Population Shrinkage is Not Sustainable Development (20 September 2002)

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Dear Sir

PJ van Zyl’s letter (17/9/2002) refers: If families only had one or two children, instead of the approximately 2.1 needed to replace the population, the human population of the earth would shrink. There would be fewer people than there are jobs, and many goods and services that we currently take for granted could no longer be provided because economies of scale would be lost. The global economy would shrink, as there would be less demand for goods and services. Initially all may seem well (and even boom) as the economic “drain” of raising and educating the next generation is reduced, but if each family has only one or two children, the human species is mathematically guaranteed to become extinct.

Food shortages in Africa have rarely been solely caused by droughts – these natural events have merely highlighted the starvation induced by irresponsible leaders. Are the Zimbabweans starving because of drought or irresponsible reproduction (or perhaps because most of their commercial farmers have been hounded off their land)?

After many years of great growth, it’s hard for us in Africa to imagine the devastation of population shrinkage, but Europe knows too well how an aging population is not good for anyone. Tragically, between abortion (over 57 000 last year) and AIDS deaths, we may soon see a shrinking population in South Africa too.

I praise God that birth control is not on the South African government’s agenda. By all means, couples are welcome to use ethical methods of birth control, but I’m glad that we are not like China, where forced abortions are common, and a couple has recently been fined $1000 for having a third child.

May responsible, God-fearing parents exercise their freedom to have as many children as they want – our country sure needs them to.

Jeanine McGill

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa [email protected] - 021-689-4481 - www.christianaction.org.za
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