of life. And demographically speaking, the sooner they are born, the sooner they will pass that 20-year mark. Thus when I become a burden to society and can no longer contribute to the economy or the tax roll, there are more people around to fill the void I leave. Whereas if I have - by choice or by chance - two or fewer children, my burden becomes near unbearable and euthanasia is given a serious look.

Therefore, for those of us who do have a choice to produce more offspring and don't because of some grand sense of global awareness, get off your high-horse and think long and hard about what you really have influence over.

By the way, if you're interested in reading this book now that I'm done it, let me know. There are a few people in line already, though.

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