In order not to hijack the birth control thread, and because I was challenged on the idea that the world's population is NOT increasing the way the doomsayers would have us believe, I am starting this thread. Here are some quotes and their sources: In fact, we are not experiencing unlimited population growth. The rate of world population increase has declined since 1963, with the greatest slowdown happening since 1990. The UN projects world population will peak at around 9 billion in 2075, declining then leveling off thereafter. Practically all current (and future) population growth occurs in the poorest countries, yet even those growth rates are falling. In the 1950s, according to UN data, the average woman in the less developed world had 6.2 children. Today that's down to 2.9 children per woman. The rate of natural increase (births minus deaths, per hundred people) averages less than 2 percent in the developing world. While this is acting on a very large population base, the important fact is that growth is slowing. Fertility rates in all European countries are below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. Without immigration, they will soon lose population -- Italy and most of Eastern Europe already are. The U.S. is hovering right around the replacement rate. http://www.aworldconnected.org/article.php/1096.html Julian Simon set out to explain what happened to real population in the real world, not what happens in abstract models or popular hysteria. In the real world, as he demonstrated with masses of facts and in-depth analysis, we are nowhere near to running low on food or natural resources. Professor Simon made a famous bet with the leading hysteria-monger of our time, Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University. Simon had offered to bet anybody that any set of natural resources that they claimed were running low would in fact be cheaper in the future than today. Professor Ehrlich took him up on it. Simon allowed Ehrlich to pick which resources and which period of time. Ehrlich and his fellow hysterics chose a bundle of ten natural resources and a period of ten years. At the end of the decade, not only was the real cost of that bundle lower than at the beginning, every single natural resource that the Ehrlich camp had picked had a lower real cost than when the decade began. If we were really running low on these resources, they would be getting progressively more expensive, instead of progressively cheaper. This is elementary supply-and-demand economics. But those addicted to overpopulation hysteria are no more interested in economics than they are in evidence. What overpopulation theory provides is far more emotionally satisfying than facts, logic or economics. It is one of a whole family of theories which depict other people as so dangerously thoughtless that imposing the superior wisdom and virtue of some anointed social missionaries is all that can save us from disaster. This vision inspired the eugenics movement in the early decades of this century, the recycling movement today and innumerable other heady crusades in between. Contrary facts mean absolutely nothing to the true believers. Those who insist on talking about those contrary facts encounter only hostility and demonization. http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell021298.html It is an article of faith that the world suffers from overpopulation. This alleged problem surfaces in many contexts: poverty in the developing world, global warming, environmental degradation, and so on. It has been said over and over again: we won't ever get a handle on the myriad problems plaguing human society until we get control of population growth. And while many people would like to think that population growth could be controlled in ways that do not conjure up dark images of 1984 or Brave New World, the realistic leaders of the control, or antinatalist, movement would agree with their guru, Paul Ehrlich, who believes that population growth must be controlled by "compulsion if voluntary methods fail." (These self-proclaimed human rights advocates are ominously tolerant of China's program of compulsory birth control.) Why do people believe there is a population problem? It is really quite understandable that, at first blush, a person unfamiliar with basic social and economic principles would fall victim to what later should be seen as an obvious fallacy. As more and more people vie for what at any given moment are scarce resources — land, food, water, breathable air, minerals — one should expect the condition of each person to worsen. Underlying this picture of the world is the notion that people have a fundamental conflict of interest — and that the conflict may be held in abeyance as long as population is below a certain level. But once population exceeds that level, the conflict asserts itself, and life threatens to become, as Hobbes put it, "nasty, brutish, and short." One can be forgiven for adopting this world view initially — and for perhaps five minutes. But some very obvious problems with it should come crashing into one's consciousness shortly thereafter. It is rather hard not to notice that life in the developed countries, in terms of material amenities, seems to have continuously improved despite a growth in population. To be sure, the population growth rate in the West has fallen to below replacement rate, but that is a recent development. The standard of living steadily improved all through the baby boom after World War II. http://www.fff.org/freedom/0793c.asp When the actual figures are looked at, the population growth hype is just that -- hype. And to use it as an excuse to not have children is an excuse born out of ignorance.