3E Intelligence

Although population control is still a political taboo within the context of the climate change debate, there are some signs that the issue might start to get more attention. The Observer on Sunday has an interesting story about the new head of the UK Science Museum, Chris Rapley, who advocates reducing world overpopulation by improving contraception, education and healthcare. See also our blog post of 1 July 2007.

There are other instruments that might be used but, here again, using these instruments might not be “politically correct”. Several European countries have systems in place which promote new births: allowances, tax breaks etc. Maybe governments should reconsider these kind of policies as each additional world citizen puts more pressure on limited natural resources, especially if he or she is born in one of the energy-rich Western countries. If we would apply the polluter pays principle to population growth, we should, on the contrary, start to discourage new births. That this would put pressure on our generous health and social security systems is only a partial truth. There are ways of redistributing wealth in our societies which would take care of these pressures.

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