Friday, June 29, 2007

Barmy stickers at bus stops

The little stickers you sometimes see for some little known political
or social movement. I saw one the other day for the Optimum Population
trust.

So I googled and predictably enough, they are a group
concerned that the Earth is becoming overpopulated, and the negative
effects this will have on the world, both socio-economically and ecologically.

There are two main problems with their ideology.

Firstly, overpopulation is a symptom of a greater problem. To see it as an end cause of disaster is fallacious and unhelpful.

They
argue that countries with rapidly growing populations are usually
stricken by poverty. Failing to see that the cause of this poverty
isn't overpopulation, but poor education and health care provision,
which leads to people being unable to plan their families and therefore
rapid population increases occur. Improved standards of living usually
result in a drop in the birth rate, as demonstrated in almost all of the
wealthier nations.

Also that a large number of the poorer
countries still have a high proportion of the population involved in
agriculture. Therefore, bigger families are desirable to strengthen
the workforce.

Secondly, the website discusses overpopulation in the U.K.

Within my lifetime, the birthrate
in the U.K has dropped from 2.4 children to 1.9 children. As the Baby
Boomers reach retirement age, there is great economic concern about the
workforce being too small to support the increasingly large elderly
population. In Germany, a country facing similar problems, the
government are actually looking at ways to encourage families to have
more children.

So what could be the population problem in the U.K? Can you see what they might suggest....

....Immigration.
This is a familiar tactic as the media are frequently happy to churn
out stories of the country being "swamped" by immigrants. In such articles (or, more accurately, racist clap-trap masquerading as news), the danger is
stated as immigration being "A threat to our way of life". So what
bigger excuse for xenophobia could there be then overpopulation and there not being
enough food to go round (insert other random fears here), e.t.c.

Consumption of resources is vastly inequal
in the world. We know that most of our production systems, whether
agricultural or industrial are often inefficient and wasteful.

Instead
of acting in a manner akin to Chicken Little we would be better served
looking
at how to get the most out of the resources we have, in a sustainable
manner for the benefit of everyone. That would be true global concern.

5 comments:

Maxxed`ouT said...

I got nothing smart to say.
Just dropping a quick hello :)

Alina said...

First of all, I love your new template :D

I know a thing or two about immigration articles and what the press has to say about it. Mostly because I am Romanian and because the UK press had some concerns after the EU finally took us in. Overpopulation is not that much of a problem in Europe. At least that's what I know. In Romania, birthrate has been decreasing for some time now, and we are, still, a developing country. As for agriculture encouraging families to have more children, hardly a problem, as people are running away from it and young men and women move to larger towns and cities.

I agree with you, the cause for overpopulation, where it actually is a big issue, is the general lack of education, not poverty.

Safiya said...

Maxxed Out - Hello to you too :)

Alina - Yes, the expansion of the E.U has certainly made this a hot topic here in the U.K. A lot of the media coverage was absolutely disgraceful, pure xenophobia.

I had to lose the old template because it wasn't behaving itself, which is a shame as I rather liked it. :(

Alina said...

Sorry to hear that! But I also like this one, and if it's not exactly what you want, I am sure you'll find a perfect one soon enough :)

Ali la Loca said...

I worry that many people read things like this and don't take the time to analyze what's behind the "facts", or simply don't have the knowledge to realize that, as you said, overpopulation is a symptom of a much larger problem.

What BS, using immigrants as the reason for much of the problem...